Modeling is creating a representation of a system (or process) that can be explored or used… To put it simply, the next great advance in human ability comes from being able to externalize the mental models we spend our entire lives creating.
Incidentally, this is corroborated by Douglas Rushkoff’s very brief history lesson, Social Control as a Function of Media, in which he predicts that the corporate controllers will only encourage programming skills when the programs of the masses can already be assimilated.
“Science Confirms The Obvious: Strict Parents Raise Conservative Kids” – http://pulse.me/s/eC9fb If so, would it be possible to conduct similar experiments to test whether parents with a particularly strong cultural bias raise their children to have a similar bias? So, for example, do Fatalist parents raise Fatalist kids? My guess here is that the social setting is what’s at stake. It might be more appropriate to speak of, an Egalitarian family (ie. a social organisation) than of an Egalitarian parent. But maybe not if you happen to be a psychological researcher. In other words, the methodological individualism in psychological research necessitates the discovery of political or cultural biases in the individual’s head – because (apparently) there is no where else for those biases to reside. But a complimentary approach might be to investigate the ways these biases are constructed and maintained between people – in the their institutions (including the family), in their rules etc.
WB of Down at Third Man asked for a Cultural Theory perspective on the concept of ‘public benefit’ as it applies to the charitable working of private schools in the UK.
Would you be willing and able to give me your view on how the four cultures would perceive ‘public benefit’ say with regard to schools. I am thinking about the justification in the UK for independent schools having charitable status provided they prove that they provide a public benefit.
A bit of background is in order here. In Britain, private schools are mainly set up as charities, which means they pay less tax than they otherwise would. Under charity law there has to be a charitable purpose, which in this case is education. But there also has to be a public benefit. Until recently this has not been defined, so the actual public benefit of public schools couldn’t easily be scrutinized. In the past few years, though, the Charity Commission has become more interested in defining exactly what ‘public benefit’ might involve. Continue reading →
Australian economist Andrew Leigh has entered into public discussion with Noel Pearson about Aboriginal inequality by proposing that randomised trials should be initiated for those educational innovations supposedly aimed at improving outcomes for disadvantaged groups. He takes his cue from Harvard economist Roland Fryer, who is well known for testing the effectiveness of cash rewards on academic achievement. Provocatively, Leigh has called proponents of the approach ‘the randomistas‘. (You can also hear about randomised education trials).
The rhetoric of the scientific method sounds very sensible. After all, if it works in medicine, why shouldn’t it work in education? Indeed we can go further: since we don’t accept medicine that hasn’t been tested in a randomised trial framework, why should we accept education without similar confirmation of its effectiveness? The point Fryer and now Leigh have been making is that much educational policy is ideologically driven, rather than evidence driven. We need proper evidence and for them, randomisation is the mark of proper evidence.
Michael Reiss, clergyman and director of education at the Royal Society, a leading science organisation, has been misquoted as saying creationism should be taught in schools. This is what he actually said .
His main point seems to be that creationism is not really a simple error that can be corrected in a 50 minute science lesson. Rather, it’s part of a bigger worldview that can only really be challenged by being engaged with.
The closest Reiss comes to suggesting creationism should be taught is the following:
‘If questions or issues about creationism and intelligent design arise during science lessons they can be used to illustrate a number of aspects of how science works.’
In other words, he’s really not advocating the teaching of creationism, but discussing it rather than ignoring it. Continue reading →
According to the Guardian newspaper Sweden is going to ban the teaching of religious doctrine ‘as though it were true’. It may well be a move to try to crack down on Islamic schools, about which Swedes seem either worried or paranoid, depending on your viewpoint.
Could they not try teaching the critical skills necessary to judge for oneself whether something is likely to be true?
Religious schools don’t indoctrinate children by giving them a diet of facts, true or untrue. They do it by creating a community of faith and learning to which students become emotionally attached. In a sense, then, it doesn’t matter what is taught overtly, the mere existence of a network of relationships is enough for a religious school to impact strongly on its students and their families.
One way of making this relational influence difficult was tried in the Nineteenth Century in Lincoln Castle Gaol in England. The chapel was designed so each prisoner would be able to see the preacher, but be completely unaware of the existence of their neighbouring prisoners. That way they would have the good influence of religion without the negative influence of other criminals.