Re: virus: Re: Virus: Sociological Change (fwd)
Sun, 12 Jan 1997 21:26:34 -0600 (CST)

On Fri, 20 Dec 1996, ken sartor wrote:

> At 01:47 PM 12/20/96 -0600, wrote:
> >On Fri, 20 Dec 1996, ken sartor wrote:
> >
> >> At 10:17 AM 12/20/96 -0600, wrote:
> >>
> >> snip...
> >>
> >> >This is plausible. There is reasonably solid evidence that U.S.
> >> >Kindergarten actively instructs students to act unintelligent, and that
> >> >this behavior is *difficult* to unlearn.
> >>
> >> I thought kindergarten teaches kids how to 1) sit still; 2) listen
> >> while an adult speaks to a _group_ of children; 3) play (relatively)
> >> nicely with other children; 4) sing and do simple artwork; 5) perhaps
> >> learn to read (if not known yet). (This seems to be what happened
> >> with my children, at least.)
> >>
> >> What about kindergarten "instructs students to act unintelligent"?
> >> Is it a plan or ?bad? teachers? Or?
> >>
> >> ken
> >
> >Items 1..5 are also correct; I would say 1, 2, 3, and 5 are essential in
> >any literate culture. I suspect it's an unintended side-effect that is
> >ill-known [I got it from a senior in education who had been sifting
> >abstracts for one of his papers....] of the usual plans. ?Bad?
> >teachers would aggravate this side-effect.
> >
> >The ability to laterally think plummets markedly after 2 semesters of
> >exposure, *without* a concurrent increase in linear/conventional thinking
> >ability. While it is a good idea to become used to linear thinking as a
> >problem-solving metaphor, axing the other metaphor cannot be neglected as
> >a factor in the absence of *obvious* geniuses born after 1920 or so.
> I am still unsure of what you are asserting... are items 1-5 the
> cause of the lack of the ability to think laterally? Is this
> asserted inability to think laterally the cause of the lack of
> *obvious* geniuses born since 1920 or so? If so, are you also
> asserting that items 1-5 were not taught in school before 1920
> or that perhaps they were taught, but at a later age (i presume
> that everyone has learned these things for at least several
> hundred years, especially the *obvious* geniuses)?

If the cause was known, would it be propagated???

No, I don't think 1..5 cause it. If anything, I would conjecture that
they facilitate lateral thinking.

> There are some exercises in my daughters' second grade that i
> believe are meant to teach non-linear thinking. For instance,
> in one exercise they are given a piece of paper with a few marks
> on it. From that, they are supposed to construct a picture that
> they think no one else would. Then they write a brief story
> about the picture... (perhaps in the higher grades they may
> do more analytical stuff).

It would not surprise me if a recent textbook tried to counter the trends
I have mentioned. My impression was that the research was mid-1980's,
and that this keyed off some debate on curriculum reform, etc. I suspect
that the teacher is more important than the text, however.

Certainly my academic performance has been more dependent on key ideas
from various instructors, than the quality of my textbooks. [On the
other hand, it is easier for a "good" instructor to pick a "good"

> ken
> PS - i wanted to dispute your claim about *obvious* geniuses not
> being born after about 1920 but was unable to come up with any
> great examples... alot of those guys were older than i thought.
> Of course, this may be just that once you have discovered the
> fundamental underpinnings of the universe, what else can you
> do but embellish them a bit... ;)

I haven't seen the integration of Quantum Mechanics and General
Relativity *yet*.

> PPS - A xmas puzzle - can you connect all of the following x's
> with 4 straight lines without lifting your pen from the paper?
> It can, of course, be done.
> x x x
> x x x
> x x x

Three lines suffices, on sufficiently wide paper [the above figure is
off-center, so the width is ill-distributed for the stunt]. Four is
more compact [adapt from Neptune's symbol in an ephermeris [sic?]]

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