Mitchell Parent

student - B.A. English, Mount Royal University, Calgary
Calgary, Ab, Canada

About Mitchell

Languages

English, Japanese

Areas of Expertise

Critical Theory and Literature, Critical thinking

Comments & conversations

Noface
Mitchell Parent
Posted about 2 years ago
How can education motivate students to be exceptional? And what is the role of the university to challenge them in a faster changing world?
Two give my two cents as a current university student, I believe that there are several things that can be done to help a student excel in their learning, the first and one of the most important of which is to help students realize that learning can be fun! Rather than simply memorizing facts and figures in rote form for the simple end goal of achieving a higher grade, only to forget those mundane bits of information once the test is over, learning for the simple enjoyment of it is a value that the global education system doesn't communicate very well. It's like Pat Gilbert posted a few days ago, "being interested instead of interesting." So to answer your question as to how can a student excel in this complex world? My answer would say that it begins with the values that we teach children regarding knowledge. Reading a novel isn't meant to be a chore. Math is not simply 1 + 1 = 2. And science is not all cell replication and chemicals. Learning shouldn't be about test results; we need to instill in children that learning is simply fun, especially when you start knowing enough to help the people around you.
Noface
Mitchell Parent
Posted over 2 years ago
What is happening to the next generation of humans?
I'm having a hard time giving any sort of credence to your question when I can make some corrections. I take particular interest in you're assertion that the next generation (i.e. My generation and younger), can't use proper English. Please compare corrections and stylistic suggestions. "I want to know what is going on. All of the social differences are so unexpected, in fact disappointing. Look at what they're doing: they can't use proper English; they don't stand up for themselves; they submit to peer pressure and to what's "cool"; they don't see beyond their limits, the true enigma and mystery that surrounds them, the vast amazement and discovery. It's like rather than advancing we are becoming less knowledgeable, slow, dependent; I am ashamed of the next generation. But again, we all take partial blame. Someone give me your insight, your idea, your answer..." When you can't even use proper English, you have no right to criticize others, much less extrapolate and generalize concepts like what you're talking about. I take personal offence to your question.
Noface
Mitchell Parent
Posted over 2 years ago
Can we change today's stringent education system? Can we bring the right balance between creativity and academics?
I really do agree with you on some point here John. There is a great deal of functional practicality in students learning their simple arithmetic and basic language grammar that makes traditional forms of learning seem sometimes mundane to a student. I especially appreciate how you acknowledge the merit in fun, alternative ways of learning (video games? Booyah!). But if I could share a relevant story... Here in Alberta, Canada there are three levels of math courses that a high school student can enroll themselves in. In grade 10 I was taking Pure Math (the highest level), and though I wasn't particularly struggling with any of the concepts, I found myself losing interest in the concepts that we were studying. One class we were reviewing the Pythagorean Theorem, and after thinking to myself decided to put my hand up and ask the questions I was fighting myself over. "Why do we need this? What can we use this for after school? Why is this important?" I realize that those questions seem rather naive, and I can concede to that knowing what I know now after my own private explorations of mathematics (a right angle can be used to demonstrate the spiraling effect of the golden ratio, for example), but my teacher could not answer me. She replied with a simple, "Because it's in the curriculum." I didn't accept that answer. That was not practical to me. If she herself were to be even slightly more creative in her teaching methods she could have began explaining about the relationship between the theorem and the golden ratio, and from there have extrapolated any other mathematical concepts that she needed to teach in the curriculum. My curiosity for math ended that day, and I only just recently rediscovered it. I'm of the opinion here that the pedagogy of hard subjects like math, science, and history, can, and should, be approached differently, because the amount of students who lose interest as a result of the teaching method aren't exactly few. Call it creative education.
Noface
Mitchell Parent
Posted over 2 years ago
How much of a right do students have to questioning and independent thinking?
I just read your replies to others' contributions and I feel that you're forgetting something about knowledge, or really the character of knowledge. You seem to be arguing under the assumption that the professionals of our society are infallible, and therefor cannot be wrong, should never be challenged, and that students should simply accept what they are told because the adults know best. At least, that's how it sounds. But what of those people who pioneered those subjects that we study so devotedly? I understand that to learn "the basics" can help a student grasp established higher concepts, but a part of the deeper essence of this discussion is, arguably, questioning notions that surround the word "established". Just because a person is young does not mean that their ideas about a thing should be discounted. In my own opinion, those who seek knowledge benefit from that adventurous and naive spirit that children, who you seem to be focusing your arguments on, embody while they explore the world. Knowledge is not an absolute. There are different approaches to it and different answers can be found for same question. It is important to question what the adults have told us to be true for so long because if we don't, then we will come to a standstill, much the same as I wrote about earlier. If the younger generations just believe what they are told, then why bother even continuing this entire discussion? Since you're so absolutely refuting what most of the people here seem to believe, that a student should question (though we seem to disagree on the degree of questioning), then there must absolutely be merit and necessity simply within the act of questioning.
Noface
Mitchell Parent
Posted over 2 years ago
How will this generation of social media break the chains of smartphones and computers and return to classic social interaction?
As a young man of 23, I take a special interest in generalized statements about people of my generation and how this or that technology is affecting us socially, mentally, etc. Although it might be true that there are some people out there who have grown up to be socially awkward, they are the gross minority. Gen Tech (my term, feel free to use) is a generation that has evolved in how we communicate. We still know how to communicate in person. We know how to make eye contact, how to use body language to indicate interest or disinterest, how to shake hands and how to comfort others; we also know how to communicate with and through technology. Ze Frank put it well in his talk Ze Frank's Web Playroom when he describes someone on the street scrolling through their phone when they get a Facebook message or a text message that makes them smile and laugh, or makes them sad. Ze Frank describes that as life being lived, just in a different environment. My generation lives in two realms that parallel and compliment each other. When we meet our friends and family and partners in person, we shake hands, hug, kiss and welcome each other with smiles. When we talk to someone on Facebook or in a text, we say Goodmorning! with a :) It is not a matter of our social IQ being degraded, it is a matter of the definition of social IQ needing to be redefined.
Noface
Mitchell Parent
Posted over 2 years ago
How much of a right do students have to questioning and independent thinking?
@Mike Colera: You made a few good points there Mike. And I should probably change my wording a bit, but I can't think of a more succinct way to give a one word name to the act of questioning and the process involved. Is it not from being critical and curious about a subject that an engaged student would then begin to ask questions? Not to discount truth and fact, 1 + 1 does, in fact, equal 2, but when you consider other mathematical concepts and explanations then the question become, does 1 + 1 actually equal 2? There is a 14 year old mathematical genius who is currently attempting to disprove one of Einstein's theories, one that has be held to be true for decades. Being critical of the knowledge we are exposed to helps us not only determine the truth of those knowledges, but also helps us extend our curiosity beyond those truths, and sometimes into realms that are new and exciting and revolutionary. As for freedom and democracy, my own conceptual ideal is one where social inequality is at a minimum. That is not to say that I'm a socialist, although I might be somewhat more liberal than other Canadians (although that is a trend between young and old generations), but there is a certain amount of unaccountability within Canadian politics that leaves a great deal of Canadians without a life that can be called a good life. Currently, capitalism and the democracy practiced in most developed countries embody the characteristic of exploitation. Someone or something must be at the bottom so that the rest can benefit. Is that ethical? Is that moral? Is that right? Is that not just the question "If you could kill someone to cure all disease, would you?", but answered? In my opinion, there needs to be a radical rethinking of how we practice politics and economics. Capitalism and democracy are simply ideas; there are better systems to discover and implement that will benefit, maybe not everyone, but definitely more people.
Noface
Mitchell Parent
Posted over 2 years ago
How much of a right do students have to questioning and independent thinking?
My opinion still hasn't changed. It seems to me that there is some amount of separation in how much the commentators of this post believe one should question the things they learn or do in class, or their teacher for that matter, but in essence we agree that being critical is a necessary thing, even a responsibility. I still maintain that we should be considering the repercussions of critical thinking, especially when we're being critical of something that so heavily and influentially permeates the fabric of our society. We're questioning the education system right now, using reason and logic to examine the extent to which a student should truly learn, but the reality of the situation is that we're questioning societal norms and ideals that society generally holds to be true (though that does not mean everyone does). Students, especially those below a post-secondary level, generally do as they're told, or just ignore what they're told in the first place; regardless, society has developed systems that seek to provide it's self with working parts, simply for purposes of continuity. Unfortunately that has lead to a stagnation of conceptual thought, and ultimately to the stagnation of societal progression. As students, it is our responsibility to be critical of our nations, of humanity, and of ourselves, so that we can affect a certain amount of progression and change, regardless of the resistance we meet from our educational institutions or otherwise powerful organizations. @Mike Colera: I was just using democracy as an example. Regardless, Canada's political system being what it is, it runs based on democratic ideals and practices. We vote for MPs and our Prime Minister, and we call it democracy. So, going by the hegemonic norm that Canadians currently exist under, then Canada is a democracy simply because we have been told so since forever, regardless of whatever the conceptual ideal might be.
Noface
Mitchell Parent
Posted over 2 years ago
How much of a right do students have to questioning and independent thinking?
Given the mass of comments and the fact that it's very late, I'll just read them later and give you my own thoughts as they are, uninfluenced. Forgive the contractions, but I'm feeling lazy... Colton, I'm also a university student, and although I study English, a lot of the theory that you deal with in philosophy I also deal with in critical theory. Learning as much as we do about the nature of humanity, knowledge, thinking and such, it's inevitable that we're going to question ourselves about how much we should question, and one of the qualities that comes with the act of questioning is that it is dangerous. Most people who think the way we do--when I say "we" I mean radical thinkers like those of the TED community--understand that to question conventional thought and to be critical of the things we hear, see, read, etc., is a part of who we are and we should not avoid it, much less repress it. I've been fortunate enough to come to that understanding in my first year when I outright told a professor I thought she was wrong when we were discussing the character duality in Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde. Fortunately, she is an amazing educator and rather than discourage me she asked me why I thought she was wrong, but beyond that I learned that to question a supposed truth is not wrong; it is more important to question with reason and logic. Another important quality of the act of questioning is that the bigger the supposed truth, the more dangerous it is to question it. Consider democracy. As a Canadian, and as one who understands my country's political system, I do not find it to be democratic. I won't go into that explanation because I've only got 300 spaces left, but when I try to explain that to my family or friends, I'm met with doubt, indifference, and sometimes even anger. Canada has been run by it's current system since confederation, and it is not meant to be questioned. That's not to say I won't, but I must be ready to deal with the consequences. Pls comment.