Sunday, April 03, 2011

Learning Beyond the Education

Instead of identifying the kids at risk and spending even more attention and resources on them, perhaps what we need to do is identify the child prodigies among them to teach their age-peers -- which is how learning is actually done in the real world, that we are presumably preparing them for in the schools. For such prodigies in their respective fields, everything is simple and self-evident -- which are the people you would want to learn from, and not the least able adults who invariably choose "education": as a major and vocation, because then they will be the most knowledgeable person in the class -- or at least, given the authority to be, which has very little to do with real learning.

What we actually have, is an indoctrination into a system that is obviously not working -- of the old model of mass education (indoctrination), that even many of those raised in that previous generation, found alienating -- especially now, that our education tools and technology, could enable the kind of personalized and individualized learning now possible for everyone. The case in point is the child of 1 learning to use an iPad proficiently -- and even those at 99.

The obvious problem is trying to keep all those different aptitudes and maturity together -- simply because they are the same age, when age conveys the least significant information about where that student may be -- but mass education demands they must be the same, which frustrates everyone, and serves nothing but the education industry -- because the outcomes are worse than ever. Obviously, their "solution" is not the answer.

Is there anybody today who is not learning something new each day? If they aren't, then that is the problem regardless of whether they are 1 or 99, and that is the significance of the problem and challenge -- and not whether we should put more money towards the young, or the old.

This problem of aging is now emerging as one of the challenges of these times -- which mostly, is not learning new strategies fast enough to overcome their deficiencies and challenges -- because of the present specialization and compartmentalization of learning -- as a special activity apart rom life, rather integrated and integral to it.

That is both its problem and its solution -- not creating these fragmented and mass minds that aren't always learning, because they are no longer forced to, or don't see any "future" or reason to. So the very notion of "compulsory" education is the problem -- because there is no lack of opportunities for learning.

But people, even at the youngest ages, have to be exposed to the best and brightest among them to truly know what that is about -- and not simply having adults of the poorest education and competence, force upon them what they think learning is -- when that is only indoctrination into what to think, rather than learning to think for themselves. And so we have and see these arguments that there is only one way, and no other should be allowed -- rather than a real discussion of all the possibilities, not proposed by the self-serving trade association.

That should be the province of the 21st century news agencies, and not simply, the propaganda and marketing of the status quo and powers that be, to always remain so, and further promote themselves. That is the fundamental problem of education in the US.


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