James Zhang


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Designing a new Education System

This is basically the idea from the comments of another thread here:

What are the pros/cons of current public education?

What are things that should be kept/improved?

In that previous topic, I stated my opinions and ideas. Here's a refresh on my points.

Different people learn differently. There are introverts/extroverts, close-minded/open-minded, optimistic/pessimistic, messy/OCD, booksmart/streetsmart, etc.

Online education is rapidly empowering anyone to learn on their own individually. However, fundamentally it cannot teach people to communicate effectively to others when talking or in a seminar discussion. In other words, school should teach 75% collaboration and teamwork and communication, not 75% individualism.

Learning should be a fun thing, not a chore. Learning should also be useful to the real world.

Everyone is curious at heart. Everyone is an artist at heart.

Effective communication can be established not only when we respect our selves' and each other's strengths and weaknesses, but also when we respect our similarities.

Bullies suck, no one likes bullies. Not even the bullies like their bullies lol

  • Aug 31 2012: I suggest need. Of. Aptitude system in. Education.each. individual. Is. Unique..hence each one will be having various aptitudes like. Musical ,math,sports'linguistic',etc so a system is to be designed in order to identify their aptitude.because of lack of this kind of aptitude system'very few people are reaching profession. Of their aptitude-by implementation of aptitude system productivity of mankind. Can be increased.
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      Aug 31 2012: Maybe school should also be more focused on finding that specialized field just right for the individual student?
  • Mats K

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    Aug 17 2012: I invite you to read a chapter from the book "The Best That Money Can't Buy" by Jacque Fresco about a new type of education. I think you will enjoy it immensely. Here's the link: http://www.tzmeducation.org/content/jacque-fresco-education
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      Aug 17 2012: thx! I'll definitely check it out
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      Aug 20 2012: Ok I just read that section, and I gotta say, it's like 90% exactly what I've been talking about.

      The idea is indeed there, we just need to figure out a way to execute on a grand scale somehow...
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    Aug 2 2012: Another idea:

    How about having a class assignment where there is a really hard problem to solve. A problem that is so hard to solve, that it actually requires many different skillsets.

    Or perhaps have a problem that can be solved in many different ways, using art, logic, etc.

    Give kids the option to work alone or work together.
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      Aug 4 2012: It is just a matter of coming with more than one different answers. If students are challenged to find and bring their own but more possible solutions to the simple problems, regardless how they do? such process definitely developed minds skills conclusively, purposefully and result oriented. They will have power of thinking for solutions .... diversely. That mean they will be able to think how many other ways of using and utilizing form of energies besides what was already discovered and written in the books. How many other laws of nature which may be never understood. And how many other possible ways to define laws of nature.
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        Aug 4 2012: Indeed, this kind of diversity in viewpoints is crucial. I'm trying to create ideas where it would spark many diverse answers. However, when someone finds one solution, I don't want others to be constrained by that one thinking.

        So perhaps I can offer a question with many different solutions. Have everyone give a solution anonymously and put them in a basket. Then I would go through each solution 1 by 1 to the class and analyze them.

        But then it would create a mystery, like some kids would be like "who came up with that solution? It's totally stupid." This is something I want to avoid... I want to educate everyone that no idea is a bad idea, in the grander scheme of things...
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          Aug 4 2012: Why you focus on the headaches because of diverse answers, it should not create mystery to you, because you already expecting diverse answers, don't you. What do you want kids to memorize? exactly what is written in the books? of course yes you want them to learn which is already logical and works. But you also want them to learn thinking differently that means find more possibilities, even you don't know these possibilities nor written in the books, but you believe it that kids will find new dimensions, just because their teacher need them to do, so the teacher believe them that they can.
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        Aug 4 2012: Yeah, you're right, I just don't want it to be like, one person finds good solution, everyone else just follows. That's what I'm trying to avoid.

        As for the whole "mystery" I was talking about, I don't want people to demean others' ideas as well. I need to find some way to communicate to them that there are no "stupid" ideas.
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          Aug 4 2012: :-) ... one of the secret of success is, don't worry and let it be.

          1- Focus all different ideas you have collected in the basket, just makes simple and different questions for each idea, and give these questions to kids, to find their own answers, let them to help by themselves using books or internet else resource.

          2- They will come with different answeres or may be similar, because you asked same thing in 3 or 5 different question. The right answer you already know, but what will be the wrong answer to you, may not be necessarily wrong for the kid, perhaps they may have those reasons which make them to answer uniquely.

          3- The wrong and different answer which you normally don't expect, will be the most interesting and creative when you ask the reason behind their idea.

          That thinking process takes time, you have to apply it for at least 6 months to a group of kids ... then you will find out how their mental skills are developed. You will also need a lot of patience without losing your sweet smile.
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        Aug 4 2012: Dang... that is very profound :O

        There may be reason to your madness in this new idea of patience and go-with-the-flow idea... lol

        You're right, I should never forget that my focus is trying to let them learn for themselves and less on my imposings. The teacher should be a helping guide, like showing them some resources to look at.

        And you're right, patience is definitely a very important key to making this work...
  • Aug 2 2012: I believe we need more cooperation than competition not just in schools but also in business. We must work together more.
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    Aug 1 2012: Hi James, please check this post : http://www.ted.com/conversations/12641/positive_attitude_is_the_resul.html
    It may of your interest.

    I agree and appreciate your idea Designing New Education System. I think such system will be for educating the minds how to think and what to think, how to use knowledge smartly to make the dreams comes true soonest possible, how to solve problems for the next 2 generation, how to use and plan resources wisely, what is growth? how the concept of growth can be expended? how everyone can achieve growth, how we can make our world a better place to Live ... and so on.

    Memorize and follow the rules to achieve the graduation, is outdated and expired theory, it sucks now...

    Language is just a tool of communication, but not the actual communication. I think "communication" is all thinking stuff which runs inside the minds, we called them the 'Ideas'. New Education System should enable minds to expand their communication capabilities to create real unique ideas which makes our world more better.
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      Aug 1 2012: I just read the post, and I have come to exactly the same conclusion as well!

      And you're right, language is just the form. The message itself is the content. Language is basically the same thing as asking, how do we communicate this message?
  • Aug 1 2012: We have these things in High school and middle school that are called "textbooks".
    Every curiosity and imagination is CRUSHED
    Because We are forced to learn facts and figures and memorial ism
    We are also graded what is right or what is wrong.
    If you don't do it right Bob, you will receive a poor grade.

    The facts we are learning are discovered by scientist that they discovered. Not us that discovers it.
    We need let people discover things, not memorize facts.
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      Aug 1 2012: Agreed, I really really hate textbooks and "learning" by memorization. I said in that previous thread, that the public education system might as well should just raise robots or machines, cuz machines can memorize the entire curriculum from Elementary to High School in like 2 minutes. Why are we trying to treat the kids like something they are not?
  • Jul 31 2012: I think the present education systems should retain recess. I think you are on the right track, James. Please take over the education system of Texas. Thank you.
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      Aug 1 2012: LOL, I'll see what I can do.

      You're right, recess was really fun... Maybe make recess become 30 minutes for a kid to do anything he/she wants. Like read book in library, play outside, work on computers, internet time, draw, or chill with other kids on tables, etc.
      • Aug 1 2012: I was thinking more like making recess most of the day while giving the children the "opportunity" to return to the classroom to learn things that they find interesting and useful based on the quality of teaching and learning materials. After all, learning is a joy, when it is optional. It is the forced nature of school learning that turns children off and has them work for grades rather than for knowledge. Make the education part of schooling a reward, rather than a requirement. Seems worth an experiment, especially since you will be taking over management of the Texas school system. Young Texans need you. Hurry up.
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          Aug 1 2012: Hmm, now THAT is a very interesting idea...

          So it's basically sandbox free-for-all then?

          It sounds pretty awesome, but I think it may lack too much direction or focus. While we want the school environment to be as open as possible, we still need some kind of system of focus.

          Also, if we basically make recess-dominant become the new format, then how would we be able to grade each children for their worthiness to adulthood?

          The other thing is we also want to guide them to as much exposure as possible. While seeing them fascinated about one thing is great, we also don't want to limit their minds.

          Hmm, ok I got it.

          How about, during senior year of high school, the kids do whatever the heck they want. There will be no teacher there to do anything, other than to offer guidance and regulation. They have complete freedom to explore all these fields for themselves, or work with a friend on a cool project. Maybe they should keep some kind of blog or something. That blog will be graded by participation. Then when finals come, each teacher who is in charge of a group of student will simply read the blogs and mark yay/nay.

          So basically turn the school into a gigantic playground. Hmm, but that sounds really expensive. Ok so how about each high schooler can go to college and help/check out what other students are doing there?
      • Aug 1 2012: yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

        Even from the beginning, one can offer a huge array of subject matter. Just think of what is available on the internet! The teachers can be there as resource people. For example, when a child wants to express something, the teacher can teach them or guide them to learning materials that will teach them various forms of expression, e.g., writing, mathematics, music, art.
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          Aug 1 2012: And the teacher can also show them cool resources/tools out there and how to use them. There will definitely be questions that teachers can't answer, so the proper response would be like "I know this cool thing that you should check out if you wanna know more. I don't know everything myself unfortunately."
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    Jul 31 2012: *Continued*
    - English
    - - English should become all about communication.
    - - Should learn story-telling and story elements
    - - More contemporary? Learn about languages in general. Internet Language lol
    - - Memes
    - - Writing Essays: more creative writing, less structure. Only one thing you really need: Your thesis statement. Rest of essay should support thesis. Conclusion: can be non-existent or can suggest new things based on thesis. Only need and
    - - English shouldn't be limited to reading, writing, poetry, etc. It should be movies, tv shows, debates, speech, etc. ANYTHING English related
    - - Should also be comprehensive. Curriculum is pretty good way it is, but can improve.
    - Foreign Language
    - - Start earlier, or else it'll be useless
    - Physical Education
    - - Fuse with Health, anatomy, good healthy practices and diet, etc.
    - - Learn conditioning basically
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    Jul 31 2012: Here was a list of ideas I made on course subject improvements the other day:

    Cool Classes
    - General
    - - Make things more contemporary
    - - Make things more collaboratively required
    - Music
    - - Only 1 year requirement to take band, orchestra, choir, or Music Studies.
    - - A class on just listening to music and appreciating other genres more.
    - Art
    - - Basic Art class:
    - - - Art is the language of ideas and emotion.
    - - - An outlet of self-expression. Music is art. Visual stuff is art. Speech is art. Etc.
    - Cooking class
    - - Most people should know this. And most should know the art to this.
    - Information Searching
    - - Google, Wikipedia, etc.
    - Keyboarding
    - - This is already pretty good the way it is
    - Social Studies
    - - Should be a class on games and game theory. Should be study on how people interact with each other. Body Language, Speech, Music, fights, revolutions, etc.
    - - Current Events
    - - - Debates and Controversial Issues
    - Physics
    - - It should be 75% conceptual, 25% computational, not other way around
    - Math
    - - Curriculum-wise, this is good the way it is… maybe… Should have more focus on conceptual, not computational.
    - Computer Science
    - - Make a core subject
    - - - Learn basic programming concepts like algorithms, recursion, conditions, etc. VERY basic concepts
    - - Script Languages vs Compile
    - History
    - - Pretty good the way it is imo. Maybe they should do stuff like reenactments of war, have class debates on old historical issues. Look at the BIGGER picture of things
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    Aug 31 2012: I'll just pose an interesting question to you... Think about the history of human governance over time... Now ask yourself, has any government, which has ever existed, been competent to teach any child, how to cooperate, and communicate effectively?

    Wouldn't a member of almost any other professional community, be better suited for teaching cooperation, than the "public" sector?
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      Aug 31 2012: Maybe it's just not the government's job to teach the students, but to regulate the platform of education instead.
  • Aug 11 2012: the grades the helped me was k-6 thats it
    from then on it should be baised on what the individual would like to do what they like
    look at the olympics some of those people have been training sense they were really young they found a passion and they were helped threw it by the people around them shouldn't school be just like that
    sure not every one knows what they want to to at that age but that should be the time when they experiment with different things rather then when they graduate high school and they had time to do other things that might interfere with their education.
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    Aug 1 2012: Came up with another cool idea!

    Why don't we just have a class where everyone in the class does nothing but watch Youtube videos. Make it like a show and tell, or something. Like today, this kid will present us a video, etc. Or make a weekly theme. Like for this week, we'll start watching a video about animals, and then go on from there. You can even bring lunch or snacks with you. Even cooler, one kid can volunteer to bring snacks for everyone in class or something. Or maybe have one week, where you can ONLY click on related videos, you can only use the search bar for the first video.
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    Jul 31 2012: Ok I got a cool idea:

    Use Minecraft/Legos. Basically a year-long class assignment could be, the entire class just simply plays Minecraft on one server. Everyone's graded on participation.

    For those who don't know Minecraft is a very popular game, even among kids: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kn2-d5a3r94.

    The idea is, there are kids who work alone on their things and there are kids who work want to work together. Other than that, there shouldn't be much restrictions to anything.
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      Jul 31 2012: Sounds good to me
      Learning is a game - the child learns at play - nature made it so, and she usually chooses the best systems.

      Let the child grow into the best thing he can be, by encouraging him to do what he finds the most interesting.
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        Jul 31 2012: And it's also really hard to hate another person when you have similar interests, in this case Minecraft.