Changing Education Paradigms
Old 11-28-2011, 08:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Old 11-28-2011, 08:26 PM   #2 (permalink)
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fantastic. not sure how we could possibly implement anything like that, but it sure is fascinating.
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Old 11-28-2011, 08:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I worry when people talk big picture in such a way that they tell a false narrative due to lack of expertise in some of the particulars. The topic is so complex I'm not sure exactly where to start, so maybe a pointless gripe:

Paradigm is such an overrated word. Damn you Kuhn...

Anyway, I'll speak about university and academia as that is what I have the most recent experience with. Universities have been going through an odd transition for longer than I've been alive. The intellectual values that gave them soil to sow in have been scrapped for a view that asks for tangible evidence of productivity, all the while watching a culture that is completely fixated on just the opposite. This lack of attention, this failure to properly consider what Robinson refers to as the aesthetic, is a big reason why, I believe, so-called Western culture has, of late, been unable to find its way, and instead finds itself distracted with meaningless filler (like basketball ).

It is a rare kind of mind that takes relish in testing for the sake of testing. This trend towards a focus on the the productivity of the individual, which is a long standing trend, is directly counter to the many lessons from history (I speak here especially referring to my areas of interest in philosophy and science): the best thinkers have been those who could afford, either due to affluence or moral courage, to avoid becoming a regular 9-5er at the local mill. And oh yes: how they've collaborated! How they've depended upon their historical context, and those that came before them. Yes, this modern idea of the productive man is a farce and is directly counter to the mode of thought that has given us the little progress we have made.
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Old 11-28-2011, 08:53 PM   #4 (permalink)
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i don't think he suggested anywhere that you cannot be productive or creative in isolation.
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Old 11-28-2011, 09:02 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by 'trane View Post
i don't think he suggested anywhere that you cannot be productive or creative in isolation.
I don't intend to suggest that he did.

My point is that this is roughly the view of modern education: each student is a discrete unit expected to be productive, on its own, in roughly the same way as other discrete units. A failure to demonstrate this ability in a test that emphasizes work and knowledge as an individual endeavour is considered a failure on the part of the individual. Knowledge and productivity as a whole doesn't work like that. The only extent to which the focus on an individual is relevant is to the extent that it makes that individual as efficient a contributor to the aggregate as possible. There is an under-emphasis on the social contingency of knowledge, and on the gains of off-loading types of cognitive tasks to those who are better at that type. There is an over-emphasis on being a particular type of productive member in society.

Maybe just ranting....
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Old 11-28-2011, 09:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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my apologies. i misunderstood your point entirely.
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Old 11-28-2011, 09:19 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I'm sure everyone is familiar with the notion that in the sciences, researchers submit papers to journals. This has been the case for a long, long time. Out of this grew interesting notions, like impact factor, that try to assign quantifiable values to things (like contribution to knowledge) which are extremely hard to quantify. When you're looking for employment, you're judged largely on the number of publications you have and the impact factor of the journals you've published in.

It doesn't even make sense for science, but it is so much worse for the humanities! Referring to philosophy specifically here, we are plagued by obscurantism and formalism that is clearly intended to allow some philosophers to write at length about nothing very much at all. The real substance is being drained away, leaving only the fool's gold of pub counts.....

These are the demands of this cultural and economic context. It seems like it is not long before patience for so-called "higher" academia is lost.
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