Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Proper Education

The world we live in is entirely different from the world we evolved to cope with,  with the result that our minds are out of whack with our world. This has given us major problems like pollution, overpopulation, the destruction of the atmosphere, the extinction of plant and animal species and the threat of nuclear annihilation. Our old minds are designed to look at things as they affect individuals and to respond to immediate dangers like a sudden changes in our climate or an earthquake. Large-scale, continuous threats are not instantaneously obvious to us, so they get ignored. For instance, one terrorist attack will cause thousands of people to change their travel plans, but all Filipino citizens ever killed by terrorist would not add up to the number who gets killed every day in this country by handguns or automobile accidents. Part of the problem is that our education is almost irrelevant to many of the changes that are taking place in the world. People are taught algebra with great precision in schools, but I've never met anyone who's ever used algebra after the age of 16. On the other hand, they're not taught probability, which is something they need every night when they watch the news. People need to understand the nature of the world they actually live in as opposed to the world we're taught to believe in. And we're changing the world so fast that we believe the curriculum needs to be changed every decade. Our past is no longer a good guide to our future, and understanding what could happen in our future is what education needs to be about.

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