Friday, September 5, 2008

How formal education hinders understanding of fundamental concepts

Or, I knew school was bad for me.

This lecture discusses fundamental ideas in science that are (marginally) better understood by children before schooling than even MIT science graduates.

I have gotten a lot of heat lately from friends about a choice I made not to complete two of my courses last semester. The courses were both completed save a final paper. In trying to complete these papers I had several conversations with the professor, the same one for both courses.

Most every one of these conversations ended in frustration, failing to get my professor to re-evaluate his assertions even in the face of new information and perspectives. It was as though he expected me to assume his assertions merely because he was the professor.

As the above lecture demonstrates, teachers and professors may, even in the objective sciences let alone the more subjective humanities, switch useful ideas of the student into the less useful ideas of the professor. Only a healthy challenge can determine which is which.

The more strongly teachers and professors resist challenges from students the more important it becomes that they be challenged.

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