Posts Tagged ‘education’

My mom and dad

Posted: December 2, 2016 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

I grew up One of four children in a six person family. I was born in 1977 (now you can do the math). I watched my mom and dad take care of my family through out the 80’s and 90’s, I left for the army in 1998.

The 80’s in the United States were a decade that many would define as one of decadence. There was in the 80’s a growing middle class in the United States and a rather high amount of wealth was generated in the middle class. While many families were participating in decadence and runaway spending my parents did a great job of maintaining a family without overspending on material things. My parents took me and my sisters to museums libraries and landmarks all over Ohio and the United States. We learned and grew to be well cultured people thanks in no small part to the way my parents spent money they earned in the 80’s.

The 90’s in the United States started with the country winning the cold war with the Soviet Union. The citizens of the United States no longer lived in fear of the Soviets but, violent militia groups in the United States as well as terrorists outside of the United States seemed to rise more after the fall of the USSR. There was also a political and social polarization taking place. The battleground was all of America. You were either a Republican or a Democrat and as such your leader was either Gingrich or Clinton. My parents were not Clinton supporters but they have always identified as an independent voter. While it seemed like the nation was becoming more and more divided my parents did their best to teach me and my sisters through deeds and words that everyone deserved respect no matter their political leanings, race, religion or sex.

The United States and the world are changing. In 1830 the United States moved from an agricultural workforce to an industrial one. Now in 2016 it seems that the country is shifting from an industrial workforce into a thinking workforce. “The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment.”  — Warren Bennis 

This changing country is described, by some as a wind or a storm and there are a few ways to weather storms. One way to weather a storm is to build a wall and try and fight the storm but, it seems that every time humanity tries to fight mother nature mother nature wins. Another way to fight the storm is to hunker down in the eye of the storm adjust and live our lives.

I like to think that my parents did this for me and my sisters. They keep us insulated in the eye of the storm and while doing that prepared us for entering the storm through an education in all the sciences arts and most importantly how to treat others.

If our country or world is to survive the storm of the “thinking age” we have to learn and respect everyone.

peace

john3c

 

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8,00 BCE that is the time most intellectuals believe literacy entered the Humans toolbox. Literacy has made the largest impact on the world and the known universe. It is through literacy that man has been able to map out unknown worlds, explore the worlds and through recording the worlds make them known to fellow humans who have never been too or seen these worlds. It is through literacy that humans have gained and applied knowledge and it is this knowledge that has created the “arc of the moral universe”. Martin Luther King Jr. used the idea of the “moral arc” in his speech in Washington, but it was Theodore Parker who brought the idea of the moral arc of the universe into being. Basically as humans grow and learn the “moral arc” (which encompass humanities laws and actions towards everyone and everything) bend towards justice. This has been proven over time to be true. Despite the nostalgia we hear from our fathers and mothers we are living in a wonderful time right now and our children will live in an even more wonderful time.

My girlfriend however reminded me that if we do not learn and teach the wonderful times may not last forever. This is the part of my post where I tie in the title. Read as much as you can. When you read the works of the brillant you become brilliant. Through reading you can be anyone go anywhere and learn everything!

read

 

Write often. Writing is a great therapy and it teaches us how to better express ourselves. Do the math and add up everything. Nothing is truly random.

“Mathematics as an expression of the human mind reflects the active will, the contemplative reason, and the desire for aesthetic perfection. Its basic elements are logic and intuition, analysis and construction, generality and individuality. ”

Richard Courant

Here in the United States for school systems that still have a summer break, we are entering summer break time. I encourage the children this summer to Read, Write, Add and repeat. Parents aunts and uncles your example speaks much more loudly than any of your words, so I encourage us to do the same.

peace

john3c

I almost typed, “take the time to smell the roses”. My son Kyle is in 11th grade he gets great marks in high school and is being courted by various colleges. I am excited for him and also have some anxiety about this next “step” in his life. I can only imagine how he is feeling. I mean I am a little older than Kyle and like to think of myself as a well rounded and grounded person but Kyle is a 17 year old boy full of nerves and I am sure he is incredibly anxious. I also think the anxiety is not going to subside anymore until his tenure in the academic world is over.

I am not sure if you can tell but I really feel like education is an adventure and tool and should be fun and enlightening but modern education does not seem to be this way. I just finished reading an article in the New York Times titled “Stressed for Success”.  The article is a wonderful read and I encourage everyone to read it when they get the chance.

In the article there is a wonderful line and I will quote it here: “If you have done all these things and you are still an interesting person, congratulations, because the system has been trying to whittle you down into a bland, complaisant achievement machine.” This line came at a point in the article after describing the current academic culture in the western world.

The top students from Ivy league universities make up the leadership of the world and the last two decades of modern leadership have been single minded under developed selfish men and women.  Instead of educating academia has and is training our children to become cookie cutter pieces of a machine.

 

I want Kyle to be a success now doubt but I would define success not in financial or even in leadership means,  but success as being happy.

 

“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”

John Lennon

 

I am a big John Lennon fan. His music with and without the Beatles was incredible and this quote is one of my favorite.  If I could offer my son any advice with his academic career and it would be this. “Remember that your academic career is only a facet of who you are it should not define the whole. Enjoy life and this part of life learn about everything you can even if it doesn’t seem like it will help your career. A well rounded education will contribute far more important to your happiness than a single minded education. When you get out of college you may not be rewarded with the executive level position or you may be rewarded with that executive level position but no matter what level position you have at work you will be enlightened and that will make you happy. Enlightened people are happy and they make others happy when they are around them. Be more than just an achievement machine be a real live person and when you are that you will be really happy.  KY-Nailing-Machine images (3)

peace

 

It is called the  confirmation bias and it happens all the time. Often the confirmation bias is executed subconsciously. We watch tv shows, visit websites, political rallies and religious services which express views that agree with our own views. By exercising this bias we do not risk what psychologist call cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance,  is the discomfort experienced when simultaneously holding two or more conflicting cognitions: ideas, beliefs, values or emotional reactions.  Not everyone experiences cognitive dissonance in the same way or to the same degree.  Some people feel anger, disillusion and even dizziness when confronted with cognitive dissonance, it is because of this that people often develop an aversion to other views, it is then that the mind engages in the confirmation bias. That is the con of opening up ones beliefs,  values, or other constructs affecting ones cognition. Cognition is a fancy word for how someone thinks.
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The pro for changing ones cognition is complicated. The wiki page that you are taken to by clicking on the cognitive dissonance link points to one of Aseops fables for an example of cognitive dissonance….

One hot summer’s day a Fox was strolling through an orchard till he came to a bunch of Grapes just ripening on a vine which had been trained over a lofty branch. “Just the thing to quench my thirst,” quoth he. Drawing back a few paces, he took a run and a jump, and just missed the bunch. Turning round again with a One, Two, Three, he jumped up, but with no greater success. Again and again he tried after the tempting morsel, but at last had to give it up, and walked away with his nose in the air, saying: “I am sure they are sour.”

Now I am not a psychologist or a story teller but I am a movie fan and there is a scene in the new Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory, where Willy Wonka asks a question of the protagonist Charlie:

Willy Wonka: But Charlie, don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted.

Charlie Bucket: What happened?

Willy Wonka: He lived happily ever after.

The fox wanted the grapes, until, he couldn’t get them. At this point  he changed his mind and no longer wanted the grapes. Psychologist call this pattern “adaptive preference formation” . Adaptive preference formation may help one avoid the pain of cognitive dissonance but it results in not enjoying the grapes.

It is easy and natural to surround ourselves with like minded people and to  live and die within our comfort zone.  The act of reaching out learning new things that may unearth or mental constructs can be scary and painful but the freedom that you will feel through education and learning, for me at least, far outweighs this pain. This however may not be the case for others. They may choose to actively engage in a confirmation bias as well as follow the adaptive preference formation pattern. Those who are enlightened should engage the ones involved with in a confirmation bias with at least an ounce of compassion and understanding. The concept of dragging someone to the light kicking in screaming is both impractical, compassionate and intolerant.

Education and knowledge should be offered and I say taken but not everyone may choose to educate his or herself and this is a right someone has. To live in ignorance, however because of the lack of compassion, it often happens that the educated will brain wash and exploit the uneducated so my advice is to learn as much as you can no matter what it means to the mental processes you have.

I truly feel that knowledge is power. The “why” to situations should always be grasped and understood.

peace

john3c

 

Connect and Learn

Posted: September 25, 2013 in Uncategorized
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12 year old me: “Dad, how does a bullet work?” My 30 something year old dad: “Why don’t you look it up?” My forever 20 something year old mom:”That is why I bought these encyclopedias.”  My mom and her mom bought me and my sisters a few sets of encyclopedias. I learned at a young age the importance of research and the meaning of reference materials.

“Why don’t you look it up'” powerful words for a 12 year old to hear. I was always amazed at the massive amounts of information held between the covers of the encyclopedias. I only accepted the information found in the encyclopedias at face knowledge for a limited time, until I was about 13, then I wanted to know how the information was put in there and proven. I was impressed with science because the principles and concepts could be recreated and proven to be true. Empirical evidence has always amazed me. We know that at sea level water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Why do we know this? Well we read it in the encyclopedia and well we got our dads thermometer and measured all the ice in moms ice cube trays, duh. So science was easy, as was math and health but then came philosophy, political science and religion and I was introduced to the gray area.

To the encyclopedias credit articles concerning these areas simply display information, there really isn’t a right or wrong and isn’t that all we can do really? Ahh good point we can do many things. Let me rephrase isn’t this all we should do really? Who am I to suggest that the political party you vote for is wrong or for that matter the philosophy you adhere to or the religion you practice for that matter?  I shouldn’t tell you how to do any of that, but I can tell you that if your political party, philosophy or religion can justify or demand you take life well you should reconsider.  I am certain that for survival life has to be respected. Now I apologize for the digression, but the more I read it seems intolerance is becoming more acceptable and that makes me sad.

The encyclopedia was and still is a great starting point for anyone wishing to connect and learn, but we shouldn’t stop there. With dropping test scores and the political hyperbole thrown around by leaders, (this is truly a shame too, I really do not think the education system is as broken as the leaders make it out to be.  if you think I am wrong I would  challenge you to get to know some school age children), many of the school administrators teachers and other developers of the curriculum for the school system,  have been forced to evaluate the whole school system, here in the United States of America. Being educators analytic thinkers and   what not one of the first things the educators did was to try to, utilizing science and empirical, determine how students learned.

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It seems from the studies done so far hands on learning is the best type of learning for all ages. Students of all ages have to connect and learn and experiment be wrong and right. It seems what works in school, reading a book (connecting with the author), writing a paper about the book (hands on writing like the author) works best for learning.   Learning should never end. We have no excuse for ignorance. We are living in a time when the most people have access to the most knowledge ever. to not learn,  (of course this is not taking into account those with learning disabilities) makes us lazy, indifferent or both.

The reward for hard work is clear. ”

“You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it come true. You may have to work for it, however.”

Richard David Bach (born 1936);
Writer

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Today if we take the time to connect and learn through some hands on action, I really feel like we will have a much better day than if we were to go about and complete it as a lazy uneducated and indifferent oaf.

peace

john3c

I am not sure where you live, but I am most certain you live somewhere that has a public education program. Here our public education program has two measures for a childs pass and failure. One is the teachers discretion through her or his course  and the other is a standardized test that is given to all students at the same time. Only after making good marks on both these measure can a student be promoted to the next level.

I find the standardized testing disturbing. I can remember some of my coming up through the education system as a child and I am pretty sure I would have failed many standardized tests. I passed all my teachers curriculum but the testing well until the 10th grade this would have most likely resulted in some type of failure.

I did learn though. I learned about reading, math science and life. All this learning took place in and out of school. I learned at the feet of my teachers, parents and older students. I just don’t think that, if I  was asked to recall immediately what I learned, I would have successfully done that. 

I imagine my teachers felt as though the teaching they were doing was all for naught, but I assure them it wasn’t.

An atheist man asked a spiritual man why he wasted his time in church. “You go every Sunday and I bet you cannot recall one sermon or one verse from all your visits. Why waste your time.” The spiritual man let the atheist know that his wife cooked him meals every day for the last twenty years and that he couldn’t recall many of the meals or even how they tasted, but he was nourished from them and he was certain that they were delicious.

 This post is not about spirituality but more about our effect on others. I am inclined to believe that, despite a lack of evidence, like a passing test score,  every interaction we have with everyone makes a difference. Let’s just hope the difference is for good..

peace

john3c

 

There was an engineer who worked on airplanes. He would design and build all types of commercial jets.While designing and building the committee would get involved and weight of the vehicle was always an issue. There would be cuts made in passenger amenities different materials purposed but the one thing which remained constant was that no one touched the engines.

With the current economic  situation many countries have made some serious budget cuts. The accounts of all organizations have been subject to operating with limited budgets. 

If you believe as I do, that education is key to pretty much everything than I am sure you know where I am going with this. We should not take away from the engines. This is important to remember and grasp. 

I am not saying that education and science should receive a blank check either, but they should be able to operate without worry about funding. 

If anything education and science should be made more accessible and funded in higher amounts. 

It is education and science that will bring this world out of our current economic turmoil. Cutting from these institutes is simply put not good for anyone anywhere

peace 

john3c