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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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  • Nov 14 2012: What an inspiring talk from Ken Robinson. I am a teacher, and I have just completed a research study on teacher goal orientations. I think therein may lie some of the solution. You see, teachers and their students, especially in post primary schooling, focus on performance, rather than mastery. It's much more important to prove that you know something, rather than that you actually know (about) it. Mastery focuses on knowing, and developing your interests for the real reason, that you really want to know more about something. And of course, we also focus in post primary both students and teachers) on making sure no one finds out what we might not be so good at.
    I think that thinking about education, in terms of mastery, rather than in terms of 'learning outcomes' that are SMART (specific, measurable etc) can actually bring about a change in our orientation (both teachers and their students) and enable a better more creative system than anything we can even dream of in current thinking. And remember teachers are being measured through such 'outcome' or performance criteria too.
    I also wonder shouldn't we teach (and learn) cogniscent of personality, in all its manifestations- and how much better that would be for our students.
    I could go on!!
    This debate is a very important one.
    • Nov 16 2012: Thank you for sharing your personal experience Brid.

      I have to tell you how exited I am about having someone who is studying part of this problem discuss it with me and all of us here in the TED platform. I also feel good knowing that someone is studying this issue I have been struggling with for so long.

      Now, I agree with what you said about how there should be a more personalized way of teaching where mastery of subject (and expansion of mind I dare say) are the real goal as opposing to having learning outcomes as the be all end all of education. But the problem people pose to this view of things is that it looks Utopian and impossible to implement. So the question I pose is how would you start implementing this right away, if you had the means to do it?

      Ps.:If there is a link to any research you might have published feel free to share it here, if not I would encourage you to lay out some of your conclusions or results, the full study who knows, as I think you will be blown away by the constructive feedback you might get and it would also be interesting for us to get an inside peak on some actual data from this area of research and so expand horizons on the subject.

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