What is an all rounded education?

In this are we testing too much?

Randi argues:

Teachers value assessments as an important tool in their arsenal. But research shows what teachers have warned about for years — that the excessive emphasis on testing and test-prep has harmed efforts to provide students with a well-rounded education and help them develop critical-thinking skills, and has in many ways de-professionalized teaching.

To test, or not to test, that is the question.

This begs the questions:

What would be a well-rounded education?

How to develop critical-thinking skills?

In this video about reasons for studying philosophy as a major:

Philosophy has a reputation for being an impractical major. In this video the author shows why this view is mistaken.

Why major in philosophy? Here are five reasons discussed in the video:
1. It has intrinsic value.
2. It’s what a liberal arts education ought to be.
3. Employers are looking for these skills.
4. Your income expectations are higher than you might think.
5. It’s the ideal springboard degree.

So, should philosophy be part of an all rounded education, in high school, colleges and Universities?

I am deeply interested in philosophy when young, only that there were few undergraduate philosophy courses offered in the University at my time .  Some of the education philosophy courses were however available at graduate level, and I enjoyed such learning.

I think it’s good to introduce philosophy as part of the curriculum, especially in university courses.

How did you find your philosophy classes?

Leadership

What is wise leadership in a corporate world?

This wise leadership provides a glimpse of what leadership entails, especially at CEO level.

Learning, sharing, active communication, connecting as human beings, giving space to people to think, rewarding people is what great leaders have done, and these should be done wisely in a networked institution.

How about leadership in education?

Teachers need to become leaders as explained here

The teacher leader model is already evident at some of the highest performing schools and in the growing “school without a principal” movement where teachers collectively run the entire campus. It makes sense to encourage leadership habits because these days teachers are being held accountable for pretty much everything in education.

A teacher as a leader needs to build relationship with their students, students’ parents,  fellow colleagues, and all other staff involved in education and learning in an institution.  Teacher’s role as a leader is responsible for managing relationship of a group of people; resolving problems  within the group and agreeing courses of action.  Teacher may also be assuming a liaison role by communicating and collaborating with other groups or individuals on behalf of the group, or cooperating with others in networks and communities.

How internet is affecting our life

Jenny reflected on how she viewed the impact of internet on seniors here the internet and the older generation.  Do old people need to be connected more actively via internet? What are the values of using internet in their connections? I don’t know, but old people could become rather lonely if they are isolated from the family, or the community.  So, some connections using facebook, twitter,  or other mobile technology may be helpful for some old people, in order for them to be part of the “virtual community”.  Some old people might also be interested in reading and watching news and reading newspapers over the internet, as they could choose when and how they would do that at their own pace.  The problem is: do they have the computer and technology skills in mastering such information and internet search?  My limited experience with “teaching” elderly is: No.  Internet is not that “easy” to learn, especially when old people are not educated in technology or having the computer literacies.  May be they could learn using mobiles, but again the characters and image in mobiles may be too small for them to read.  Some old people would still prefer to meet and socialize with others face-to-face,  as evidenced in the small gatherings in malls, or eating out in the restaurants.

My parents didn’t use any computers, not even the internet.   They didn’t even had the chance of receiving formal education.  So where and how did they get the information when they were alive? And what were their source of knowledge and wisdom?

They got the wisdom from their parents, friends, and the informal “teaching” and learning at work or with their children, through doing,  observation, experience and reflection of work and life.  As they grew older, they became wiser, as they understood that life is a learning experience, and that they have transformed their knowledge into wisdom that inspired them to practice “peace of mind and acts of love” in their latter part of life.

Although we have become more educated, as compared to our ancestors,  are we getting smarter, wiser?

With the introduction of new and emerging technology, mobile technology, and internet in particular, we have come to a point when most of our learning and values are being “challenged” by many others, including the formal authorities, experts, institutions, and knowledgeable others based on critical thinking, and creative collective inquiries, and communities discourse.

Here is an adapted and expanded version of a reflective writing (with my views and beliefs included).   I got it from my  beloved sister.  I don’t know the source, but would like to acknowledge and attribute to the source.

Photo: from Flickr

Today we have higher buildings and wider highways, but shorter attention span and temperament, and narrower points of view.

We spend more, but enjoy less.

We have bigger houses, but smaller families.

We have more information and “knowledge”, but less “objective” judgement and tolerance.

We have more medicines, but less health.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.

We talk much,  but we listen less.

We love only a little, but we hate a lot.

We reached the Moon and came back, but we found it too troublesome to cross our own street and meet our neighbours.

We have conquered the outer space, but not our inner space.

We have higher income, but less moral values.

We have increased public education on family values, but the divorce rate has also increased.

There are finer houses, but more broken homes.

We created more schools, but there are more failure drop-outs.

We showed our power and arrogance, but failed to acknowledge our own arrogance and ignorance.

We strived for liberty and freedom, but tried to convince others that they have to follow our orders.

We live our life by possessing and accumulating more materials and wealth, but we seem to have great difficulties in caring and loving our parents, partners, children and friends, or our colleagues and customers.

How about the following propositions?

Do you keep anything for a special occasion, because every day that you live is a special occasion.

Take out from your vocabulary phrases like “I will love him or her if he changes”.  Instead, adopt a phrase like “I will change myself so I could love him or her now”

Tell your family and friends how much you love them.

Do not delay anything that could add laughter, joy and happiness to your life, and to your other family members’ life.

Every day, hour, minute and second is special… to you and to others who you love.

And you don’t know if it will be your last moment to share….

Those are the days belong to the past, in nostalgia. Here is the moment to share and celebrate life.

Search for truth, information and knowledge.  Read more, think and reflect on what you have learnt. Sit on your front porch (including your blog, your Facebook, your Twitter, or your favorite social media site), and admire the views of nature and spaces (including the networks, the different social media)

Spend more time with your family, eat your favorite (healthy) food, visit the place you love.  Play the music that you enjoy, and sing the songs that echoes with your mind.

Life is a chain of moments of joys, it isn’t only for survival.

Use your crystal goblets. Do not save your best perfume (your wisdom or knowledge), and use it every time you feel you want it.

If you like,  share your wisdom and knowledge – that is your riches here on earth.

Do not store up riches for yourselves here on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and robbers break in and steal.  Instead, store up riches for yourselves in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and robbers cannot break in and steal.  For your heart will always be where your riches are. (Luke 12.33-34)

Nicholas Carr, author of “The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains,” discussed the ways in which our online existence is rewiring our minds, replacing deep thought with information overload, and overruling attentiveness with a steady stream of interruptions and distractions. This saturation of technology, he says, is affecting us at the cellular level and turning us into what one researcher terms “suckers for irrelevancy.” Here is the video.

Is there a new geek anti-intellectualism?

Are we becoming more geeky and less intellectual?  I don’t think there is an “absolute” answer to this question, as the “truth” lies with both sides of the coin: That we are living with an ecology where distributed knowledge and information is ubiquitous, and that we are trying to define epistemology based on a world view.

In this Is wikipedia anti-intellectual? by Daniel, he puts forward his views on intellectualism. “We should help each other to become critical thinkers” Totally agreed. Our formal education is still aligned more with the adoption of authority based or canonical knowledge, which may be well designed for “transmission” of factual and procedural knowledge and scientific information.  However, the complexity of information landscape (internet, communities, networks, webs, formal institutions) and the abundance of information and “experts” with expert knowledge all over the “spaces” have challenged us to re-think about what it means to be an intellectual, and what makes us a better informed and knowledgeable citizen (or scholar, educator or learner) within a global learning environment.