Brain, Education, and Inquiry - Fall, 2010: Session 1
Class is itself an experiment in a particular form of education: co-constructive inquiry
Learning by interacting, sharing observations and understandings to create, individually and collectively, new understandings and new questions that motivate new observations
Depends on co-constructive dialogue, being comfortable sharing existing understandings, both conscious and unconscious, in order to use them to construct new ones. Need diversity of understandings, need to be able to both speak and listen without fear of judgment. Need to see both self and others as always in process, always evolving.
Starting where we are
Introduce yourself, what makes you usefully different from others here?
Tapping into the unconscious
- Brain drain
- Another sample
What does/doesn't work in education in our experience?
"the overall 2007/8 graduation rate for Black males in the U.S. was only 47 percent. Half of the states have graduation rates for Black male students below the national average." ... Schott Foundation
"Those who decide who gets special treatment categorize students and place them in slots that allow little to no room for growth and development. Perhaps it would be best to start anew and resist the pull toward categories that do more harm than help. If we are to place students on equal footing with each other, regardless of interests or background, an educational overhaul might prove valuable." ... Teal
"it was first in middle school that I got a taste of what high school would be like, the "working towards a goal" style of learning, i.e. learning to get ready for high school, to take state standardized testing, etc. I didn't particularly like it ... Some of the teachers there, too, had grown frustrated or jaded when it came to teaching students who found school pointless and boring.." ... kgould
"Why do kids learn? To get good grades. Why get good grades? To get into a good college. Why a good college? Because then, as everyone knows, we will be more likely to lead a happy, successful, and fulfilling life" ... Rachel Grobstein
"The first disadvantage of an elite education ... is that it makes you incapable of talking to people who aren’t like you ... The second disadvantage ... is that an elite education inculcates a false sense of self-worth ... the final and most damning disadvantage of an elite education: that it is profoundly anti-intellectual ... If so few kids come to college understanding this, it is no wonder. They are products of a system that rarely asked them to think about something bigger than the next assignment. The system forgot to teach them, along the way to the prestige admissions and the lucrative jobs, that the most important achievements can’t be measured by a letter or a number or a name. It forgot that the true purpose of education is to make minds, not careers ... elite schools speak of training leaders, not thinkers—holders of power, not its critics. " ... William Deresiewicz
"Enriched environments are making kids smarter. With creativity, a reverse trend has just been identified and is being reported for the first time here: American creativity scores are falling." ... Newsweek, 10 July 2010
What should be done about it?
"The competition was designed to reward what President Obama considers exemplary educational ideas and practice, in hopes that other states will adopt similar practices. The president’s goals include expanding the number and quality of charter schools, updating the way school districts evaluate teachers’ effectiveness, improving student data-tracking systems to help educators know what students have learned and what must be retaught, and turning around thousands of the lowest-performing schools" ... "Eastern states dominate in winning school grants," NYTimes, 24 August 2010
What is/should be the objective of education?
Can thinking about the brain help?
conversation beginning next week
This week, post
- in course home page forum, an introduction to yourself, what you bring to the conversation, what you hope to get from it
- in forum on this page, your thoughts from today's conversation