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comment by flagamuffin
flagamuffin  ·  1296 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Why America’s obsession with STEM education is dangerous

    Americans should be careful before they try to mimic Asian educational systems, which are oriented around memorization and test-taking. I went through that kind of system. It has its strengths, but it’s not conducive to thinking, problem solving or creativity.

What does that mean? Those things can be inspired -- to a degree. But they can't be taught, except by accident in very strange conditions. Been ruminating back through Feynman's memoir for proof.

You're Asian? From where? Is yours the majority view about the education system in your country?

I went through the American "higher" education system, and every graduate program is full of internationals, Asian, Eastern European, some African. An anecdote, not meant as offense: an old professor once asked a brilliant Chinese guy why he'd ended up at a decent but uninteresting Midwestern graduate program that was clearly beneath him, and he said: because it's so damn easy and I'm lazy. In undergrad, all the Asians I knew did next to no work and carried their groups through projects using common sense that is no longer taught in America. (Aside: many of them spoke quite limited English and I have no idea how they passed courses with overly-nuanced business-speak and long tests. I was left very impressed in every way, basically.)

Make of that whatever you want, but for now I think the Asian systems are getting results and the American ones are faltering. But I didn't actually read the article (if it's new -- I think I read something with the same title like a month ago).




NotPhil  ·  1296 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    it’s not conducive to thinking, problem solving or creativity.
    What does that mean? Those things can be inspired -- to a degree. But they can't be taught

Yes, they can, and the liberal arts do just that.

Want to learn to think? Study philosophy. It teaches reasoning.

Want to learn to solve problems? Study literature, history, and social studies. They teach how people, organizations, and societies have solved problems.

Want to learn creativity? Study the fine arts. They teach you how to create.

If we abandon the humanities, we abandon education.

flagamuffin  ·  1296 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I see that I am very much in the minority -- which does not surprise me; I've had this conversation before on hubski -- but no, I don't really believe that being "creative" is as simple as studying the creative process. Or that reading some Kant will teach you to reason. I'm surprised as usual that any of you believe that. It seems to be mistaking the cause and the effect.

Grendel  ·  1296 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    “Scholars are those who have read in books, but thinkers, men of genius, world-enlighteners, and reformers of the human race are those who have read directly in the book of the world.”

    “It may sometimes happen that a truth, an insight, which you have slowly and laboriously puzzled out by thinking for yourself could have easily have been found already written in a book: but it is a hundred times more valuable if you have arrived at it by thinking for yourself. For only then will it enter your thought system as an integral part and living member, be perfectly and firmly consistent with it and in accord with all its other consequences and conclusions, bear the hue, colour and stamp of your whole manner of thinking, and have arrived at just the moment it was needed ; thus it will stay firmly and forever lodged in your mind.”

    “The intellectual attainments of a man who thinks for himself resemble a fine painting, where the light and shade are correct, the tone sustained, the colour perfectly harmonised; it is true to life. On the other hand, the intellectual attainments of the mere man of learning are like a large palette, full of all sorts of colours, which at most are systematically arranged, but devoid of harmony, connection and meaning.”

    “Students and scholars of all kinds and of every age aim, as a rule, only at information, not insight. They make it a point of honour to have information about everything, every stone, plant, battle, or experiment and about all books, collectively and individually. It never occurs to them that information is merely a means to insight, but in itself is of little or no value.”

    “As the biggest library if it is in disorder is not as useful as a small but well-arranged one, so you may accumulate a vast amount of knowledge but it will be of far less value to you than a much smaller amount if you have not thought it over for yourself; because only through ordering what you know by comparing every truth with every other truth can you take complete possession of your knowledge and get it into your power.”

- Arthur Schopenhauer

I think this picture adequately summarises my feelings about modern so-called liberal arts - warning: profanity and symbolic nudity.

user-inactivated  ·  1280 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    What does that mean? Those things can be inspired -- to a degree. But they can't be taught, except by accident in very strange conditions. Been ruminating back through Feynman's memoir for proof.

I know I am late to this discussion but I just discovered hubski. Anyways, I graduated with a degree in Architecture this year and we are literally taught problem solving and creativity. That is the the core tenant of architecture school. Our professors often would tell us that architecture school doesn't teach students how to be architects it teaches students how to creatively solve spatial problems. Creativity is definitely a skill that can be taught.