the brain, old and young, and education, college and otherwise
Two interesting recent articles on education that get even more interesting when read in relation to one another and in broader contexts ....
How to train the aging brain, NYTimes Education Life, 29 Dec 2009
"Teaching new facts should not be the focus of adult education ... Instead, continued brain development and a richer form of learning may require that you “bump up against people and ideas” that are different."
"Jack Mezirow, a professor emeritus at Columbia Teachers College, has proposed that adults learn best if presented with what he calls a “disorienting dilemma,” or something that “helps you critically reflect on the assumptions you’ve acquired.”"
Making college 'relevant', NYTimes Education Life, 29 Dec 2009
"What’s the return on investment, especially as the cost of that investment keeps rising?"
I'm bemused by the idea that "Teaching new facts should not be the focus of ADULT education." For others, its ok for "Teaching new facts ... [to] be the focus of education"? Maybe its time to recognize that we all learn best, at all times and ages, by bumping up against things that conflict with our existing understandings? (cf Loopiness: conflict, humanness, and the universe and The brain and education: three loops and conflict resolution). And that getting better at doing so is not only the best way to be prepared for an unpredictable future but also fun?
If we got that straight, starting in kindergarten and running through college (at least), maybe we wouldn't need special education for adults, and there would be less mystery about the relevance of college education?