Educating for Life?
This video, Self Taught Teen Wows MIT, is worth a look.
An important factor in this would seem to be the virtue of necessity. We might think about the principle of “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny” that I learned in freshman biology (is it still in the text books these decades later!? LOL!) There are no shortcuts in some forms of knowledge acquisition. No child can read without learning letters and their association with sounds. No child can compute without learning numerals and basic arithmetic facts. Engineering is a discipline that solves real world problems, so perhaps the best inspiration is real world problems that matter… how can I light my house? How can we make this well pump work? How can that bridge support heavy traffic? Our public schools too often trap kids in a sit-and-get and spout-it-back environment that is very disconnected from the real world. The dominant metric is “can I pass the test?” We’ve made the testing and regimentation so onerous that it’s no wonder kids are “checking out”. A high school diploma used to be a matter of putting in some time, doing sufficiently well to pass (remember the Gentleman’s C?) and, then, for many, entering the practical world of work, marriage, and kids. We now tell kids that the high school diploma isn’t really going to get them a “good” job, so now we push more and more unprepared and unmotivated students to higher education, which for too many becomes six MORE years of purgatory. Can we get back to an educational paradigm and a philosophical anthropology that connects education to the needs of persons to live fulfilling lives now, not spend 25 years “in preparation” for life?
Onward to a world of creative freedom, where we help people of all ages with passion and purpose do fascinating things together?!