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What are the limitations that keep new educational designs from being implemented tomorrow in schools and especially in higher education?

School is my awful job and learning is my amazing hobby; This has been my take on life ever since and contrary to what I thought would happen, it hasn't changed in the last few months of college, when I have actually found that undergraduate studies aren't much different from its earlier analogous structures in what concerns quality of learning.
I figured something would change in college, it had to. No institution of higher education would, like it had always been done before, only try to standardize me through disengaging processes of memorization and mechanization in class, and then test me for it, but they did so, and so I keep dragging my feet through the halls like I always did, uninspired by it all.
Well, here I am watching 10 TED talks and having more fun than I had in any of my classes so far, where I am basically taught simple things as if they were complicated instead of the opposite.
I think the education systems we have are all about making us easily browsable encyclopedias of knowledge and funny looking calculators without ever compelling us to make our own connections between concepts and subjects, understanding them at their core or questioning the underlying mechanisms that drive the phenomena we study, but why? Why does this happen when we have computers that are infinitely better at storing data then our brain and when we know that in order to come up with creative solutions to real life problems we have to do so much more than just recall previous knowledge; also, there is an important link between the education of today and the leader of tomorrow, and if we continue using the educational techniques of yesterday then we will keep having the same uninspired (to say the least) leaders of today. Now my question is: Do you think this is a problem? Exactly what is causing this? Is it a economic or a sociological issue? Does the academic world want to solve this? Does the corporate world? Do the governments? Do you think it can be solved? How?


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    Gail . 50+

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    Nov 10 2012: I too LOVE learning, but I only discovered that long after I left school and the indoctrination began to wear off.

    When the great industrialists designed educational paradigms, they were insistent that schools not provide a complete education, but only be taught those skills that would make them better workers. So your education is not education. It's training - and teachers make the simple sound complex because they have to fill in semesters to earn their money, and you can't sell a week's worth of knowledge for hundreds of dollars per credit hour.

    To fix education, you have to fix the economic system that destroys it.

    I love Ken Robinson's talks. But I think that you have to include Dan Pink's talk about motivation
    http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pink_on_motivation.html Education serves business, and business is ignoring the evidence of what motivates people - which is the core of a healthy business model. Business sticks to the "you are slave, I am not" hierarchy, and that is fed into your educational system.

    Here is another important talk by RSAnimate - that talks about the problems with capitalism.

    It may seem odd to include an economics video in a question about education, but if you understand that education is nothing more than a subsidy for business, established to train the race of laborers, you should see the connection.

    Economics is the reason why students today learn more and more about less and less - the age of specialization. Specialized education is not education. It leaves its victims functionally uneducated.
    • Nov 14 2012: Specialized education is not education. It leaves its victims functionally uneducated

      Quite a good way to put it! Thanks.
    • Nov 16 2012: Thank you for giving such an insightful comment fellow TED lover.

      What you said really made me think about the very important role economics play on education, but even more on the power of education to influence economics and how that could be an opportunity. Let me explain..

      Has you said schools are training grounds for future workers. But isn't the face of business a completely different one from when the currently employed educational system was designed? If so, why doesn't a business that adapts to markets and government policies in a flip of a switch grow in conformity with that and start making an effort to change it, even if for its own well-being. Why don't big companies invest in education the same way they invest in advertising for example? Don't you think that from their point of view it would be worth it?

      Anyway, I've taken your suggestion of putting Dan Pink's talk up there alongside all the others and I will leave you with a RSAnimate video of another of Ken Robbinson's talks in case you haven't seen it yet and are interested in that: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U
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        Gail . 50+

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        Nov 16 2012: Yes, the face of business is quite different from that which existed when public education was developed and our educational systems have not responded. This I think is a two-fold problem.

        One is the problems is talked about by Dan Pink. Business just doesn’t get it. But the other pertains to the last paragraph of my post, “Economics is the reason why students today learn more and more about less and less - the age of specialization. Specialized education is not education. It leaves its victims functionally uneducated.”

        Functionally uneducated educators have assumed authority over teaching methods. Ask a typical teacher about American history and you will hear the lies that they learned. Ask them to review the actual historical documents to see the discrepancies, and they will refuse (I’ve often tried). They are perfect representations of Robinson’s example of people turned into sheeple by “education”.

        If we were to ask educators to produce children with open and creative minds, teachers would not know how to do that because, by and large, they don’t LOVE learning. They were turned into sheeple by THEIR educations. They work for a paycheck (and vacation time). So asking business to contribute more $$ won’t help – whether $ goes to schools or students. The problem is much deeper and more systemic.

        When we fix education, we will begin to bring down the entire socio/economic/political model that forms our society. But we can’t even fix it when our entire culture was raised in institutions that leave them so ignorant as to be incapable of understanding not only what is wrong and how to fix it, but it also teaches them to fear the solution that actually exists.
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          Nov 16 2012: It is quite unfair and inaccurate to say that teachers work for a paycheck and vacation time and do not love learning. Perhaps you know some who do, but that is not true in general in that profession.

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