Here’s an article from Time magazine’s website that shocked me and amused me;
The shock came from the fact that it propelled me back in time to my early 20’s and the profound experiences I got from reading two books. Those experiences were amongst my strongest motivations to study and understand more about the process of how humans learn and ultimately to become an educator. The first was by Tony Buzan (I forget which one of his wonderful books now). The second was the first edition of Colin Rose’s “Accelerated Learning” which was published in 1983.
The latter book might well be nearly 30 years old but by the pitiful evidence of this article it should be compulsory reading for every educator even today. When I read it, what profoundly shocked me was the amount of scientific and learned evidence that Rose included in the book, that had existed at the time when I was in formal education, but which had obviously been completely ignored by educators of that time. Therefore, I can’t help laughing when now, nearly 30 years later, a methodology/ principle which was incorporated in both those books is paraded as something novel, as though freshly discovered.
The scientific basis was the need for learners to have methods that counteract the effects of something that goes by the wonderful name of ‘The Ebbinghaus Curve of Forgetting’. I have sought to teach the method to students over the years. I have also used it with considerable benefit, especially when preparing material for speeches and presentations.
Sadly, we are all so busy teaching “the stuff” that educators and students fail to give adequate time to building a genuine understanding of the cognitive, neurological, mental, emotional and physical processes that go in to effective learning. The result is that the vast majority of learners are working with bad learning strategies.
I have often been inclined to say, there are no bad learners – just those with inadvertently inappropriate learning strategies. It’s time we pay far more attention to the metacognitive processes of learning how we learn.
Here’s an interesting short article with a TED video which I had missed earlier, advocating that more respect should be given to the attributes and contribution of introverts in today’s society.
I find it rather sad that such advocacy is even necessary, that anyone would really contemplate that such traits were inconsequential and unimportant. The inclination towards extroverts is especially seen with regard to leadership roles. However, I’ve known some phenomenal introvert leaders over the years. One tendency is they frequently talk less and listen more – very valuable!
I sometimes wonder whether it’s somehow diminished humanity that introvert/ extrovert have been treated as two diametrically opposed labels that have been applied to people in an either/ or way. Why can’t one person reflect both ends of this spectrum in their own, single personality? I’m not necessarily suggesting someone who sits ‘half way along the line’, but rather someone who can at different times choose to exist and operate at different points according to what feels right for them at the time. I fear that, at times, once people realise that one of the labels has become attached to them by those around them, they are duty bound to conform to that label. So, the person labeled extrovert can’t have a ‘quiet, thoughtful day’ without being asked 10 times “what’s wrong?” If they decide not to go to a party because they want to stay at home with a particularly fascinating book, they may feel the need to go along to keep others happy, or to invent some ‘more extrovert-like reason’ for not attending.
The TED talk by Susan Cain also got me thinking about how we need to do what we can to ensure that schools are environments in which both extroverts and introverts can feel comfortable, do great work and have their needs met.
I’m starting to think there’s something more important than the Right to Education Act to discuss with Mr Kapil Sibal. What with stanford’s online course offerings, MITx, Khan Academy there’s now a new ‘free offering’ online – TED Ed. Sibal’s number one priority for the education system of the country has to be fast bandwidth provision and to get it to as many places as possible, as quickly as possible:
These are incredibly exciting times, when we see the possibilities that technology is now opening up in education.
In the higher education domain the first big step came a few years ago when MIT put their courseware online, available and accessible for all, free of charge. MIT is now going a step further with the announcement at the end of 2011 of MITx – their online platform that is to offer full courses online free of charge.
Stanford University has already shown the way with a few recent experiments with online accessibility to their courses. Even with very limited promotion the figures are already staggering – 160,000 people signed up for a course on Artificial Intelligence. For those people who care more about whether they get to learn great stuff, rather than whether they finish up with the ‘brand’ of an ivy league university tattooed on their forehead for life, these courses are going to open up exciting possibilities. They are also going to allow the best faculty to reach audiences far larger than ever considered possible before. Ultimately, it’s hard to believe that this won’t push down the cost of access to higher education. This will further enhance accessibility;