Joe Jackson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sat, 9 Dec 2000 13:12:30 -0500
> Public schools and truancy laws were the inventions of politicians. In
> fact, science has given all _sorts_ of ammunition to those who are opposed
> to traditional schools...
You are much more of a historian than I; have not politicians have used the
"science" of the day as a source of their ideas on social management in our
nation's public schools, not only in their mid-19th-century genesis, but in
the continual "reforming" of them ever since?
> The notion that people are a "blank slate" is a political notion used
> alternately to give credence to the idea of Aristocratic power or violent
> Utopian reform, while the notion of inborn tendencies of people to unfold
> naturally into _people_ has been shown repeatedly in scientific literature
> (particularly in developmental psychology).
Yes, anecdotally. However, the **bulk** of the application of science to
education has been to produce and tinker with the mainstream system we have
today. Understanding that, and understanding the dubious level of
understanding we have of how the human mind works, I don't believe "science"
is a card we should play when it comes to deciding what environment is best
for our kids.
> Good science can be used to dispel the myth that one group can know enough
> to design a perfect learning environment for another group.
> Good science may only paint a foggy picture of what goes on in any human
> mind... But good science allows us to see just how _little_ we are
> capable of knowing about any person's internal thoughts feelings and needs
> -- and it is certainly a much more _accurate_ picture than the crisp clear
> and false picture of how children learn painted by polticians like Horace
> Mann and the Massachusetts Board of Education.
But none of the "good science" is conclusive enough to separate itself from
"bad" science. If this was a physics problem or a chemistry problem, you
have measurements; that's data. There's no argument. But that we are so
far away from actually "measuring" anything about humans is why you have
legions of experts all spouting their own theories in all directions.
For every expert that can "prove" through case study and observation that
infants are born with what they need to learn, there's another expert that
can prove expert #1 wrong. Horace Mann was a good guy, but what he did was
institute what was considered the proven educational principles of the day.
His ideas didn't come from a vacuum and he sure as heck didn't invent them,
they came from science.
And the attempts to reform over the past 150 years have also resulted from
principles of whatever "science" of the day folks were pushing.
It's not even really a question of whether the theories are correct or not,
it's instituting them that is wrong. Who knew in 1837 that sitting kids
down in a classroom would impair them? The dynamics of learning are so
complex, and the urges for people to try out their theories are so strong!
Just because pouring powdered iron into the ocean can dramatically reduce
the level of CO2 in the earth's atmosphere, should we do it? Should we
actually engage actively in attempting to alter the earth's climate?
Our reaction to "good science allows us to see just how _little_ we are
capable of knowing about any person's internal thoughts feelings and needs"
should be to continue learning about how humans work, but to stop
experimenting on them using "theories" derived from today's sorry body of
knowledge. My personal reaction is to stop accepting science as a credible
basis on which to discuss what is the best environment for children.
Kathleen says "there is also some great (scientific) information that can be
of use." I don't think so. Good information that can be of use is knowing
that a plant needs light to perform photosynthesis. Knowing that kids can
learn certain things really fast when they're a certain age is not useful
because of the enormous costs to the child by directing their learning
processes. It might be a good bit of information which will go into the
empirical body of understanding, but it is just not useful now, and it may
be never useful in any practical sense.
We don't know enough to put the little bits of what we know about the
learning process "to use". The "learning sciences" are in their infancy,
even prebirth, and as such their application to real life should be avoided.
> On Sat, 9 Dec 2000, Joe Jackson wrote:
> > I believe humanity is inborn. My children were filled with it when they
> > came out and will turn out filled with it if they are not messed with;
> > that's why I wanted Fairhaven.
> > Science doesn't have the foggiest notion of what's happening in
> the minds of
> > infants, but the hubris of science forces it to pretend it does, using
> > "research" (there's no hard data on the inner workings of
> people, only case
> > studies). Additionally, what "science" has come up with is our current
> > public school system.
> > By the way, there is LOTS of role modeling going on in the
> schools. It's
> > just not the kind I'm thinking you're hoping for (staff members
> > trying to teach students certain attitudes and behaviors)
> > -Joe
> > > >> This aspect
> > > >> "humanity" is
> > > >> not inborn and has to be modeled.
> > >
> > > on 12/7/00 1:54 PM, Joe Jackson at email@example.com wrote:
> > > > Robert,
> > > > As I could not disagree with this statement more, and insofar
> > > as this idea
> > > > is the fundamental basis for your feelings regarding the
> > > inadequacy of the
> > > > model, I believe that I have discovered the root of our fundamental
> > > > disagreement about what these schools should do for students.
> > > >
> > > > I am glad we have so much that we agree on!
> > > >
> > > > -Joe
> > > >
> > > Inborn in humans is the ability to be nourished and to be
> > > stimulated by the
> > > five senses and by some sort of heart connection not understood.
> > > Given these
> > > we also have the ability to evolve. This evolution is changes in brain
> > > structure, body development, emotional development, and,
> > > according to recent
> > > science, changes in the genetic code. Yes, we evolve
> genetically due to
> > > environmental input! (Now we'll nerver know which came first, the
> > > chicken or
> > > the egg?).
> > >
> > > Inborn in humans is the possibility to evolve. This is huge.
> The limits of
> > > evolution are set by nutrition and stimulation. If parents nourish and
> > > evolve their own genetics that is a good start. Next, they
> can nourish and
> > > stimulate the infant in the womb. The newborn needs the
> stimulus of loving
> > > touch and warmth and gentle words, and a lack of other
> stimuli. After this
> > > the child needs extreem variety of stimulation in a context of
> > > joy and love
> > > so to open a wide variety of potentials into our world. At
> age eleven the
> > > potentials focus that applied intelligence be developed in
> behalf of the
> > > given environment and one's interests. Aspects of material
> survival then
> > > become so fluid as to be second nature (not daily worry).
> Creativity is
> > > given open reins. As a person thinks, so he is -- possibility.
> > >
> > > A child raised by wolves would not speak, maybe not even walk. A child
> > > raised by nervous parents will walk and talk but may never fully
> > > understand
> > > peace and love and cooperation. A child raised by a loving
> world community
> > > may speak twenty languages, be in complete peace, move
> without hesitation
> > > into continued improvement of self as relative to a wholesome
> world, and
> > > cooperate with others with a charm and grace that would
> befuddle us lizard
> > > brains. This person's joy and excitement for life could power
> a creativity
> > > lightyears advanced from our own. Imagine Einstein, Jesus and
> > > holding hands as they skip down the street with the students from
> > > a Sudbury
> > > school. They are not going anywhere. Within, they know they
> have arrived.
> > > They found self because of who they are with.
> > >
> > > It's all a matter of models,
> > > robert
> > >
> > >
> > >
> --Scott David Gray
> reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org
> In spite of oppressors, in spite of false leaders, in spite
> of labor's own lack of understanding of its needs, the cause
> of the worker continues onward. Slowly his hours are
> shortened, giving him leisure to read and to think. Slowly
> his standard of living rises to include some of the good and
> beautiful things of the world. Slowly the cause of his
> children becomes the cause of all. His boy is taken from the
> breaker, his girl from the mill. Slowly those who create
> the wealth of the world are permitted to share it. The
> future is in labor's strong, rough hands.
> -- Mary Harris "Mother" Jones
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