Monday, September 28, 2009

Breaking the Ice: Childhood Education

As someone who is more likely to drink Cabernet Sauvignon on a Monday night than most people, I am pleased use the implications of this fact as an excuse to initiate the first discussion on Wining and Surmising.

My topic for discussion is childhood education.

I believe: The goal of teaching children should be to enable the students to learn...but learn what? Should it be the particular subject that is being taught (because it is the teacher's  "job"), or for the student to "learn" how to be better at learning?

It is my belief that learning is the responsibility of the student. This being said, I find it more important that a teacher assist a student in becoming a self-sufficient learner than it is to focus on teaching a subject.  A teacher may do everything within their power to assist in a student's gaining understanding of a subject, but this is not enough. A student must be capable of understanding the topic. A student must desire to learn the topic. A student must have the discipline to take the steps required to learn the topic.

-A student's capability for learning a topic has to do with how creative and insightful a student is, but also with how disciplined and desiring they are.
-Desiring to learn is one thing, but doing the work is another.
-Being a hard worker will only get a student so far. They have to think critically and creatively. They must also want to learn, or else they may not be inspired to work on understanding a topic.
(Note the interdependent relationships.)

Effectively: Are students willing to do the work that is associated with learning? Will they be open to new ideas and create their own? Do they care to learn?

A student's capability, desire, and discipline cannot be enforced by a teacher. They can be encouraged, however. I believe that it is imperative that a teacher encourages the student to have desire, to have discipline, to be creative, and most of all to become self reliant. The reality is this: no matter how well one teacher does their job, another might do an equally bad job. If a student is equipped with the will-power and the tool-sets required to educate themselves, then they will work towards becoming educated, regardless of how well or poorly they are taught.

Are all students equally capable of learning? Studies might suggest otherwise. How should this affect a teacher's actions?

How does a teacher "instruct" a student on how to be a creative and critical thinker?

How does a teacher instill desire?

What do you think?


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Wining and Surmising

Awkwardly titled because "thinking and drinking" was taken. A place to think and share thoughts on the internet, where everyone is a brave philosopher. Also, at least in my case, a place to drink wine online. As you join the blog, you will be given "Author" status, and hopefully in this way I won't just end up talking to myself!

Rules and regulations (if any), soon to follow...


sur·mise  (sr-mz)
v. sur·misedsur·mis·ingsur·mis·es
To infer (something) without sufficiently conclusive evidence.
To make a guess or conjecture.
An idea or opinion based on insufficiently conclusive evidence; a conjecture.

Example: In regards to increasing our understanding of the universe, all we can do is surmise.