Lee Wilkinson

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Academic subjects as a secondary learning process.

I have been a member of TED for a couple of years now and I have received at least as much education in this forum as I did in school. The topic which comes up over and over is that of education. A worthy topic indeed. So I have a question for debate: Instead of focusing all children on a mainstream of academic subjects (Which many struggle with) why not focus on the arts and other areas and make Maths, English and Science their secondary subject. Of course we need these subjects to be effective in the world but as so many of us agree, when was the last time you used Physics to do your laundry or shopping list. How many more solutions to life could we solve if we began early in our education. Just a thought; when was the last time you heard someone remark of a master artist "Oh sure it's a good painting, but I bet he was lousy at Maths." No, we simply say "what an amazing piece of art, what an amazing artist."

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    Dec 28 2011: Research, literacy, debate, creative problem-solving, and the like should be the "primary" subjects of any child's education. All the other subjects, properly studied, are just varied applications of these core subjects.
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    Dec 26 2011: Dalia, I agree with all you have said, however I personally do not believe you can teach curiosity. I believe we all have that trait and it is fostered and encouraged by all of the things you have mentioned. The thing that I believe does not work and which as you rightly point out, puts children off is making them analyze all of the things they love and then it becomes a chore and consequently a turn off.
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      Jan 26 2012: You can inspire to curiosity, as a few of my teachers inspired me. Unfortunately, most of my teachers seemed to not be enthused about their own subject and didn't inspire anyone.
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    Dec 26 2011: Lee, the question is not "how much math does one need to go shoping", but: what kind of skills do we want our children to have when they turn 18. I agree that art is important (I'm an artist myself), but creativity - not only artistic creativity - is a fundamental skill. Science is very important, but without curiosity there will be no science. Art and science are end-products of creativity and curiosity - both being butchered by the education system. Example: my daughter was a book-worm until the first time she was asked to write a book report. Suddenly it wasn't fun, but a duty. And really, does anyone know what the poet meant? What the painter wanted to point out? Why do we need do dissect and analyze everything instead of connecting with it or just enjoy it? We recognize beauty without any formula - in science and in art. We need to teach our children to observe and find their own interpretation, not ours, to think - not to repeat someone else's opinion.