From: Siva <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Sunday, July 22,[masked]:45 AM
[The-Saint-Paul-Socrates-Cafe] 7/18/12 questions and discussion
Sorry couldn't be there, but have a few comments to make on the subject. . .
Comments from other members in the meetup are correct: the
educational systems currently available, notably public schools, are
woefully inadequate in teaching kids what they need to know to be
successful in life. Specifically, they focus too much on
grades--judging kids on how well they can play an isolated system that
rewards following rules rather than independent thought.
It needn't be said that in a Darwinistic world such as ours, street
smarts, social skills, creativity, initiative are probably MORE
important for success than academic ability.
Look at Sarah Palin--she's a multi-millionaire, and she became that
way not because of academic achievement but because of her ability to
form connections, exploit opportunities, and play the system. And she
can't even find the US on a map. Meanwhile, there
w/advanced college degrees who slave away at their technical jobs
barely scraping by.
However, simply expecting or wanting the SYSTEM to change is not a
healthy attitude. Parents and others should TAKE THE INITIATIVE to
teach kids what they can't learn from the system.
Of course, realistically, that's hard to do. Any parent who does take
the initiative to take kids out of the box is going to find his/her
efforts negated by the influence the outside world (including school)
has on their kids. Hence, parents ideally should raise their kids in
a "village" (community) that works collectively to foster
ideals/values relevant to success in the modern world.
As far as I know, no such communities exist.
On 7/21/12, Jon Anderson <[address removed]> wrote:
> 7/18/12 questions and
> [note to all: Micheal McGrath suggests we consider bringing lightweight
> chairs or pillows to use downstairs in that quiet hallway below Nina's. If
> we each bring a chair/pillow -- or two -- we could do this, but is that
> asking too much of ourselves?]
> 1-how might we make capitalism kinder?2
> 2-why isn't balance held in higher esteem?4
> 3-how do you want people to treat you?6
> 4-is there an end to progress?4
> 5-do we have room in our lives and in our societies for children?7
> 6-to what extent should we make money?4
> 7-how do icons become icons and are they important?3
> do we have room in our lives and in our societies for children?7
> Mike: I have a 3 month old grandson. His mom, my daughter in law isn't
> excited about going back to work. She's
doing that more to maintain herself
> in her profession. MPR did a show recently about students taking Adirol -- a
> drug typically prescribed to kids with ADHD -- to improve their focus. When
> the drug was experimentally given to both ADHD kids and "normal" kids it was
> discovered that both did better at focusing, in fact equally so. It makes me
> think ADHD isn't real. There's a normal range of children's behaviors.
> School systems are prison-like and not designed or funded to support real
> learning. Instead those systems seem more intended to create good worker
> bees, not maximizing kids' potentials.
> Jon: eccentricity has long been associated with creativity. Eccentric kids
> typically don't do well in school. Creativity is clearly essential to the
> many kinds of success we need. But in order to address it it will be very
> Jess: Adirol
> Mike: current educational theory seems focused on getting 30 kids to sit
> down and shut up!
> Erik: because that theory/design is that of a factory.
> jess: there is a "Ted talk" online about how education kills creativity. My
> university experience was an extension of my High School experience. Two of
> my friends are becoming Montessori teachers. Montessori is more about love
> and community; a village raises a child. Kids need exposure to what's out
> there, not narrowness.
> Erik: actually when in school themselves, teachers are trained to do all
> that great stuff, but school districts are quick to stifle such efforts.
> Jess: teachers are made too responsible for the kids' performances.
> Sean: the first desire as a society is to keep people out of poverty. We
> argue about how best to do it. What we
think -- generally speaking -- is the
> best thing to do is a free market system where people are responsible for
> taking care of themselves.
> Mike: but we don't teach our children how to care for themselves. Those
> skills are not relevant (gardening, for ex.)
> Sean: the "how" is debated. Although Mike may be suggesting is that the goal
> is different: Employees vs. self-sufficient persons. People/parents in this
> system don't know any other way to educate because it's the way they were
> educated. For them, it's "just the way it is.
> Mike: it seems to be getting worse; less exercise is happening, they get
> less time to eat (so they wolf food down).
> Sean: do we want to be "number one"? Kids is China and India are in systems
> that are far more rigid/uncreative than ours, so for us to move away from
> that rigid model is to decide
not to be "number one." Our GDP is dependent
> upon our schools cranking out worker bees, not self-realized individuals.
> Self-realized individuals are less likely than worker bees to make positive
> contributions to GDP (unless those contributions coincide with an aspect of
> their self-realization).
> Lucy: I went to a private HS and my classmates were by and large motivated
> but not necessarily more so than kids from public schools.
> Sean: I'm talking macro economics, global. Raw GDP as a measure puts China's
> progress out front. Agreeing to not seek this is to step away from being
> number one.
> Mike: I'm talking about self-realization.
> Sean: emphasizing self-realization means foregoing GDP. It's the upper
> middle class giving up 2 cars, big house, iPads, etc. We get resistance
> there. There would be a great deal of hostility to
efforts to emphasize
> individual happiness over collective success. Individual happiness efforts
> will require collective sacrifices/less economic success.
> Jon: I'd like to repeat what Jess was talking about (holistic approaches).
> Today I listened to a radio interview with a doctor who is advocating a
> systems approach to cancer research and treatment. Apparently medicine
> focuses almost exclusively on cancer cells and considers all other factors
> largely irrelevant. If he's right about how best to approach medical care,
> are we right to emphasize systematic approaches to kids' educations (no more
> "teaching to the test" or strict emphasis on rote learning)?
> lucy: ADHD has had a backlash, as did bi-polar diagnoses. It does exist but
> is over-diagnosed. How does one learn?
> Mike: in the Montessori method kids are encourged to do something from
> given range of activities. They are told to do it correctly but the kids do
> what's meaningful to them. This can't be directly translated to older
> students but the idea could be relating the education to what each student
> wants to learn.
> Lucy: emphasizing kids specialness can result in spoiled kids. How would I
> know my passions without initial exposures to different topics? If things
> like Montessori work, we don't have the resources to do it everywhere.
> Suburban kids do better academically and in the American economy for largely
> economic supported ways -- ways that are too expensive for kids in poor
> school districts.
> Mike: there's a problem for teens to decide what to do for a career when
> they know so little about the world.
> Lucy: my ex-husband wanted to always to be the best at whatever he did. So
> he's perfect for the
US economy, for GDP. Poor kids can be just as driven
> but due to their home environments only successful (sometimes very
> successful) criminals. Maslow's hierarchy of needs begins with food,
> shelter, clothing, education. Self-realization is not possible until the
> basics are covered.
> Jeremy: we're just moving chairs on the titanic as we discuss improving
> education. Everyone has a solution but what's the upshot for people like me?
> I hope the society doesn't go down the tubes but improving our kids'
> educations may not actually make my life better! A line must be walked
> between what the kids want and what their society wants.
> Erik: balance; give 'em too much freedom = spoiled kids. Too little freedom
> and they are stifled.
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