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Jeff Anderson
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Location: Tacoma, WA
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        For those of you out there who are fed up with the standard university system in this country, a breath of fresh air has arrived. Gaia University (www.Gaiauniversity.org) was founded in 2006 with the goal of localizing education. Localizing education? Aren't schools "local"? In low income neighborhoods and nations worldwide there are villages and towns where all the bright young people are gone. Where did they go? They went to the big city to go to college, and most never come back. Gaia University wants those young people to stay home, get a good college education, and make the place they live better.
        Gaia University offers a unique approach to higher learning by offering students (called Associates) access to accredited Bachelors and Masters degrees and Graduate Diplomas whilst the Associate is actively engaged in self and planetary transformation. Linking your ideals with self-directed practical experience, you act as a world changer, by working for local and global sustainability and regeneration, justice and peace.
The self-directed action learning methodology enables you to study locally, at work or on project, in your own language, supported by Gaia University's Regional Organizers, and a worldwide network of learning providers, tutors and mentors.
        I am actually a Bachelors associate for Integral Eco-social Design, and it's amazing. I'm at my orientation at the Regenerative Design Institute in Bolinas, Ca right now! It's so great to be in a place with so many other people who want to actually WORK to bring change in this world. If you want to work hard too, you should really check it out. If anyone has any questions or wants more details, feel free to ask!

       
 
Leah Sattler
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    self-directed practical experience
     


YES! This is what is missing from the standard education from infancy on up. Maybe this is the wind of change we are hearing!
 
paul wheaton
master steward
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
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As long as we are talking about education, please permit a mini-rant.

I think high schools should teach a year or two of logic and reason.  Complete with an understanding of fallacy.  So much information is nothing more than propaganda and marketing baloney - people need the tools to discern fact from fiction.  I think logic and reason has far more value than geometry, trigonometry or learning another language.  Without it, are people really learning? 

Okay, I'm done ranting .... for now. 

 
                    
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Media literacy is compulsory in Australia from Kindergarten through high school.  Students learn to ask critical questions about print and online media, movies, etc. such as what is the message, whose message is it, why do you think they are promoting that message, etc.  In kindergarten!  It is a shame schools here spend so much time handing out stupid math worksheets.
 
Kelda Miller
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So many thoughts

Thanks for the info about Gaia University, that kind of approach would be great for all those small midwest towns that are losing the brightest kids and have so much land to offer. (Though there  is something to be sad about living somewhere progressive/supportive for awhile too)


In the Puget Sound area, I'm a big advocate for the teaching style of Evergreen and Fairhaven. I realized years after my studies at Evergreen that regardless of what I was studying, just the shape and pattern of the education formed me into being a thinking, active participant in the world around me. I realized this especially when seeing how education had so disempowered other peers who'd graduated from other kinds of colleges.

On media critiques, there's a great essay in the book 'Everyday Acts Against Racism'. It's about a mother and daughter who learn how to critique TV commercials, etc. when seeing oppression.

And, on Permaculture teaching, these thoughts of 'the medium is the message' weigh heavily on my heart. Permaculture, of all places would be a place where we experiment with a learning that is less lecture-based and more organic. how how?
This is a huge conversation; we'll definitely be approaching it at the upcoming washington state permaculture convergence
 
Leah Sattler
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paul wheaton wrote:
As long as we are talking about education, please permit a mini-rant.

I think high schools should teach a year or two of logic and reason.  Complete with an understanding of fallacy.  So much information is nothing more than propaganda and marketing baloney - people need the tools to discern fact from fiction.  I think logic and reason has far more value than geometry, trigonometry or learning another language.  Without it, are people really learning? 

Okay, I'm done ranting .... for now. 




how true! I have met far too people that seem to be capable of memorizing and regurgitating "information" but can't formulate their own opinions regarding the true value of presented facts based on how the conclusion  was drawn. Intelligence can't only be measured by only what can be put in a brain, but also by what it can put out.
 
Susan Monroe
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Location: Western WA
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Late on this, as usual. 

"I think high schools should teach a year or two of logic and reason.  Complete with an understanding of fallacy.  So much information is nothing more than propaganda and marketing baloney..."

High school is too late. Kids should be taught logic and reason from sprouthood.

The American public educational system is nothing BUT propaganda and marketing itself. 

Education is teaching children how to use the tools they need to educate themselves.  The American public schools teach only by rote. They teach one word at a time, they don't teach the parts of the basis of our language.  A French six-year-old can read anything. She may not know what all the words mean, but she can read them.  It is rare  to find a six-year-old American kid who can read anything more than the very simplest of sentences.

Of course, the American public school system was created to control, not to educate. And they've done very well. Rock bottom of all the industrialized nations educationally, but they have been trained to be good consumers.  And look where that has gotten us.

Logic and reason? Not in our school system.  People who can think logically and reason for themselves are dangerous.  They tend to question the people who have put themselves in control.

Keep 'em ignorant and stupid.  It's worked for over a hundred years now. 

Want to change? Want to give your kids an big edge?  Then HOMESCHOOL.  It's legal in all fifty states.  You don't have to have a college education, you don't even have to have a high school diploma.  All you need is the determination that your child will succeed in life.  You can teach more in three or four hours than a public school can teach in a week.

Schoolteacher/counselor Linda Schrock Taylor homeschooled her son after she got home from teaching in public school.   
http://www.lewrockwell.com/taylor/taylor80.html
http://www.lewrockwell.com/taylor/taylor-arch.html

There are all kinds of people and groups who can help you, and get you started. Go to the Google box and type in your county + state + homeschool.

Sue
 
paul wheaton
master steward
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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I think it is fair for me to express:  I want the public school system to teach logic, reason and fallacy. 

Of course, I also want to win the lottery. 

As I was growing up, I moved around a lot and went to a lot of different schools.  All public schools.  I do remember some schools were about memorization.  And some were about figuring out the answer.  I think this latter bunch is along the lines of what you advocate:  teaching kids to think as opposed to just memorization.  I agree that that was much better.  Or, at least, of more value to me. 



 
Susan Monroe
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Location: Western WA
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You have a far better chance of winning the lottery than changing the school system. 

Some school systems are better than others, but it's by design.  I heard that it was usually an outcry of screaming rage by the parents when they discovered that their kids were virtually illiterate that changed any local school system.

Make a phone call to any of your local school districts and ask what method they use to teach reading. Almost none of them will say 'pure phonics'. Nearly ALL of them will say 'We teach with a combination of methods'.

Any school that doesn't teach phonics isn't going to teach logic, reason or the understanding of how propaganda works.

I also grew up in the American public school system.

When I read the book Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto (a public school educator for several decades), it was intensely illuminating.  He told about how the schools operate, and why, and I would be saying out loud, "YEAH! I always wondered why they did things like like... I always wondered why they did things in such dumb ways..."

After that book, I went back to Why Johnny Can't Read by Rudolf Flesch (1955). Then Why Johnny Still Can't Read, again by Rudolf Flesh (1986).  In thirty years, nothing had changed.

He told about how there had been at least 130 studies done on reading methods in the US.  Every single one showed that phonics worked best, and the see/say/guess method hardly worked at all.  The American public school system as a whole brushed off the results and said the tests were flawed.  All the tests were flawed. And so they continued just as they had. And the kids who graduate from high school are still only suited to work for McDonalds.  Many don't graduate from high school because they've fallen so far behind (and they know it), that all they can see is getting pregnant at 13 or 14 and letting the "government" (the taxpayer) support them. 

This is so pathetic that I can hardly STAND IT!

Sue
 
nancy sutton
gardener
Posts: 658
Location: Federal Way, WA - Western Washington (Zone 8 - temperate maritime)
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(Talk about being late!)  Re:  'self directed learning', since this thread started, the Khan Academy has appeared (on 60 mins, Wired mag article, in some school districts, etc.)  Google for the details, but it is free, on-line, simple, visual 'blackboard' instruction on, initially, math and science - subjects (initially for his nieces   They are great! 

And some public schools are starting to use them to turn public educaiton upside down.  For 'homework', kids watch these at home in the evening, and then in school, they do their 'homework', with a living teacher (coach) helping them to use and incorporate what they were taught the evening before!  I'm sure homeschoolers are eating this up.  I'm going to learn Cellular Oxidation if it is the last thing I do.... I am a visual learner.

(The Salman Khan story is fascinating... check it out.  Also, isn't it just studid to teach/preach to the class, send home to struggle with 'homework', then 'grade' it and move on.  A challenging system for the good teacher whose basic goal is to assure that kids actually learn!)

 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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