Organizing Knowledge

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tommclaughlin
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Organizing Knowledge

Most students came to me unable to fix themselves in space or in time. They had little idea of what the world looked like beyond their neighborhood and their school. They could not point to Maine on a world map, or to their town on a map of Maine. Neither did they have much idea of world and national events during the lives of their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and other ancestors which shaped their families and the culture into which they’d been born.

It took me a while to realize what an impediment those deficits were. I had a curriculum to deliver and try as I might, results of my labors were sporadic at best. Information I delivered went in one ear and out the other because there was no context, no net, no web in students’ minds onto which they might attach. Some, however, did have those contexts. They comprehended everything and progressed. Most, however, did not.

My first target was geographic ignorance so I passed out maps of the world with no labels anywhere. Depicted were continents and the blue water surrounding them. On the continents were tannish mountain ranges and blue rivers. That’s all. Next I passed out a list of names — continents, mountains, rivers, seas, bays, gulfs, straits, channels, deserts, isthmuses — about one hundred fifty of the earth’s most important physical features. Their task was to find them and label them the same way cartographers did on the atlases in the back of their textbooks. They had to find and label each, then print the name on a horizontal plane except when labeling rivers and mountain ranges. Most of them gasped.

“Get to it,” I said. “You’ll be tested the end of next week. I’ll pass out the same blank map and a list of fifty places randomly selected from that one hundred fifty that you must label correctly without looking at your atlas.

“Which ones will be on the test?” they asked.

“I’m not telling. You’ll see when I pass it out.” We drilled in class for about ten days and played various map games. Ultimately most did fairly well on the test. Those who didn’t were allowed to take it again until they did. They had begun building a physical context — a net between their ears. To their surprise, they actually enjoyed it.

Then came a respite, after which came another blank world map with another list of one hundred fifty countries and major cities. They had to label each and outline political borders between countries (which were already lightly drawn), and locate cities with a dot. Then came more drill, more games, and another test. Again, most did fairly well.

The goal was for each student to be able to conjure up the world map in their mind’s eye whenever they heard one of the three hundred places mentioned — then see exactly where in the world it was. Standing before a pull-down world map they would need less than five seconds to point to it. For the rest of their lives, whenever they heard something about one of those places, there was a framework in their minds to which it might stick before it went out the other ear. It's a way to begin organizing knowledge.

The rest is here.

pmconusa
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Tom: The students you

Tom: The students you describe are those reared and exposed to the results of the information world of television, the internet and instant news. They are indoctrinated in the cult of the individual and the mistaken notion they are exceptional, loathe to demean themselves by working with their hands and totally dependent on the government for their well being. They are now having to live with their parents, sharing their Social Security income or simply on EBT cards. They won't take the jobs that are available because they would have to leave this sanctuary or perform manual labor, none of whom could compete for against those who do it merely to survive. The one's who are led to believe eduction will get them jobs are hocking their futures with loans they will never be able to repay and when there are not enough jobs, created by the government, they will not have parents to fall back on. Because the government determines the distribution of wealth and there is only so much to go around the increase in population sees more and more becoming destitute, while a few get rich. This scenario is described in detail in my book, The Real Economy, and what it ultimately leads to is the demise of the human race at a much more rapid pace than necessary.

tommclaughlin
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Joined: 10/26/2007 - 5:27am
Many students may end up as

Many students may end up as you describe, but my goal was to help them put new facts into context. We live in a society which is easily manipulated because it's increasingly devoid of a macro world view, not to mention an historical one.

Toolsmith
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Joined: 07/14/2016 - 11:22am
I believe the destruction of

I believe the destruction of education in America has been a deliberate plot.

With no basis in any basic knowledge, it is possible to tell almost any lie with impunity.

pmconusa
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Joined: 04/20/2000 - 12:01am
The Progressives have taken

The Progressives have taken over the schools at all levels and they have become indoctrination centers not places for learning. The truth is what they say it is and they have said it so often they now believe it themselves. When you teach people to think or they begin to realize what they are being told is not truth the Progressive mantra is exposed for what it is, self serving TRUTH. Unfortunately, those who can think for themselves are becoming extinct and in such a minority they are unable to effect change.

JackStrawFromWichita
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Joined: 02/05/2014 - 6:17pm
"I love the poorly educated"
pmconusa
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If he means the poorly

If he means the poorly indoctrinated he should be glad there are not more of them.

Toolsmith
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Joined: 07/14/2016 - 11:22am
He should, there are few

He should, there are few others left.

Being trained what to think is not being educated...

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