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Thread: Can Technology Guarantee Education Free of Inequality?

  1. #1 Can Technology Guarantee Education Free of Inequality? 
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    As an educator (I hope) in a High School in the UK, it is my firm opinion that the increasing use of the Internet will do something so revolutionary that it could change the future of millions across the world.

    In my view, access to education is one of the best facets of modern 21st century technology. However, even better, the access to excellent education is even more important because it can reduce the gap between education accessed by the rich and the education acquired by the poor.

    The poor will always deprived of the means of accessing the well-rounded education and extracurricular opportunities given to the rich. However, at last, the curricular content has been opened up by the top American Universities opening up their lecture series and top-class tuition provided by the likes of the Khan Academy.

    As a former street boy myself from Glasgow, it delights me that future generations never have to pay a premium to receive a superb education on the Internet from Kindergarten to University.

    Can the Internet equalise education when politicians and free-thinkers have failed?


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  3. #2  
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    I could imagine an underground movement of note takers meticulously making notes during class and then posting them on the net. Already classes in my local university often do try to assign a note taker for those whose impairments might make it difficult for them to attend lecture.

    Even cooler would be if films start getting made of really excellent teachers' presentations for class. The Feynman lectures series available on the net now are still one of best introductions to quantum physics a person can get. The only major disadvantage to watching a lecture on film as opposed to being physically present in the lecture hall is you can't ask questions. However if you're shy, you probably wouldn't have asked any anyway.


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    The Feynman lectures series available on the net now are still one of best introductions to quantum physics a person can get.
    Non-interactive lecture methods doesn't work very well for most people.


    As for the OP I agree it has great potential to equalize education...but only under that strong caveat that it has to be implemented correctly. In several pretty extensive test in the US, it was shown that school performance actually declined significantly as neighborhood gained access to the internet, particularly in poor areas. Rather than be an equalizer, it was increasing the academic divide. The main reason was it was a detraction to kids in families who tended to have lower parenting skills nor familiarity with how to teach their child how to use the new tools. In districts where school made efforts to teach parent and kids about the risk and how to use the internet to enhance their grades--it did improve performance.
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  5. #4  
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    ultimately
    in education as in warfare it comes down to "boots on the ground"
    rephrased
    The best you can acheive needs a teacher---great thing about universal internet, is that it should raise the baseline to a universal standard, but without the guidance and knowledge of the interactive teacher, it may lead many to autodidactism, or frivolity.
    I am largely autodidactic, but began to treasure universities, because the courses broadened my knowledge, and because I learned how to use my professors well. If i didn't understand something from the readings, i had a well educated phd real handy to fill in the gaps.

    I am still prejudiced concerning class size. critical mass of students in a classroom is usually somewhere in the teens, and anything over the mid 20s begins to leave some poorly educated. I think the best would be fewer students in a class, maybe about 20-22.
    (wild guess du jour) Less than 1 in a hundred teachers can teach well in a classroom with 32 students.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sculptor View Post
    If i didn't understand something from the readings, i had a well educated phd real handy to fill in the gaps.
    Yeah. That tends to be the main thing that's missing. I am curious how you feel about seeing that role filled by a less educated teacher's assistant? Does it work so long as they're familiar with the material itself?

    What would happen if a community of freelance tutors emerged who were willing to make house calls, or at least virtual house calls? (Skype does allow a teacher living far away to interact with you.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by sculptor View Post
    If i didn't understand something from the readings, i had a well educated phd real handy to fill in the gaps.
    Yeah. That tends to be the main thing that's missing. I am curious how you feel about seeing that role filled by a less educated teacher's assistant? Does it work so long as they're familiar with the material itself?

    What would happen if a community of freelance tutors emerged who were willing to make house calls, or at least virtual house calls? (Skype does allow a teacher living far away to interact with you.)
    I ain't a stickler for credentialization, nor even credentialing. If there is any value, it resides within the quality of the individual. I've had professors who hadn't even bothered to read the assigned texts, and a few who threw seminars in hopes that one of the students would be able to understand the material-----one such was Gregory Bateson's 'ecology'---which led to my studies into zen and TAO. The professor found himself incapable of understanding Bateson, and less able to admit to that little gem. I had one professor who stood in front of the class and started reading aloud from the text, which I had already read. I listened, I paused, I opened the text, and read along for a minute or 2-----and then, I hollered right out loud---Are you just gonna read from the text? He paused, and paused, poised as though the ball were still in my court. So, I added "I have already read the text, and was hoping that you could expand on what it offered." One thing led to another, and I ended up following him to the basement of the psyc. bldg. and joining in on various experiments as he explained the tautology and methodology of this or that, which led me to engage with/in a few seminars on experimentation. He was a happy experimenter/lab-rat who had been forced out of his labs to teach a mid level course.
    The same was true of T.A.s, some were well knowledged and insightful, some hadn't read the texts, some thought to read out loud from the texts, and some were just going through the motions for the funding.
    Using credentials is just a lazy managerial practice which covers the manager's ass, without actually looking at the abilities, passions, and qualifications of the individual candidate for the specific job.

    Teaching ain't a default profession. Few who try it are really good at it (regardless of credentials).

    Kojax: Does that in any way answer your question? Or did I just engage in verbal vomit?
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    Quote Originally Posted by sculptor View Post
    ultimately
    in education as in warfare it comes down to "boots on the ground"
    rephrased
    The best you can acheive needs a teacher---great thing about universal internet, is that it should raise the baseline to a universal standard, but without the guidance and knowledge of the interactive teacher, it may lead many to autodidactism, or frivolity.
    I am largely autodidactic, but began to treasure universities, because the courses broadened my knowledge, and because I learned how to use my professors well. If i didn't understand something from the readings, i had a well educated phd real handy to fill in the gaps.

    I am still prejudiced concerning class size. critical mass of students in a classroom is usually somewhere in the teens, and anything over the mid 20s begins to leave some poorly educated. I think the best would be fewer students in a class, maybe about 20-22.
    (wild guess du jour) Less than 1 in a hundred teachers can teach well in a classroom with 32 students.
    Sculptor, I want to agree with you on the score of interaction. There is nothing to replace that. The internet is a semi good tool, but it can create less intelligence also. Many people take what they read on the internet for gospel. Even teachers differ in the way they dispense knowledge. I would even go farther and say that learning without personal experience could close the mind down to an extent that is harmful in the final analysis

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    Quote Originally Posted by sculptor View Post
    Teaching ain't a default profession. Few who try it are really good at it (regardless of credentials).

    Kojax: Does that in any way answer your question? Or did I just engage in verbal vomit?
    Sounds like the internet has another thing to offer us then: feedback ratings.

    The tutors with the best positive feedback would definitely be first choice.
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    I have two responses to this OP’s question. The first was my initial response. The second came to me after “sleeping on it” and seeing that I could take a step back and home in on the term “equalize”. I have decided to post both replies.

    First response:

    The OP speaks about the internet as if it is Flash Gordon, Saviour of the Universe i.e. has succumbed to the sales hype. The truth is there is nothing on the internet e.g. discussion forums, teaching resources/courses, that is not a debased version of what is, or was previously, available elsewhere.
    So, while currently people are still used to teach i.e. teachers/lecturers, the internet will, and already is, changing that. We are in the preliminary stages of doing away with teachers/lecturers altogether. Anyone who thinks that the loss of face-to-face communication in teaching is a progressive step toward improving education is a nincompoop.

    In addition, anyone who thinks future generations will never have to pay a premium to receive a (superb --- ????!!!!!) internet education is living in Doo-lally Land! The internet is a godsend to business. The idea that business is not going to charge a “premium” for its services i.e. make a killing, is pie-in-the-sky. What business is going to do first --- a time worn tactic --- is lure people onto the internet with “freebies” or cheap products and services. Once it has made people dependent on the internet, prices will spiral.

    Then there is the technology itself. I heard a scientist remark recently that it won’t be long before technology is changing so fast that people will no longer be able to keep up with it. Do you REALLY think this phenomenon will equalize education?!!!??!!!

    Further, if the tide has not already turned, the internet will soon be on its terminal decline. The internet is not sustainable. People are already working with technology that they do not understand --- it’s a miracle that the internet even works at all! If there ever was anyone who understood computer technology, then soon there will be none. For example, when computing was first taught in schools (in the UK) pupils were taught about how a computer works. Now the computing curriculum merely teaches pupils how to look up catalogues and sales literature so that they can buy computers/technology. People routinely use computers in their work, even teaching others how to use them, without knowing anything about computers themselves. I am reminded of a quote from the film Lord of the Rings: “The world has changed……much that once was is lost, for none now live who remember it.”

    None of the above will result in an equalization of education. This is because the internet does not and cannot live up to the hype surrounding it.


    Second response:

    Homing in on the OP’s use of the word “equalize”, the implicit assumption here is that “equalization” is a Good Thing. This is pure emotionalism.

    I do not know where this ethic of equalization came from --- possibly its roots lie in Christianity or perhaps Classical Greek culture. I don’t actually know. But the point is that it is only a belief. One which the West loathed when it was used by the Communists, which it did everything in its power to kill.

    In actual fact, the concept of equalisation in education doesn’t work. Children have different needs. Treating them the same will simply not fulfill those needs. In fact, when I was a teacher, it was a source of endless frustration and dissatisfaction that I was forced to treat all children the same.

    Therefore, looking at the internet as an “equalizer” is not the issue. One first has to question the ethic/belief of equalisation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pantodragon View Post
    I have two responses to this OP’s question. The first was my initial response. The second came to me after “sleeping on it” and seeing that I could take a step back and home in on the term “equalize”. I have decided to post both replies.

    First response:

    The OP speaks about the internet as if it is Flash Gordon, Saviour of the Universe i.e. has succumbed to the sales hype. The truth is there is nothing on the internet e.g. discussion forums, teaching resources/courses, that is not a debased version of what is, or was previously, available elsewhere.
    So, while currently people are still used to teach i.e. teachers/lecturers, the internet will, and already is, changing that. We are in the preliminary stages of doing away with teachers/lecturers altogether. Anyone who thinks that the loss of face-to-face communication in teaching is a progressive step toward improving education is a nincompoop.

    In addition, anyone who thinks future generations will never have to pay a premium to receive a (superb --- ????!!!!!) internet education is living in Doo-lally Land! The internet is a godsend to business. The idea that business is not going to charge a “premium” for its services i.e. make a killing, is pie-in-the-sky. What business is going to do first --- a time worn tactic --- is lure people onto the internet with “freebies” or cheap products and services. Once it has made people dependent on the internet, prices will spiral.

    Then there is the technology itself. I heard a scientist remark recently that it won’t be long before technology is changing so fast that people will no longer be able to keep up with it. Do you REALLY think this phenomenon will equalize education?!!!??!!!

    Further, if the tide has not already turned, the internet will soon be on its terminal decline. The internet is not sustainable. People are already working with technology that they do not understand --- it’s a miracle that the internet even works at all! If there ever was anyone who understood computer technology, then soon there will be none. For example, when computing was first taught in schools (in the UK) pupils were taught about how a computer works. Now the computing curriculum merely teaches pupils how to look up catalogues and sales literature so that they can buy computers/technology. People routinely use computers in their work, even teaching others how to use them, without knowing anything about computers themselves. I am reminded of a quote from the film Lord of the Rings: “The world has changed……much that once was is lost, for none now live who remember it.”

    None of the above will result in an equalization of education. This is because the internet does not and cannot live up to the hype surrounding it.


    Second response:

    Homing in on the OP’s use of the word “equalize”, the implicit assumption here is that “equalization” is a Good Thing. This is pure emotionalism.

    I do not know where this ethic of equalization came from --- possibly its roots lie in Christianity or perhaps Classical Greek culture. I don’t actually know. But the point is that it is only a belief. One which the West loathed when it was used by the Communists, which it did everything in its power to kill.

    In actual fact, the concept of equalisation in education doesn’t work. Children have different needs. Treating them the same will simply not fulfill those needs. In fact, when I was a teacher, it was a source of endless frustration and dissatisfaction that I was forced to treat all children the same.

    Therefore, looking at the internet as an “equalizer” is not the issue. One first has to question the ethic/belief of equalisation.
    It is somewhat hard not to agree with much of what you are saying here. I read a book called "The closing of the American mind". It relates to the universities teaching what is not physically experienced, and how in the future the net will dominate the teaching where experience is based only on what you read. As you say, nothing as lasted forever, for those who think the internet will last forever, should just keep on living we will see.
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by pantodragon View Post
    I have two responses to this OP’s question. The first was my initial response. The second came to me after “sleeping on it” and seeing that I could take a step back and home in on the term “equalize”. I have decided to post both replies.

    First response:

    The OP speaks about the internet as if it is Flash Gordon, Saviour of the Universe i.e. has succumbed to the sales hype. The truth is there is nothing on the internet e.g. discussion forums, teaching resources/courses, that is not a debased version of what is, or was previously, available elsewhere.
    So, while currently people are still used to teach i.e. teachers/lecturers, the internet will, and already is, changing that. We are in the preliminary stages of doing away with teachers/lecturers altogether. Anyone who thinks that the loss of face-to-face communication in teaching is a progressive step toward improving education is a nincompoop.
    Exceptionally intelligent children don't even need face to face communication to learn. At least there will be fewer geniuses born who fail to achieve their potential due to lack of wealth.

    Average children will still do better if their parents are wealthy enough to pay for good teachers/tutors, though.

    In addition, anyone who thinks future generations will never have to pay a premium to receive a (superb --- ????!!!!!) internet education is living in Doo-lally Land! The internet is a godsend to business. The idea that business is not going to charge a “premium” for its services i.e. make a killing, is pie-in-the-sky. What business is going to do first --- a time worn tactic --- is lure people onto the internet with “freebies” or cheap products and services. Once it has made people dependent on the internet, prices will spiral.
    Some limitations are fundamentally removed. For example, prior to the internet, an exceptional tutor would only have been able to assist children living in their own geographical area. With Skype, they can reach students who live anywhere in the world.


    Second response:

    Homing in on the OP’s use of the word “equalize”, the implicit assumption here is that “equalization” is a Good Thing. This is pure emotionalism.

    I do not know where this ethic of equalization came from --- possibly its roots lie in Christianity or perhaps Classical Greek culture. I don’t actually know. But the point is that it is only a belief. One which the West loathed when it was used by the Communists, which it did everything in its power to kill.

    In actual fact, the concept of equalisation in education doesn’t work. Children have different needs. Treating them the same will simply not fulfill those needs. In fact, when I was a teacher, it was a source of endless frustration and dissatisfaction that I was forced to treat all children the same.

    Therefore, looking at the internet as an “equalizer” is not the issue. One first has to question the ethic/belief of equalisation.
    I agree that nothing can equalize a child's natural abilities.

    I am however, happy to see the wealth barrier become less important.

    In order for society to be a meritocracy we just plain have to accept that some children are going to out perform others. Certainly we don't want a solvable barrier to stop a child from realizing their potential, but some kids do honestly have more potential than others. We don't want to mask that. Taking wealth out of the equation helps unmask it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by pantodragon View Post
    I have two responses to this OP’s question. The first was my initial response. The second came to me after “sleeping on it” and seeing that I could take a step back and home in on the term “equalize”. I have decided to post both replies.

    First response:

    The OP speaks about the internet as if it is Flash Gordon, Saviour of the Universe i.e. has succumbed to the sales hype. The truth is there is nothing on the internet e.g. discussion forums, teaching resources/courses, that is not a debased version of what is, or was previously, available elsewhere.
    So, while currently people are still used to teach i.e. teachers/lecturers, the internet will, and already is, changing that. We are in the preliminary stages of doing away with teachers/lecturers altogether. Anyone who thinks that the loss of face-to-face communication in teaching is a progressive step toward improving education is a nincompoop.
    Exceptionally intelligent children don't even need face to face communication to learn. At least there will be fewer geniuses born who fail to achieve their potential due to lack of wealth.

    Average children will still do better if their parents are wealthy enough to pay for good teachers/tutors, though.

    In addition, anyone who thinks future generations will never have to pay a premium to receive a (superb --- ????!!!!!) internet education is living in Doo-lally Land! The internet is a godsend to business. The idea that business is not going to charge a “premium” for its services i.e. make a killing, is pie-in-the-sky. What business is going to do first --- a time worn tactic --- is lure people onto the internet with “freebies” or cheap products and services. Once it has made people dependent on the internet, prices will spiral.
    Some limitations are fundamentally removed. For example, prior to the internet, an exceptional tutor would only have been able to assist children living in their own geographical area. With Skype, they can reach students who live anywhere in the world.


    Second response:

    Homing in on the OP’s use of the word “equalize”, the implicit assumption here is that “equalization” is a Good Thing. This is pure emotionalism.

    I do not know where this ethic of equalization came from --- possibly its roots lie in Christianity or perhaps Classical Greek culture. I don’t actually know. But the point is that it is only a belief. One which the West loathed when it was used by the Communists, which it did everything in its power to kill.

    In actual fact, the concept of equalisation in education doesn’t work. Children have different needs. Treating them the same will simply not fulfill those needs. In fact, when I was a teacher, it was a source of endless frustration and dissatisfaction that I was forced to treat all children the same.

    Therefore, looking at the internet as an “equalizer” is not the issue. One first has to question the ethic/belief of equalisation.
    I agree that nothing can equalize a child's natural abilities.

    I am however, happy to see the wealth barrier become less important.

    In order for society to be a meritocracy we just plain have to accept that some children are going to out perform others. Certainly we don't want a solvable barrier to stop a child from realizing their potential, but some kids do honestly have more potential than others. We don't want to mask that. Taking wealth out of the equation helps unmask it.
    There is a balance in potentials on every level. Uniqueness of people comes from the fact that no two people are completely alike, there cannot be if we follow the twist in the DNA.


    Exceptionally intelligent children don't even need face to face communication to learn. At least there will be fewer geniuses born who fail to achieve their potential due to lack of wealth.
    You have not specified what you are calling intelligence, although it might be irrelevant though. In addition, face-to-face communication is better than the opposite. I do not think there is anything better than human-to-human contact.
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    The truth is there is nothing on the internet e.g. discussion forums, teaching resources/courses, that is not a debased version of what is, or was previously, available elsewhere.


    Probably true ten years ago. Almost certainly not today, when in fact nearly every science and technical journal has online versions available before you'll receive the printed version.

    In actual fact, the concept of equalisation in education doesn’t work. Children have different needs. Treating them the same will simply not fulfill those needs. In fact, when I was a teacher, it was a source of endless frustration and dissatisfaction that I was forced to treat all children the same.

    I am sorry to hear that. Equal, from the OP perspective, does not mean the same--it's closer to the ideas of fair and equal opportunities for an education. I'm wonder when you were in teaching. My teacher education is made a very sharp distinction to shape education toward children as individuals, each with their own desires, needs and capabilities.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pantodragon View Post
    In fact, when I was a teacher
    Astounding...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Therapy View Post


    Exceptionally intelligent children don't even need face to face communication to learn. At least there will be fewer geniuses born who fail to achieve their potential due to lack of wealth.
    You have not specified what you are calling intelligence, although it might be irrelevant though. In addition, face-to-face communication is better than the opposite. I do not think there is anything better than human-to-human contact.
    We're talking about school, so I intended to limit it to scholastic intelligence. IE. IQ tests or aptitude tests. The kind that are considered strong predictors of academic success.

    I realize there are many kinds of intelligence and aptitude. However IQ is special in this case because a child with very high IQ may have no need for a teacher at all. They just read the book and they get it.

    I personally think most of the reaching resources available in primary education should be focused on the dumb kids, because they're the only ones who will see a benefit from the added effort. For the smart kids, the effort should be on making sure they have access to counseling and etc. to weed out problems at home or with other kids that may discourage them from doing their best.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    I personally think most of the reaching resources available in primary education should be focused on the dumb kids, because they're the only ones who will see a benefit from the added effort. For the smart kids, the effort should be on making sure they have access to counseling and etc. to weed out problems at home or with other kids that may discourage them from doing their best.
    Mixed feelings. While it is true roughly 90% of gifted kids will succeed regardless of education, their upside potential and the amount they stand to gain is MUCH higher than lower IQ kids. We can be satisfied by "success" as it's measured by the achievements of average people--and that ok, but we're denying that child and collectively our society that same kid the potential for greatness. Both sorts of kids need support, one so they aren't a burden to society...and other to change it to something better.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Therapy View Post
    [

    It is somewhat hard not to agree with much of what you are saying here. I read a book called "The closing of the American mind". It relates to the universities teaching what is not physically experienced, and how in the future the net will dominate the teaching where experience is based only on what you read. As you say, nothing as lasted forever, for those who think the internet will last forever, should just keep on living we will see.
    You could have knocked me over with a feather! Somebody on this forum actually agrees with me!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by pantodragon View Post
    In fact, when I was a teacher
    Astounding...
    I'm flattered........oh, wait a minute, a fly brain, maybe I'm not flattered after all. Where's my fly swatter.......
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    I personally think most of the reaching resources available in primary education should be focused on the dumb kids, because they're the only ones who will see a benefit from the added effort. For the smart kids, the effort should be on making sure they have access to counseling and etc. to weed out problems at home or with other kids that may discourage them from doing their best.
    Mixed feelings. While it is true roughly 90% of gifted kids will succeed regardless of education, their upside potential and the amount they stand to gain is MUCH higher than lower IQ kids. We can be satisfied by "success" as it's measured by the achievements of average people--and that ok, but we're denying that child and collectively our society that same kid the potential for greatness. Both sorts of kids need support, one so they aren't a burden to society...and other to change it to something better.


    I think the biggest problem you see with smart kids in public school is they just plain get tired of fighting. Either the other kids wear them out, or the rigidness of the classroom structure. Having to do hours upon hours of repetitive homework or be given an "F" in the class, even when they're posting perfect scores on all the tests that measure how much they've learned. Or having the teacher single them out for approval - and thereby alienating all the other kids so they have trouble making friends.

    So you see a lot of very smart kids turning to drugs, or engulfing themselves in an online RPG, or otherwise shutting down and giving up. That's where we're losing the most potential.

    Besides that, a lot of smart kids are autistic. Either severely, or more often just Asperger's Syndrome.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Exceptionally intelligent children don't even need face to face communication to learn. At least there will be fewer geniuses born who fail to achieve their potential due to lack of wealth.

    Average children will still do better if their parents are wealthy enough to pay for good teachers/tutors, though.

    .
    When I was a teacher, I found that it was often the most academic pupils who were the worst communicators. Even though they got good marks in English exams, their ability to communicate with other people, especially face-to-face, was often very poor. Conversely, many pupils with so-called learning difficulties were often better face-to-face communicators, possibly because they got so much individual attention from tutors who encouraged them to talk.

    Surely one can only learn face-to-face communication skills by communicating with people face-to-face --- computers, after all, don’t do body language, tone of voice etc, etc. All these subtleties can only be picked up from other people, not from machines. Also, the effect of this is that a failure to learn to communicate with other people will lead to problems later in life e.g. depression and anger etc.

    In addition, there are also many pupils I have encountered who are prevented from doing well in their academic subjects, not due to lack of ability, but because of other impediments. In my experience, it takes another human to identify these impediments.

    For example, when a pupil of mine began experiencing difficulty with my subject, it was only after several face-to-face sessions with her in class that the real problem became apparent --- her organisational skills. The pupil had not raised this issue before (she thought that being organised was a skill she should have been born with, i.e. not something she could be taught). I believe that had we not had face-to-face discussions about her work, her difficulty could easily have been incorrectly attributed to an inability to cope with the course. The outcome was that once the pupil had been taught organizational skills, her confidence, and her standard of work, flourished such that she obtained top marks in her exams, beating all her classmates. In this situation, I think that a crucial factor to a successful outcome was face-to-face communication. Could a computer really deal with this type of situation?

    In my opinion, therefore, computer education is less than ideal for any pupil.
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    Sorry --- double posted.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pantodragon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Exceptionally intelligent children don't even need face to face communication to learn. At least there will be fewer geniuses born who fail to achieve their potential due to lack of wealth.

    Average children will still do better if their parents are wealthy enough to pay for good teachers/tutors, though.

    .
    When I was a teacher, I found that it was often the most academic pupils who were the worst communicators. Even though they got good marks in English exams, their ability to communicate with other people, especially face-to-face, was often very poor. Conversely, many pupils with so-called learning difficulties were often better face-to-face communicators, possibly because they got so much individual attention from tutors who encouraged them to talk.
    You're never really going to solve that problem. Smart kids have a hard time "breaking it down" when they go to explain stuff. The reason being that they don't realize they are skipping logical steps in their explanation. From their perspective, they're not skipping anything. The step is just plain unnecessary or should have been integrated into the step before it.

    If you constantly demand for them to slow down and work on other student's level, they're likely to interpret that as hostility - which will in turn make them less social because they'll start wanting to isolate themselves from you so they can think at their own speed and use their own processes.

    It's good to make sure they know how to do it every once in a while, in case they have to in their later life, but don't try to get them accustomed to it. It's impossible to get accustomed to it. It would be like if your teacher required you to write your name on the board 100 times every night after class. Not because you acted up, but just because they think the reason you don't like the task is that you haven't learned how to do it very well yet.

    How much boredom do you think a person can handle? Is there a "handling boredom" skill? Wouldn't that be similar to an "enduring water boarding torture" skill? Shall we practice by waterboarding the student all day?






    Surely one can only learn face-to-face communication skills by communicating with people face-to-face --- computers, after all, don’t do body language, tone of voice etc, etc. All these subtleties can only be picked up from other people, not from machines. Also, the effect of this is that a failure to learn to communicate with other people will lead to problems later in life e.g. depression and anger etc.
    A teacher on the other end of a Skype session can see those things.
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    I personally think most of the reaching resources available in primary education should be focused on the dumb kids, because they're the only ones who will see a benefit from the added effort. For the smart kids, the effort should be on making sure they have access to counseling and etc. to weed out problems at home or with other kids that may discourage them from doing their best.
    Wrong. If you focus on individual students - their capacities and their efforts - and reward the results appropriately, you'll do the best by everyone. There are structural and funding issues to deal with in the established public education systems around the world, but there are some basics.

    Apply one simple standard. An example. No child leaves junior primary level without being able to read and write at a standardised age 8 level. This means that something has to be done about a child's literacy and learning skills at the earliest age that a problem appears. When this kind of approach is implemented, suddenly you eliminate the problem of students struggling unsuccessfully through to year 6 or further before someone magically discovers that they're a bit deaf or astigmatic or dyslexic or whatever. The child who seems unintelligent or apathetic or disruptive at age 5 or 6 or 7 gets all the testing needed to determine whether they have physical or intellectual impediments to learning. Then you need to restructure your system so that any problems are dealt with immediately.

    In one stroke you've eliminated all the problems associated with perfectly able students failing to benefit from their first 4, 6, or 8 years of schooling because nobody noticed they needed glasses or speech therapy. For students who have learning difficulties, the earlier they're identified and acknowledged in schooling, the more benefit they get from all teaching and learning thereafter.

    The biggest benefit from all this? High school teachers can concentrate on delivering advancements in students' learning, rather than eternally identifying problems and devising individual remedial programs for those who've missed out on basics for the lack of really simple interventions. They'll only have to deal with emerging problems attributable to the increased complexity of the subject matter taught rather than the lack of adequate grounding - in reading or arithmetic and the like.

    There are other super simple objectives or criteria you can come up with that have similar domino effects of the whole system. The big thing is to work out what you can and can't do with the resources you're willing to devote to education.

    What would happen if a community of freelance tutors emerged who were willing to make house calls, or at least virtual house calls?
    Speaking as a tutor, I hate with a burning passion the idea of tuition in a student's home environment. At least for students with learning problems.

    Tuition goes much better when you've eliminated all the baggage. The school baggage, the home environment baggage, the family baggage. Tutoring the student is a focused and sometimes difficult endeavour. When you also have to get a household to change their habits of blaring TVs everywhere, squabbling siblings, emotional or nagging or interfering parents, you're trying to work with both hands tied behind your back. (Parents are quite capable of treating you like a scullery maid or other servant even when you're in your own business premises or your home. When you're in their home, it's even worse.)

    I don't know, but I suspect it could be even worse if you were cramming students for high grades.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    I personally think most of the reaching resources available in primary education should be focused on the dumb kids, because they're the only ones who will see a benefit from the added effort. For the smart kids, the effort should be on making sure they have access to counseling and etc. to weed out problems at home or with other kids that may discourage them from doing their best.
    Wrong. If you focus on individual students - their capacities and their efforts - and reward the results appropriately, you'll do the best by everyone. There are structural and funding issues to deal with in the established public education systems around the world, but there are some basics.

    Apply one simple standard. An example. No child leaves junior primary level without being able to read and write at a standardised age 8 level. This means that something has to be done about a child's literacy and learning skills at the earliest age that a problem appears. When this kind of approach is implemented, suddenly you eliminate the problem of students struggling unsuccessfully through to year 6 or further before someone magically discovers that they're a bit deaf or astigmatic or dyslexic or whatever. The child who seems unintelligent or apathetic or disruptive at age 5 or 6 or 7 gets all the testing needed to determine whether they have physical or intellectual impediments to learning. Then you need to restructure your system so that any problems are dealt with immediately.

    In one stroke you've eliminated all the problems associated with perfectly able students failing to benefit from their first 4, 6, or 8 years of schooling because nobody noticed they needed glasses or speech therapy. For students who have learning difficulties, the earlier they're identified and acknowledged in schooling, the more benefit they get from all teaching and learning thereafter.

    The biggest benefit from all this? High school teachers can concentrate on delivering advancements in students' learning, rather than eternally identifying problems and devising individual remedial programs for those who've missed out on basics for the lack of really simple interventions. They'll only have to deal with emerging problems attributable to the increased complexity of the subject matter taught rather than the lack of adequate grounding - in reading or arithmetic and the like.

    There are other super simple objectives or criteria you can come up with that have similar domino effects of the whole system. The big thing is to work out what you can and can't do with the resources you're willing to devote to education.
    How is that different from what I said? I know it is, but it seems kind of subtle.

    Most smart kids can coast right through the academic stuff without much help. I suppose advanced placement will help so they can get to college sooner and have better careers. I've also noticed that when a kid gets moved a grade up the other students in their new class level treat them better. It's like they're less threatened or something. I know that seems a paradox, but it balances somehow with the kid being genuinely younger and the new classmates getting to play the role of older brother/sister to a younger kid.

    The unfortunate problem with diagnostic tests is that parents are sometimes going to seriously resist having any kind of label placed on their child. Even if the child genuinely needs help. Other parents would probably be happy to accept diagnosis of a disorder if it gives the child an excuse for bad performance - so the problem cuts both ways.
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    The unfortunate problem with diagnostic tests is that parents are sometimes going to seriously resist having any kind of label placed on their child.
    Well, some do. Most actually chase something they can call a diagnosis. You generally find that it takes from 2 to 4 years from a parent first mentioning such problems to a professional to someone saying out loud, Your child suffers from [some specific problem the parent suggested 18+ months ago as a possibility].

    Especially a learning difficulty, because that's the only way anyone will pay any attention to the difficulties the child may be having. In many cases, there may be a small additional family payment from a social services agency or charity/ NGO to help the family if the child meets some formal medical criteria. There are some families who are really looking for the money rather than the best way to help the child but there are only so many hoops you can ask everyone to jump through just to find these few - because the child really does need help. It's not the child's fault the parents are inadequate for the task or more focused on their own financial problems.

    There is a small subset of parents who resist things like professional hearing or vision tests. "There's nothing wrong with my boy" being a common mantra among some men who see anything different, even something quite routine, about their child as being a devastating reflection on themselves. Apparently anything less than magnificent perfection is not good enough for these people. Needing to wear corrective lenses for a couple of years is obviously shameful or inadequate or something. I've never quite been able to see this clearly through the red curtain of rage that descends on me, because I've already done a screening test showing me that the poor kid can't see straight or is quite deaf on one side. I keep smiling and coaxing and encouraging but it just seems a step too far for some. (One would be too many.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Some limitations are fundamentally removed. For example, prior to the internet, an exceptional tutor would only have been able to assist children living in their own geographical area. With Skype, they can reach students who live anywhere in the world.


    .


    I have completed many distance learning courses in my time. They have been delivered by video-conferencing, by books alone, by telephone tutorial (ghastly!) and by book accompanied by regular face-to-face contact with a tutor. (This latter method is favoured by the Open University, for example.) Speaking personally, the only delivery method that I found satisfactory was one that included face-to-face contact.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Probably true ten years ago. Almost certainly not today, when in fact nearly every science and technical journal has online versions available before you'll receive the printed version.

    .
    Speaking personally, I prefer to read a paper version of a journal. I think paper is far more versatile and less stressful to deal with.

    For example, I heard recently about a creative writing lecturer who persuaded his students to give up their computers and revert to paper and pencil for making notes when they were out and about. There was much resistance from the students at first, but once they got used to paper and pencil, they found the low-tech note-taking method far more satisfactory, not to say pleasant (partly because they found that they liked working with paper).

    Also, I wonder how long it will be before paper versions of journals are no longer available. To me this seems to be a retrograde step. It puts the onus on the “consumer” to provide the (expensive, unreliable, temperamental) technology when all they want is to just read a journal.

    I am sorry to hear that. Equal, from the OP perspective, does not mean the same--it's closer to the ideas of fair and equal opportunities for an education. I'm wonder when you were in teaching. My teacher education is made a very sharp distinction to shape education toward children as individuals, each with their own desires, needs and capabilities.
    Yes, as a teacher I too was expected to treat pupils as individuals, but it was always “in principle” and only within strict guidelines. Stray from those guidelines and, no matter how much one thinks the pupil will benefit, all one gets for one’s troubles is a severe reprimand from the headteacher!

    For example, recognising the benefits of using video games with pupils, I decided to use them in my classes. When my headteacher found out, I was reprimanded and threatened with disciplinary action. A few months later this same headteacher circulated to all staff an article out of an educational journal. The article extolled the wonders of the latest teaching tool: video games! As you might expect, I found this extremely frustrating. This generally has been my experience of education --- being prevented from “thinking outside the box”.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post

    You're never really going to solve that problem. Smart kids have a hard time "breaking it down" when they go to explain stuff. The reason being that they don't realize they are skipping logical steps in their explanation. From their perspective, they're not skipping anything. The step is just plain unnecessary or should have been integrated into the step before it.

    If you constantly demand for them to slow down and work on other student's level, they're likely to interpret that as hostility - which will in turn make them less social because they'll start wanting to isolate themselves from you so they can think at their own speed and use their own processes.

    It's good to make sure they know how to do it every once in a while, in case they have to in their later life, but don't try to get them accustomed to it. It's impossible to get accustomed to it. It would be like if your teacher required you to write your name on the board 100 times every night after class. Not because you acted up, but just because they think the reason you don't like the task is that you haven't learned how to do it very well yet.

    How much boredom do you think a person can handle? Is there a "handling boredom" skill? Wouldn't that be similar to an "enduring water boarding torture" skill? Shall we practice by waterboarding the student all day?

    .
    I think you have misunderstood what I meant when I talked about an academic pupil's inability to communicate. I meant general social skills, rather than an ability to discuss their subject with their teacher. I find that the more academic pupils have general low social skills, they can't chit-chat, make conversation etc as well as the less academic pupils. This, I suspect, is because they prefer to do what they are good at i.e. read books, work out problems, general academic activities, than to socialise.

    My own brother, a civil engineer, has risen high in his profession and now manages an international company. His wife describes him as being "not a people person". In other words, his social skills are very poor. This has quite severe repercussions when dealing with employees --- which obviously is going to very much disadvantgae a manager. He describes himself as having reached a glass ceiling and ascribes it to his disinclination to socialise, without seeming to appreciate that his disinclination derives from having such poor social skills. Anyone who has good social skills, like anyone who is good at anything, enjoys using them.

    As to boredom, then your question arises out of this misunderstanding. However, I do, in fact, think that learning how to cope with a certain amount of boredom is, in fact, a life skill which will prove invaluable in later life.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pantodragon View Post

    I think you have misunderstood what I meant when I talked about an academic pupil's inability to communicate. I meant general social skills, rather than an ability to discuss their subject with their teacher. I find that the more academic pupils have general low social skills, they can't chit-chat, make conversation etc as well as the less academic pupils. This, I suspect, is because they prefer to do what they are good at i.e. read books, work out problems, general academic activities, than to socialise.
    More likely it's because they find that chit chat is boring. Like getting thrown in a prison cell and forced to watch Kids TV shows all day.





    My own brother, a civil engineer, has risen high in his profession and now manages an international company. His wife describes him as being "not a people person". In other words, his social skills are very poor. This has quite severe repercussions when dealing with employees --- which obviously is going to very much disadvantgae a manager. He describes himself as having reached a glass ceiling and ascribes it to his disinclination to socialise, without seeming to appreciate that his disinclination derives from having such poor social skills. Anyone who has good social skills, like anyone who is good at anything, enjoys using them.

    As to boredom, then your question arises out of this misunderstanding. However, I do, in fact, think that learning how to cope with a certain amount of boredom is, in fact, a life skill which will prove invaluable in later life.

    So is the ability to endure physical pain/exhaustion/injury. If you're ever a prisoner of war getting tortured for information you'll be glad to have taken some coursework in methods to resist torture. Also if you ever want to be a great athlete you'll need to get used to some pain then also.

    However, I think what you're failing to take into account is that some tasks cause some people to suffer more boredom than others. A dumb kid will get bored if you make them write their name on the chalk board 100 times. Why? Because even at their level of ability that is an insultingly easy task drawn out over too long a period of time.

    Smarter kids of have different thresholds of "insultingly easy".
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post

    More likely it's because they find that chit chat is boring.
    It seems to me that people in general consider chit-chat i.e. social skills, as trivial. The ability to communicate (social skills) is, in fact, a far higher-order ability, an immensely more sophisticated ability, than reading academic textbooks. What developing social skills does have in common with reading textbooks is that it requires practice. But because it is considered trivial, the need to practice is largely ignored. If they are not to be severly disadvantged in later life, then academic pupils need to practice and develop their social skills. If a child finds chit-chat boring, then the most likely cause is that they are not good at it. Ergo, they need to practice.

    Montaigne in his essay on education advises that every child at a young age should be sent to live abroad, to experience a foreign culture and foreign people speaking a foreign language for a certain period of time. He advises this so that a child will develop the ability to understand and appreciate other people's points of view and to learn to understand how other people think. This is an extremely demanding process, far more so than academic study. I think this is very sound advice, if not practical for most people.

    Even if you do not believe that social skills are more demanding than academic study, there is no denying that the more skills and abilities you have in life, then the richer your life is. So, it should not be an either/or, but both.
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    The vast majority of gifted children have no trouble with communication--in fact they hit the milestones at a younger age and communicate better than average. Only at the top end of the gifted scale-with the rarity that a general education teacher would only see once every few years can social skills become a problem--largely because the child is hitting the rest of his milestones WAY faster than his peers--for example the child that understands abstract concepts in 1st grade rather than late middle school for example--he effectively has few peers to talk to at his level.

    --
    Montaigne in his essay on education advises that every child at a young age should be sent to live abroad, to experience a foreign culture and foreign people speaking a foreign language for a certain period of time. He advises this so that a child will develop the ability to understand and appreciate other people's points of view and to learn to understand how other people think. This is an extremely demanding process, far more so than academic study. I think this is very sound advice, if not practical for most people.

    Great advise at any age.

    I don't think there's any excuse for a bored kid--ever. It's not something they have to learn. In many cases, when they are bored they should be allowed the flexibility to pursue their interest or the teacher isn't doing their job right--that goes for most kids gifted or not.
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    I'm not so sure about that boredom argument. Everyone has to learn to cope with tedious or apparently pointless tasks - sooner or later.

    It's a problem if you can see the either a) the teaching or the curriculum itself is inherently unsuitable and bores far too many kids witless or b) an individual student or a group of them is so entrenched in the idea of never ending trivial entertainment that they can't concentrate well enough for long enough to avoid the "I'm bored" response. I don't remember ever being bored when I was a kid, but I was a bookworm so I always found something to read. I also don't remember hearing anyone else complain of being bored - maybe they just didn't say such things to me, or they were the same sort of kids. Always doing after school clubs or sports or choirs during the week, lots of sport and church and stuff on the weekends.
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    I think our expectation of having to deal with boredom is from a bygone age, to prepare people for repetitive task now replaced by machines.
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    I'm not so sure. Domestic tasks, for instance, can be pretty tedious. And most non-professional and/or unskilled jobs are pretty routine - retail, wholesale, childcare, aged care and clerical jobs spring to mind here.

    I remember friends being amazed about their kids' response when they got a dishwasher. They thought the kids would be glad of being relieved of the drudgery and the time spent on dishwashing. No chance. They then objected to having to load and unload the machine that did most of the work for them. Same thing for laundry now being a simple, non-physically demanding task. In the end, making beds, sweeping, vacuuming, mopping floors, cleaning bathrooms, folding laundry, weeding gardens are all profoundly unfascinating tasks for people not committed to them. OK for neat freaks. Not so much for others.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    I'm not so sure. Domestic tasks, for instance, can be pretty tedious. And most non-professional and/or unskilled jobs are pretty routine - retail, wholesale, childcare, aged care and clerical jobs spring to mind here.

    I remember friends being amazed about their kids' response when they got a dishwasher. They thought the kids would be glad of being relieved of the drudgery and the time spent on dishwashing. No chance. They then objected to having to load and unload the machine that did most of the work for them. Same thing for laundry now being a simple, non-physically demanding task. In the end, making beds, sweeping, vacuuming, mopping floors, cleaning bathrooms, folding laundry, weeding gardens are all profoundly unfascinating tasks for people not committed to them. OK for neat freaks. Not so much for others.
    When my mom finally got a dishwasher, I refused to use it. I did a couple of times and the dishes were never clean and I always got yelled at to do it again. So what I did was wash them by hand and set the wet dishes in the dishwasher to dry. As an adult having had a few apartments with dishwashers I tend to do the same thing. I just don't trust the damned machines. And when I lived in Pakistan, i had to do all the laundry by hand. My clothes came out so much cleaner then than they do now from a machine. But city ordinances don't allow for line drying clothes. So its not really practical to attempt to hand wash anything here in the US. Maybe when NF and I can move to the mountains we can have the luxury of being able to do things right rather than "conveniently".
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    And when I lived in Pakistan, i had to do all the laundry by hand. My clothes came out so much cleaner then than they do now from a machine.
    Hah! I remember staying with a friend in the country who didn't have a washing machine. So I just washed a few things by hand on the 'may not be clean but at least they'll be sweet' basis. And the white items came out brilliant. The advantages of rainwater as against town water.

    Line drying is the usual thing here. The only reason people don't is because of pollen at some seasons - even then most of us don't use dryers most of the time. Things dry quite well on a clothes airer.

    As for dishwashers, the new ones are better than the old ones. My restaurant worker daughter pointed out some stuff to me the other day. In restaurants you absolutely must rinse every speck of waste from everything. Because those fast acting dishwashers with very hot water are really a form of steam oven rather than a "washing" machine - anything still on a plate or glass will be baked on. It might be sterile but it won't be clean. Domestic dishwashers need items to be reasonably dirty, otherwise the detergent foams up too much, which then changes the pressure effects inside the machine and poor results follow. I've now got a single drawer dishwasher - there's only two of us and there's no point in a lower drawer (or a conventional dishwasher) that I can't use because of the repetitive bending involved. And I love it. I'm pretty sure that a lot of older machines didn't get the balance right between the two forms of operation.

    We've used dishwashers for over 30 years and we've had very few problems. But I really don't remember much about our first one.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    Domestic dishwashers need items to be reasonably dirty, otherwise the detergent foams up too much, which then changes the pressure effects inside the machine and poor results follow.
    Surprising. I've never heard of this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    I'm not so sure about that boredom argument. Everyone has to learn to cope with tedious or apparently pointless tasks - sooner or later.
    It's kind of like distance running (which I did in high school). It's good to extend your stamina so you can handle a longer run and not get tired out too fast But to train to run constantly your whole life instead of the occasional race - that's just silly.

    What school requires for a gifted kid is constant non-stop boredom every day they're alive. That's not preparing them for anything. If their adult life is going to be like that then when they get out of school, then they should just kill themselves now.

    But it won't be. What will happen when they get out of school if they are successful is they'll start associating with people who are closer to their own IQ. With those people, their communication skills will be just fine, maybe even excellent. The conversations will rarely be boring because they'll be swapping ideas with people who can give them enough information to keep their minds busy. People who can understand their own complicated ideas and give them useful feedback which the other kids in grade/high school could not.

    In High School, you have to associate with everybody. The composition of your class is likely to be a statistical average of all IQ's. In real life after school is over - you can pick your associates. The IQ groups clump together into social groups of the same approximate IQ.

    The stuff in High School is not educating you. It's un-educating you. Being forced to work on projects with students who aren't in your league just wastes everybody's time because in a real business scenario the management are the only idiots you are likely to deal with on a daily basis. If you're assigned to a team and one of the members isn't pulling their weight, that guy/gal doesn't last long. It doesn't matter if he/she is "working hard". There is no "A" for effort in the real world.
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    What school requires for a gifted kid is constant non-stop boredom every day they're alive.
    Only in a bad school or a bad year in a reasonable school. I know things are done differently now, but we were sorted into "streams" when I went to high school. They used IQ as the measure but they could have used anything really. So my class was the one automatically given more challenging work.

    This wasn't the case in primary school, but they had other ways of challenging us - I distinctly remember being sent as a yr 7 girl student to "teach" a class of 50+ year 4 boys because their regular teacher was sick. (Back in the bad old baby boom plus postwar immigration boom days there simply were not enough teachers to go around. My year 7 teacher was a farmer who'd been coaxed/ persuaded/ encouraged to be a teacher. He was pretty good actually.)

    Being forced to work on projects with students who aren't in your league just wastes everybody's time because in a real business scenario the management are the only idiots you are likely to deal with on a daily basis. If you're assigned to a team and one of the members isn't pulling their weight,
    There's a world of difference between people being unequal intellectually and people not pulling their weight. Personally, I'd be inclined to pull my head in and not pull my weight if I had to put up with an insufferable know-it-all constantly denigrating the efforts I did make. This didn't happen to me at school but I've watched in horror when such students have pulled that stunt in front of me. There's nothing quite as ugly as clever or other smart aleck students boosting themselves by bullying others who are not quite as quick on the uptake as they claim to be. (Often they're like one scientist who's described by far too many people as "possibly the smartest guy in some rooms, but nowhere near as smart as he thinks he is.")
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    What school requires for a gifted kid is constant non-stop boredom every day they're alive.
    Only in a bad school or a bad year in a reasonable school. I know things are done differently now, but we were sorted into "streams" when I went to high school. They used IQ as the measure but they could have used anything really. So my class was the one automatically given more challenging work.

    This wasn't the case in primary school, but they had other ways of challenging us - I distinctly remember being sent as a yr 7 girl student to "teach" a class of 50+ year 4 boys because their regular teacher was sick. (Back in the bad old baby boom plus postwar immigration boom days there simply were not enough teachers to go around. My year 7 teacher was a farmer who'd been coaxed/ persuaded/ encouraged to be a teacher. He was pretty good actually.)
    What I've seen happen in the schools nearby where I live is programs that get set up for smarter kids inevitably get infiltrated by average kids who are willing to work extra hard.

    There's a problem with that, because the hard working average kids want more homework on the same topic. They're willing to do it all just to learn. Parents of hardworking kids tend to be more insistent than parents of just plain smart kids, so their vision of the curriculum wins out.

    The last thing a smart kid wants is more homework.


    Being forced to work on projects with students who aren't in your league just wastes everybody's time because in a real business scenario the management are the only idiots you are likely to deal with on a daily basis. If you're assigned to a team and one of the members isn't pulling their weight,
    There's a world of difference between people being unequal intellectually and people not pulling their weight. Personally, I'd be inclined to pull my head in and not pull my weight if I had to put up with an insufferable know-it-all constantly denigrating the efforts I did make. This didn't happen to me at school but I've watched in horror when such students have pulled that stunt in front of me. There's nothing quite as ugly as clever or other smart aleck students boosting themselves by bullying others who are not quite as quick on the uptake as they claim to be. (Often they're like one scientist who's described by far too many people as "possibly the smartest guy in some rooms, but nowhere near as smart as he thinks he is.")
    Those kids usually aren't geniuses. They're wannabe's. Hence the insecurity and the bullying. It's the kind of kid who will stay up all night studying, pulling their hair out, just to stay ahead. They criticize the others because they want the others to stop trying.
    You wouldn't go around reminding everybody of your accomplishments if you didn't have to work for them.

    he wannabe geniuses are a lot like wannabe supermodels who will go around making fun of less attractive women. But if a woman really has the supermodel thing going on, she typically doesn't feel the need to point it out.

    An actual genius kid will more likely be dismissive rather than a bully. That's just because they get tired of dealing with the other kids. It's kind of like how a supermodel tends to be dismissive of unattractive men who hit on them.
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    The last thing a smart kid wants is more homework.
    Why not? It may not be what they want, but it's what they need . Speaking as a former "smart kid", I had the worst study habits in the world. I literally did not "study" at all. I only needed to read something to understand it. I also had a photographic, sometimes eidetic, memory which only started to disappear in my mid teens - I could remember everything.

    We didn't do "projects" back then. It was learn, do the work, test at weekly or other regular intervals. Exams at end of term or year. For me, that meant listen in class, treat the homework as a repetitive exercise, extract from memory for exams. The first time I ever settled down to actually crack textbooks was the last fortnight of year 12. University was a bit of a shock to the system. It was the very first time in my life I had to deal with more material than I could absorb - and retain - just by listening or reading a book.

    Learning how to learn and how to challenge or extend yourself is something that should start during school years.

    You wouldn't go around reminding everybody of your accomplishments if you didn't have to work for them.
    You might not. I've watched kids who are just barely coping with the work I set them sneer at kids who are struggling with something these others couldn't do mere weeks before. I've seen brothers and sisters with very normal ability, some who are a bit clever, be extremely nasty or dismissive to a sibling and to perfect strangers who just happen to be there, just because they know something the other doesn't.

    Clever kids are not paragons of kidly virtues, nor are they carbon copies of each other. They're like the rest of us. Some are pleasant and helpful, some are reticent or a bit shy or they ignore others a lot of the time, some are sniffily superior, a bit nasty or downright bullies - and use their perceived superiority as their weapon.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    What school requires for a gifted kid is constant non-stop boredom every day they're alive.
    Only in a bad school or a bad year in a reasonable school. I know things are done differently now, but we were sorted into "streams" when I went to high school. They used IQ as the measure but they could have used anything really. So my class was the one automatically given more challenging work.

    This wasn't the case in primary school, but they had other ways of challenging us - I distinctly remember being sent as a yr 7 girl student to "teach" a class of 50+ year 4 boys because their regular teacher was sick. (Back in the bad old baby boom plus postwar immigration boom days there simply were not enough teachers to go around. My year 7 teacher was a farmer who'd been coaxed/ persuaded/ encouraged to be a teacher. He was pretty good actually.)
    What I've seen happen in the schools nearby where I live is programs that get set up for smarter kids inevitably get infiltrated by average kids who are willing to work extra hard.

    There's a problem with that, because the hard working average kids want more homework on the same topic. They're willing to do it all just to learn. Parents of hardworking kids tend to be more insistent than parents of just plain smart kids, so their vision of the curriculum wins out.

    The last thing a smart kid wants is more homework.


    Being forced to work on projects with students who aren't in your league just wastes everybody's time because in a real business scenario the management are the only idiots you are likely to deal with on a daily basis. If you're assigned to a team and one of the members isn't pulling their weight,
    There's a world of difference between people being unequal intellectually and people not pulling their weight. Personally, I'd be inclined to pull my head in and not pull my weight if I had to put up with an insufferable know-it-all constantly denigrating the efforts I did make. This didn't happen to me at school but I've watched in horror when such students have pulled that stunt in front of me. There's nothing quite as ugly as clever or other smart aleck students boosting themselves by bullying others who are not quite as quick on the uptake as they claim to be. (Often they're like one scientist who's described by far too many people as "possibly the smartest guy in some rooms, but nowhere near as smart as he thinks he is.")
    Those kids usually aren't geniuses. They're wannabe's. Hence the insecurity and the bullying. It's the kind of kid who will stay up all night studying, pulling their hair out, just to stay ahead. They criticize the others because they want the others to stop trying.
    You wouldn't go around reminding everybody of your accomplishments if you didn't have to work for them.

    he wannabe geniuses are a lot like wannabe supermodels who will go around making fun of less attractive women. But if a woman really has the supermodel thing going on, she typically doesn't feel the need to point it out.

    An actual genius kid will more likely be dismissive rather than a bully. That's just because they get tired of dealing with the other kids. It's kind of like how a supermodel tends to be dismissive of unattractive men who hit on them.
    You are making a lot of assumptions about the psychology of over achievers and the natural born geniuses.

    I was considered one of the gifted kids in school and I loved getting more homework as long as it was challenging homework. I didn't like being made to do the same boring easy stuff over and over again. My daughter is the same way. In second grade she hated spelling because it was too easy. Her teacher recognized what was going on and had the foresight to offer a pretest at the beginning of the week and any student who spelled all the words correctly and understood their meanings on the pretest, did not have to study those words for the week, instead she would sit each successful kid down and find words they didn't know the meanings of or the spellings for and create custom lists for them. My daughter loved this and she still always did well on her final spelling tests but she was challenged, enjoying the extra work and remained engaged in the learning process.

    My daughter and I were and still are the type to stick up for the underdog. She has always been well known for her nurturing nature and kindness to kids in special education programs that were being made fun of on a regular basis. She and another friend of hers who was also very gifted worked together to protect and take care of a classmate who was severely emotionally and developmentally challenged. This girl often wet herself at school and would be violent to towards the kids who teased her. But the year that my daughter and her friend attended school with her she changed. They stayed with her at all times, protected her from bullies and were genuine friends to her. The teacher said she had never seen that little girl laugh or smile before she met my daughter and her friend. I didn't make my daughter do this. I found out about it second hand from the teacher when she called me in for a meeting. I thought my daughter had gotten into trouble or something. But what it was, was the parents of the little girl wanted to meet me assuming I had instigated the behavior of my daughter. I did teach her to be kind to the underdogs of society and try to stick up for those who cant stick up for themselves, but she had always been inclined to be that way anyway. Even in preschool I was regularly told how impressed the teachers were that she would comfort new kids who were scared to be in preschool or daycare for the first time and she would help them acclimate into the classroom society and defend them from the class bullies. It has always been her nature to be this way as was my nature as well.

    Life has made me a little less kind over the years and I hope that doesn't happen to her but my loss of kindness isn't due to my intellect, it has to do with having too many battle scars accumulated from doing good deeds only to have the benefactors of those deeds stab me in the back.

    This may only be anecdotal, but you made very generalized statements about the psychology of smart kids and those who are simply ambitious learners.

    I was an ambitious learner until high school. I had one rough semester where I had relocated across the country to live with my dad and found myself in a school that was full of highly advanced students and I fell terribly behind despite my efforts. Failing an entire semester of classes devastated me and I lost the will go on educationally and dropped out. But up until that year (11th grade) I had been an honor roll student my entire life. And I never rejected more homework as long as it was work that was a challenge for me.

    Even now I tend to play games where I have to solve complicated puzzles in logic. And when I got my GED I studied for 6 months before taking it because i didn't want to just pass, I wanted a perfect score. I scored in the top 1% for the nation on my GED as a result and still felt sick that I didn't get a perfect score. I wish I could take it again. I am a perfectionist.

    Now I am older and have plenty of challenges in my life so academics isn't my personal priority. At times merely trying to survive is the toughest puzzle I am working on. But I don't quit and I can't remember ever wishing I never had the challenges. I only hope to solve the puzzles.

    I don't know if you were really smart, an ambitious learner, average or below average, but to suggest that all smart kids or ambitious kids think a particular way or bully other kids is inaccurate and inappropriate.

    And it doesn't take a supermodel to be dismissive of men who hit on them. I dismiss men all the time and I am no supermodel. I am simply not interested in them. I have a husband and even when I was single, I find being hit on a turn off. The last thing a guy should ever do to attract me is hit on me. I like a challenge. I like to be the pursuer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    I think our expectation of having to deal with boredom is from a bygone age, to prepare people for repetitive task now replaced by machines.
    There speaks someone who does not anticipate working in a call centre or behind a counter in a shop........The number of jobs that I see advertised in newspapers that make me think it might be preferable to top myself........When I think of farming using horses and having free range hens etc etc, and compare it with sitting on a big machine driving up and down, up and down, day after day, and having nothing on the farm but the one or two crops, I cannot help thinking that modern jobs are considerably more boring. And then there is the Swedish logging factory which is the last word in ultra-modern computerisation/mechanisation which just requires one or two men; and their jobs? To sit all day staring at screens to make sure the machines don't do anything wrong.......Well, actually, that's probably a lot more entertaining than a lot of the films I've seen recently.

    Quote Alan Bennett: "sooner or later, everything in life becomes work. Even work becomes work."

    You hear this sort of thing all the time from people who you might think have really interesting jobs, creative people, novelists, poets, artists, musicians etc. They start out with enthusiasm for their chosen art form but after a short time earning a living by their art it just becomes drudgery. It seems to me that the problem of boredom is endemic in our society, is virtually inescapable, and is somewhere in the design of our society --- there HAS to be a better way of doing things, a way thet doesn't kill people's enthusiasm.
    Last edited by pantodragon; May 23rd, 2013 at 10:36 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by seagypsy View Post

    You are making a lot of assumptions about the psychology of over achievers and the natural born geniuses.

    I was considered one of the gifted kids in school and I loved getting more homework as long as it was challenging homework. I didn't like being made to do the same boring easy stuff over and over again. My daughter is the same way. In second grade she hated spelling because it was too easy. Her teacher recognized what was going on and had the foresight to offer a pretest at the beginning of the week and any student who spelled all the words correctly and understood their meanings on the pretest, did not have to study those words for the week, instead she would sit each successful kid down and find words they didn't know the meanings of or the spellings for and create custom lists for them. My daughter loved this and she still always did well on her final spelling tests but she was challenged, enjoying the extra work and remained engaged in the learning process.

    My daughter and I were and still are the type to stick up for the underdog. She has always been well known for her nurturing nature and kindness to kids in special education programs that were being made fun of on a regular basis. She and another friend of hers who was also very gifted worked together to protect and take care of a classmate who was severely emotionally and developmentally challenged. This girl often wet herself at school and would be violent to towards the kids who teased her. But the year that my daughter and her friend attended school with her she changed. They stayed with her at all times, protected her from bullies and were genuine friends to her. The teacher said she had never seen that little girl laugh or smile before she met my daughter and her friend. I didn't make my daughter do this. I found out about it second hand from the teacher when she called me in for a meeting. I thought my daughter had gotten into trouble or something. But what it was, was the parents of the little girl wanted to meet me assuming I had instigated the behavior of my daughter. I did teach her to be kind to the underdogs of society and try to stick up for those who cant stick up for themselves, but she had always been inclined to be that way anyway. Even in preschool I was regularly told how impressed the teachers were that she would comfort new kids who were scared to be in preschool or daycare for the first time and she would help them acclimate into the classroom society and defend them from the class bullies. It has always been her nature to be this way as was my nature as well.

    Life has made me a little less kind over the years and I hope that doesn't happen to her but my loss of kindness isn't due to my intellect, it has to do with having too many battle scars accumulated from doing good deeds only to have the benefactors of those deeds stab me in the back.

    This may only be anecdotal, but you made very generalized statements about the psychology of smart kids and those who are simply ambitious learners.
    I was suggesting the ambitious learners are the only ones likely to bully. I didn't mean to suggest they all bully.

    It's like saying that people with defective left eyes are more likely to be blind than those whose left eyes work. Does that mean that all people with defective left eyes are blind? Certainly not. Some people who have defective left eyes have perfectly functional right eyes.

    Ambitious learners who are otherwise inclined to be bullies will be more likely to bully over their mental capacity than geniuses who are otherwise inclined to be bullies. A genius who was otherwise inclined to be a bully would probably choose something else to bully about, because they are alone in their position.

    Bullying generally relies upon superior numbers or strength. You bully the kid who's below the middle, because that way over half the class is on your side of the fence instead of theirs. They're outnumbered. You can laugh at the dumb kid and over half of the class won't take insult because you didn't laugh at them. If a genius kid does that, the classmates all get uneasy because they know that whatever the genius is saying to that dumb kid, might also be what he's thinking about all the rest of them.


    It's like how Hitler defined "Aryan" as white skinned. He wasn't an albino defining "Aryan" as albino. . He wouldn't have gotten very far with that message. A successful bully always draws his line in the sand in such a manner so that his side is the stronger or more numerous side.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    The last thing a smart kid wants is more homework.
    Why not? It may not be what they want, but it's what they need . Speaking as a former "smart kid", I had the worst study habits in the world. I literally did not "study" at all. I only needed to read something to understand it. I also had a photographic, sometimes eidetic, memory which only started to disappear in my mid teens - I could remember everything.

    We didn't do "projects" back then. It was learn, do the work, test at weekly or other regular intervals. Exams at end of term or year. For me, that meant listen in class, treat the homework as a repetitive exercise, extract from memory for exams. The first time I ever settled down to actually crack textbooks was the last fortnight of year 12. University was a bit of a shock to the system. It was the very first time in my life I had to deal with more material than I could absorb - and retain - just by listening or reading a book.

    Learning how to learn and how to challenge or extend yourself is something that should start during school years.
    I can't argue with that. That's pretty solid logic. Smart kids who are not challenged often won't learn to take notes.

    But I think homework turns the kids' mind off unless it's challenging. And how realistic is it for us to expect that public schools are going to be able to offer challenging homework? If you think they can realistically do that, then fine. But otherwise it would be better not to burn the kid out by making them do busy work all day.


    You wouldn't go around reminding everybody of your accomplishments if you didn't have to work for them.
    You might not. I've watched kids who are just barely coping with the work I set them sneer at kids who are struggling with something these others couldn't do mere weeks before. I've seen brothers and sisters with very normal ability, some who are a bit clever, be extremely nasty or dismissive to a sibling and to perfect strangers who just happen to be there, just because they know something the other doesn't.

    Clever kids are not paragons of kidly virtues, nor are they carbon copies of each other. They're like the rest of us. Some are pleasant and helpful, some are reticent or a bit shy or they ignore others a lot of the time, some are sniffily superior, a bit nasty or downright bullies - and use their perceived superiority as their weapon.
    I think we're talking past each other. Going back to your original quote I missed this last part (in bold) at the end of your post on my first read.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adelady
    There's a world of difference between people being unequal intellectually and people not pulling their weight. Personally, I'd be inclined to pull my head in and not pull my weight if I had to put up with an insufferable know-it-all constantly denigrating the efforts I did make. This didn't happen to me at school but I've watched in horror when such students have pulled that stunt in front of me. There's nothing quite as ugly as clever or other smart aleck students boosting themselves by bullying others who are not quite as quick on the uptake as they claim to be. (Often they're like one scientist who's described by far too many people as "possibly the smartest guy in some rooms, but nowhere near as smart as he thinks he is.")
    Yeah. I'm thinking the ones who bully are the ones who are only smarter than the kid next to them. An actual genius usually wouldn't bully over intellect.

    However, in a highly technological field, having someone removed from your team because they can't keep up isn't meant as bullying. You're under a lot of pressure to deliver quality work on time. You don't have the time or energy to be somebody's wet nurse. At a certain point, your learning curve matters more than your knowledge. You have to be able to keep up with people who think fast in order to contribute to their team. Otherwise the effort required for them to keep you up to speed can get to be greater than the effort required to simply do the project without your help.

    Some tasks cannot be approached in parts. I've seen "hard worker" students smash into that wall before. I think that's one very good reason why colleges allow you to quit a class early with a "W" on your transcript.
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    However, in a highly technological field, having someone removed from your team because they can't keep up isn't meant as bullying. You're under a lot of pressure to deliver quality work on time.
    Fine. But school, or even college, is too early in anyone's scientific progress to determine whether they'll be brilliant but burnt out young, or the slow starter but outstanding when mature, or the always bright but hopeless in group activity, or any of the other permutations of intellectually demanding cooperative work. Or the high school bully who never grows out of it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    However, in a highly technological field, having someone removed from your team because they can't keep up isn't meant as bullying. You're under a lot of pressure to deliver quality work on time.
    Fine. But school, or even college, is too early in anyone's scientific progress to determine whether they'll be brilliant but burnt out young
    You want to wait until they're already burnt out to decide what to do?

    I'm sure a lot of parents want that. It makes things easier for their own children to succeed. Less competition from impossible opponents.

    , or the slow starter but outstanding when mature
    I guess we don't want to lose those guys either. The problem with excelling in today's courses that emphasize group work is, the teachers basically expect the smart students to bear the burden of pulling their less skillful classmates in tow. Doing the teacher's job for them.

    There's some use in that, because those same students may need to train coworkers to do certain tasks later in life. However it carries an impossible amount of stress to have to teach without authority. A student who is coequal and doesn't have to do what they're told, and yet must be convinced to do what they're told or the project will fail.

    In the real world, those kinds of conflicts get resolved with an ax. The uncooperative party gets assigned elsewhere and if they keep being uncooperative they get assigned nowhere.
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