10 ideas for fixing education

Derek Thompson at the Atlantic Monthly has a list of 10 ideas for fixing education


and although I agree with the sentiment behind a couple of them (it *is* unfair if children of lower income families don’t have good summer opportunities) I want to be on the record that I am convinced that ideas like lengthening the school day/year simply don’t don’t fit with what research is showing about how people learn, particularly in a technology/information rich era, e.g. the need for reflective time, learning to learn *outside* of the school environment, collaboration, etc.

Which is why I responded to that article with my link to the interesting observations by a neurologist (Judy Willis, M.D.) http://bit.ly/YtS1z

that I have posted to my own blog here on a previous occasion. Other articles on her site are very insightful as well.

Hopefully the “Atlantic” readers will click the link and be exposed to a different point of view.


3 Responses to 10 ideas for fixing education

  1. Chris Ryan says:

    Have you read Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers”? What do you think of his take?

  2. ewellburn says:

    Hi Chris,

    Funny you should ask because I’ve been thinking about referencing Gladwell in a post. I’ve seen him interviewed and read articles by and about him but I haven’t read his books. So my opinion is perhaps not perfectly balanaced but here goes: Gladwell seems to have an interesting way of telling his stories, but I believe his basic underlying premise is competitiveness, which is why I can’t buy into his ideas. I am much more excited by collaborative ideas like Clay Shirky, Michael Wesch, Charles Leadbeater and others… e.g. the “Us Now” video.

    Also, what I know of “Outliers” is a real contradiction to what I learned in basic statistics… I think Gladwell doesn’t do random sampling (he picks his examples to prove his point) and he oversimplifies his conclusions. S

  3. Chris Ryan says:

    I was thinking in particular about his observations on the KIPP schools, around p. 260 if you get a chance to pick up the book, and the length of the school day and year. In retrospect I don’t think home schooling works very well, at least for most people, and part of the problem is lack of focus. Call it “competitiveness” if you like but I don’t think it precludes collaboration. The company where I work is both, and it’s a great place to be.

    Anyway, part of a much larger discussion or discussions.

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