Re: virus: Teaching vs. Educating
Sun, 15 Dec 1996 13:16:44 -0600 (CST)

On Fri, 13 Dec 1996, Lior Golgher wrote:

> Stephen wrote:
> >When one educates, there is a
> >memetic infection, certainly, but the goal of education is to teach
> >people to teach themselves-- to make them aware of their potential.
> And Dave responded:
> Disagree here. I did a teacher-training course, and left because the
> over-riding reality of the classroom was not the high educational
> principles, but hammering mathematical and geographical memes into the
> kids'
> heads... and also teaching them that they are not the only person in the
> world, that others have to have a go at the attention and resources too.
> ---
> That's the exact difference between teaching and educating.
> As part of my training as an educator, I took an active role in deciding
> what are our goals. We came up with 'independent thinking' as our top
> goal. As a result, we don't touch our values during the first six months
> or so. During this period, we develop our learners' skepticism and
> amplify their range of view. We enable them to fully understand the game
> played and the memes used, so each of them could know what is done with
> him and actually choose whether or not to play. Only when we have
> skeptic customers who could tell our tricks, we try to sell them our
> values. That way we can be sure that if our learners reject those values
> it's only because the values are bad, not the education methods.
> In other movements hidden idealogical messages are inserted straight on
> the first activity <or do you call it a meeting?>. Learners are much
> younger, and means of collective pressure to keep on with the idealogy
> are legitimate. Educators are trained in a summed-up course of about 10
> days, in which they are confronted with elder and far more experienced
> educators. With a few sleep hours each night, in harsh camping
> conditions, and accompanied by totally stranger people, their will and
> ability to reject the values washed into their brains throughout the
> course are rather abstract. That's why I've retired one of those
> movements.
> I know it sounds like a classic 'us vs. them', but this status really
> exists.


You're describing a problem I'm faced with in teaching any mathematics
recitation at K-State.

A large percentage of the class I have been faced with has been *taught*
so well that they *cannot survive* the class unless they can be
*educated*. If they keep their dependency on exact templates, their
chances at the final are dim.

Math, even at the lower levels, is a relatively demanding field. If the
ability to deal with moderate complexity has been destroyed by teaching, I
don't have much of a chance to rebuild it in 16 weeks--and those
afflicted may well not make it. If it just hasn't been used, I have a

There is a reason why the engineering students think Calc II is harder
than Engineering physics.

/ Towards the conversion of data into information....
/ Kenneth Boyd