Mark Twain famously said that schooling should not be allowed to interfere with education and a number of people have tried to put this idea into practice. And yet secondary education in the way it’s structured and imparted hasn’t changed much since the 19th century. Does “old school” deserve the regard and respect we attach to this term? To discuss this, Oksana Boyko is joined by prominent Indian educator, Prof Sugata Mitra.Read more
This week’s guest blog is by Jon Rappoport. I’ve engaged with Jon Rappoport since 2012 and studied his material on imagination. I’m confident this course in logic is worth the investment.
The basic fact is: students in schools are rarely taught how to follow a line of reasoning from beginning to end. Nor do they practice analyzing half-formed, specious reasoning.
Who teaches young students, these days, how to distinguish between a polemic and a formal argument?
Teachers spend little or no time discussing hidden premises or assumptions, which color subsequent arguments.
Increasingly, people are “learning” from watching videos. Some videos are well done; many others intentionally omit vital data and make inferences based on “shocking images.”
A focused study of logic can illuminate a range of subjects and disciplines. It can suddenly bring perspective to fields of inquiry that were formerly mysterious and impenetrable.
Logic is the parent of knowledge. It contains the principles and methods common to all investigation.
Being able to spot and understand logical flaws and fallacies embedded in an article, essay, book immediately lifts the intelligence level.
Logic isn’t a prison; one isn’t forced to obey its rules. But the ability to deploy it, versus not understanding what it is, is like the difference between randomly hammering at a keyboard and typing coherent paragraphs. It’s the difference between, “I agree with what he’s writing,” and “I know exactly how he’s making his argument.”
In the West, the tradition of logic was codified by Aristotle. Before him, Plato, in the Socratic Dialogues, employed it to confound Socrates’ opponents.
Reading the Dialogues today, one can see, transparently, where Plato’s Socrates made questionable assumptions, which he then successfully foisted on those opponents. It’s quite instructive to go back and chart Socrates’ clever steps. You see logic and illogic at work.
High schools today don’t teach logic for two reasons. The teachers don’t understand the subject, and logic as a separate discipline has been deleted because students, armed with it, would become authentically independent. The goal of education rejects independent minds, despite assurances to the contrary.
Logic and critical analysis should be taught in phases, with each phase encompassing more complex passages of text offered for scrutiny.
Eventually, students would delve into thorny circumstantial arguments, which make up a great deal of modern investigation and research, and which need to be assessed on the basis of degrees of probable validity and truth.
It’s like a climbing a mountain. The lower paths are relatively easy, if the map is clear. At higher elevation, more elements come into play, and a greater degree of skill and experience is required.
My college logic teacher introduced his subject to the class this way: Once you’ve finished this semester, you’ll know when you know, and you’ll know when you don’t know.
The second part of his statement has great value. It enables real research beyond egotistical concerns, beyond self-serving presumptions, beyond secretly assuming what you’re pretending to prove.Read more
Education is a bubble in a classic sense. To call something a bubble, it must be overpriced and there must be an intense belief in it. Housing was a classic bubble, as were tech stocks in the ’90s, because they were both very overvalued, but there was an incredibly widespread belief that almost could not be questioned — you had to own a house in 2005, and you had to be in an equity-market index fund in 1999.
Probably the only candidate left for a bubble — at least in the developed world (maybe emerging markets are a bubble) — is education. It’s basically extremely overpriced. People are not getting their money’s worth, objectively, when you do the math. And at the same time it is something that is incredibly intensively believed; there’s this sort of psycho-social component to people taking on these enormous debts when they go to college simply because that’s what everybody’s doing.
It is, to my mind, in some ways worse than the housing bubble. There are a few things that make it worse. One is that when people make a mistake in taking on an education loan, they’re legally much more difficult to get out of than housing loans. With housing, typically they’re non-recourse — you can just walk out of the house. With education, they’re recourse, and they typically survive bankruptcy. If you borrowed money and went to a college where the education didn’t create any value, that is potentially a really big mistake.
There have been a lot of critiques of the finance industry’s having possibly foisted subprime mortgages on unknowing buyers, and a lot of those kinds of arguments are even more powerful when used against college administrators who are probably in some ways engaged in equally misleading advertising. Like housing was, college is advertised as an investment for the future. But in most cases it’s really just consumption, where college is just a four-year party, in the same way that buying a large house with a really big swimming pool, etc., is probably not an investment decision but a consumption decision. It was something about combining the investment decision and the consumption decision that made the housing thing so tricky to get a handle on — and I think that’s also true of the college bubble.
You know, we’ve looked at the math on this, and I estimate that 70 to 80 percent of the colleges in the U.S. are not generating a positive return on investment. Even at the top universities, it may be positive in some sense — but the counterfactual question is, how well would their students have done had they not gone to college? Are they really just selecting for talented people who would have done well anyway? Or are you actually educating them? That’s the kind of question that isn’t analyzed very carefully. My suspicion is that they’re just good at identifying talented people rather than adding value. So there are a lot of things about it that are very strange.
The Great Recession of 2008 to the present is helping to bring the education bubble to a head. When parents have invested enormous amounts of money in their kids’ education, to find their kids coming back to live with them — well, that was not what they bargained for. So the crazy bubble in education is at a point where it is very close to unraveling.
source: The Economist BlogRead more
STOP STEALING DREAMS: On the future of education & what we can do about it. Seth Godin unravels the reason why we have school, and asks the question, “What is school for today?” in the post-factory world.
Seth Godin is the author of 14 books that have been bestsellers around the world and have been translated into more than 35 languages. Permission Marketing was a New York Times bestseller, Unleashing the Ideavirus is the most popular ebook every published, and Purple Cow is the bestselling marketing book of the decade. His free ebook on what education is for is called STOP STEALING DREAMS and it’s been downloaded millions of times since it launched in January, 2012.
In addition to his writing and speaking, Seth is founder of squidoo.com, a fast growing, easy to use website. His blog (which you can find by typing “seth” into Google) is one of the most popular in the world.Read more
This is an article by Jon Rappoport, who created a home study course in Logic for both teachers and children. This course can be easily incorporated into your home schooling curriculum in South Africa. Please contact our office for to order the product.
Here’s one of his recent articles about the absurd amount of money parents spend on university education in United States. In South Africa, can we really afford this “investment” in worthless education?
Yes, a whole lot of boys and girls are paying $150,000 for a T-shirt. Now that’s a sales job. We’re not talking about about a purse that costs three grand or a $500 bottle of bitter champagne or 10 grand for a vacation cruise that gives you a solid case of dysentery.
This is a really sublime con. And I have a solution for it. The student enrolls in what I simply call The Course.
He goes to the library once a week and checks out a stack of books. Any books. For four hours a day, five days a week, for six years, you chain him to a table in a quiet room at home.
There’s a thick notebook on the table and pencils. And the books. No computer. No phone. No videos. No music. No nothing. You walk out and close the door.
The rest is up to him.
During his six years, the student might read and/or write about television, space travel, the process of elephants giving birth, soldier ants, the CIA, God, the suppression of bubblegum sales during World War 2, an analysis of photographs of desert mirages, Jesus, the Rockefellers, malaria, ghosts, football, worship of idols in ancient Polynesia, the evolution of the hot dog, syphilis, leprosy, plutonium, Plato, gastric ulcers, Middle East wars, building houses out of rubber tires, the Federal Reserve, cell phone radiation…
Or he might do nothing.
It’s his choice.
Nobody teaches him anything. Nobody checks up on him. Nobody encourages him. Nobody guides him. Nobody tests him or grades him or graduates him.
“This is the first and last time I’ll be speaking to you about The Course. You’re going to start today. Good luck.”
I’ll put that up against any liberal arts curriculum in America.
And of course, it has a Zen component. Silence. Inevitable confusion. Resentment. The need for answers which never come. Frustration. Choice.
And it’s free. No T-shirt, no student loans, no government interference, no administration, no brainwashing, no social agenda, no sense of entitlement, no hype.
There’s a chance the student may actually become interested in something ON HIS OWN.
If not, so be it. He has no one to blame.
“I guess I’m not curious about what I don’t know. I’m a robot. So I’ll just go to the nearest programming center and sign up. They can make me over into whatever they need. No problem.”
In case you haven’t noticed, our society has become obsessed, at every possible level, with meddling in other people business. I’m not talking about honest prosecution of crimes. I’m talking about downright interference.
“Don’t you think you should be doing THIS?” Shouldn’t you stop doing THAT?” “Don’t you care about what your grandmother THINKS?”
The Course is meddle-free. So even if a student comes out of his six years with nothing, at least he know what’s it’s like to exist, for four hours a day, in a non-meddling space.
And his parents get the message as well.
“I just want to take Jimmy some tea and cookies while he’s studying.”
“Hold on, Martha, don’t you remember when we signed the contract, it said no interruptions? If you walk in there, they can come and shoot you. And I believe they will. They were very emphatic on that point.”
“I want to make sure he’s all right.”
“Here…let me read from their leaflet: ‘You as the parent may experience a grinding need to walk in on your precious little doofus while he’s doing The Course. Recognize this comes from your craven fear of being alone with nothing but your own thoughts. You’re assuredly deranged. Should you ignore this warning, your child will be only too happy to report you, we will take you out, and it won’t be pretty…'”
I believe The Course is an idea whose time has come.
Bonus: you can ignore the towers of absolute crap the government shovels about education.
The Course is stark and uncompromising. Beauty comes in many forms.
Jon Rappoport: The author of two explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED and EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at No More Fake News.Read more
ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Toure (right) co-chairs the Broadband Commission with UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. Photo: ITU
The report, Technology, Broadband and Education: Advancing the Education for All Agenda, argues that access to high-speed technologies over fixed and mobile platforms can help students acquire the digital skills required to participate in the global economy and contribute to ensure their employability once they finish their studies.
“The ability of broadband to improve and enhance education, as well as students’ experience of education, is undisputed,” said the Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Hamadoun Touré, adding that online access widens education and employment prospects for students all over the world.
“A student in a developing country can now access the library of a prestigious university anywhere in the world; an unemployed person can retrain and improve their job prospects in other fields; teachers can gain inspiration and advice from the resources and experiences of others. With each of these achievements, the online world brings about another real-world victory for education, dialogue, and better understanding between peoples.”
According to ITU estimates, the digital divide remains deep despite rapid technological advances. At the end of 2012, there were nearly 2.5 billion people using the Internet. However, only a quarter of these people are located in the developing world. There are also severe disparities in the cost of broadband, which in some 17 countries still represents more than the average person’s monthly salary.
The report, released by the Broadband Commission for Digital Development during the World Summit on the Information Society +10 in Paris, emphasizes the importance of broadband access as a way to accelerate the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) pertaining education, which aims to achieve universal primary education for boys and girls by the year 2015.
source: UN News CentreRead more