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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000401.txt from 2001/02

From: Bill Hausmann <>
Subj: RE: [kl] chaos being sold for freedom...
Date: Sun, 11 Feb 2001 19:25:10 -0500

At 01:25 PM 2/10/2001 -0500, Karl Krelove wrote:
>I had the same feeling as my kids went through school (my youngest, twins,
>graduated last June). There is a growing problem, though, in all areas
>including music. In the sixties the total knowledge base from which schools
>(through their curricula) selected course content was significantly smaller
>than it is today. What we were taught in science classes is not considered
>to be complete or even necessarily accurate today. Math hasn't changed much,
>but the level of math needed to deal with today's science content is higher.
>English and world lit have widened in their scope and variety. Music and art
>have gone rapidly through many phases and changes. Our ("baby boomers")
>current events, with all the documentation that modern communications media
>have provided, is part of our children's' history and social studies course
>What to include in today's school courses has become a major point of
>discussion and often contention. There's just too much available. To teach
>everything that we were taught in the sixties would leave no time for newer
>developments and views. That the smallest particle of matter we ever
>discussed in high school physics or chemistry was the electron is a
>consequence of the uncertainty scientists at the time felt about asserting
>anything as fact about smaller particles. That the science I learned could
>be done with fairly basic algebra made calculus a high school luxury. Many
>of us didn't have a calc course until college. If English teachers are going
>to pay any attention to the last fifty years' developments in literature,
>some of what we studied in high school has to be jettisoned to make room.
>And on and on...
>The end result has come to be seen among many serious educators as a need to
>"teach children to learn on their own" or "teach children to think
>independently" or some other form of the same idea. The rationale is that
>the knowledge base is expanding and changing too rapidly for schools any
>longer to keep up with the factual content that once formed the lifeblood of
>all school courses. "Process orientation" has been a buzz term in arts ed
>for decades, but the other content areas are finding it a possible solution
>to their burgeoning information problem. Learning to process information
>independently, rather than being taught a specific body of information, has
>become a goal in itself among many educators, at least here in the U.S.. As
>we teach more process, some (a lot, as it turns out) of the solid content
>gets missed. The question then becomes whether or not the specific factoids
>are in themselves of universal enough importance to require _every_ child to
>learn them. Or is it more important to empower every child to find and use
>the information he needs when the need arises?

That was really my point before. The number one way to "empower" a child
is to teach him/her to READ. Then you don't HAVE to present ALL the
information in class -- you can give the overview and allow the student to
dig as much deeper as he/she wants "on their own." I don't think the total
mass of information is that radically different. It is just that schools
have lost their focus upon the information that is really important; that
which provides the mental framework from which to hang the rest. Why teach
a child to build a web page on the computer if he can't read and write or
add and subtract? Why subatomic physics when they can't even SPELL
"atom?" In spending so much time on the "process" the educational system
seems to be losing sight of the goal: students who are literate, with a
broad, well-founded knowledge BASE which makes capable of further growth
even AFTER they leave school!

Bill Hausmann
451 Old Orchard Drive
Essexville, MI 48732 ICQ UIN 4862265

If you have to mic a saxophone, the rest of the band is TOO LOUD!

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