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Patricia Ruvalcaba

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How can SOLEs be implemented without causing students to shun necessary but "boring" skills?

I remember when I was in 8th grade and a classmate asked me point-black what was the purpose of geography. Let me tell you, my answer of "so you know the climate of the country you are visiting or where is it" was utter rubish - both to my classmate and to me, but that was the only thing I could think of that she could actually relate to (two months later, she move to New Zealand).
In school, we are taught many things that we may not WANT to know, but that we NEED to know. Examples: grammar, composition, history, geography, mental maths, etc. Also, there are also many subjects for which we know the bare minimum (learnt at school) because we never give ourselves the time to learn about even if we know they are important (not many people actually read their country's constitution) or interesting (ethics, philosophy, art, etc.)

So... how ca SOLEs include these subjects without going against their principle (learning through self-motivation, not through imposition)


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  • Mar 21 2013: Your question reflects an understandable but unfounded concern of someone stuck in an obsolete paradigm of education. Buckminster Fuller pointed out something similar in the early 1960's when he wrote in "Education Automation" about an adult telling children that they had a puzzle about the earth upside down, as if there was such a thing in the Universe.The adults also knew that the sun does not revolve around the earth but would say "Look at the beautiful sunrise!" According to Dr.Fuller children are born comprehensive geniuses.
    Certainly, one doesn"t want one's children to become like the Eloi in 'The Time Machine' by H.G. Wells that can"t read or write because audiobooks, video and speech recognition computer companions did it for them. I think the ancient Greeks said something similar about education reform but I don't remember. I don"t know the works of Homer or Petronius by heart.Well, I did learn some myth about a mill Hamlet had.
    Dr. Roger Schank often points out how solving quadratic equations is taught to everyone in high school but very few people ever use it after high school. Then there is all the trivia one's personal interests accumulate.
    Dr. Schank also pointed out how children will keep up with the Joneses (should that be a concern?) in various ways including peer pressure, but also through exploring their own interests with just-in-time educational simulations. There are ways to design tthings so that you learn grammar in a new way as part of doing something you like. Both Mr. Fuller and Mr. Schank point out that if you design things properly, you will have a hard time keeping up. Have you ever had a child ask you a question like "Why is the sky bliue?"
    If you want to read "Great Books of the Western World", more power to you. Democracy requires an educated citizenry as one of the editors wrote.
    One educational strategy can be found in the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey"
    P.s. Did you finish your brussel sprouts?

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