[sill: Re: [Tutor] help ;-)]

Andrei Kulakov ak@silmarill.org
Wed, 17 Oct 2001 13:30:36 -0400

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Whoops.. I sent it to Danny Yoo instead of the list at first..

Cymbaline: intelligent learning mp3 player - python, linux, console.
get it at: cy.silmarill.org

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Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2001 05:14:27 -0400
Subject: Re: [Tutor] help ;-)
In-reply-to: <Pine.LNX.4.21.0110161852290.23109-100000@hkn.eecs.berkeley.edu>
To: Danny Yoo <dyoo@hkn.eecs.berkeley.edu>
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On Tue, Oct 16, 2001 at 08:27:13PM -0700, Danny Yoo wrote:
> It's my opinion that the educational culture in the United States does
> real damage to people by not encouraging people encogh to practicing the
> Process of discovering things.  I feel that, instead, schools encourage
> the impulse to depend on others for an answer, without asking how or why
> that answer makes sense with what we already know.  It's the path of least
> friction: it's just easier to lure the "teacher" to give an answer, rather
> than to discover it for oneself.  This feeling seems echoed by John Holt's

In my opinion, the problem is that Educational system, not just in US but
generally in the world is absolutely counter-effective - it does
everything wrong, from day one. First mistake is the tests - any sort of
tests. The message is that you have to try to get the best grade with the
least effort. Smartest kids will often learn less then others because they
can get by with least knowledge. Second mistake is that things students do
have next to nothing to do with real world. Third mistake is that teacher
is the figure of authority. All of these come from the sad obsession with
control that schools everywhere demonstrate - they would rather have some
students learn a little and be correctly rated than have them learn a
*lot* while their progress remains a mistery to the insitution. School is
not the place for learning, it's the place for schooling and disciplining.

Compulsion and learning are incompatible. The Fourth mistake is that every
kid is put into the school and forced to attend whether he likes it or not
- it looks good on paper - 100% of kids are in school, but how many are

The most tangible effect of modern schools is that students are taught to
hate the process of aquiring knowledge - process that is inherently one of
the most fascinating and enjoyable things you can do. This is sickening.

What is the solution? Teachers must be freed from the responsibility of
being a classroom cop. Students who don't want to study should be free to
leave - they won't study either way. There must be no established program
 - learning should be a free process. There should be no tests integrated 
 in the process, learning must be it's own and only reward.

There is a school in UK that operates along these lines -
<a href="http://www.s-hill.demon.co.uk/">Summerhill school</a>. John Gotti
(sp?) who was the teacher of the year in NY state, has been saying this
for years. In fact he said that he sees no hope in current education
system, that it's too inflexible to improve, and that the only hope for a
reasonable education right now is home education.

Oh, and you know why you can't open a textbook during the test? So it's
easier for the teachers to rate us! For that reason alone 99% of
"education" comes down to memorizing the formula.


Cymbaline: intelligent learning mp3 player - python, linux, console.
get it at: cy.silmarill.org