Howard Gardner (HG) has identified a question that - given a few appropriate modifications - could prove crucial (I claim) for developing effective educational systems:
IMPORTANT QUESTION Q: ==================== "How do we preserve the imagination and the questioning of the 5-year-old mind, but replace the child's notions with well-founded theories and accurate conceptions?" (Interview)
Except for the fact that (IMHO) our available 'theories and concepts' are not so very "well-founded" and not so very "accurate", I would guess that is really the heart of the matter: ++++++ "How to preserve the imagination and the questioning of the 5-year-old mind?" ++++++ In doing this, we need to help the child develop well- founded theories and accurate conceptions. I am NOT claiming that all our existing "theories" and "conceptions" are useless - but I do claim that we do societally suffer from a number of grievous misconceptions, some of which could even be extremely dangerous for society.
For instance, there are the misconceptions/theories that I've noted before:
- -- "PUT THE EDUCATIONAL MAFIA IN JAIL!" (A);
- -- "BLOW UP THE SCHOOLS OF EDUCATION!" (B); and
- -- "Children have to be PUSHED (not ENCOURAGED) to learn math (or anything else)" (C).
All are profoundly wrong theories, serious misconceptions that could be extremely dangerous for society.
What is needed is a societal mindset to ensure that:
- -- the Teacher Unions and Teacher Associations become effective means of representing the real interests of teachers (and not just means of 'opposing management' and 'gaining privileges for their members' [that would help ensure the office bearers are voted back into office]);
- -- the schools of education get down to their real task of developing effective teachers for schools and universities;
- -- parents and teachers both realize that children (at all levels) need to be ENCOURAGED (not PUSHED) to learn: if properly ENCOURAGED, the children will themselves learn how to PUSH themselves to learn (whatever it is that they do need to learn).
Along with all of the above, the stakeholders of the educational systems need to understand the crucial importance of the educational system in the complex of systems that constitute society - and they need to learn how they should act to overcome the deficiencies and flaws of the existing educational systems.
None of the above is going to be easy, given that we all have for generations and even aeons allowed ourselves to be lulled into the 'comfortable', fundamental misconceptions that:
- -- we (humanity) are the 'MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE'; and that
- -- the planet was given to us by God to be our plaything.
These are dangerous views of ourselves and of the world that have been given to us by most religions.
A little humility, a little thankfulness for the privilege of being alive - such could be the appropriate attitudes for us to assume if we wish to find our way out of the mess we've created on planet earth for ourselves (and for the rest of creation).