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  • Showing only topics with the tag "education". Back to normal view
    1. Talk to me about: School

      What was your experience like? What do you remember? Any favourite moments, least favourite, most memorable? Note: School is different in every country! Please respect the international audience:...

      What was your experience like? What do you remember? Any favourite moments, least favourite, most memorable?

      Note: School is different in every country! Please respect the international audience: if you talk about a type of school or year, include the age range. Eg “Sophomore (age 15-16)”.

      6 votes
    2. I'm stuck and could use some help, pretty please

      okay tildes here to tell suspended to leave their kid alone about discord on the school computer. that was easy advice to give! But how about a real challenge in what-should-i-do-about-the-boy?...

      okay tildes here to tell suspended to leave their kid alone about discord on the school computer. that was easy advice to give! But how about a real challenge in what-should-i-do-about-the-boy? hold onto your HATS bc I've got a TOUGHIE~!

      see I was tutoring this 13yo last year. He was super isolated and he still is. He deals with a range of insecurity and frustration. He leaps to conclusions and struggles with anger at the people around him, especially his mother. I used to spend time with him daily, but then I moved towns and now our contact is limited to chat and video call. We talk throughout the week but we always video call on wednesdays. His mother asked me if we could switch days, because she wants him to go to after school sessions with a math teacher who has noticed his grades falling. When I talked to him about the possibility of swapping so he could attend the afterschool, he told me that he didn't want go to sessions for dumb kids. I said I was flexible regardless so he can't use the time I reserve for him as an excuse not to go -- but I worry that his perception that the sessions are for dumb kids reflects a stigma that will prevent him from asking for help when he needs it.

      How do I push back on the idea that getting extra help with school could imply that he is somehow inexcusably deficient? I sense that most of his other teachers are setting the bar even lower for him than they did last year; his take-home assignments are uniformly inane, and he knows it. How would you communicate around why it is important to try and to practice trying when so much of what is expected of him is transparently pointless? My friendship with him has become important, I think, but I worry a lot that I have no chance to guide him toward a better life and this episode has been a keen example.

      5 votes
    3. Optimizing for test scores

      I hate how much time school takes from me. The semester for me is just a period of un-productivity, of completing assignments that don't teach me anything, of studying materials for a test I'll do...

      I hate how much time school takes from me. The semester for me is just a period of un-productivity, of completing assignments that don't teach me anything, of studying materials for a test I'll do bad on, about knowledge I'll forget as soon as there are no more tests on it. School stresses me out, makes me anxious, destroys my ability to think and get into a flow and be active. School makes me lazy, it makes me tired, it makes me hate the world.

      I want to learn. I want to sit down at my desk and get into a flow and experiment and learn new things and become better as a result. Instead I'm optimizing for test scores.

      I'm not building things. I'm not even really studying. I'm a professional student, going for the points, and paying tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege.

      I hate tests. They are fundamentally flawed for the objective of teaching. Two of my classes are entirely test-based, and they're the classes from which I have learned nothing. My other two classes have included programming projects and essays as part of our grade. That's the knowledge I will retain, that is the information I have actually learned. But even still, those projects and essays in those classes count for a tiny percentage of their overall class grades. The majority of the grades still come from tests. From judging students based on their ability to memorize information, not to understand or practice or apply the knowledge of the class.

      Why? Why do we insist on testing students, on passing or failing them, on determining their future and institutional worth, on their ability to memorize information? Why do we give them these stressful impending tests with stressful impending due dates that cover a stressful, bloated number of topics? This is not learning. This is not education. This is gamified class-passing. Why do we structure things this way? Is it so administrations can quantify education and try to demonstrate progress? I don't get it. I fucking hate it.

      At the end of every semester. Every goddamn fucking semester, I'm exhausted, burnt out, and just so done with anything and everything that requires me to think. I end up having this stupid recovery period of about a month where I just laze about, playing video games and reflexively rejecting anything that requires thought. School inflicts upon me, mentally, the equivalent of breaking a bone.

      I fucking hate this. I want to make things and be creative and active especially during the precious months when I am not taking classes. I hate that school spoils this for me.

      9 votes
    4. If you had to teach a class about information literacy, what would your key points be?

      I'm in an online course right now that touches upon information literacy: the ability to access, sort through, and analyze information (particularly online). It is not a very in-depth course, and...

      I'm in an online course right now that touches upon information literacy: the ability to access, sort through, and analyze information (particularly online). It is not a very in-depth course, and a lot of the recommendations it gives feel a little limited/dated, or just out of touch with current internet practices (e.g. trust .edu and .gov sites -- don't trust .com sites; use Britannica Online instead of Wikipedia). It also doesn't really account for things like memes, social media, or really much of the modern internet landscape.

      I know we have a lot of very technically literate as well as informationally literate people here, and I'm curious: if you were tasked with creating a class to help people learn information literacy, including how to identify misinformation online, what would some of your key points or focuses be? How would you convey those to your students (whether those students are kids, adults, or both)?

      17 votes
    5. If the US Federal Government was to stop issuing student financial aid to private colleges and universities, what would be the impact to those institutions?

      Posted this over on r/highereducation, thought it might be interesting here. I've been thinking a lot about this lately, especially in the context of "free college" proposals. Subsidizing private...

      Posted this over on r/highereducation, thought it might be interesting here.

      I've been thinking a lot about this lately, especially in the context of "free college" proposals. Subsidizing private colleges and universities would be a political non-starter. I'm assuming the government would have a "teach-out" style plan to transition schools off federal dollars. Regardless, the impact would be massive. I've briefly glanced at financial aid and revenue data for one R1 school, and it seems federal money makes up a significant (20-30%) portion of annual operating revenue. While that doesn't seem like much at first, I suspect enrollment would drop significantly at many schools if there was the alternative of going to a public university for free. Several thoughts come to mind:

      • What percent of schools would close or merge?

      • What would be some of the most surprising schools to close?

      • How quickly would schools close? Would they immediately shutter, close at the end of the transition period, or struggle on for a few years?

      • What is the breakdown of institution types (R1/2 vs SLAC vs engineering schools)?

      • What would be the impact on religiously-affiliated colleges, especially Catholic schools (there's already many little-known ones in the middle of nowhere)?

      • Of the schools that survive, what sort of strategies would they employ to remain solvent (lean heavier on foreign students, reduce admissions standards, have mandatory work-study programs to reduce administrative costs, create alumni contracts akin to tithing, invest more in the financial sector/Wall Street)?

      Edit: Whoops, I thought I posted this in ~misc. Oh well.

      12 votes
    6. Thoughts on moving out

      So recently I've been kind of hating big parts of where I am in life, most of all where I live. I am still living with my family, and while they are all good people, our place isn't the biggest so...

      So recently I've been kind of hating big parts of where I am in life, most of all where I live. I am still living with my family, and while they are all good people, our place isn't the biggest so there isn't too much privacy most of the day. So over the years I have basically started to quietly resent everyone in this house, which got exacerbated over the quarantine (and even much more when we were all stuck at home for 14 days when we got the corona and were in isolation).

      I've been thinking that basically the only way to make sure I don't go fully insane is to finally move out. Also, I don't really want to admit it to myself, but I am not very independent, and I feel like I really need to change that. This year I will be finishing my Bachelor's degree, so that seems like the perfect time I would like to aim for. The problem is that after I am done with the degree I want to continue by doing a Masters in the same place. The obvious easy solution is to just rent some place with roommates I'd have to find, which is probably what I'll try to do.

      But I have also been engaging in a lot of fantasizing - escapist thoughts involving doing my Masters in a different country. I was already thinking about this a bit before starting my Bachelor's degree, but I ultimately decided not to, which might have been a good call as I was definitely even more of a baby back then. But now, as I have another opportunity I have again been thinking about this a lot.

      I am from the EU, so I could study in any other EU country for free. Mostly I've been thinking about Finland, or other Scandinavian countries (maybe kind of cliche?). It would definitely be really hard though, and I am not sure am I strong enough to do this. As I said I am kind of a not very independent wuss, so I am kind of scared if I could survive by myself in a different country with basically no one I could fall back on. Finding a place to live would also probably be quite hard and I would very likely need to find a part time job there, because even though I spent almost 2 years saving up money at a part time job, the countries I am looking at are more expensive than mine so my savings wouldn't most likely be enough. Hopefully there would be some student dormitories available that would be quite cheap? I don't really care too much about how prestigious my university is, but it could also be nice that I could choose a better rated one somewhere.

      I hope I wouldn't lose my current best friends. I probably have some very overblown expectations about this though. I always dream how I would meet some new cool friends, maybe even find a relationship. I am quite an anxious person, especially socially anxious which I'd also hope I would have to overcome a bit. But I probably wouldn't magically become more extroverted, and less anxious. I might even just be unable to make any friends there, but I'd hope that I would be kind of forced to make some and get out of my shell so to speak. Suddenly having to do everything by myself, while having a job, in a foreign country might be too much though.

      Also another random thing that I would like about this is I would kind of like to change my name at the same time and I am fantasizing that it would work out nicely. I don't dislike my name too much, but I feel like I would like a different one much more, and that it would kind of help me become myself more or something? I don't really want to change my name legally, I am more thinking that I would just start telling people that my name is <name I like more>, so it would kind of be more like a nickname. Yeah, writing that out I should probably try telling some friends to just start calling me by the name, even though I feel like they would just be like why and cringe a bit.

      I know I am probably fantasizing about studying abroad too much, and that it wouldn't be that great, studying abroad most likely wouldn't help me find a relationship or anything, but I'd think it would definitely force me to become more independent. I feel like I am once again coming up on quite a big decision in my life and I am still not really sure how to proceed. Did anyone here study abroad, for the whole degree, or even as an exchange student - Erasmus or similar stuff? Any other thoughts would be appreciated too. Thank you for reading, I hope my writing isn't too much of a messy stream of thoughts.

      Edit: Thanks to everyone for your responses, you are all so nice, uplifting and motivating <3. I will definitely be seriously researching much more about studying abroad, and while I can't guarantee I'll go forward with this plan, I'll try working towards it for now. I still have almost 2 months to decide, and if I decide to go ahead with it, it would still be at least a year away. But I promise to you guys, that I will at least move out of my parents house for my sanity, one way or another.

      21 votes
    7. I just got accepted to do a Master's degree!

      I'm dead excited, and I just wanted to share somewhere! Since graduating from my Bachelor's I've been working in IT support, and it's slowly killing me. Progression is slow, the work is boring,...

      I'm dead excited, and I just wanted to share somewhere!
      Since graduating from my Bachelor's I've been working in IT support, and it's slowly killing me. Progression is slow, the work is boring, and at the end of the day all I have to show for my efforts is (hopefully) a slightly lower number of open tickets than at the start. It all feels incredibly pointless, and like I'm not making a difference in peoples' lives.

      I decided earlier this year to start looking into possible Master's degree programs, to help me enter a different field, and I'm happy to say that from next September I'll be returning to my alma mater to study Linguistics and English Language Teaching. From there, I'm hoping to go into teaching English as a foreign language, first abroad, and then to immigrants and refugees back here in the UK.

      I'm super excited, and also a little nervous. I coasted through my Bachelor's and the past few years of my working life, so it'll be a shock to the system to have a proper workload again. I've got to get through the next 8 months or so first, but that will be easier knowing that I have something different and exciting waiting for me at the end of this particular career path. I'm desperately saving up as much money as I can to cover my living expenses for the year (I don't intend to work during my degree), which is another thing to feel nervous about.

      But right now, I'm mostly just ecstatic, and wanted to share! In the interest of discussion, I'd love to hear about your experiences studying a Master's degree, and whether or not it helped you in your life after graduation.

      25 votes
    8. How do you (or your company) retrain staff for new roles?

      Hive mind: Does your company re-train people to teach them new skills? What about mindset skills, such as problem-solving and critical thinking? What's worked -- and what doesn't? I'm writing an...

      Hive mind: Does your company re-train people to teach them new skills? What about mindset skills, such as problem-solving and critical thinking? What's worked -- and what doesn't?

      I'm writing an article on how to do effectively re-train workers, and I'd like to hear from you (particularly if you have a management or HR background). I might like to quote you, but I certainly would like your input even if that isn't possible.

      Companies have always needed to ensure their employee learn new tools (such as replacing OldProgrammingLanguage with NewLanguage) or entirely new skill sets (e.g. for those whose jobs are replaced by automation). But the rate at which old skills perish and new ones have to be learned is increasing.

      If we assume that technology changes jobs rather than destroys them, what does that mean for companies in practice?

      I was inspired to write this article after reading about “the work skills of tomorrow" https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/10/top-10-work-skills-of-tomorrow-how-long-it-takes-to-learn-them in which critical thinking and problem-solving top the list of skills employers believe will grow in prominence. But that made me wonder: How the heck do you teach soft skills? This isn’t like telling someone, “Take a course in data analytics.” What, if anything, can you do to improve a worker's agility in learning new things, or to become a better problem-solver?

      So: What has been your experience? What worked, what failed, what advice would you offer someone (particularly in larger organizations) who wants to take care of their people and move the company forward?

      Note that I'm thinking less in terms of training an individual with a new skill (PhotoShop) than skills for a different career (a move to the Accounting department). And please leave out the "I trained myself!" stories; they're a tangent that doesn't help me. And yes, I know plenty of companies just lay people off rather than retrain them; we can leave those out of the discussion, too. This is meant to be a useful how-to to guide companies that want to do it right, so I am interested in practical advice.

      We can take this to a private discussion if that's easier.

      5 votes
    9. What has/have your government/school/college/teachers done to keep education flowing during this pandemic?

      Admittedly keep education flowing is some corporate language. The only people who care about education are left-wing politicians and the actual teachers, neither of which matter now. Anyway, my...

      Admittedly keep education flowing is some corporate language. The only people who care about education are left-wing politicians and the actual teachers, neither of which matter now.

      Anyway, my state government is broadcasting classes with 3 subjects from around 2PM to 4-4:20PM. The last subject of the day (3:30PM until the end) is only broadcast on the app they made and their YouTube channel unfortunately. All the classes are uploaded onto YouTube for posterity.

      The app they made is mainly a chat, later limited to 15 messages as an attempt to stop copy-pasting from flooding the few meaningful/serious answers (it is a live chat with 20k people in it simultaneously so good riddance), to little avail IIRC. (IIRC because I watch by TV because my battery is limited and the screen is too small to actually copy to a textbook)

      The quality is kinda mediocre but nothing bad enough usually. One time it was a 4:3 480p clip with interlacing, which is based until you start caring.

      They are also sending us "handouts" (apostilas, PT-BR to English) and the normal state tests every bimester.

      As for the teachers, they have sent us pretty much the full student workload via Google PDFs on WhatsApp, which is the opposite of private, but privacy is hardly possible when you're Brazilian and likely don't even have an up-to-date (defined as less than 5 years old LMAO ) PC. They haven't done any zoom/meet chats to teach us stuff however, since that's kind of the purpose of the TV/YouTube broadcast.

      8 votes
    10. What online courses / MOOCs have you taken?

      Not leaving the house much these days (due to social distancing and also insane heat in NYC right now) means I've got some time to kill that I'd like to spend productively. I took MIT 6.00.2x:...

      Not leaving the house much these days (due to social distancing and also insane heat in NYC right now) means I've got some time to kill that I'd like to spend productively.

      I took MIT 6.00.2x: Introduction to Computational Thinking and Data Science a few years back when I was refreshing my Python skills. I think it's been updated a bit since then. It was a high quality course and I enjoyed it, though there are so many Python-related courses these days, I can't guarantee it's the best.

      I'm currently taking:

      1. Model Thinking on Coursera from the University of Michigan. I don't know where I saw this recommended (maybe on Tildes or Hacker News?) but it's quite good so far. Scott Page teaches about how to use various models (mental models, computational ones, etc.) for breaking down and analyzing various problems and systems. I've only just started but I quite like it.

      2. Testing and Monitoring Machine Learning Model Deployments on Udemy. Taking this along with a few coworkers since it's relevant to what I do. Only just starting but appears to be quite good and works through a well-documented example project on Github.

      I've also come across a few that seem like they might be good courses for the future:

      Now your turn: what have you taken? What did you like or not like, and why? What do you want to take?

      8 votes
    11. I just made my last ever student loan payment!

      I'm throwing myself a little party here -- digital drinks on me! Yes, I know my loans weren't accruing interest on account of COVID-19, but long before that all started I'd been aggressively...

      I'm throwing myself a little party here -- digital drinks on me!

      Yes, I know my loans weren't accruing interest on account of COVID-19, but long before that all started I'd been aggressively paying them down because I wanted them GONE. And now they ARE! (Or, they will be once the payment clears, which for some unknown reason takes my loan servicer like two full weeks).

      The quarantine actually helped me accelerate payments. I rolled over what I was saving in gas money and not eating out into my loan payments. Also, as a teacher I only get paid during the school year, but I have the option to reduce my regular paychecks and roll the difference into a lump sum that gets paid out at the beginning of the summer. I choose this option so that my budgeting is consistent year-round (rather than me having to squirrel away my own nest egg for the summer from my other paychecks). The payoff amount on my loan would have been done around August had I kept with my regular schedule of payments, so I went ahead and treated myself to making the final payment in full, now, as I had the money for it upfront.

      I cannot tell you how good it feels to finally be free of them. I paid off my undergrad loans in under 10 years and felt super proud of myself, only to immediately have to turn around and start the process all over again for grad school. Months after I finished my undergrad loan payments I was again accepting tens of thousands of dollars in debt so that I could get a master's degree to qualify myself for a job that I'd already been doing for years. It was not a great feeling, nor something I was very happy about, but you do what you have to do, right?

      BUT NOW IT'S OVER. NO MORE STUDENT LOANS. I'VE WON THAT AMERICAN MILLENNIAL BOSS FIGHT.

      It honestly feels like I just got a big raise, as, come August, once my timeline for paying the loans is done, all the money that I was putting towards them is now mine to do whatever I want with. I'm not saying this to gloat (and I know that I'm financially very privileged even in light of my debt), but simply because I'm reveling in the feeling of being out from under the suffocating thumb of a difficult financial pressure, and it feels wonderful.

      EDIT: If anyone's wanting to join in my festivities remotely, participating is easy! All you need to do is pour yourself a tasty drink of your choosing, grab a delicious snack you love, and throw Carly Rae Jepsen's discography on shuffle.

      43 votes
    12. How did we reach 7 billion people without informing/educating all about how we really live?

      [M/29/small town India, English isn't my first language] I'll admit to being what is called a country bumpkin. The education I received was lacking in many ways, I wasn't taught about the real...

      [M/29/small town India, English isn't my first language]

      I'll admit to being what is called a country bumpkin. The education I received was lacking in many ways, I wasn't taught about the real world, I never really thought about how the food on my plate was grown or how we plunder the living world for resources etc.

      My question is, how did humanity reach 7 billion plus people without even paying a thought about educating the kids properly.

      There is a bitter irony to the fact that we have all been convinced to use the word "growth" to describe what is ultimately a process of depletion and breakdown. tweet

      If we are depleting the earth of all resources, how will coming generations live?

      But if we don't grow, how can we progress?

      Edit: Why can't we have good quality education for everyone and good quality healthcare for everyone on this planet?

      21 votes
    13. What's the education system like in your country?

      Ok I'll start: Brazil: here the schools are split between the fundamental level, which is 1-9th grade, which is then subdivided onto fundamental I and II, which range from 1-5th (ages 6-11) and...

      Ok I'll start:

      Brazil: here the schools are split between the fundamental level, which is 1-9th grade, which is then subdivided onto fundamental I and II, which range from 1-5th (ages 6-11) and 6-9th grades (ages 11-15) respectively. Then we have 'medium' level ("Ensino Médio") which goes from 10th-12th grade, and then we have a national test called ENEM, where everyone takes a test to be able to enroll in the many colleges/universities which accept it, where you then reach 'superior' class and take technical courses and the like.

      Class goes from 7-12:20 Am for fundamental II and 1-5:20 pm for fundamental I. This is because each day is divided into six periods of 50 minutes (+a 20 minute break, like in most places) for the sake of making subject distribution easier.

      There are 8 subjects in fundamental class, Portuguese (grammar), math, geography, history, science, physical education, English (still mostly grammar) and arts. (Unsurprisingly it's more about culture & music than how to draw)
      In 'medium' class, 3 more subjects are added, which are biology, physics and chemistry.

      Funding for education is reserved for the states to decide, although it usually goes from 15-25% of total tax revenue.

      16 votes
    14. What evidence-based learning strategies do you employ?

      I am soon starting a PhD program. I think lately the best investment of my time towards becoming a researcher is learning how to teach myself to become a better learner. There are a lot of various...

      I am soon starting a PhD program. I think lately the best investment of my time towards becoming a researcher is learning how to teach myself to become a better learner. There are a lot of various strategies I have come across, but I haven't found much that has the support of research. One example I have found is spaced-repetition via the software AnkiDroid (when were med students planning on sharing this with the rest of us?).

      What other techniques and strategies are out there? And if they work for you, where in research literature is the technique supported?

      12 votes
    15. Anyone have experience going to school in their 50s?

      I'm in my early 50s and have been seriously considering going to school. I have performed manual labor for most of my working career, and though I truly enjoy it, my body cannot keep up anymore. A...

      I'm in my early 50s and have been seriously considering going to school. I have performed manual labor for most of my working career, and though I truly enjoy it, my body cannot keep up anymore. A few years ago I began looking for work in an office environment, and after a a demoralizing year of submitting resumes, I landed a minimum wage job in a small customer support office inside a larger organization. The work was soul suckingly boring. I applied to other departments and received job offers, but management would not let me leave customer service because I have a way of deescalating difficult situations. I was eventually offered the customer support manager role, but I refuse to manage people. Since the company would not let me move out of customer support, I left them and took a long vacation. That is where I am at now.

      I am afraid that an educational investment will not pay out the dividends that I am hoping for. I don't have all the time in the world anymore. I guess I am looking for career / school advice, or if not advice, similar journeys.

      25 votes
    16. Considering going back to school

      I'm having a bit of a reckoning where I'm working a call center job, and when I like it, it's okay, and when I don't, it's a drag, but just recently my wrists have started to seriously act up and...

      I'm having a bit of a reckoning where I'm working a call center job, and when I like it, it's okay, and when I don't, it's a drag, but just recently my wrists have started to seriously act up and impact my work and life some, and my work insurance won't cover treatment. On a related note, Mom is willing to love and support bribe me back into going to school since I can go back on her insurance as long as I'm taking classes full time. Normally, I would respectfully decline because I'm prideful and petty, left school on academic probation 4 years ago after blowing off classes and am still nursing an underlying fear of failure and psychological hang-ups due to previous academic overextension. But I do have savings to fall back on, I am at a point where I can reasonably pivot, Mom will likely never let this one die, and my job causes me pain. So, what do?

      10 votes
    17. Do you ever feel like you want to learn everything?

      Do you ever feel as though you want to learn everything? I enjoy learning. I wouldn't say I crave it but I love finding out about new things or learning how to do something I don't know how to do....

      Do you ever feel as though you want to learn everything?

      I enjoy learning. I wouldn't say I crave it but I love finding out about new things or learning how to do something I don't know how to do. Almost anytime I see somebody talking about or doing something that interests me I think, "I could learn to do that" or "I should read up about that." This ranges from anything to my own personal pursuits (of which I have too many due to this feeling and thus never sink enough time into any... different topic) to my friend's career paths or interests, to all of you on Tildes, you cool bastards. My partner is studying medicine. Shit, I haven't learned anything bio/health-science related since college Freshman year Chemistry class but I was just googling "free [biology|physics|intro to medicine] textbooks online" because what she's learning sounds awesome and like some really beneficial stuff to know about. Every time I read the "What are you doing this weekend" or similar threads on here I just think... damn, I'd love to contribute to open source maps (shoutout u/hungariantoast) or play that game or learn to fix up my car or ... you get the idea.

      Does anyone else feel this way? How do you cope? Want to vent and relate? I know of priority lists, I have made plenty and they have both helped and not helped me solve this. I guess I'm just destined to try learning everything forever.

      31 votes
    18. What was your educational experience like?

      What did you like about school? What did you dislike about it? What were the most important things that you learned? What would you change about education if you had the power? If you could go...

      What did you like about school?
      What did you dislike about it?
      What were the most important things that you learned?
      What would you change about education if you had the power?
      If you could go back and re-do things knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?

      I'm not necessarily looking for individual answers to each question, I'm just putting those out there to frame the kind of thoughts I'm looking for. I'm really just interested in hearing other people's stories! I'm a teacher and frequently do a lot of talking about education from my own perspective, but I don't feel like I do enough listening to others' views.

      Also, to avoid gumming up the questions with multiple tenses, I wrote everything in past tense. That doesn't mean I'm only interested in the responses of people who are done with their formal education though. I'd love to hear from people who are still in school as well!

      18 votes
    19. Studying social sciences

      I have business degree and planning to get masters in political science or sociology. I only had electives related to these fields and I enjoyed it greatly. I know people don't like these programs...

      I have business degree and planning to get masters in political science or sociology. I only had electives related to these fields and I enjoyed it greatly. I know people don't like these programs because of low employment opportunities. So is it good idea to purse them despite low prospects of employment? I know enjoy learning about these subjects a lot. What was your experience like? How are your employment situation? What was your favorite part?

      6 votes
    20. Tildes folks, are you learning another language or multilingual?

      pretty straightforward ask. i have some basic, rusty Spanish (on and off learning) and a bit of Esperanto to my name (currently learning) but not much else eventually i want to speak French...

      pretty straightforward ask. i have some basic, rusty Spanish (on and off learning) and a bit of Esperanto to my name (currently learning) but not much else

      eventually i want to speak French conversationally since my boyfriend can and i think it'd be neat to converse with him in more than English, but that's a long term goal.

      33 votes
    21. What are some common skills that will become extinct in the next couple of decades?

      Today I got into a conversation with my coworkers about how cursive is all but dead with our students. We adults all grew up learning it and were often forced to use it even when we didn't want...

      Today I got into a conversation with my coworkers about how cursive is all but dead with our students. We adults all grew up learning it and were often forced to use it even when we didn't want to, but it has been out of vogue in American schools for a while now, so most of our students legitimately don't know how to read or write it. Opinions as to whether or not this was a bad thing were split. Some people considered the skill unnecessary and were happy to see it go the way of the dinosaur. Life moves on, they said--and the skill was inessential anyway because students could simply print instead. Some even took things a step further and argued that print was also going to become outdated with the prevalence of computers and phones. Nevertheless, others argued that cursive was important and valuable for kids to learn, particularly if they wanted to be able to sign their names or read documents written in script (e.g. old letters from family members, historical documents, etc.)

      The discussion then continued to analog clocks. Being able to read them is still technically in the curriculum standards for many states, but it's the kind of thing that often gets briefly touched on and then discarded. Because digital clocks are so prevalent now, many students never practice reading analog clocks outside of those specific lessons, and thus they never truly master it. While more of our students can read analog clocks than can write in cursive, it too seems to be headed down the path to extinction. Opinions about whether this was bad were much stronger, with nearly everyone agreeing that it's a worthwhile skill rather than something inessential.

      The conversation made me curious to hear what everyone here thinks--not just about these but about dying skills in general. What are some skills that you believe will fall out of widespread use in the coming years? Is their departure a good/bad thing?

      27 votes
    22. What should the government's role in education be? How much schooling should be compulsory? How much of it should be paid for by the student or their parents?

      This started as a sub-thread in a topic about possible contenders for the 2020 US Presidential race, but it generated enough interesting discussion that I thought it'd be worth spinning off into...

      This started as a sub-thread in a topic about possible contenders for the 2020 US Presidential race, but it generated enough interesting discussion that I thought it'd be worth spinning off into its own topic, particularly so we can include people outside the US who are ignoring or filtering out topics about American politics.

      To expand on the questions in the topic title:

      • What level of education should be required by law of every citizen?
      • How should schools be funded? What role should taxes play vs. tuition paid by the student or their parents?
      • Should homeschooling be allowed, and if so, how strict should the educational requirements be?

      And if you want to go really deep:

      • What is the purpose of education in the first place? Is it to make better and more productive workers; to create an informed electorate; to learn for the sake of learning?
      16 votes
    23. About the "ten thousand hours of practice to become an expert" rule

      Expertise researcher Anders Ericsson on why the popular "ten thousand hours of practice to become an expert" rule mischaracterizes his research: No, the ten-thousand-hour rule isn't really a rule...

      Expertise researcher Anders Ericsson on why the popular "ten thousand hours of practice to become an expert" rule mischaracterizes his research:

      No, the ten-thousand-hour rule isn't really a rule

      Ralf Krampe, Clemens Tesch-Römer, and I published the results from our study of the Berlin violin students in 1993. These findings would go on to become a major part of the scientific literature on expert performers, and over the years a great many other researchers have referred to them. But it was actually not until 2008, with the publication of Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, that our results attracted much attention from outside the scientific community. In his discussion of what it takes to become a top performer in a given field, Gladwell offered a catchy phrase: “the ten-thousand-hour rule.” According to this rule, it takes ten thousand hours of practice to become a master in most fields. We had indeed mentioned this figure in our report as the average number of hours that the best violinists had spent on solitary practice by the time they were twenty. Gladwell himself estimated that the Beatles had put in about ten thousand hours of practice while playing in Hamburg in the early 1960s and that Bill Gates put in roughly ten thousand hours of programming to develop his skills to a degree that allowed him to found and develop Microsoft. In general, Gladwell suggested, the same thing is true in essentially every field of human endeavor— people don’t become expert at something until they’ve put in about ten thousand hours of practice.

      The rule is irresistibly appealing. It’s easy to remember, for one thing. It would’ve been far less effective if those violinists had put in, say, eleven thousand hours of practice by the time they were twenty. And it satisfies the human desire to discover a simple cause-and-effect relationship: just put in ten thousand hours of practice at anything, and you will become a master.

      Unfortunately, this rule— which is the only thing that many people today know about the effects of practice— is wrong in several ways. (It is also correct in one important way, which I will get to shortly.) First, there is nothing special or magical about ten thousand hours. Gladwell could just as easily have mentioned the average amount of time the best violin students had practiced by the time they were eighteen— approximately seventy-four hundred hours— but he chose to refer to the total practice time they had accumulated by the time they were twenty, because it was a nice round number. And, either way, at eighteen or twenty, these students were nowhere near masters of the violin. They were very good, promising students who were likely headed to the top of their field, but they still had a long way to go when I studied them. Pianists who win international piano competitions tend to do so when they’re around thirty years old, and thus they’ve probably put in about twenty thousand to twenty-five thousand hours of practice by then; ten thousand hours is only halfway down that path.

      And the number varies from field to field. Steve Faloon became the very best person in the world at memorizing strings of digits after only about two hundred hours of practice. I don’t know exactly how many hours of practice the best digit memorizers put in today before they get to the top, but it is likely well under ten thousand.

      Second, the number of ten thousand hours at age twenty for the best violinists was only an average. Half of the ten violinists in that group hadn’t actually accumulated ten thousand hours at that age. Gladwell misunderstood this fact and incorrectly claimed that all the violinists in that group had accumulated over ten thousand hours.

      Third, Gladwell didn’t distinguish between the deliberate practice that the musicians in our study did and any sort of activity that might be labeled “practice.” For example, one of his key examples of the ten-thousand-hour rule was the Beatles’ exhausting schedule of performances in Hamburg between 1960 and 1964. According to Gladwell, they played some twelve hundred times, each performance lasting as much as eight hours, which would have summed up to nearly ten thousand hours. Tune In, an exhaustive 2013 biography of the Beatles by Mark Lewisohn, calls this estimate into question and, after an extensive analysis, suggests that a more accurate total number is about eleven hundred hours of playing. So the Beatles became worldwide successes with far less than ten thousand hours of practice. More importantly, however, performing isn’t the same thing as practice. Yes, the Beatles almost certainly improved as a band after their many hours of playing in Hamburg, particularly because they tended to play the same songs night after night, which gave them the opportunity to get feedback— both from the crowd and themselves— on their performance and find ways to improve it. But an hour of playing in front of a crowd, where the focus is on delivering the best possible performance at the time, is not the same as an hour of focused, goal-driven practice that is designed to address certain weaknesses and make certain improvements— the sort of practice that was the key factor in explaining the abilities of the Berlin student violinists.

      A closely related issue is that, as Lewisohn argues, the success of the Beatles was not due to how well they performed other people’s music but rather to their songwriting and creation of their own new music. Thus, if we are to explain the Beatles’ success in terms of practice, we need to identify the activities that allowed John Lennon and Paul McCartney— the group’s two primary songwriters— to develop and improve their skill at writing songs. All of the hours that the Beatles spent playing concerts in Hamburg would have done little, if anything, to help Lennon and McCartney become better songwriters, so we need to look elsewhere to explain the Beatles’ success.

      This distinction between deliberate practice aimed at a particular goal and generic practice is crucial because not every type of practice leads to the improved ability that we saw in the music students or the ballet dancers. Generally speaking, deliberate practice and related types of practice that are designed to achieve a certain goal consist of individualized training activities— usually done alone— that are devised specifically to improve particular aspects of performance.

      The final problem with the ten-thousand-hour rule is that, although Gladwell himself didn’t say this, many people have interpreted it as a promise that almost anyone can become an expert in a given field by putting in ten thousand hours of practice. But nothing in my study implied this. To show a result like this, I would have needed to put a collection of randomly chosen people through ten thousand hours of deliberate practice on the violin and then see how they turned out. All that our study had shown was that among the students who had become good enough to be admitted to the Berlin music academy, the best students had put in, on average, significantly more hours of solitary practice than the better students, and the better and best students had put in more solitary practice than the music-education students.

      The question of whether anyone can become an expert performer in a given field by taking part in enough designed practice is still open, and I will offer some thoughts on this issue in the next chapter. But there was nothing in the original study to suggest that it was so.

      Gladwell did get one thing right, and it is worth repeating because it’s crucial: becoming accomplished in any field in which there is a well-established history of people working to become experts requires a tremendous amount of effort exerted over many years. It may not require exactly ten thousand hours, but it will take a lot.

      We have seen this in chess and the violin, but research has shown something similar in field after field. Authors and poets have usually been writing for more than a decade before they produce their best work, and it is generally a decade or more between a scientist’s first publication and his or her most important publication— and this is in addition to the years of study before that first published research. A study of musical composers by the psychologist John R. Hayes found that it takes an average of twenty years from the time a person starts studying music until he or she composes a truly excellent piece of music, and it is generally never less than ten years. Gladwell’s ten-thousand-hour rule captures this fundamental truth— that in many areas of human endeavor it takes many, many years of practice to become one of the best in the world— in a forceful, memorable way, and that’s a good thing.

      On the other hand, emphasizing what it takes to become one of the best in the world in such competitive fields as music, chess, or academic research leads us to overlook what I believe to be the more important lesson from our study of the violin students. When we say that it takes ten thousand— or however many— hours to become really good at something, we put the focus on the daunting nature of the task. While some may take this as a challenge— as if to say, “All I have to do is spend ten thousand hours working on this, and I’ll be one of the best in the world!”— many will see it as a stop sign: “Why should I even try if it’s going to take me ten thousand hours to get really good?” As Dogbert observed in one Dilbert comic strip, “I would think a willingness to practice the same thing for ten thousand hours is a mental disorder.”

      But I see the core message as something else altogether: In pretty much any area of human endeavor, people have a tremendous capacity to improve their performance, as long as they train in the right way. If you practice something for a few hundred hours, you will almost certainly see great improvement— think of what two hundred hours of practice brought Steve Faloon— but you have only scratched the surface. You can keep going and going and going, getting better and better and better. How much you improve is up to you.

      This puts the ten-thousand-hour rule in a completely different light: The reason that you must put in ten thousand or more hours of practice to become one of the world’s best violinists or chess players or golfers is that the people you are being compared to or competing with have themselves put in ten thousand or more hours of practice. There is no point at which performance maxes out and additional practice does not lead to further improvement. So, yes, if you wish to become one of the best in the world in one of these highly competitive fields, you will need to put in thousands and thousands of hours of hard, focused work just to have a chance of equaling all of those others who have chosen to put in the same sort of work.

      One way to think about this is simply as a reflection of the fact that, to date, we have found no limitations to the improvements that can be made with particular types of practice. As training techniques are improved and new heights of achievement are discovered, people in every area of human endeavor are constantly finding ways to get better, to raise the bar on what was thought to be possible, and there is no sign that this will stop. The horizons of human potential are expanding with each new generation.

      -- Ericsson, Anders; Pool, Robert. Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise (p. 109-114). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.

      22 votes
    24. Who was the most influential teacher in your life? And how did they influence you?

      We're finishing up the graduation season which has me thinking about some of the impactful teachers in my life. Who's someone that made a big impact on you? What lessons did they teach you or...

      We're finishing up the graduation season which has me thinking about some of the impactful teachers in my life. Who's someone that made a big impact on you? What lessons did they teach you or passions did they instill?

      7 votes
    25. I graduated from high school yesterday. Here's what I wrote to my friend about it.

      I summarize the project that the following is taken from here: https://tildes.net/~talk/1yr/are_you_writing_a_diary_if_so_in_which_ways_does_it_help_you#comment-kuy Some of what's discussed below...

      I summarize the project that the following is taken from here: https://tildes.net/~talk/1yr/are_you_writing_a_diary_if_so_in_which_ways_does_it_help_you#comment-kuy

      Some of what's discussed below builds on ideas familiar only to my friend and I, but the gist is probably understandable enough, and as the occasion for my writing this is a momentous one, I want to share and see what people might think of some of my thoughts on it. Some of the language is probably a little flowery or seems silly, but that's okay—who has time for shame?

      Feedback, questions, discussion, etc., are all welcome.

      . . .

      Something you may have gleaned by now from my entries and our private discussions both is that I've been wondering for a while at the sheer scope encompassed by the whole of life's perspectives taken together. Something you said to me tonight seems particularly acute in relation to this thought:

      "but it makes sense that anthony bourdain could kill himself
      to us he represents just a random facet of the universe
      but to him he was the universe, painting it with his eyes, and he hated his eyes."

      The Universe is made in the eyes of its beholder. The philosophers (and the philistines alike) have been making that observation for a long time now; they call it solipsism, or subjectivity. So I'm not unique in my also identifying it. But that's okay, because the idea is as valid as it ever was. If there's anything our recent discussions have made clear to me, it's that we can believe in nothing but that, and can't but trust in the Universe in its every moment of presentation as a mirror.

      In my saying "wonder" above, I mean just that; it is wonder which I feel towards this thought. Life as experienced in the moment is ossified in the next; as soon as an experience is registered it is passed and past, becomes one among many tomes relegated to the bookshelves which fill to the brim the expansive vault called Memory, and with time it and its shelf are pushed further and further into the ever growing obscurity. One can walk those halls again, venture far into those depths, but with distance one finds the shelves dustier and the names of the tomes which line them more difficult to make out.

      In such a recognition everything has become compressed (but wasn't it so all along, and it's only now that I've come to see it?). Life is become compartmentalized, broken into bite-sized pieces for its more comfortable consumption. Everything is a mood, a color, a sound, a smell. The terms 'synesthesia' and 'aura' become interchangeable. Part of the difficulty in trying to retrace one's steps through that maze of shelves—and most frustrating is to set out in search of just one particular tome among all the multitudes, some of which cry out like sirens in hopes of diverting one's attention—is that all the colors which mark each shelf are so easily mixed up, confused with each other, and with that of the present moment, that their being received just as they were in the moment of their edification seems probably impossible; and should one come to the right shelf after all, where is the book that shines with just the same sheen with which it shone upon its binding? There's a great deal of work to be put in, it turns out, in seeing in Shrek exactly what one saw in watching it as a child.

      By "consume", as I use the term above, I mean just that. Life is consumed in the moment of its passing, just as experiences become memories and thoughts are born and die in the same moment. Everything is in constant movement (remember Heraclitus? A man never steps in the same stream twice). Enter the importance of momentum. Momentum can now be better defined than it was when first I dealt with it (and we can do away with the whole discussion around dialectic, though that doesn't preclude taking what is useful from it—a kind of [auto-]cannibalization). We can call it a refusal to linger on suffering, a choosing to embrace rather than curse the inevitability of movement, of passing, of distance. In movement of this sort is to be found the Promethean, if that term can be recycled also. Love flowers in a maintenance of momentum; love is the seed, momentum the water.

      In memory, too, can we find ourselves renewed. An aura lost is not lost forever, and part of the thrill of retracing one's steps is in the search itself. True, the shelves become dusty, the tomes decrepit, as towards a more distant past one reaches; but what child loves not to get lost among old sheafs and musty stacks, places of secrets and lost knowledge? And is it not taught, and can we not agree, that there is far more to be said for a reader's interpretation of a text than for the text itself? One must remember to chew mint from time to time; it can make a big difference.

      On this day I graduate from high school. The following pledge is my choice of commemoration in marking that accomplishment: I choose to look towards the future with as much optimism and positivity as can be mustered, to spurn resentment and suffering, nostalgia and hate—the last being permitted only in its manifestation in opposition to all things anti-life. We must remember to remain lovely and loving beings, to take things seriously enough to be able to take things easy, to appreciate as beautiful what is foolish, but ours in its foolishness, and to love delirium of the sort known by the psychonaut convinced of the profundity of a truly meaningless revelation. We must in our approach to life in all its majestic whole say as Nietzsche (and, more recently, the writers of Futurama) would have said if asked to go through it all again: Fuck yeah.

      5 votes
    26. Should how to use computers effectively be taught in mainstream education?

      Since computers and computer-like devices are prevalent in most modern societies shouldn't we be teaching people how to use them effectively and for purpose, rather than saying "oh, they'll pick...

      Since computers and computer-like devices are prevalent in most modern societies shouldn't we be teaching people how to use them effectively and for purpose, rather than saying "oh, they'll pick it up" or "they grew up with it, they'll understand it just fine". Both of which, are clearly not the case.

      What does tildes think of a mandatory computing class in early grades, and/or several years of classes to master the concepts, like the U.S. does with History, English literature, Math, and Sciences?

      Should computers be necessary to learn as an academic subject?

      Or is it fine that many people can't do very simple tasks on computers?
      Is it fine that they do not understand basic computing concepts? e.g. keyboard shortcuts, searching, folder management

      32 votes
    27. Any language learners/enthusiasts around here?

      Now that a community is starting to build here, I'm curious if anyone else is interested in languages. Personally, I realized that I enjoy learning languages when I took a Spanish class in high...

      Now that a community is starting to build here, I'm curious if anyone else is interested in languages.

      Personally, I realized that I enjoy learning languages when I took a Spanish class in high school. The only languages I've studied seriously are Spanish and Russian, and unfortunately these days my Spanish is pretty rusty, but I still enjoy the process of learning about different languages, how they relate to each other, and learning how to communicate at least a little.

      Anyone here share my interest? What language(s) are you learning/have you studied, and what do you like or dislike about it? What has struck you as the most interesting or weirdest thing about it?

      28 votes