
Re: Martin Bickman On The Needless War Between Traditionalists And Progressives
Posted:
Aug 31, 2012 3:17 PM


On Thu, Aug 30, 2012 at 5:30 PM, Robert Hansen <bob@rsccore.com> wrote: > > On Aug 30, 2012, at 8:05 PM, kirby urner <kirby.urner@gmail.com> wrote: > > This sounds like Haim's position. I so far don't understand where it > comes from. The premise seems to be that the content / substance of > these various "subjects" is something static, a known quantity, and > the only variable is whether the teachers and/or the students have > "the right stuff" or not. > > > > Yes, it is Haim's position, and I agree with it. We are talking through high > school, not graduate school, not middle age. I have mentored enough new > grads (which would be 20 through 22) to know that this is just the way we > humans are. It is called maturity, and in a couple hundred years (if we are > lucky) it will be called neuroscience.
Partly why I went through some autobiography above was to show that your view is entirely ahistorical.
In my own lifetime, I've seen nothing but adults disagreeing on what belongs in K12. The math teachers got caught up in New Math that meant the sudden incursion of new notation (set notation). Elementary school students were learning the difference between the commutative and associative properties, and adding in different bases.
This was satirized by Tom Lehrer in his song 'New Math'. At the time (1968), I (at age 10 or so) wondered why the grownups thought that song was so funny, as his rendering of the base 8 subtraction problem is mathematically correct. I find more Youtube derivatives of that song every time I check, still popular.
Then for 3rd grade I was in a British school and the content was different once again. Coming back to an Americanstyle school (Overseas School of Rome) was a bit of a shock: I was so far ahead of my peers, in terms of being able to add wide columns of numbers and do longer long divisions (or at least that is my recollection of 4th grade  Mr. Leighter thought I was pretty smart which was good for my self image).
> In AI we call it human time. It is an > advantage for machines. Humans are constrained by their own design. Don't be > so sad, once we grow up we can and do branch out. Till that time, our > learning is the three R's and there isn't any thing any of us can do about > it. I have an IQ of 140 and I have seen old ladies that could out teach my > ass. It is a craft and it is ancient. > > Bob Hansen
I think the problem here is not how humans think but the relative shortness of their life spans. It wasn't always about algebra, geometry, algebra2/precalc, calc i.e. that current settled pattern hasn't been settled for long.
Before high schoolers were encouraged to learn calculus, there was a lot more emphasis on spherical trig in the higher grades.
I think you mistake "new / different content" for "more advanced" content.
For example, when I was a kid, Unicode didn't exist so of course we didn't learn about it. But now it's everywhere and you can imagine that Russian kids all know what Unicode is by 3rd grade latest, or if not the Russians the Chinese or whatever.
Is Unicode an advanced high IQ subject that should only be tackled in college?
Is Unicode harder to grasp than integration by parts or the three branches of government (back before the takeover, when civics was still allowed)?
No, it's just a mapping of characters to code points to various bitbased encodings. Easily accessible, doesn't take a genius and shouldn't take a computer scientist as we're talking uberbasic info saving, like what you need to manage a Pizza Hut and share data internationally.
Or take Base64 encoding. Every time you send an email attachment to a friend using SMTP, something like that is used, 3 8bit patterns convert to 4 6bit patterns with 4 printable character bytes sent for every three anythingbytes (octets).
That's elementary school level mathematics, applied to a "how it works" lesson plan (interactive). The real world relevance is right there  email.
There's no big IQ needed for any of this. Way easier than factoring polynomials or proving two triangles congruent, at least for some.
You'll say: "yes, but zero schools are teaching any of this at the high school level" and I'm saying "no, some of the better schools already are, and besides, I'm not just talking about the USA, which is in a stupid period of its history at the moment, as satirized by the movie 'Idiocracy', a big hit with my friends in Lithuania".
You can sit comfortably in that status quo bubble of yours, believing that what needs to come under the heading of K12 STEM is all nailed down and it's just a matter of finding the right teachers with the right stuff, to teach the known substance.
But I will continue to think that if history is any guide at all, that you're just another myopic mortal human who can't see beyond his/her own tiny window of experience and doesn't care to study within a broader horizon.
Kirby

