Vogt's Safety Razor
The human mind is a magnificent machine for imposing order on chaos, and for perceiving order even where there is none, for order is a means for coping and for surviving where the reality may indeed be chaos. It can also be a way of operating until perception is expanded or new information elements are formed.
For example the ancient Mediterranean "superstition" that to wear a clove of garlic on the body or in the clothing would ward off the evil spirits. This was discarded as stupid superstition. However consider. Ancient Rome, Pontine Marshes, Anopheles mosquito, malaria (evil spirits from the swamp) . We now know that garlic is an effective insecticide. Those who wore the clove of garlic had reduced chance of being infected with malaria.
As opposed to Ockhams Razor:
Vogt's Safety Razor would say if it works use it, with the proviso that there should be constant review and consideration rather than attack and denigration.
When Einstein was asked if he regretted having spent so much time investigating unified field theory, he is said to have replied that it was not a waste of time.The time and effort in investigating this theory (unified field) is not to be regretted someone had to explore the path even if it were a dead end. In fact it is my understanding that it was not in fact a dead end.
Where the perceived information molecule appears to work and is useful use it until a better perception or IM is formed
Generally speaking most current schools are composed of cages for ages in which the inmates are incarcerated for a 10 to 12 year stretch without remissions for good behaviour
I propose an educational system which will reflect and take advantage of the principles enunciated above.
The purposes of the system are to
enable the participants to understand and to survive in the present environment
enable the participants to understand and to survive in the coming environments.
Enable the participants to expand their knowledge bases
Enable the participants to extend their abilities to manipulate knowledge
Enable them to participate in creative situations
Appreciate the viewpoints of others
Gain a sense of responsibility for their own actions
Gain a sense of responsibility to others
Increase ability to communicate and to understand the processes of communication
Encourage and foster those who are gifted
Enable all to achieve their potentials
We now have a structure of knowledge to work with and a set of objectives we will now look at the learners. We will define learners as those who by voluntary interaction are acquiring new information and skills and, Pupils as those who require directed guidance.
KNOW THE STUDENTS - AND KNOW YOURSELF
As soon as one accepts that there are those who are gifted we must also accept that though we may all be born equal in terms of fundamental rights we are not in either the range of potential skills or abilities. We must also accept that there as well as the specifically gifted there are also the generally gifted. One of our objectives is to assist in achieving all in achieving their potentials we must examine and allow for the range of differences in learning modes.
CAGES FOR AGES
First we must break out of the cages for ages syndrome. One of the laws of development is that there is survival value in a great range of differences within a species. The greater the range the greater the chance of survival. The range of human difference is vast and it is well that it is so. Throughout their lifetimes humans develop different skills and at different rates.
I have been appalled by the number of adults who have said to me "I am dumb at maths" Mathematics is a segment where up until now the chains tend to be more rigid than others and this perception has been reinforced by the ethos. Those who at an early age tend to think in this mode have their responses reinforced those who donít are given an early experience of failure. The human brain has not got its full complement of cells and pathways at least until age 45. The last areas to develop in some may have been the first in others. The concept that the learner or the pupil has "failed" must be relegated to its proper place and the concept of "not yet ready" must replace it Whilst it is not unusual for those over 45 to discover skills in the arts it is an indictment of the manner in which we deal with mathematics that such experience in the latter that there are very few who have a similar experience. It is strange that in 10 thousand years of civilization we have not widely recognized that the physical size of the individual is not the determinant of intellectual skill or achievement. Neither is the chronological age of the individual.
In designing and educational system let us for a moment consider some of the elements of difference in learning and leaning styles in the individual students. Some of these will be genetically hard wired at conception and others will be the result of growth and development. I would contend that the Nature v Nurture debate is the province of Lilipution thinking. Should you crack the egg on the big or the little end is a concept which should be explored with interest but not used as a sole determinant.
Introversion- Extroversion Continuum (Neurological Response Rate [NRR])
Firstly lets consider the neural network. I would suggest that the greater the diameter of the neurons the faster the rate of transmission. This will tend to given such individuals fast reflexes. It is likely to give a high propensity for such individuals to be primarily introvert. Generally their neural system is sensitive to input. They will tend to seek to control their sensory input. Many will seek to do this through technology. Many will tend to become technicians they will tend to use the technology to control the sensory input. They will tend to dislike and learn less effectively from personal interaction. A classroom will often be perceived as an assault on the senses. Given their preferences they would sit in a corner and learn from a book or from a computer on the frequently alone. To force them into a classroom with a mass of sensory input is not only incarceration but a form of torture.
At the other end of the scale are those with smaller diameter nerves or neurons. They have a higher threshold of arousal and will need or prefer greater stimulation. These are the fundamentally extrovert. For them the social and personal interaction of a group is anathema
Those who are fundamentally extrovert will regard a "truly interactive" classroom as an ideal learning environment. The traditional classroom will rarely qualify as being truly interactive.
We must avoid as far as possible categorization of people. The students will cover a great range from Fundamentally High Introvert (FHI) through to Fundamentally High Extrovert (FHE) on a continuum.
Throughout I use the term Fundamentally. The fundamentality is due to the physiological component. To indicate the importance of understanding this aspect, if one were to consider a high introverts who take to independent travel. They will eventually find that in order to get information or service they will need to interact and they will develop secondary extrovert characteristics. Some will do it so successfully that it will seem unbelievable that they are fundamentally Introvert. For this and other reasons I do not favour the written questionnaires. Much more acceptable are reaction or response timers. Though perhaps the best option would be a combination of both techniques together with situation trials.
It would follow that the best learning system would be tripartite where there were computer based learning programmes, both in school and in homes to cater for the BHI students. Classrooms where there are both human interactive and computer based programmes will cater for those who prefer a combination of techniques. For those who are at the high end of the FHE they will be happy with high level human interaction programmes.
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