[ExI] my view of education

Dan TheBookMan danust2012 at gmail.com
Sat Dec 15 01:21:26 UTC 2018

> On Dec 14, 2018, at 4:40 PM, William Flynn Wallace <foozler83 at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Fri, Dec 14, 2018 at 6:21 PM Dan TheBookMan <danust2012 at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> On Dec 14, 2018, at 2:30 PM, William Flynn Wallace <foozler83 at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> dan wrote
>>> “I’d like to see evidence showing there because there’s much evidence to show people don’t generalize well. Maybe I’ve misread the work on this, but it seems like most people don’t go from example to example well — unless primed and prompted.”
>>> It varies a lot, mostly with IQ.  I have seen studies where mentally retarded Ss and normals work the same tasks and then are switched to a generalization task.  Most of the normals used the skills they learned on the previous task, but the MRs did not until prompted.  But I really am not aware of most research on this subject.
>> The work I’ve seen shows average students not generalizing if not promoted or directed* in many cases — enough to undermine the argument that average people, say, being taught history will then go on and generalize to current policies or events.
>> Now if students with IQ positively correlated with generalization, then it’s likely it’s not that the student is learning to generalize so much as they already are good generalizers... In other words, it’s at least possible that had they not been schooled that they might be as good or as bad at generalization.
>>>   I will generalize:  I think that if people did not generalize fairly readily the species would not have lasted nearly this. Few things in the world present themselves as identical to what was experienced before.
>> Given the data, I think it’s wrong to think every last human is great at generalization. Here you are setting up a straw man and knocking him down.  I would never make such a statement about any human characteristic. 

Okay, but your above statement seemed to hint at that, don’t you think?

>> Instead, a better theory here might be there’s a bell curve but since humans do seem really good at imitation that all that’s necessary for a social species to survive is a few outliers perform successful generalizations that imitators can then follow. Or failing that that those worse at generalizing (who might still not be terrrible overall) can specialize in areas that don’t require heavy generalization.
>> And in fact most work doesn’t require much generalization. One can stick in a very narrow domain — hunting large game, fishing, growing wheat, fixing truck engines, coding apps on mobile phones — and not have to worry about other domains or about generalized knowledge overall. Your argument would work What argument is that?

Your above statement: “I will generalize:  I think that if people did not generalize fairly readily the species would not have lasted nearly this.” My contention is most people are not good at generalization; a few are and rest generally just imitate those few.

>> if humans were asocial or operated only in tiny groups yet still needed to generalize. (In fact, the smaller the human group, generally, the fewer skill sets overall can be maintained to any degree. A really tiny society tends to lose the skill sets because it can no longer retain the knowledge base, including tacit knowledge. I’m thinking here especially of preliterate societies.)
>> Regards,
>> Dan
>>    Sample my Kindle books at:
>> http://author.to/DanUst
>> * If they’re promoted or directed then it’s not really raw generalization happening, but following instructions. No - they are not told what to do, but prompted to remember doing some other task.

My bad. In the case of promoting, sure, but then the problem is they’re being guided to generalize, which kind of means generalization hasn’t been taught. If you told me you can play a Bach prelude, but then need prompting each section I’d say you don’t know how to play it. Sure you might show some promise, but I doubt anyone’s going to hire you to play that piece in a concert.

>> And most of the evidence with education seems to show students learning to get the grade or diploma, then promptly forgetting what they learned — that is, not generalizing.Forgetting something and generalizing something are different things.

That’s true, but since there’s good evidence that students are already bad at generalization and that forgetting what happens to most of what they’re taught, it remains to be shown that they can be taught generalization and, very importantly, that once taught it that they will retain it. So if the goal is to teach generalization, then presumably one doesn’t want to teach it and then having students promptly lose the skill once they’ve passed the class or gotten their diploma.

>> There are exceptions, but the exceptions are usually people who go into academia, which is a tiny minority of students. 


   Sample my Kindle books at:
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