Tag Archives | Education

Home-Schooling, Unschooling and Teenage Liberation

mintz pic“If you want to influence [the student] at all, you must do more than merely talk to him; you must fashion him, and fashion him in such a way that he simply cannot will otherwise than what you wish him to will.”

So argued the German philosopher Johann Gottlieb Fichte, said to be a key influence on the Prussian education system, which in turn became the educative model in many countries, including the US and UK.

Sadly, little has changed, according to Jerry Mintz, a prominent figure in the alternative school movement and the founder and director of the New York based Alternative Education Resource Organization (AERO).

In a recent interview with The Eternities podcast, he said, “I’m sure that was the template they used and it’s been that way ever since.” Now in its twenty-fifth year, AERO seeks to bolster the alternatives, networking globally to facilitate learner-centred education and help set up schools which share this philosophy.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

The Last Thing They Ever Saw

You’ve probably heard the old wives’ tale of ‘The Image In A Dead Man’s Eye’ – the idea that the eye retains the last thing it sees before death.

…Isn’t it odd how obvious superstitions sometimes turn out to be completely true?

 

‘Optography’, or the art of recovering the last image seen by an eye, is a very real thing with a long and strange history:

(Video contains a number of actual images recovered from dead eyes)

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Your Food Is Always Outside Of You: Some Ideas About Space But Definitely Not Time

via Ian Kilgore’s blog:

Here’s the original abstract of the talk:

YOUR FOOD IS ALWAYS OUTSIDE OF YOU

(Some Ideas About Space But Definitely Not Time)

ABSTRACT:

I’m going to, in an accessible way, cover some mathematical and physical ideas that I think are important or at least pretty cool. (CHILL. OUT.) You probably spent a lot of time in grade school factoring polynomials or whatever. I don’t care about that. I want to talk about why orbits work, what happens in 5-D, why the World Series is slightly better than a coin toss, databases are broken forever, truth itself is wrong, and what happens if an infinite number of buses roll up at your house. Or some subset of that.

I’ll cover three or four discrete topics, so don’t worry if you get lost; you’ll be following along again in a few slides. Any equations will be supplementary only- you won’t have to understand them to get the general idea.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Poor kids who do everything right don’t do better than rich kids who do everything wrong

Photo: Brookie (CC)

Photo: Brookie (CC)

Following on the heels of its story that sex is only for rich people, the Washington Post now claims that rich kids can do everything wrong and still beat conscientious poor kids:

America is the land of opportunity, just for some more than others.

That’s because, in large part, inequality starts in the crib. Rich parents can afford to spend more time and money on their kids, and that gap has only grown the past few decades. Indeed, economists Greg Duncan and Richard Murnane calculate that, between 1972 and 2006, high-income parents increased their spending on “enrichment activities” for their children by 151 percent in inflation-adjusted terms, compared to 57 percent for low-income parents.

But, of course, it’s not just a matter of dollars and cents. It’s also a matter of letters and words. Affluent parents talk to their kids three more hours a week on average than poor parents, which is critical during a child’s formative early years.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Noam Chomsky on Education and Indoctrination

By Kris Arnold via Flickr (cc by 2.0)

By Kris Arnold via Flickr (cc by 2.0)

via AlterNet [Click through to read the entire interview]:

History teacher Dan Falcone and English teacher Saul Isaacson spoke with Noam Chomsky in his Cambridge office on September 16, 2014, about education and indoctrination, the 1960s, the Powell memorandum, democracy, the creation of ISIS, the media and the way “capitalism” actually works in the United States.

Dan Falcone: We’re in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with Professor Noam Chomsky. I am Dan Falcone with Saul Isaacson, and this is actually the third time I’ve visited you. So I wanted to thank you for that. And since I am a teacher, I wanted to start off by continuing on the themes of democracy and education.

I have noticed students making very insightful and uplifting observations in the midst of chaos. For example, they noticed that support for Israel fell out of favor in certain mainstream circles, and that the recent police treatment of unarmed black teenagers in intensifying areas of violence is a crucial matter of concern.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Secret Reason School is Boring

You’re sitting on it says new documentary Boredom.

Untitled

You may want to sit down to read this.
Or maybe not.
According to the new documentary Boredom, school is boring. But not for the reason most people think.
School and college are often cited as chronically boring mainly because of the teaching style and the subject material. But it’s more likely because of the ingrained sedentary culture of constant sitting, according to the documentary.

“The subjects don’t make school boring,” said Boredom director Albert Nerenberg. “It’s the constant sitting. Constant sitting turns people’s brains into mush.”

According to a 2000 OECD survey of students in 35 countries, nearly half of 15-year-olds said they often felt bored at school on average. Ireland reported 67% of teenagers reporting frequent boredom, compared to 61% in the U.S.

From the onset, in almost every country in the world, students are trained to sit still in classrooms and this tradition of non-stop sitting continues well into college.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Free Radical Media Podcast: Mathematics, Education and True Learning with chycho

via chycho

A few weeks ago I was contacted by the folks at Free Radical Media to see if I would be willing to be a guest in their fledgeling podcast network. I checked out some of their work and really liked what I found, so I nervously agreed – I’ve never been a guest on a podcast before.

We ended up discussing a myriad of topics focused on mathematics, education, and some of the problems associated with our centralized systems as well as some of the solutions available to us at the moment.

It was a very fun experience and I would like to thank Eric and Patrick for having me as a guest. Below you will find the podcast.

FRM – Mathematics, Education and True Learning with chycho

For those interested in further exploring some of the topics that we discussed, you will find additional information regarding these topics at:

 

 

 

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Discussions of Michael Brown’s Death Banned in Illinois School District

Office for Emergency Management. Office of War Information. Domestic Operations Branch. Bureau of Special Services. via Wikimedia Commons

Office for Emergency Management. Office of War Information. Domestic Operations Branch. Bureau of Special Services. via Wikimedia Commons

Why do people actually think stifling discourse about polarizing current events is the key to a good education?

via AlterNet:

When faced with tragedies like the shooting of Michael Brown and the community unrest that followed, there are many hard questions to be asked. Why did this happen again? Who should be held accountable? How do we prevent such injustices?

But among the hard questions, few are so pressing, or essential, as this: What do we tell the children?

For educators, that question weighs heavily, and in the Brown case all the more so because Brown’s death occurred just as the new academic year begins.But in Edwardsville, Illinois, the answer is chilling: What do we tell the children? We tell them nothing.

From the local CBS affiliate in St. Louis:

A new directive has been issued in Edwardsville schools: Don’t talk about Ferguson or Michael Brown in class.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Let’s stop trying to teach students critical thinking

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

Socrates, the father of critical thinking. lentina_x, CC BY-NC-SA

Many teachers say they strive to teach their students to be critical thinkers. They even pride themselves on it; after all, who wants children to just take in knowledge passively?

But there is a problem with this widespread belief. The truth is that you can’t teach people to be critical unless you are critical yourself. This involves more than asking young people to “look critically” at something, as if criticism was a mechanical task.

As a teacher, you have to have a critical spirit. This does not mean moaning endlessly about education policies you dislike or telling students what they should think. It means first and foremost that you are capable of engaging in deep conversation. This means debate and discussion based on considerable knowledge – something that is almost entirely absent in the educational world.… Read the rest

Continue Reading