Friday, April 10, 2009

Training the radical visionaries of tomorrow.....

Instapundit comes this story from Doug Ross. He looked at Main Stream Media headlines for a 24 hour period, and found over 200 of them were about the same bogus 'facts' issued by the same socialist front group, and were so close in topic they could have been written by the same person.

As I read this... piecing together the facts in my mind, some thoughts began to flow. First and foremost, if our information systems remain unchanged, with the Internet giving free flow to ideas and facts, the MSM and dead tree media are walking dead. They can no longer perform acts of morbid stupidity and laziness, as this headline study shows, without getting their panties twisted around their throats by the watchful readers. Expect those in power to attack the free flow of ideas, and expect it to begin with Internet limitations.

Second.... things like this happen because the 'reading public' lets it happen, or always has till now. Most people are too lazy to 'think', which is far harder work than many people believe. That's why we have fewer people in our society who thin
k for a living, and outnumber them with folks who do the hands on work, and looters living on the labor of those who work and create.

Third.... the third thought that popped into my mind.... is that I am training the next generation of radical free thinking revolutionaries. Not all of them, of course, and not all of my students will be such.... but a few will be. It's part of our program... leading them to think for themselves. I design it into the program on purpose.

I believe (firmly, most days) that no one can actually teach someone else anything. All one can do is lead them to learn for themselves. For a student to truly learn, and learn all they can, they must be able to think and process for themselves. I litter our curriculum with opportunities for that to happen (g).

A few examples...

Part of our program is ignition on vehicles. What it is, how it happens, why it happens, when it happens, etc. We begin with real basics.... such as how an ignition coil works.

The students are tasked with related hands on work every day, in wide variety. When we think they are ready, comes a very special task. We lay out a smattering of components (more than they need, of course) and challenge them to build an operating ignition system right on the bench. The metal bench. They have to build it, and record an electrical diagram of what they have built. We don't require the planning be done before the doing.... that is up to them to figure out.

Mistakes are accompanied by gentle 30,000 volt reminders. Great hilarity ensues, and the people rejoice. Some.... learn deeply held lessons about grounds, electron flow, insulation, resistance, and the value of thought. Others just poke their fingers at the bright sparkle spots and make 'ook oook' sounds.

Another example; our testing. Most of our tests are written using software provided by our textbook's publisher. For the most part it's decent stuff and usable, but we still write roughly half the questions on each test. On the other hand... we are careful to leave in each test one or two of the software generated questions. These are so poorly written as to lack any sense at all. You may well ask: "What is the point of that?"

After taking each test, we mix them up and review at once. A fast markup, and then a fast 'hands up' on which questions were missed. Invariably there are some questions that a larger number of students missed, and those we review. As we strike the poorly worded software generated questions, I require the students to tell me what's wrong with the question, and how it could be better asked. These questions are normally tossed out of grading, to their delight..... and I train my students to 'question the question' as much as the answer.

Through lessons such as these I encourage my young angels to think for themselves. Some get it. Some don't. Some arrived not needing my help with this. Some will leave having never seen the point.

Some of my students will look at those headlines.... and question the questions.

Those students make it all worthwhile.

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