Friday, May 20, 2011

What Matters in Education: A New Approach to Figuring it Out

Here's another video of me doing an unscripted brain dump on some topic. This time, it's "What Matters in Education." But I'm doing it in an unconventional way.

Like most PhDs in education, I usually evaluate education analytically, with experiments and reviews of data and the literature. But here, I'm trying an inductive approach: I simply turned on the webcam and said what I remembered from my education--kindergarten through graduate school. Perhaps that would offer hints of what educational practices are and aren't of enduring value.

I think you'll find it mildly entertaining and maybe even borderline enlightening. It's 12 minutes long, so if that's too long for you: my summary conclusions are:

1. From K-24, I mentioned only one bit of content I learned from a lecture: how advertisers try to manipulate you. Everything else that was top-of-mind was from an interactive experience.

2. We're more fragile than I realized. I don't think of myself as being unduly insecure, yet getting my one and only A+ (in philosophy) stays vividly reassuring to me and getting a B- in a course I cared about (advanced expository writing) made me feel like a loser.

3. School may be a poor judge of us. Just as Einstein and successful people were given bad grades in school, I was inaccurately judged to be a poor writer. In graduate school, a professor said I was a terrible writer and sent me to the writing center, where, in fact, I learned little of value. Indeed, graduate school taught me to be a worse writer. There was such an emphasis on precision of language that the writing ends up impenetrable or downright soporific except to the most motivated reader. I learned how to be a writer who can communicate when I decided to write in plain English and then got feedback on my drafts from just-plain people: my neighbor the plumber and my neighbor, the teacher.

4. It's frightening how little I remember from all that schooling. I'm not sure if it's me or what I've so often written in this blog and other articles: that education is America's most overrated product.

No comments:


blogger templates | Make Money Online