It’s been a while since my last roundup. I’ve been busy creating a new product Tingxie, a listening test for Mandarin Chinese (Want to find out more?). This week I’m rounding up a bunch of posts on a subject that’s dear to me: learning and education.
- Publishers want a book that they can print year after year and make lots of money off of.
- Teachers are given textbooks that they must teach from. Occasionally, they will teach material that isn’t in the book.
- Students want to learn words and phrases that are relevant to their life. This disconnect causes leads to disinterest and lack of motivation.
So I think we have to change metaphors. We have to go from what is essentially an industrail model of education, a manufactruing model, which is based on linearity and conformity and batching people. We have to move to a model that is based more on principles of agriculture. We have to recognize that human flourishing is not a mechanical process, it’s an organic process. And you cannot predict the outcome of human development [or language development]; all you can do, like a farmer, is create the conditions under which they will begin to flourish.
The great problem for reform or transformation is the tyranny of common sense…There are things we’re enthralled to in education. Let me give you a couple of examples. One of them is the idea of linearity, that it starts here, and you go through a track, and if you do everything right, you will end up set for the rest of your life.
But life is not linear, it’s organic. Learning is not linear, it’s organic. Designing a linear education system doesn’t make sense.
“It’s about personalizing education to the people you’re actually teaching.”“we’ve built our education systems on the model of fast food.”“Many of our ideas have been formed, not to meet the circumstances of this century, but to cope with the circumstances of previous centuries. But our minds are still hypnotized by them.”
While listening to a podcast about new media (I forget the source), I ran into this choice idea: Every first attempt to move old content into a new media is wrong. When TV was invented, people thought it would be used for watching opera! Moving the same old teaching methods and materials to the internet is also a mistake. We need to rethink why we teach language, how we teach language and then build learning methods using the tools and capabilities of the internet.
At Fluent in 3 months, talks about his experience learning esperanto and how it helps you learn other languages. There are arguements about learning latin for similar reasons. If you are learning any language in a systematic way, it will help you with the next language you’re studying.