[ExI] I don't understand students: help !

Will Steinberg asyluman at gmail.com
Sat Dec 20 04:42:00 UTC 2008

As a 16 year old currently attending high school in America, I feel like I
should stop lurking and contribute to this conversation and such.  I'm all
for the speculation of adults, but I am totally immersed in this stuff all
the time.  While it is true that there is a lesser standard placed on
education by many kids, a good number of kids simply try as to not look bad
or create problems at home--and by this mechanism alone they learn. Of
course, this kids will simply become the preservers and handlers of society
in menial or non-progressive fields of work, but people like I and others
illustrate the fact that many schools, while not containing a large
percentage of very intelligent children, still put in place measures to make
sure that these children are able to reach their potential.  This is often
not as true in poorer schools, but at least there's something, eh?

On Fri, Dec 19, 2008 at 11:03 PM, Mike Dougherty <msd001 at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Fri, Dec 19, 2008 at 8:46 PM, Anna Taylor <femmechakra at yahoo.ca> wrote:
>> >>I think Dagon wasn't advocated ending educating people. Rather, I read
>> >>him as saying that the institution of school needs to be thrown out,
>> >>replaced with automated self-directed learning that kids could do from
>> >>home, at their own pace, etc etc. So the public could feasibly become
>> >>more educated than ever, just we wouldn't be using internment camps to
>> >>achieve it.
>> Really?  What happens to the social aspect of it?  Students today as I see
>> them are not very sociable and you want to make computers more unclosed in a
>> 4 wall room?  Doesn't that make it more secluded?  How are are people
>> supposed to learn if not surrounded by different people?
> I started to reply earlier in this thread but discarded the draft because I
> didn't feel one more opinion on the subject would really add anything
> useful.  Thanks for asking a general/semi-rhetorical(?) enough question that
> I could throw my two cents in. :)
> We (on this list) think of education as a means of proceeding from
> ignorance to greater understanding.  I admit that I am unaware of education
> outside the US public system.  What I understand of the myriad forces that
> maintain the status-quo is that education is about indoctrination into the
> consumerist way of life.  Most of the interaction among peers is to
> reinforce the herd mentality.  The minimum required effort is lowered even
> as our collective mental muscle atrophies.  I'm sure there are dozens of
> examples of exceptional individuals being produced in American schools, but
> these students would likely be "exceptional" given an opportunity in any
> school.  Perhaps it is because I am an adult returning to college education
> that I feel the work is easier than it was in the early 1990's, or perhaps
> the business of accepting ever-larger tuition from an increasingly
> lackluster crop of high school graduates has forced the expectation down?
> "No child left behind" seems to have leveled the field so much there is no
> mountain to overcome so achievement is a matter of having simply been a
> participant in a nearly passive process.  Giovanni started this thread in
> dismay over  the fact that his students resent being asked to work for their
> grade, or that the boundaries were not labeled clearly enough.  I believe
> there was once a time that grades were given for how far a student exceeded
> the minimum and that competition drove the definition of "A" work.
> Apparently today we can't allow competition to season the mush that is
> served as education.  Why should students be accountable for academic
> fitness if they are to enter a business world that is also so unfit that it
> is being 'bailed out' by government funny-money?
> The children who are my peers would claim to be very sociable; the "social
> networks" are buzzing with activity.  That the content is mostly inane and
> meaningless is of secondary importance.  What is relevant is that each human
> node of humanity's collective graph is establishing connections and
> submitting themselves to the group.  It simply doesn't make sense that
> "plagiarism" is wrong: If any  answer exists that google can cough up, then
> Giovanni should be happy his student has collected those works into a single
> result.  If that result does not answer the question, then adjust the
> question - to one which better appreciates the answer.  I believe this group
> delusion is a coping mechanism for the fact that the majority is simply
> unable to keep up with the pace of change.
> Anna asked, "How are people supposed to learn if not surrounded by
> different people?"  I suggest that the group is learning, but the
> individuals are losing their identity to the group.  This thread about
> education has focussed on how to make the individual more productive.  Who
> are the individuals currently driving the world today?  What would be their
> interest in educating the masses?  It is more profitable to manage the herd
> as a statistical model with low variance from the mean than to address a
> population of reasoning thinkers.  Those few exceptions which rise to the
> top of the current system can be extracted and carefully polished to provide
> the next generation of leaders (aka herd managers).
> Education to set people free is a serious threat to established society.
> Whether there are literal humans drivers of society or there are forces
> balanced about social equilibrium, there is a great deal of inertia to
> overcome if you/we seek to take humanity to the next local maxima.
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