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Q: Education... do we take it for granted?

Chatting with a human of the XX chromosome persuasion this morning and she got me thinking (rare, I know), but do we just take education for granted?  Most if not all of us on here have lived lives milling around that place affectionately known as Academia Town and most all of the folks we have known, grew up with, have also.  So, do we just assume without questioning that because we know about X, everyone else knows that too?

 

She stated* that it doesn't snow in the US.     "US has no snow right?"

 

Really?  Can someone grow up so uniformed about the basics of life on Earth?  How?  I'm confused.  What should we do about it?  I thought with the easy access to information provided in the Digital Age that the youth were just naturally receiving a well-rounded education.

 

*I know it was sort of phrased as a question, but believe me she put it out there more as a statement.

44 weeks 6 days ago in  Teaching & Learning - China

 
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Yeah I've seen stunning examples of ignorance, usually regarding anything not strictly academic.

Chinese generally have no clue about things like how anything natural works such as weather, food chains, ecosystems etc. I've found them to be just as ignorant when it comes to the world outside of China except for a few generalisations or one off facts - NZ is green, Australia has kangaroos, Americans are rascist Christians, Japanese are evil, South Africans are all black etc...

But I think that's mostly because no importance is put on learning half the stuff we learn in schools. It's seen as useless. The average Chinese kid probably couldn't point to Europe on a map but she/ he would dominate any maths class in probably most western countries.

And then there's the political indoctrination. How much time is wasted drilling Marxist quotes and stuff about China's glorious 5000 year history which proves they're the master race and that every other country is jealous of China so is trying to stop China from claiming its rightful place as ruler of the world etc etc.

I remember a conversation I had where I mentioned how when I was at school every kid learned basic kitchen, sewing, wood and metal work skills as well as extra interesting optional things like rock climbing, kayaking, target shooting, basic camping, orientation, swimming etc. School camps were great fun. I was told that was all a waste of time, when Chinese kids go on a school camp they just do more classwork and the parents think that's great. P.E is only because the school needs to make sure the kids get some exercise and don't get too obese - it's not supposed to be fun in any way.

Different priorities. I know where I'd rather be a kid and where I'd rather raise a kid but to each their own I suppose. In a fiercely competitive environment I can sort of see how a parent would rather have their kid subjected to five hours on a Saturday learning algebra than being taught where precipitation comes from.

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44 weeks 6 days ago
 
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I am not sure about my 'granted education', buTT ... I could tell off the bat about approximate yearly weather conditions just in any place on Earth.

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44 weeks 6 days ago
 
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Yeah I've seen stunning examples of ignorance, usually regarding anything not strictly academic.

Chinese generally have no clue about things like how anything natural works such as weather, food chains, ecosystems etc. I've found them to be just as ignorant when it comes to the world outside of China except for a few generalisations or one off facts - NZ is green, Australia has kangaroos, Americans are rascist Christians, Japanese are evil, South Africans are all black etc...

But I think that's mostly because no importance is put on learning half the stuff we learn in schools. It's seen as useless. The average Chinese kid probably couldn't point to Europe on a map but she/ he would dominate any maths class in probably most western countries.

And then there's the political indoctrination. How much time is wasted drilling Marxist quotes and stuff about China's glorious 5000 year history which proves they're the master race and that every other country is jealous of China so is trying to stop China from claiming its rightful place as ruler of the world etc etc.

I remember a conversation I had where I mentioned how when I was at school every kid learned basic kitchen, sewing, wood and metal work skills as well as extra interesting optional things like rock climbing, kayaking, target shooting, basic camping, orientation, swimming etc. School camps were great fun. I was told that was all a waste of time, when Chinese kids go on a school camp they just do more classwork and the parents think that's great. P.E is only because the school needs to make sure the kids get some exercise and don't get too obese - it's not supposed to be fun in any way.

Different priorities. I know where I'd rather be a kid and where I'd rather raise a kid but to each their own I suppose. In a fiercely competitive environment I can sort of see how a parent would rather have their kid subjected to five hours on a Saturday learning algebra than being taught where precipitation comes from.

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44 weeks 6 days ago
 
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Alas, ignorance (not knowing something one might not be expected to know) and nescience (not knowing something one definately should know) are not exclusive to China. I think, in fact, that some aspects of the Chinese school system are admirable. That said, the product of any education is largely shaped by the educators' intent. China's school system aims to produce good scores on the Gaokao. That's a good thing for a village student whose best chance to advance in this society is to attend a good university. It may not produce the most rounded world view -- but neither does the idelogially driven "liberal" education now in vogue in the US (where the majority of students cannot identify thier home city on an unlabeled map of the USA, and nealy all students can incorrectly identify CO2 as the most potent Greenhouse Gas).

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28 weeks 6 days ago
 
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A good thing for this society that there are some kids, maybe about 0.01 % of the kids, that are able to use better judgement and think outside the box. It is hard to believe that a highschool kid who must spend 10 hours a day 6 days a week in the classroom can do anything other than what he is told to do. Most high school students don't know why they are learning something. The other day my students surprised me by indicating they didn't know what the abacus did, nor where it came from. That is just one example of not having access to a well rounded education. They are told they must get the only answer even though it may be obvious that there is more than one answer.After teaching in Universities, colleges, and middle schools in China,  I think we in the west take education for granted.

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28 weeks 6 days ago
 
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