[Edu-sig] Shuttleworth Summit

Andre Roberge andre.roberge at gmail.com
Sat Apr 22 17:01:42 CEST 2006

On 4/22/06, Guido van Rossum <guido at python.org> wrote:
> I'd like to present Shuttleworth's POV in capsule.
> South Africa's educational system is bankrupt (not literally but
> practically). With limited means compared to the SA department of
> education (see the financials downloadable from tsf.org.za)
> Shuttleworth is trying to provide something useful for SA's poorest
> kids to prevent a whole generation from being lost. I severely doubt
> that whatever might fix the US educational system will work in SA.
> --Guido

There are brilliant teachers that do not need a set curriculum to guide
students, that do not feel threatened by students finding out things
on their own that they themselves (the teachers) did not know, but
rather thrive on it.
There are other individuals, often without formal training in pedagogy,
that choose to guide a few students (often their own children) outside
of traditional settings (e.g. home schooling).

Then there's the rest of them, the majority...

One can not count on either of the first two kind of people described
above to educate children of an entire nation.
The average teacher needs a "crutch"
(read: a well-defined curriculum) to follow and help him or her teach.
I applaud Shuttleworth's initiative ... and I am not convinced that whatever
comes out of it could not be of significant use in the U.S. (or Canada
:-) as well.

Here's a challenge to anyone interested:
rather than debating what's the "best way" to teach, how about coming out
with an actual "lesson/learning exercise" or a small computer
program that could be used today by an *average* teacher in S.A.,
who may not be as computer litterate as people on this list are.


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