Tuesday, December 7, 2010

An Education

I found this absolutely perfect chart on this great blog post about education:



The post is a criticism of the way we teach math/science/engineering, but, really, I think the criticism applies to our general approach to teaching. Having worked as an educator before, I have been incredibly dismayed at how critical thinking and imagination have taken a back seat to memorization, "problem-solving by recipe," and cramming. My students were completely at a loss when there wasn't a predetermined "right answer."Scary for our future and frustrating for generating genuine enthusiasm for learning.

I love how this blogger calls on computer scientist, Alan Kay, and his advocacy for a liberal arts education because it teaches metaphors and ways of thinking which Kay argues become useful later in engineering. In fact, he/she says that according to research done by Jacques Hadamard, mathematicians use the symbols, equations, and formulas they learn merely as tools to communicate the real work that they do--conceptualizing, problem solving, intuiting.

Now, it may be that this chart and thinking resonate with me because I such a geeky dreamer who loves to sit around and muse about hefty symbolism and meaning constructs...but it also seems to me rather ironic that both marketing strategists and mathematicians are looking for the exact same qualities in their future stars. Perhaps this begins to prove that this is the best groundwork for educating our future leaders regardless of discipline (I hope).

Two last quotes from this interesting blog:

From Jason Fried:
"Hire curious people. Even if they don't have the exact skill set you want, curious, passionate people can learn anything."

And from Jacques Hadamard:
" Logic merely sanctions the conquests of the intuition."

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