[ExI] education again

William Flynn Wallace foozler83 at gmail.com
Fri Jun 3 15:33:43 UTC 2016

On Fri, Jun 3, 2016 at 9:14 AM, Dave Sill <sparge at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Fri, Jun 3, 2016 at 9:55 AM, William Flynn Wallace <foozler83 at gmail.com
> > wrote:
>> Bottom line: you cannot eliminate genetics.
> Of course you're right, but I think you're missing the real point of the
> blog post which is that directed apprenticeship may be more effective than
> conventional education. Passive classroom education is cheap
> (theoretically, at least) and easy, but active education--actually doing
> the thing rather than listening to someone telling you how to do the
> thing--can accomplish a lot more learning a lot faster.
> -Dave
> ​Dave, my only comment was on the genetics thing.  I think, after having
been in conventional education for nearly 40 years, is that just about
anything will beat it, whether you are talking about sports or history or
math or typing.  If I had it to do over again I would not teach
undergraduates.  Not in the style they expect, anyway.  (In my last year I
taught 101 rather conventionally because I had to, but used essay tests!
Aha!  What I learned!)

I could not find anything in Khan's book with which I disagreed, although
he is wrong about some aspects of testing.  The problem is with graduate
schools of education - reactionary, while at the same time applauding any
new theory that comes along.  When I first started teaching at a college, I
wondered why my colleagues had such a poor view of the education
department.  I found out.  Yet, to legislatures, they are the gurus.  I am
in favor of whatever works, and it will take hard data and a lot of it to
convince me.

Another problem:  it's kind of a Darwinian situation out there.  You have
to plug your ideas.  And your ideas have to be different.  That is why
psychology so often comes up with new theories that are just all talk and
no data, or are just revamped ideas of Freud or Pavlov or some other, not
given credit, of course.  Psych is the worst at putting out pure
unadulterated bullshit.  "Neurolinguistic programming'.  Remember that
one?  Pure BS.  So as a psychologist looking at other psychologists or
people of different stripes doing essentially psychology work, I have to be
extra special skeptical.  Because when I am, I am far more likely to be

To give us our due, discarded theories should not count against us.  In any
fairly new field, the vast majority of new theories will be wrong.  Look at

It is sad that real hard scientists see BS coming out of psychology when we
really have such a lot to offer that isn't BS.  ​

​Maybe now we are straight.  Re your post above:  I think this has been
known for centuries.  Apprenticeships, or mentoring, or call it what you
will, reducing the ratio of students to teachers will be superior to large
passive classes with one teacher.

bill w​

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