Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Psychology’

Educational deficiencies

2011-04-02 3 comments

Many people these days are aware of problems with schools.  It’s an extremely complex issue with no easy answer.  So I’m not proposing anything or trying to make any kind of grand sweeping generalization, or claiming I know how to fix the problems.  But I want to share with you a personal example of a deficiency in my education (through no fault of my own).

I always paid attention in history class (or at the very least read all the assigned reading and did all the assigned work).  So while I may not be a history whiz, I should at least know some of the basics, right?

Today I was on wikipedia reading about the Industrial Revolution.  I’ve heard the term before, but we never covered it in school.  Someone may have mentioned it in passing, but I really knew nothing about it until I started reading about it today.  In the opening paragraph, it states “Economic historians are in agreement that the onset of the Industrial Revolution is the most important event in the history of humanity since the domestication of animals and plants.”

As I learned more about the Industrial Revolution, I began to see that this statement about the importance of the Industrial Revolution is not an exaggeration.  Every single one of us lives the way we do because of what happened during the Industrial Revolution.  I learned about economic growth.  Mechanization.  Worker exploitation.  Labor unions.  Collective bargaining.  These things are huge.  They matter, in a very direct and real sense.  I’ve only skimmed the surface but now I at least have a foundation of knowledge about that subject.  So many things in our every day lives are a direct result of global changes that took place during the Industrial Revolution, and having now learned the basics of it, I have a much better understanding of the world.

So what’s my point?  Well, we’ve already talked about how we’re autodidacts. I just want to continue the conversation.  There is so much to learn out there about the universe we live in.  The more you learn, the more pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that comprises our reality fit into place.  Let your curiosity guide you.  And know that there’s always so much more to be learned.  You just have to teach it to yourself.  It’s empowering.

 

EDIT 2011-10-16: The following videos about the future of education and how it can be changed for the better are both inspiring and jarring:

Both videos are TED talks regarding the current state of and the future of the educational system.  In the first video, Salman Kahn (of Kahn Academy fame) talks about how he has begun working with schools to revolutionize teaching.  The second video, which is a bit more bleak, has Bill Gates (of Microsoft fame) talking about the consequences of the budget cuts to education as well as the possibilities for fixing the problems.

 

Advertisements

Propaganda in a Biology class

2009-09-12 5 comments

Here’s an open letter I wrote to the Physical Sciences department at Santa Monica College.  I was enraged but I managed to refrain from dropping F bombs all over their asses.  Make sure you watch the video; just be ready for a cold shower because you’re blood is going to boil.

I’m compelled to bring to your attention an upsetting matter:  Bear with me for just a moment.  “The Story Of Stuff” ( storyofstuff.com ) is a so-called documentary that expresses the all-too-familiar opinion that capitalism and America are evil.  It purports to explain the chain of production and it’s effects on the environment, but it also spills over into the the arena of politics and economics. It makes so many arguable statements, exaggerations, and even outright falsehoods that one could spend hours discussing all the misinformation it contains.

This is not new.  Having graduated from college, I am accustomed to having liberal arts professors use their classrooms as podiums to spout their political and social opinions.  What is the shocking news here?  This video, “The Story Of Stuff,” is part of the required coursework in a college biology class!  This is a perversion of an institution of higher learning.  This video does not belong in a biology course!  This professor should not be allowed to get away with this.

Sincerely,

Jay
Los Angeles, CA

P.S. Here are the specifics on the class.

School: Santa Monica College (Santa Monica, CA)
Course:  BIOL 2, Human Biology
Instructor: Jacki L. Houghton
Term: Fall 2009

I’m not deluding myself into thinking that anything will be done about this.  It just depresses me that even science, which I thought was the last bastion of critical thinking left in colleges, is polluted with vile indoctrination.  Et tu, Brute?

Share

Playing around with the Pentatonic Scale

I was checking out Skepchick’s blog, (primarily to see what all the hub-bub about the skepchick calendar was about and to preorder my skepdude calendar for Myles come next Xmas) and came upon this video.  The performer in this video remarks at the end that no matter where he performs this act, every audience uses the pentatonic scale.  This seemed odd to me, as the majority of Arab songs are written in the “eastern scale”.  When I was in Morocco, every song used this Eastern or Persian scale; songs on the radio, snake charmers, even people whistling as they walked down the street.  I guess they are raised to hear that scale and hold a preference towards it, but perhaps if the beginning of a pentatonic scale is played, the mind will deduce how the rest of the scale is formed.

I don’t know if I embedded the video correctly, so here’s a link http://vimeo.com/5732745

Update: embedded. -JayAaroBe

%d bloggers like this: