Wednesday, February 14, 2007

You're so smart you probably think this post is about you | MetaFilter

You're so smart you probably think this post is about you | MetaFilter

This is the Dweck article I posted earlier. The comments on Metafilter are good and really add to the topic. There is another article posted, and the following comment was very interesting....

I've work in education and learning for 9 years, mostly with adults in learning very complex hard and soft skills (social workers, police officers, sales, leadership, therapists, design, you name it). The single thing that shines through all of these experiences is that our culture equates knowing with learning. In fact it is ALL about DO-ing.

Knowing or learning something means precious little in almost any context outside of a classroom. Yet, we continue to focus on this. For those bright kids (yep, I was one too) it is easy to get 'lazy' or tune out or focus on a teacher's praise or a parent's because the actual act of learning what is taught in most shcools IS incredibly boring. It means nothing and kids figure out this game very early on.

Geometry is meanignless. Building a bridge that people have to walk on can be fascinating and has inherent meaning - someone could actually be hurt if you screw up.

Writing a report on the Civil War is just an act with an arbitrary set of rules that someone thought up in the late 1800s. Telling someone about your parent's divorce and and the effect it had on you and listening to their similar story can be a life-changing experience.

As an example of the contrast, imagine if high school students graduated with skills insted of knowledge (knowledge they will very quickly forget, might I add). Suppose in order to grauate you had to be able to do the following at a medium-high level of skill:

- drive
- cook
- dance
- prepare your monthly finances and do a budget
- articulately express your emotions
- listen and empathize
- manage a project (balancing budget, time and quality)
- make a fire kit from scratch (i.e. bow drill) and start a fire
- (add a few of your own)

and the way they learned these skills was not by reading about automobiles in america or by writing reports about the history of dance. The skills are learned by doing them over and over - and failing and getting better and being successful and getting critiques and more practice and so on.

I think we would have a bunch of 18 year olds who would actually be interested in learning, wouldn't think it was arbitrary and many of the skills would stay with them a long, long time.

Plus "smart" kids would stay challenged, because when we say "smart" in the sense of the articles in the post we really only are talking about two forms of "smart" - math and language, but a well rounded skill-based education would be much, much more than just those two incredibly narrow slices of intelligence.

No comments: