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HaiBai
Your thoughts, insights, and musings on this matter intrigue me
+304|4974|Bolingbrook, Illinois
http://lkd.cc/post/12863887617/were-wor … e-too-hard
Yesterday, I shared an anecdote involving a school I once attended with a list. This anecdote eventually became the basis for a blog post. Traffic was fairly normal for the first few hours until it found its way onto hackernews.

Then it exploded.

The comments on both the original blog post and the post on hackernews filled almost immediately with opinionated hackers, teachers and students sharing similar experiences, discussing the problem and figuring out what should be done about it.

Repeatedly, the argument was made that the education system is smothering creativity, actively discouraging innovation and turning out mindless 'drones' with a high number of often worthless qualifications. The case was made that we should act to change the curriculum;


"We should include <name of subject> in the curriculum"


"We should retrain teachers to improve the quality of their teaching and recruit talented <insert name of profession>ers as teachers to impart their knowledge the next generation!"

This makes sense from a data-driven perspective; Better teachers = Better students = Better future workforce. This approach, in my opinion, is fundamentally flawed

Back in the glory days of the UK, schools were largely under-regulated when compared to modern schools. League tables were a figment of a young tory party representative's imagination and Ofstead was a meaningless word

Schools ran courses because they wanted to, not because they would ensure the highest possible rank on the league table. Computer Science was taught alongside 'CIT' and English teachers were allowed to teach "Lord of the Flies" without fearing losing their job. Most notably, however; Science teachers could blow stuff up without worrying for health and safety. It was that notion of 'blowing stuff up' that drove students in hordes into science lessons. How many of the most influential British scientists were once inspired by their secondary school teacher's borderline pyromania?

This is something we have largely lost. With the exception of the most dedicated educators who fight for the combustion of jelly-babies in testtubes to make their lessons more engaging, science is bland and uninteresting and the teaching is completely clinical. The same is true for Maths and for Computer Science, frontiers in which upward mobility is still completely possible and innovation is commonplace, reduced to basic operation of of Microsoft packages, use of dead languages and outdated theories. Where are the pyromaniacs in Computer Science? How many programmers have we lost for lack of 'blowing stuff up'?

To complement this shift in teaching-style, exams changed too.

Where O levels were terminal (one exam, one shot at winning, or 2 if you resat), modern examinations are modular. Each subject consists of anywhere between 6 and 20 modular exams with supporting coursework and assessments. Subjects can and often do entail hours of work each night, severely limiting the amount of time young people can spend exploring their own interests. For high achievers, this problem is only made worse as instead of being allowed time to explore their interests and passions, they are forced to take on more subjects 'because they are capable'. These high achievers are often the ones with outside interests and as a result end up with less than desirable scores in exams and 'Effort Grades' below average.

Though the blame cannot be placed entirely on the way we're teaching our young people. A large part of the problem stems directly from the number of subjects we're forcing upon our students. 5 GCSEs is the minimum, but students are commonly expected to achieve upwards of 16. I myself ended up with 22. We're working our young people too hard.

Reading back through the comments on hackernews, I noticed a recurring theme. Hackers would bring up anecdotes of playing around with BBC Micros in their spare time, learning C in their spare time or building basic command-line games in their spare time. Most of the best developers I know are products of tinkering with technology when they had a minute, but in an educational ecosystem which squeezes every last drop of energy and free time from students, where do they find the time to explore their own interests? We force so much structured work onto our young people that they loose all opportunity to take part in the arguably more important "unstructured work", the tinkering and hacking that once made us the leaders of the industrial world.

We're heading for disaster but we can do something about it. Organisations like Rewired State are already reshaping the way programming is taught from a grassroots level and communities where young developers can share their experiences and knowledge are beginning to emerge in their wake. Similar communities, im sure, exist for other subjects. The kids of Rewired State are the archetypes of a new era of education, one in which we have the tools and the ability to teach ourselves what we want to learn.

We need to refocus out energies not on producing the most highly-qualified generation in history, but the most highly skilled and highly satisfied. Only then can we really start to change the world.
I bolded the part that I can really relate to.  I decided to take 5 AP classes this semester and now, I simply have no time to pursue my passions, programming and reverse engineering.  I want to spend the rest of my life working with and studying those two subjects, so why do I have to spend all of my time taking all of these other classes that have minor contributions on what I want to do for the rest of my life?

It's not that I feel that they're useless or that they won't help me later in life.  It's just that to maximize my changes of getting into a good college, I'm forced to fill in all my free-time with academics.  When am I supposed to develop the skills that are truly important to me?

Spoiler (highlight to read):
i know like it sounds that im complaining, but in reality i just read this really interesting article and wanted to share it with bf2s.  beacuse this is the debate and serious talk, i thought i'd contribute to the debate aspect of the forum by relating my personal experiences along with my personal opinions.  /flameshield
Cybargs
Moderated
+2,279|6206
That's why you don't take 5 AP classes in a year, you should've done 3 or 4 max a year.

edit: i thought you werent going to college, why take the APs?

Last edited by Cybargs (2011-11-16 18:02:10)

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HaiBai
Your thoughts, insights, and musings on this matter intrigue me
+304|4974|Bolingbrook, Illinois
of course i'm going to college, why would i miss the best time of my life?  in the other thread i was just pointing out that it would be more beneficial for me to start getting work experience then to go to college

i'm still definately going though.

also, it doesn't help that before this year, i had never even taken an honors class before, let alone AP.
Jay
Bork! Bork! Bork!
+2,006|4848|London, England
Most kids haven't got a clue what they want to do at 17. That's why you have such a diverse curricula, or that's the reasoning for it anyway.

Blame all the helicopter moms that try to maximize their kids time in order to increase their chances at getting into college. They've raised the bar to obscene heights, which is absurd. Colleges have to reteach everything that is taught in high school anyway.
"Ah, you miserable creatures! You who think that you are so great! You who judge humanity to be so small! You who wish to reform everything! Why don't you reform yourselves? That task would be sufficient enough."
-Frederick Bastiat
Cybargs
Moderated
+2,279|6206

Jay wrote:

Most kids haven't got a clue what they want to do at 17. That's why you have such a diverse curricula, or that's the reasoning for it anyway.

Blame all the helicopter moms that try to maximize their kids time in order to increase their chances at getting into college. They've raised the bar to obscene heights, which is absurd. Colleges have to reteach everything that is taught in high school anyway.
blame asians. im serious blame asian parents and that tiger mom bullshit. BEAT YOUR KIDS UNTIL THEY GET INTO HARVARD. Or one daughter becomes a closet slut WIN
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Macbeth
Banned
+2,444|5075

You don't have time to fuck around because of your AP classes? You poor thing. My heart breaks for you.

"It's just that to maximize my changes of getting into a good college, I'm forced to fill in all my free-time with academics.  When am I supposed to develop the skills that are truly important to me?"
Why can't I have my cake and eat it too? I want to get into a good college and get a good job ( because the two totally go hand in hand) but I don't want to bust my ass to do it. I also don't want to miss ""the best time of my life" in college while also getting great grades and a dream job.






Totally not delusional
Macbeth
Banned
+2,444|5075

We need to refocus out energies not on producing the most highly-qualified generation in history, but the most highly skilled and highly satisfied.
And this is why education is largely fucked in America. The idea that you entitled to enjoy everything, always, all the time. Too much instant gratification tied with feeling entitled to being happy. Life, as with all of human history, is largely a study on suffering. Why should our education system be designed in a way to also make people feel satisfied with their lives when the world doesn't give a shit about their satisfaction?

His whole rant was in the same vein of "everyone is a winner. you are all special. everyone gets a sticker/trophy/medal". What a bunch of shit.
Cybargs
Moderated
+2,279|6206
this is why asians are kicking white boys ass in academics.
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Macbeth
Banned
+2,444|5075

Cybargs wrote:

this is why asians are kicking white boys ass in academics.
It makes you wonder why most of China and India are still illiterate farmers.
Cybargs
Moderated
+2,279|6206

Macbeth wrote:

Cybargs wrote:

this is why asians are kicking white boys ass in academics.
It makes you wonder why most of China and India are still illiterate farmers.
poverty. But education is BIG BIG BIG in chinese culture. you give the chinese the money, they will send their kids to the best colleges and they do.

India still churns out 2 million ivy league level students each year lol. its a numbers game.
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Macbeth
Banned
+2,444|5075

Seriously though, I still think the whole "educated Asian" stereotype, in the U.S., is largely a result of immigration policy and massive populations. The fact that all of South America has a higher HDI than both India and China despite the latter two's "focus on education" makes me suspicious of this supposed ''cultural value'.
Cybargs
Moderated
+2,279|6206

Macbeth wrote:

Seriously though, I still think the whole "educated Asian" stereotype, in the U.S., is largely a result of immigration policy and massive populations. The fact that all of South America has a higher HDI than both India and China despite the latter two's "focus on education" makes me suspicious of this supposed ''cultural value'.
Immigration does discriminate based on asset tests, and with China they had a pretty strict emigration policy, thats why most "chinese" are actually from hong kong or cantonese people. But the chinese will work their kids to death in education and a lot of it has to do with the civic exams in 1600s china and confusion philosophy. Those two countries used to be the richest in the world till the brits raped their ass.
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Macbeth
Banned
+2,444|5075

Cybargs wrote:

you give the chinese the money, they will send their kids to the best colleges and they do.
or they could gamble it away while smoking opium.

My western imperialist side has some very strong doubts about the cultural power of these people.
HaiBai
Your thoughts, insights, and musings on this matter intrigue me
+304|4974|Bolingbrook, Illinois

Macbeth wrote:

You don't have time to fuck around because of your AP classes? You poor thing. My heart breaks for you.

"It's just that to maximize my changes of getting into a good college, I'm forced to fill in all my free-time with academics.  When am I supposed to develop the skills that are truly important to me?"
Why can't I have my cake and eat it too? I want to get into a good college and get a good job ( because the two totally go hand in hand) but I don't want to bust my ass to do it. I also don't want to miss ""the best time of my life" in college while also getting great grades and a dream job.






Totally not delusional
errr.  What do you mean by 'fuck around'?  That's not what I want.  I want time to continue studying programming and reverse engineering because that's what I want to fucking to for the rest of my life.  Those two things are going to get me my paycheck.  Instead, I need to study Hamlet.  That's great and all but literary analysis isn't going to do make my life any better.

It's like trying to tell Mark Zuckerburg to not "fuck around" with starting up Facebook because it had a negative effect on his academics.

im not talking about fucking partying and making sure "i have the best time of my life".  i'm talking about something that will make a difference.
Cybargs
Moderated
+2,279|6206

Macbeth wrote:

Cybargs wrote:

you give the chinese the money, they will send their kids to the best colleges and they do.
or they could gamble it away while smoking opium.

My western imperialist side has some very strong doubts about the cultural power of these people.
secret gambling problem the fuck? i thought everybody knew about asians and gambling addiction. no such thing about cultural power in china, they had a cultural revolution and shit you put drugs and gambling with asians, shit theyd blow that money away so quick. thats why drug and gambling are serious criminal offences in asia.
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Macbeth
Banned
+2,444|5075

Cybargs wrote:

Those two countries used to be the richest in the world till the brits raped their ass.
Ermmmm
China was already far behind the West by the time the Europeans got to it. In everything from weapons to the arts. You can't seriously blame China's stagnation on the Euros at all.
Mutantbear
Semi Constructive Criticism
+1,431|5454|London, England

HaiBai wrote:

im not talking about fucking partying and making sure "i have the best time of my life".  i'm talking about something that will make a difference.

HaiBai wrote:

of course i'm going to college, why would i miss the best time of my life?
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Macbeth
Banned
+2,444|5075

HaiBai wrote:

Macbeth wrote:

You don't have time to fuck around because of your AP classes? You poor thing. My heart breaks for you.

"It's just that to maximize my changes of getting into a good college, I'm forced to fill in all my free-time with academics.  When am I supposed to develop the skills that are truly important to me?"
Why can't I have my cake and eat it too? I want to get into a good college and get a good job ( because the two totally go hand in hand) but I don't want to bust my ass to do it. I also don't want to miss ""the best time of my life" in college while also getting great grades and a dream job.






Totally not delusional
errr.  What do you mean by 'fuck around'?  That's not what I want.  I want time to continue studying programming and reverse engineering because that's what I want to fucking to for the rest of my life.  Those two things are going to get me my paycheck.  Instead, I need to study Hamlet.  That's great and all but literary analysis isn't going to do make my life any better.

It's like trying to tell Mark Zuckerburg to not "fuck around" with starting up Facebook because it had a negative effect on his academics.

im not talking about fucking partying and making sure "i have the best time of my life".  i'm talking about something that will make a difference.
You are 17. Stick your dick into a girl and then come back and tell me you know what you want to do in life and have all the answers.
Cybargs
Moderated
+2,279|6206

Macbeth wrote:

Cybargs wrote:

Those two countries used to be the richest in the world till the brits raped their ass.
Ermmmm
China was already far behind the West by the time the Europeans got to it. In everything from weapons to the arts. You can't seriously blame China's stagnation on the Euros at all.
I said rich, as in money wise. China and india was pretty fucking rich, but the brits were just smarter and know how to exploit the situation.
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HaiBai
Your thoughts, insights, and musings on this matter intrigue me
+304|4974|Bolingbrook, Illinois

Mutantbear wrote:

HaiBai wrote:

im not talking about fucking partying and making sure "i have the best time of my life".  i'm talking about something that will make a difference.

HaiBai wrote:

of course i'm going to college, why would i miss the best time of my life?
i'm talking about the present.  right now i'm a senior in high school.
Cybargs
Moderated
+2,279|6206
you dont make sense. then again you are polish.
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Mutantbear
Semi Constructive Criticism
+1,431|5454|London, England

HaiBai wrote:

Instead, I need to study Hamlet.  That's great and all but literary analysis isn't going to do make my life any better.

HaiBai wrote:

It's not that I feel that they're useless or that they won't help me later in life.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________ https://i.imgur.com/Xj4f2.png
HaiBai
Your thoughts, insights, and musings on this matter intrigue me
+304|4974|Bolingbrook, Illinois

Macbeth wrote:

HaiBai wrote:

Macbeth wrote:

You don't have time to fuck around because of your AP classes? You poor thing. My heart breaks for you.


Why can't I have my cake and eat it too? I want to get into a good college and get a good job ( because the two totally go hand in hand) but I don't want to bust my ass to do it. I also don't want to miss ""the best time of my life" in college while also getting great grades and a dream job.






Totally not delusional
errr.  What do you mean by 'fuck around'?  That's not what I want.  I want time to continue studying programming and reverse engineering because that's what I want to fucking to for the rest of my life.  Those two things are going to get me my paycheck.  Instead, I need to study Hamlet.  That's great and all but literary analysis isn't going to do make my life any better.

It's like trying to tell Mark Zuckerburg to not "fuck around" with starting up Facebook because it had a negative effect on his academics.

im not talking about fucking partying and making sure "i have the best time of my life".  i'm talking about something that will make a difference.
You are 17. Stick your dick into a girl and then come back and tell me you know what you want to do in life and have all the answers.
shut the fuck up.  i know what going to be doing for the rest of my fucking life.  there's nothing else i want to do apart from programming/reverse engineering exceptfor owning my own business.  just because you're in college majoring in a worthless degree that is going to give you a shitty job and where you don't know what the fuck you're doing with your life doesn't mean that applies to everybody.
HaiBai
Your thoughts, insights, and musings on this matter intrigue me
+304|4974|Bolingbrook, Illinois

Mutantbear wrote:

HaiBai wrote:

Instead, I need to study Hamlet.  That's great and all but literary analysis isn't going to do make my life any better.

HaiBai wrote:

It's not that I feel that they're useless or that they won't help me later in life.
im sure it contributes in someway, but studying my own interests will increase my chances of success way more than studying hamlet will
Macbeth
Banned
+2,444|5075

Cybargs wrote:

Macbeth wrote:

Cybargs wrote:

Those two countries used to be the richest in the world till the brits raped their ass.
Ermmmm
China was already far behind the West by the time the Europeans got to it. In everything from weapons to the arts. You can't seriously blame China's stagnation on the Euros at all.
I said rich, as in money wise. China and india was pretty fucking rich, but the brits were just smarter and know how to exploit the situation.
High populations and nice caches of resources. I know. You would think with all that "focus on education" and shit you are talking up about Asians those groups of people wouldn't get "outsmarted" by the English...

Do you see how dumb your argument is?

"In China and India they focus on education and stuff. They are also really rich places. They were only assbackwards because the British outsmarted them and stuck their cocks into the countries ass. How really rich areas got assraped and outsmarted despite their educational values I dunno lol"

For fuck sake

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