TED Conversations

Shawn James Jr.

intern, TED


This conversation is closed.

Is the generation in education getting less intelligent than the ones before them or smarter?

I often hear people say that the generation after them are not as smart as they were growing up. By people I mean the adults like my parents and grandparents. What is your input on the issues with education? Do you believe the education system is falling apart?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Jul 11 2011: This is a very interesting question and very complex one to try and tackle. The first thought I had when I read the question was, individuals of the generation or the generation as a whole? Each generation is growing more and more connected to each other and through what has been called the machine of the web. Before these multiple and almost (soon-to-be) instantaneous connections to information, those that knew more information were generally regarded as being smarter than their peers. I am going to delve into a scenario where the conservative thought of more knowledge = smarter maybe lagging behind today's information boom.

    Let's take for instance a GPA in any given course in which you are/were presented a test based on factual recall without access to any of those connections that we have in our dorm rooms/pockets/coffee shops etc. Depending on the institution, you could get 94% of the information right and receive full marks for your GPA. The all encompassing perfect 4.0 GPA that gleams of perfection. However do we really want to have faith in a measure of knowledge from an education method that means pretty much nothing? If we are unable to use the connections that we have that are pretty much integrated into every aspect of life today, is this valid? Do I really want to put my trust into the fraction of the information available that is in my brain? While the conservative notion of education is to keep plugging away at traditional core topics, is this the right approach?

    The younger generation needs to be taught more along the lines of accumulation, critical analysis and interpretation of that information that they receive from all of their connections. Am I upset that older generations can make claims that younger people don't know this from that? Not at all since I know I can typically find the answer plus way more information because I have grown up with having to determine if I should actually trust the information on those wikipedia articles.
    • thumb
      Jul 12 2011: But most of the knowledge taught is not substantial. It's just things to know about a job or field -but not just critical thinking, we need to also emphasize the deeper meaning of things (not just spiritual or religious, but in this case I do mean philosophical) --we need to be more relatable.
      I remember growing up, they kept giving us these standards but hadn't actually taught us, we had to figure it out ouselves ~~the be more "well rounded" or learn to be global citizens. Yet in our school, there were only three main languages --the usual suspects French Spanish and Latin. There's a whole world out there that unless we actually pursued that in higher education, we wouldn't really learn to be global citizens.
      GPA's a joke because that's skewed based on teachers. It shouldn't be but it was.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.