Redefine Facts, Jump Paradigms

An Operating System for the Mind, Stephen Downes. I tend to agree with Downes in this piece how to think about education in the 21st Century. He is articulating a fresh approach to the "skills" vs "core knowledge" debate and it seems empowering and flexible. My complaint with the common core view of the world is that although I value a Liberal Arts education to a certain degree I find it expensive, poorly delivered, and lacking in practical skills to earn a living. At the other extreme I am critical of the facts/skills-only crew who pay lip service to a more common base of knowledge from which to build and grow and diversify (and enjoy). Both views lock you into one or another paradigm, and there seems to be a political agenda underlying both as well. Instead, the operating system view from Downes seems to be a paradigm breaker. I like it. He redefines facts themselves and offers a way of engaging facts to learn and act. It gives you the perspective you need to jump paradigms when you need to -- which is getting more and more often these days since everything is changing so fast out there. Give the Downes post a read. It`s a tad on the long and complex side but it`s well worth it.
Comments:

Education is something that all governments always try to control and all political systems in a way or another try always to do one thing: "Make people ignorant and stupid"

The more the people ignorant and stupid are the easy to control them and convince them about who is good, who is bad, what to buy, what they really need and so forth.

P21 is the response to a globalized world that will be controlled by big corporations and organizations. That means big organism that need people working as slaves and that could be convinced easily. Only ignorant guys can match that profile. People that only know how to do the tasks for their job but that are unable to think beyond the daily life.

I think that the important thing is not related about what they study but how they study. I’ve always being an autodidact and I learnt more from myself than in any schools I’ve being. The point is that people can learn a lot and acquire many skills but if nobody teach them the beauty of knowledge they will be just stupid flesh machines all their lives. This is the big challenge and this is of course the point that almost all political systems want to avoid. They don’t want people that know how to think, and that are able to go to a library, pick up a book and star learning. That’s dangerous for actual political systems, based on some kind of economy (money). It doesn’t matter if it’s capitalism, communism, religious, or whatever. Every system based on profit and pyramids where the uppers need to exploit the downers will be against any sort of effective education. It’s the same reason women had been always discriminated from education. Let’s keep the mothers of our children ignorant so they will not understand how big their power is.

So the only way to fight against this is to move the responsibility to parents. They are the responsible to make children minds open enough to be just students in schools but not followers of some kind of manipulating doctrine.

Posted by Zuco on September 30, 2009 at 03:34 AM JST #

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