Afshin Ommi

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We do not need to change the education system

We should not change our education system; we have to make another one.
Our education system is a huge slave training for our selfish needs and purposes. We want them to replay our life, to feel that we will exist in our children when we are dead, they will continue our way, to feel that we are eternal, our self-esteem do not let us say “ok, maybe it is all wrong, this whole system of life, this way of thinking, maybe we can improve our life with a completely different approach, we do not have such a beautiful life here on earth, I do not know, maybe the technology is not the answer, maybe it is something else that we cannot even think of, maybe we have gone the wrong direction all this time". We insist in our way of life because we do not know any other. children are the only hope, they have not been influenced by our society as we have, they have less presumption than us, they can think with much more extend than us, their imaginary mind is much more powerful than us, imaginary for us, but it is the reality for them, we should not tell them they have a good imaginary mind we have to say your real world is much better than us, we should not kill every symptom that threats our stubborn minds, we should let it grow, we should make them our leaders, not to lead them to the dark that we are in it already.

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    Mar 12 2013: I agree with this statement completely.
    We need to personalize education and encourage intrinsic motivation (and achieve flow and self-control) and helping students achieve their maximal potential. Rather than telling some people that they are "stupid" and can "never change"! (resulting in a self-fulfilling prophecy)
    I mean a great story I love is when a man asks God to show him the "greates general" and it shows him one of his friends. And the man replies : "I knew him he was an awful general".
    Then the God replies : "But he could have been the best general if only people had more faith in him".
    And I hope to make all people achieve their potential and become those "best generals".
  • Mar 11 2013: Afshin:
    As is true with most of our institutions and,
    perhaps those in all countries, is that they are mismanaged for the wrong reasons, by the wrong people and only for the benefit of those doing the managing.
    Much of what you said Afshin is true and I especially resonate with your final comment:
    "not to lead them into the dark that we are in already."

    And we sure as hell are in the dark that those who educated us, led us into.
    Now they want us to stay there.
    If we build a new education system, isn't that in some way changing the one we have? At the very least it is getting rid of it and that, I also would agree with.
    Our institutions and, perhaps those in most countries, need to go, not just be "fixed" as they cannot be fixed.
    They are no good as they don't really help those imprisoned in them.
    The world over needs to build a new, just system, that benefits all people.
    I can't imagine why anyone would be against such a thing.
    But, there are those who are against such things.
    Who are these people?
    Our leaders, everywhere, in every country.
    They have to go too.
    To be successful in the education system in Amerika is to learn how to be successful in a corrupt system.
    That, is going into the dark you alluded to in your idea.
    Thus, the person has to become corrupted. They will more than likely have to become a "team player" of some kind if they want to progress in their field. Their lives, livelihood, families, their future, their children and even their country (so they are told), will be at risk or certain death, if they don't play the way they are told to.
    So everyone is in some way corrupted but only a very few really benefit because those benefits keep them at the top.
    The children of today should be taught how to change the unjust systems they already have been born into. How to get rid of them and how to get out from under the thumbs of those who oppress.
    It is another, sneaky and insidious version of the caste system. Go along if you want to get along.
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    Mar 11 2013: Where is the line between reforming something and making a new one?
    • Mar 12 2013: A new one doesn't carry the old one around with it, or within it.
      The old one is totally corrupted. Nothing is of value in it. Keeping any part of it is sure to corrupt a new system. That is the intention.
      It is like doing an inventory.
      One cannot be mislead.
      It is a fact-finding and fact-facing process.
      We have to get to the truth about the stock in trade.
      We cannot fool ourselves about value.
      What hasn't worked, has to go.
      What doesn't work, has to go.
      What prevents them from working is what has corrupted the entire system, so it all has to go.
      Whatever the new, just system is, it will determine what goes into it.
      Decisions must be about how they are made, not who makes them.

      If we humans are honest about our inventory, we will admit that our systems are totally corrupt and function on corruption. They can function no other way!
      What ever supports the growth of corruption, what ever aids it, makes it possible, has to go.
      Just listen to those who fight for keeping "traditions" and argue about what would happen if we humans were to create a just system and implement it. It is only leaders who do not want such things.
      They too have to go.
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      Mar 12 2013: There is not a specific line, but many think that our way of teaching children has to change, what I am saying is the purpose has to change, the concept of why we are teaching them has to change, the philosophy that is laying behind the education system has to change.
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        Mar 12 2013: There is so much variety in the goals and approach of schools. My experience has been entirely with schooling in the United States and to a small degree some aspects of mathematics education elsewhere, but my recent study of schools in some other parts of the world has been a true eye-opener, mainly for the differences.

        I know absolutely nothing about schooling in Iran, whether it is fairly homogenoeous or whether curriculum decisions are decentralized so that different schools are widely different, whether you have free public education through high school..., I just don't know.

        I know a lot about the variety of models in place in the US.
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          Mar 13 2013: I have been in the US, and it is not that different, the concept is the same but with more colores, equipments and many innovative methods in your country, which make it much more intresting and efficient of course, but in the same direction.
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        Mar 13 2013: Did you spend a fair amount of time in schools in the US? From the Wikipedia article entitled Education in Iran, the system, teacher training, and curriculum look quite different from the US. What is your central concern about schooling in Iran?
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          Mar 13 2013: You said you know absolutely nothing about schooling in Iran, but I have family and friends in the US who has experienced all the education process there, You may get a better feeling of what I am talking about by listning to Georg Carlin's "it's bad for ya" and "life worth losing".
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        Mar 13 2013: I would be interested in whether you would consider the Wikipedia article called Education in Iran to be fairly accurate. Realizing I knew nothing about education in Iran and that schools differ in different parts of the world and even within countries, I read that article in order to better understand where you were coming from.

        For example, education in Iran seems, according to that article, to be standardized at the national level under the auspices of the Ministry of Education. In the United States, in contrast, while there is a national department that gives grants to states for schools, education is mostly funded and directed at the state and local level in the United States. Each state has its own laws which put forward the goals for education in that state, and within that, local school distrcts city by city can define a mission consistent with the state guideline.

        Public schools are mandatory through twelfth grade here but not, it seems, in Iran. Public schools are secular in the United States, but in Iran, according to the article, one of the mandated aims for all schools is religious.
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          Mar 13 2013: Ok, we are tallking about different subjects. But thank you for your comment.
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    Mar 16 2013: hello afshin,
    I am currently a high school senior in America, so I believe that my particular perspective is not only the most relevant, but often overlooked(many times reformers seem to overlook those that are currently affected and talk with the "experts in education" who have not been in high school for thirty years)
    I don't necessarily agree that the older generation is trying to relive thier lives, but just trying to ensure that thier children will have the same oppurtunities as they had. However, there is a significant problem with this. Many of the oppurtunities for employment the older generation had is either already gone or will be soon. As computers increasingly replace the menial, mindless jobs, the need for innovative, discerning workers will become necessary (as computers lack the ability to discern or self-progress). You did touch on it, but just to reiterate, education needs to promote free thinking problem solvers....not brainwashed robots designed to regurgitate facts at a moments notice. I can tell you from current experience, the kids who can most quickly rattle of statistics (which they dont really understand) are the ones who are most rewarded. We need to change this convention, and aim for a generation of students who understand the problem in a deeper, more relevant way, through education that can be applied directly to thier lives, aiming them problem solvers who know how to actually effectively utilize the information they already know.
  • Mar 15 2013: You see, we are all so excited about new education systems that trains leaders and innovators so that we can have better and better lives. But the reality is, this world can only support so many leaders and innovators. I do understand that I'm being extremely elitst here, but it's true, like the food pyramid in the ecosystem, you need people who will work tirelessly, mindlessly, and happily for pretty much no reason. I mean if everybody figured out the meaning of life when they are 25, to be brutaly honest I don't think the world is going to work anymore.
    So there is a reason why education is the way it is now. I'm sorry for bringing up one of the darker sides of society but in order to sustain it, some people must be kept in the dark because the modern society isn't really practical right now, why would anybody work your butts off when you can make money, loads and loads of them by just moving funds around? Sometimes the good way isn't nessesarily the right way.
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      Mar 15 2013: Daniel, I liked your comment. It completely make sense to me. As you were brutaly honest and stated that if everybody figured out the meaning of life when they are 25, the world is not going to work any more (I want to add to your statement) the world would not going to work anymore, As It Is working Right Now.
      I am wondering if there is another way to manage the world that we do not need ignorent people for the world to be sustainable. Sometimes I think I cannot even dream of another system that works, and I do not know if it is because there is no other system that can work or because of my presomptions and the misleading way that the leaders have taught us to think.
      • Mar 15 2013: Well the leap is huge, I can see two ways this whole system can work, one is basically the system right now, where majority of the people are kept in the muddy darkness wadding their way through to presumed bliss. The other way is that every single person needs to understand that they are part of a big picture, a cog in the entire machine of modern society, and it is true, everybody plays a somewhat important and irreplacable role. That is the only way I can imagine the whole world to function, it's kinda like utopia, but there it's utopia XD.
  • Mar 14 2013: Afshin, do you think we need to change our religion system? What do you think of MALALA? I hope you understand the importance of educating women. Males=Females. I imagine you understand that important fact of life. Until the world acknowledged that FEMALES are EQUAL to MALES, humanity shall continue to suffer needlessly. Only truth works to bring about the healthy, happy lives that are possible. Let's change all systems to reflect the positive realities and possibilities of our species. We are all humans. We are all earthlings. Let's co-create a positive existence for ALL HUMAN BEINGS. Thanks.
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      Mar 14 2013: Please read the text before commenting about it, thank you.
      • Mar 15 2013: I did.
        • Mar 15 2013: Rhona, I think Afshin has a point...his idea has nothing to do with gender....
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    Mar 11 2013: A fellow Bengali man has won TED prize this year. I think he is the most happening person after Salman Khan in the field of education.
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      Mar 12 2013: Too right, those two guys are my inspiration. Sugata and Salman kick started my research into education over the last few years and I think they are on the right track.

      I think the main points we need in any future education system can be taken from them:

      First: The software system that Mr Khan uses in his academy should be used in every school, we need to be able to track students more closely. I teach in China, which I imagine shares a common problem with india, way too many students. I have 50 students in a class and no way to really know who has problems with what. W need a system where we can better find out who is struggling in which area, and help them rather than let them fall behind.

      Second: Both of them talk about classes where the students learn from each other and the teacher monitors, this should be the future of teaching. It can let weaker students catch up, it gives the teacher time to give more attention to the kids rather than just stand up and talk all the time, it allows more use of modern technology because lets face it, none of us know more than 1% of the knowledge we can find online, it means strong students can go ahead faster and perhaps most importantly, students will be more involved in the learning.
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      Mar 12 2013: That talk is the same concept of teaching just with a different method. we need to ask why we are teaching our children, what we are producing with this education factory, to make humans that are the same as what we are_maybe_ just with better quality and more efficient? That talk is a big thing, there is no doubt about that, but that is about how to teach. I am asking "Where are you going Mr. Education", not "How are you doing".
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        Mar 13 2013: Well if Sugata Mitra and Salman Khan are taken any seriously, we are heading towards an education system in future where teachers will be replaced by facilitators, books will be replaced by videos and practical projects and students will be replaced by learners. There will be no age bar for learning, no fixed academic sessions, no diplomas awarded at the end of terms.
        For my imaginary grand son I would want a Miss Education who he can take out for a date.
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          Mar 13 2013: :) ..Well, what I am saying is she is too old for him.
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    Mar 11 2013: A fellow Bengali man has won the TED prize this year. I think you will find his experiment interesting.
  • Mar 11 2013: Schools vary greatly from country to country as does student attitudes. There is a great deal to be unhappy about in American schools. However, I assume consensus would be hard to reach.
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    Mar 11 2013: Afshin,
    You sound very passionate. Can you elaborate on your idea and begin to start a plan?
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    Mar 11 2013: Heidi Hayes Jacobs says we are preparing student for 1991 with the curriculum that are current teaching. She says in her TEDx Talk that reforming school is not enough, because reform means tweeting schools. We need to new forms of schools

    As Executive Director of the Curriculum Mapping Institute and President of Curriculum Designers, Inc., Dr. Jacobs is an internationally recognized expert in the fields of curriculum and instruction. She has served as an education consultant to schools nationally and internationally on issues and practices pertaining to: curriculum mapping, dynamic instruction, and 21st century strategic planning.