Thursday, October 21, 2010

Twitter Book Club: Alfred North Whitehead (1917-1929) The Aims of Education - Chapter 2

The Rhythm of Education

I have to admit that I found this chapter to be a bit uninspiring. He does present an important idea but I felt he achieved his aim within the first three pages and the rest was needless dribble. But, that said, this speech was about how traditional education ignores the process people go through when they learn. Basically, he recognizes that all learners start out with disconnected stuff, then connect them, then make generalizations about their groupings. In his argument he tears apart the notion that learners must first learn the basics before they can tackle more complex subject matter and proposes that we have put things backwards. A basics first education is not sufficiently engaging, he would prefer an immersion approach. To prove this he describes the learning tasks of infants and how impossibly difficult it must be for them to learn something so abstract as how to talk. We don't teach babies how to talk by first making them learn the sounds in the alphabet, they learn to talk by being around people who talk and who talk to them.

"the postponement of difficulty is no safe clue for the maze of educational practice." Whiteheadless than a minute ago via Twittelator

"Lack of attention to the rhythm and character of mental growth is a main source of wooden futility in education." Whiteheadless than a minute ago via Twittelator

"We must banish the idea of a mythical, far-off end of education." Whiteheadless than a minute ago via Twittelator

Not quite sure where he was going with this one. While I agree an I do like this quote it doesn't exactly match up with the theme of the speech. Perhaps he was trying to make the case that this three step process of learning never ends and that we do it throughout our lives, even after our formal school years are done.

"Your learning is useless to you till you have lost your text-books, burnt your lecture notes, and forgotten (cont) than a minute ago via Twittelator

I like this quote very much. Too bad I will have to forget it before it is useful to me.

"The function of a University is to enable you to shed details in favour of principles." Whiteheadless than a minute ago via Twittelator

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