Learning, Innovation & Tech

Bombs & Breakthroughs

Washington Post: Top High School Prevents Curiosity in Learning

CJ Westerberg, October 19, 2010 8:22 PM

monkeysee.Jaymathews.Washingtonpost.jpg

"Is that the best way to encourage learning? Are we so stuck on managing classroom competition that we can't let students explore libraries, or the Internet,
and make connections between the textbook and the real world?"
 --Jay Mathews, The Washington Post

"Curiosity Discouraged at Competitive High School"
 
(Ed. Note:  This struck me as a bell-ringer because it just didn't feel like the typical Jay Mathews post.  Learning, curiosity?  In any event, veddy interesting.  - C.J. Westerberg)

Excerpts from The Washington Post's education columnist, Jay Mathews' Class Struggle column titled, "Curiosity discouraged at competitive high school":

Westfield High School in Fairfax County is one of the largest and most competitive public schools in America. It is not unusual that 180 sophomores enrolled in Advanced Placement World History this year, more students than most U.S. high schools have taking AP courses of any kind.

What did surprise some Westfield students and their parents was a sheet titled "Expectations of Integrity" included in the materials handed out by the three
AP World History teachers. Their number one rule discouraged random
outbreaks of curiosity:

"You are only allowed to use your OWN knowledge, your OWN class notes, class handouts, your OWN class homework, or The Earth and Its Peoples textbook to complete assignments and assessments UNLESS specifically informed
otherwise by your instructor.
. . ."

. . . .That was not all. Students could not use anything they found on the Internet. They were not permitted even to discuss their assignments with friends, classmates, neighbors, parents, relatives or siblings. . .

And Mathews' conclusion:

If the teachers are worried about cheating, there are Web sites and applications to catch plagiarists. I wish there were also an app to unleash curiosity, which in this class is locked up for the rest of the school year.

Read full article here.   It appears that the educational system has created such a curious lot of students that our best action is offense, or do we just call it offensive?   So much for "lighting a fire" to inspire curiosity which is the precursor to life-long learning.  Even if these actions were in response to cheating, as expressed by one of the commentators to Mathews' post below, it is a no win either way:

My guess is that there is- or has been in the recent past - a serious problem with cheating. And that gets at another problem with AP; students are so intent on making themselves "look good" - which is derived from parental pressure(s) and the endless promotion of AP as "better" by such writers as Jay Mathews - that they sign up for all the AP courses they can, find themselves stressed and time-constrained, and they look to cut corners. It isn't really about learning.  

Guess we've come a long way in the learning arena, folks.

For two very timely videos related to this post:

 "Sir Ken Robinson - Changing the Education Paradigm"

"Race to Nowhere: A must-watch documentary - Are we creating a generation of unprepared high achievers?"      A different look at AP courses:  Video clip




###
blog comments powered by Disqus
It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.
Leonardo da Vinci
Follow The Daily Riff on Follow TDR on Twitter

find us on facebook

bill-gates.FT.Financial-Times.jpg

Cool Smart Teen: Changing the conversation about building stuff

SMW, 11.04.2013

Not just building an app to play with . . . but a test for cancer

Read Post | Comments

Riffing good stories

Stanford.design-thinking. innovation.jpg

Video: What is the link between "design-thinking" and creativity?

SMW, 11.03.2013

Creative Confidence: Must-Watch Interview on Charlie Rose

Read Post | Comments
early education.preschool.jpg

How Much Do Early Years Lead to Student Success?

CJ Westerberg, 11.03.2013

"The idea being that wasn't necessarily to create little engineers everywhere, though that would be great for us. The idea was to take advantage of the natural learning process and curiosity that children have at that age . . ." Tamika Lang, Boeing

Read Post | Comments
weekend-reading.jpg

NEW: Weekend Reading

SMW, 11.03.2013

Looking for Intimacy in the Age of Facebook is a higher education course (yes, you heard right). Interestingly, social media may inhibit creativity and innovation

Read Post | Comments
CV.digital.jpg

The New Resume

SMW, 10.31.2013

A picture is worth a thousand words. A video game-like format is worth . . .

Read Post | Comments
red.blue.abstract.jpg

Noam Chomsky: The Purpose of Education

CJ Westerberg, 10.31.2013

"Education is really aimed at helping students get to the point where they can learn on their own. . . "

Read Post | Comments
twitter2BigBird.jpg

Noam Chomsky: In the news again, this time about Twitter and High Schoolers

SMW, 10.31.2013

Noam Chomsky, Professor Emeritus at MIT, "father of linguistics", political commentator.  From bio: "Besides his work in linguistics, Chomsky is internationally recognized as one of the most critically engaged public intellectuals alive today":               ...

Read Post | Comments
CIMG0353.jpg

Choke: Test-taking - - - a different way to look at test-prep?

CJ Westerberg, 10.28.2013

"Most students will not find a steady diet of test-prep drills and worksheets to be particularly meaningful, and accordingly, they will not put forth optimal learning effort."

Read Post | Comments
beehive.bee.jpg

Does your school have a beehive?

CJ Westerberg, 10.27.2013

"If we want children to be inventors, we have to give them opportunities to invent." - 5:00 mark, Mission Hill video

Read Post | Comments