Ever notice that parents, teachers, administrators love to talk about the “REAL WORLD”:
“Make sure you work hard so that you prepare yourself for the REAL WORLD”.
“You think you have it hard now – wait till you get into the REAL WORLD”.
“Oh yeah, you can get away with that in school, but it’s a different story in the REAL WORLD”.
Wait a minute. What is this REAL WORLD? And if it actually exists does that make the world of school or college – Imaginary?
All through my schooling – this idea of a REAL WORLD haunted me. I loved school, the learning the community, the openness to ideas; but could not, or would not allow myself to imagine a career in education. Doing that would be a cop-out – I couldn’t make it in the REAL WORLD.
Truth is education has always been my calling and after thirty rewarding years in the profession, I give thanks that fate brought me to my senses.
The problem is that we confuse schools and schooling with education and learning. We know that education improves life outcomes, so our solution is education for all, well actually schooling for all: the process where we pluck little children from their homes and communities (their REAL WORLD), put them in schools for 7 to 15 years, after which out pops an educated population ready to be plopped back into the REAL WORLD.
A few years ago my clutch gave out as I was pulling down the on-ramp onto the highway. Fortunately I was able to pull to the side sufficiently not to get pulverized by the onrush of traffic, but needless to say I was in a bit of a pickle. The situation was particularly frustrating as I was broke having just spent a bucketload of money to get the clutch rebuilt! I was not able to afford any new repairs. I got the car towed to a friend’s house nearby (I couldn’t even afford to get it towed to my apartment). There was only one thing to be done – we would have to get the car running ourselves. I’m not a mechanic and neither is he, but we had one super tool in the tool box – google. We searched online for the car’s model and clutch problems and within not too long we found text and video help spelling out exactly what we needed to do. We followed the instructions and voilà I was good to go!
Khan Academy videos also work for a variety of reasons I’ll get into later, but most importantly they work because they are designed to satisfy an immediate need – they are examples of “just in time” (JIT) instruction, just like the videos and instructions we downloaded to fix my car. Read More →
5. Virtually all homework involves rote memory practice, which is always a waste of time. This argues against the form of homework rather than homework itself (and makes a big assumption). If you don’t like rote memory homework don’t give it, use something better. More importantly, though, I’ll challenge that “rote memory practice” is “always a waste of time”. Read More →