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Schools, history and learning





tijn01
Last week I was talking to someone in my adult learning class. she is over 20 and I had to explain to her what a swastika was, who the nazi party were and why that symbol isn't a really nice one. She had no clue. I got quite angry and asked 'di you go to highschool?' and she said she did but she didn't learn much.
I couldn't believe it.
Can it really be possible that a whole generation is graduating from school and they haven't learnt the basics of history???
I can't imagine not knowing these things?
This girl graduated highschool only three years ago.
What do ya think?
Shewolf
As always people learn what they want to learn. We had nearly a one-year-long prodject about the econd World War, and not everyone can have that.
And about the swastika, it's nothing wrong with it, just with the people who have abused it over the years.
I think you are worrying a bit too much.
fourx
In the context of Australian secondary ""Education""and as a teacher it doesn't surprise me at all.
Remember that she has had to fight her way through a Board Of Studies ( in NSW, at least) list of Bicycle Safe Use, Pet Care, Aboriginal Affairs and Stranger Danger before she got the De-construct History from a Feminist, and Gay, and Aboriginal perspective. If she was not in a state of coma after that, it's very surprising indeed.
But beat this- last year I had a year 10 kid swear black and blue that the World is 6000 years old Huh, I said?...she was Seventh Day Adventist, it seems, and no discussion of the facts was permitted at home.
benjmd
A wise man once said that half the world had a below-average IQ. This has since been repeated by many statisticians without giving due credit to that first wise man.

I agree with you that so many people do not have a sound knowledge of history--and it is not for a lack of available learning resources to them. I understand if you grow up in a poor third world country with a bad school system and don't know what year WWII ended, but not if you grow up in a modern economic power with an established school system. The problem is that learning is hard and when you don't get pushed by those around you it is easy to give up. Sometimes it's the teacher that isn't very into their job (but not so often). Often times it is the parent that is too busy (for good reasons or for bad reasons). And of course there will always be peers equally as reluctant to do any work. Even smart people give up at learning when they encounter something which which they struggle.

What I find most worrisome is that there are so many people that exploit this instead of trying to improve our educational systems to stop it. Some politicians twist history to support their cause. Directors, writers, and musicians steal from generations long past knowing that most of their audience will never know, rather than using the medium to expose them to the genius of artists in other eras.
passnthru2
a Swastika is an archetypal symbol found all over the world in different places and times meaning basically the same thing.. NONE OF WHICH had anything to do with how Hitler used it, Hitler was Bat Guano Crazy, he had Syphilis of the brain, besides not being well educated. he was essentially a stupid man raised to a position beyond his capacities by evil greedy men for profit, with the same consequences when ever/where ever that happens. history always repeats itself.

the Swastika is a very important symbol in many religions and spiritual faiths and practices for many thousands of years, from the Hopi Indians to the isolated Himalayan Tibetans. it is a mistake to condemn many highly developed faiths because of the ignorance and mental illness of one person.
MaxStirner
tijn01 wrote:
Last week I was talking to someone in my adult learning class. she is over 20 and I had to explain to her what a swastika was, who the nazi party were and why that symbol isn't a really nice one. She had no clue. I got quite angry and asked 'di you go to highschool?' and she said she did but she didn't learn much.
I couldn't believe it.
Can it really be possible that a whole generation is graduating from school and they haven't learnt the basics of history???
I can't imagine not knowing these things?
This girl graduated high school only three years ago.
What do ya think?


In general I would agree that the level of education in developed countries has not risen, perhaps even fallen, but the reason for this and the problems behind this are a bit more complex.

Even if the level of education has stagnated or even fallen in the last 1 to 2 generations, it is also true that the number of individuals with access to any meaningful form of education has risen, with discriminated minorities and the poorer working classes attaining at least some level of learning. Although this is in no way an apology for todays level of education, it could explain some of reasons.

Second, I believe that the abolishment of any type of physical punishment has led to a loss of order and respect without which it is difficult to uphold a learning environment. Now before you let your indignations run rampant Smile , I am in no way approving or endorsing physical or psychological punishment, I recall to well the ruler slaps on my palm or my mouth getting washed out with soap by Father Pedroza (and those were only the very mild ones), our mistake was that we removed these tools and did not think of replacing them with something else. If we rightfully dismiss punishment as a method to "encourage" learning then we are assuming that our society has developed sufficiently and is motivated enough to welcome education on principle and as a way of advancement, and this is simply not the case. Not only are we not providing the environment needed for teaching a child the very basics, we are even ignoring this fact and graduating a meaningful number of people regardless of their grades and achievements so as to make just enough room for the next generation of unskilled, untrained, uneducated children.
Bikerman
I would like to see some evidence that the standard and level of education has fallen in developed countries. Up to now all I see is anecdote (and very selective anecdote). There is a natural tendency for more 'mature' people to be shocked when a younger person doesn't know something that they feel is essential knowledge - I suffer from the same thing myself very frequently. This is not, however, indicative of declining standards and levels of education.

There is also a large amount of 'self-selective sampling' going on here. More articulate and better educated commentators frequently make this assertion about education (standards are falling) without properly considering that they represent an 'elite' from their own times. Here in the UK, for example, the old 'grammar' school system may have produced a better educated 'elite' than the current comprehensive system does (it is debatable and I am not convinced that this is the case). There is no doubt, however, that the Secondary Modern schools (ie the schools attended by the great majority) produced a lower standard of general education. The average level has, therefore, risen not fallen.

Until it can be established that there actually is a decline in standards then there is little point addressing questions such as corporal punishment and it's alternatives.
MaxStirner
Bikerman wrote:
I would like to see some evidence that the standard and level of education has fallen in developed countries. Up to now all I see is anecdote (and very selective anecdote). There is a natural tendency for more 'mature' people to be shocked when a younger person doesn't know something that they feel is essential knowledge - I suffer from the same thing myself very frequently. This is not, however, indicative of declining standards and levels of education.

There is also a large amount of 'self-selective sampling' going on here. More articulate and better educated commentators frequently make this assertion about education (standards are falling) without properly considering that they represent an 'elite' from their own times. Here in the UK, for example, the old 'grammar' school system may have produced a better educated 'elite' than the current comprehensive system does (it is debatable and I am not convinced that this is the case). There is no doubt, however, that the Secondary Modern schools (ie the schools attended by the great majority) produced a lower standard of general education. The average level has, therefore, risen not fallen.

Until it can be established that there actually is a decline in standards then there is little point addressing questions such as corporal punishment and it's alternatives.


I recall that in 2003, as the PISA shock hit Germany, basically stating that German education was noticeably below the European average whereas many Germans were proudly convinced that public education in Germanywas among the best in the world. At that time, with my son still in school, I remember taking a closer look at the results. Although PISA did attempt to establish sufficient common denominators and testing specifications to allow for a comparison of the quality of education, these statistics allowed only a snapshot of the current year; comparisons with PISA tests in other years were less reliable and comparisons to non-PISA data was practically worthless. I've seen some attempts at comparing historic data using the results of standardized test such as the SAT in the US, but these were usually accompanied by margins of error which made the results rather inexact and questionable.
You are certainly correct that the average levels of education are somewhat distorted by the growing no. of students that have gained access to education compared to previous generations where only an "elite" has access to such (I attempted to address this in the previous post, perhaps too clumsily to be understood correctly).
Certainly, some (most?) adults who have gained some general education simply by having lived a few decades longer than the average student, perhaps tend to misinterpret this. On the other hand, not having any reliable statistical data for an objective comparison, does not necessarily make a subjective oder deductive result incorrect.
In my opinion, although the average level of education has probably risen/not fallen by the simple fact that more individuals now have access to schools / universities, the quality in general has fallen (both in the amount and depth of the learning matter as in the general atmosphere and in the quality of the learning environment).
liljp617
passnthru2 wrote:
a Swastika is an archetypal symbol found all over the world in different places and times meaning basically the same thing.. NONE OF WHICH had anything to do with how Hitler used it, Hitler was Bat Guano Crazy, he had Syphilis of the brain, besides not being well educated. he was essentially a stupid man raised to a position beyond his capacities by evil greedy men for profit, with the same consequences when ever/where ever that happens. history always repeats itself.

the Swastika is a very important symbol in many religions and spiritual faiths and practices for many thousands of years, from the Hopi Indians to the isolated Himalayan Tibetans. it is a mistake to condemn many highly developed faiths because of the ignorance and mental illness of one person.

I beg to differ. He was actually quite the capable, intelligent leader. He took a country in depression and put it at a level that was a huge threat to the world in a very short period of time. He was very charismatic and had the full ability to make people believe his views. I don't approve of what he did in any way, but saying he was stupid and incapable is wrong based on what I've seen of him.
yagnyavalkya
Yes in fact I have hear that many American who went to school cant even name 10 of their own states
let alone the Continent and seas
I have also a great many stories about American
here is one for example
There was one ( American traveling with a New Zealander in a Plane
They has a conversation on the present state of affairs of USA including finance unemployment politics etc., and the NZer was inquisitive and asking for relevant information
the American finally asked which country are you from to the NZer
the NZer replied I am from NZ
THe American in a very surprised reaction said out load that you speak very very good English for a foreigner!!
mejo1900
Having just gotten out of school (in the US) myself I have to point out that its not always the schools fault. That being said a lot of schools have gotten quite preoccupied with math and science since the cold war and therefore history and geography and English are lacking. I learned all my states and countries and whatnot...but I could not fill you in on where they all are. Not because I got a bad education, but because I had so much other homework while I was learning that stuff that I crammed it in for the test and then forgot it. I would like to argue that school has not dropped in ability to teach, but has rather become to preoccupied with teaching that they forget to make sure we learn.
BrumDubai
In the US what do you do in History? I thought it was all US history. And, to be honest, I thought that was a bit odd as you barely have any history compared to somewhere like the UK and, yeah, we learn about like the Tudors, Victorians, Stuarts, WW1, WW2 etc but we also learn about the Vikings, Ancient Greeks, Ancient Romans, The US, Russia, Germany and Aztecs as well.

So do you guys learn about just US stuff or world history?
ronbuice
After teaching a world studies program for 2 years to sixth graders, I had to laugh momentarily at your comments. There are several reasons that this could of happened, although none are good ones. First, she was probably not interested in history at the time that the course was being taught. Over time that can change but is not likely. Secondly, there was probably a lack of parental involvement in her education. Had her parents/parent been closely involved with her during that time period (like talking to her about what she was learning or checking homework), she may not have like the subject any more, but would have forced herself to learn it anyway. Thirdly, she may have had a boring teacher. I look back to my own education and think of the boring textbooks, the worksheets that were handed out almost daily, and the lack of passion about the subject by the teacher. Thank God for a great college professor and stations like the History channel! Perhaps you sparked an interest in her about the subject that will lead her to learn more on the subject. Perhaps now she is truly ready to begin her education; at 20, she still has a lot of time to educate herself. Keep up the good work, you never really know how you impact those around you!
Solon_Poledourus
yagnyavalkya wrote:
Yes in fact I have hear that many American who went to school cant even name 10 of their own states
let alone the Continent and seas
This is utter garbage, nothing but slander. America, like every other country, has stupid people. But this generalization is baseless and offensive.
Quote:
I have also a great many stories about American
here is one for example
................
Quote:
There was one ( American traveling with a New Zealander in a Plane
They has a conversation on the present state of affairs of USA including finance unemployment politics etc., and the NZer was inquisitive and asking for relevant information
the American finally asked which country are you from to the NZer
the NZer replied I am from NZ
THe American in a very surprised reaction said out load that you speak very very good English for a foreigner!!
These types of anecdotes only serve to perpetuate ignorance and prejudice. I can tell you that I heard stories about some guy from your country and he was a total idiot and knew less about his own country than a guy from Micronesia.

Even if that were a true story, would it be a fair assessment of the people of your nation?
deanhills
Solon_Poledourus wrote:
yagnyavalkya wrote:
Yes in fact I have hear that many American who went to school cant even name 10 of their own states
let alone the Continent and seas
This is utter garbage, nothing but slander. America, like every other country, has stupid people. But this generalization is baseless and offensive.
Quote:
I have also a great many stories about American
here is one for example
................
Quote:
There was one ( American traveling with a New Zealander in a Plane
They has a conversation on the present state of affairs of USA including finance unemployment politics etc., and the NZer was inquisitive and asking for relevant information
the American finally asked which country are you from to the NZer
the NZer replied I am from NZ
THe American in a very surprised reaction said out load that you speak very very good English for a foreigner!!
These types of anecdotes only serve to perpetuate ignorance and prejudice. I can tell you that I heard stories about some guy from your country and he was a total idiot and knew less about his own country than a guy from Micronesia.

Even if that were a true story, would it be a fair assessment of the people of your nation?
Sad part about this Solon is that these stories actually originate from the US. In the form of movies to start off with. How many movies have we seen of people going through the US school system and they are unable to read or write.

Then the last reference about geography, that is regretfully true. I've come across this many times. People don't know where Australia is for example, nor New Zealand. Nor South Africa.
Bikerman
Actually I think there is some validity in the general point (that being that a large number of Americans are surprisingly ignorant about events and places outside the US). I've not spent a huge amount of time in the US but I was surprised by the 'World News' on most of the channels - very little 'world' in it.
I suppose it is understandable - the US is a big place (as a European it wasn't until I flew over the US that I realised quite how big it is) and it has been top dog since WW2 so events in the US are certainly world news.
Kopernikus
I have to agree. Iīm not at all astounded, that american pupils do *not* have a solid grasp of european history.
If you would ask me about the history of the capital of iowa, i`d be stumped, too.
OTOH, there are some topics in history, which arenīt localized but globally important. Marxism, or the philosophy and the background of itīs development, or the rabid nationalism rampant at the beginning of the 20th century.
Hitler, the NSDAP and the swastika are all symbols of mankinds deepest insecurities and paranoia. Their use of some icons which are today made "pariah" because of their connections to this inhuman regime made the german language, art and philosophy poorer. Words like "Rasse" or "Volk" will never have the same meaning in German again, and are discouraged in daily use.
One of the problems in German and Austrian politics today is the complete shut-out of any right-wing but still democratic positions. In Bavaria the CSU, the conservatives tried it with the formula "There mustnīt be a democratic legitimate political position farther out, than our right wing", or as some did call it "on our right thereīs only a wall"
In Austria, because of our denial of any responsibility in WWII, there was a kind of konglomerate on the right mixing together liberal and national positions, making the right-wing updraft in the last years possible. Especially the young generation found that using the nazi symbolism is a *very* good way of getting attention, sometimes blowing schoolboys pranks out of proportion, sometimes masking a REAL sinister background. Itīs very hard to decide, which is which...
Solon_Poledourus
deanhills wrote:
Sad part about this Solon is that these stories actually originate from the US. In the form of movies to start off with. How many movies have we seen of people going through the US school system and they are unable to read or write.
Which movies? Documentaries? I have lived here all my life and have not met these huge groups of ignorant people that you guys are claiming exists. I see it from time to time in individuals, but they are hardly representative of the entire nation.
Quote:
Then the last reference about geography, that is regretfully true. I've come across this many times. People don't know where Australia is for example, nor New Zealand. Nor South Africa.
I've come across it as well, with people of many nations. It's not a specifically American trait, such as the anecdote suggests.
Bikerman wrote:
Actually I think there is some validity in the general point (that being that a large number of Americans are surprisingly ignorant about events and places outside the US).
I was born and raised middle class. Lived in big cities, small towns, country side... never met these "large numbers" of people. The studies I have seen to support these claims are almost always done in lower class, inner city areas. Any place like that in the world will have a disproportionate amount of ignorance and education(and crime and drugs, etc.). Even studies from middle and upper class schools that show a frightening amount of uneducated students is not representative of the nation as a whole.
Quote:
I've not spent a huge amount of time in the US but I was surprised by the 'World News' on most of the channels - very little 'world' in it.
Luckily, most Americans are not educated solely on this "World News". Believe it or not, we have geography classes in school, as well as current events and government and world history and free enterprise...
Quote:
I suppose it is understandable - the US is a big place (as a European it wasn't until I flew over the US that I realised quite how big it is) and it has been top dog since WW2 so events in the US are certainly world news.
The US is huge. So there will be areas with disproportionately uneducated people. Same as any huge country. The insinuation that this 'ignorance of the world' is strictly, or or even largely, an American problem is grotesquely false.

We can dig up all the studies on American education we want to prove or disprove either argument. Statistics almost never paint the whole picture, and are rarely reliable on a large scale. If we look at people through descriptive statistics only, then I can state for a fact that the average human, statistically speaking, has one ovary as well as one testicle.

I'm sorry that the vast majority of Americans you guys have met turned out to be 'dim bulbs'. Crappy luck on your part, I guess. Take a trip here, and I will show you around and introduce you to the swaths of average people who are a good deal more intelligent than these 'American idiot' anecdotes portray.
deanhills
Bikerman wrote:
Actually I think there is some validity in the general point (that being that a large number of Americans are surprisingly ignorant about events and places outside the US). I've not spent a huge amount of time in the US but I was surprised by the 'World News' on most of the channels - very little 'world' in it.
I suppose it is understandable - the US is a big place (as a European it wasn't until I flew over the US that I realised quite how big it is) and it has been top dog since WW2 so events in the US are certainly world news.
Canada news is about the same. Mostly local and North American and very much focussed on the United States. Unless one makes a point of looking at BBC International, one does not get any real international news. BBC International however has changed quite a lot over the last years, becoming regional in its "international" reporting, which is a thumbs down situation for me. CNN is almost more international now than BBC used to be a number of years ago. I still prefer its quality of reporting, but don't get the coverage I would have liked to get. Here in the Middle East I get more international news from a local station Dubai One, than from BBC sometimes.
Jamestf347
After teaching a world studies program for 2 years to sixth graders, I had to laugh momentarily at your comments. There are several reasons that this could of happened, although none are good ones. First, she was probably not interested in history at the time that the course was being taught. Over time that can change but is not likely. Secondly, there was probably a lack of parental involvement in her education. Had her parents/parent been closely involved with her during that time period (like talking to her about what she was learning or checking homework), she may not have like the subject any more, but would have forced herself to learn it anyway. Thirdly, she may have had a boring teacher. I look back to my own education and think of the boring textbooks, the worksheets that were handed out almost daily, and the lack of passion about the subject by the teacher. Thank God for a great college professor and stations like the History channel! Perhaps you sparked an interest in her about the subject that will lead her to learn more on the subject. Perhaps now she is truly ready to begin her education; at 20, she still has a lot of time to educate herself. Keep up the good work, you never really know how you impact those around you!

She either wasn't paying attention or didnt care for it
RubySlasher
It'd be sort of funny if after all this time... You go and find out that the girl at your adult learning class just had aspergers, and only feigned ignorance in order to find a way to make conversation with someone outside her social group.


:| Don't say it isn't possible. My brother does it all the time.
juezy
Actually most americans get their knowledge from watching the simpsons and. if you are interested in history then you will have no trouble of getting a good result for school,jobs ETC.
Ophois
juezy wrote:
Actually most americans get their knowledge from watching the simpsons
This is a reflection of your own stupidity and complete ignorance. I am certain that you have never met "most americans", nor have you any evidence to prove this idiotic claim.
Quote:
and. if you are interested in history then you will have no trouble of getting a good result for school,jobs ETC.
This makes no sense. Maybe you too have been getting your education from the Simpsons.
deanhills
I wonder how many people in the United States are watching the Simpsons show?:
Quote:
The 20th season of The Simpsons kicked off with a high 9.3m views, however just a week later "Lost Verizon" could only manage 7.43m. The next five episodes all achieved ratings of atleast 8m, with EP04 "treehouse of horror XIX" pulling in just under 12.5m. Unfortatnly the high ratings didn't continue and from episode eight onwards, the highest ratings came from EP10 with just 6.82m. This was the first time ever an episode of the Simpsons achived a poor 5m in America. EP09 which was voted as the best episode of the year could only bring in 5.75m, Fox blamed the fact that there where other big shows on at the same time on other networks. EP12 & EP13 & EP18 couldn't get into the 6M figures either, but then EP20 broke the records for the poorest viewed Simpsons episode with just 5.16m, the season then ended on a low with just 5.86m. Fox have given the Simpsons another two year deal contract, but if the ratings don't increase, the show maybe axed.

Source: http://www.thesimpsons.moonfruit.com/#/tv-ratings/4533452401

I think it has pretty much run out of steam. Not much of a following, so probably juezy will have to find other shows to define the US culture by? The Simpsons are obviously not "it" by a large margin. I would even take a guess that the Simpsons shows are much more watched outside the United States than in the United States.
Kopernikus
Actually Iīm definitely not an american, and I *love* watching the Simpsons Smile

Not that I think I get my ideas about the "american way of life" from this show...

Thatīs what I look "Desperate Housewives" for... Razz
lagoon
Kopernikus wrote:
Actually Iīm definitely not an american, and I *love* watching the Simpsons Smile

Not that I think I get my ideas about the "american way of life" from this show...

Thatīs what I look "Desperate Housewives" for... Razz


I get my information from Star Trek, is this a good reference source?
Kopernikus
lagoon wrote:
Kopernikus wrote:
Actually Iīm definitely not an american, and I *love* watching the Simpsons Smile

Not that I think I get my ideas about the "american way of life" from this show...

Thatīs what I look "Desperate Housewives" for... Razz


I get my information from Star Trek, is this a good reference source?


Only if you want to "live long and prosper" Embarassed
Ophois
deanhills wrote:
probably juezy will have to find other shows to define the US culture by?
Kopernikus wrote:
Not that I think I get my ideas about the "american way of life" from this show...

Juezy didn't say either of those things. Here is what was said:
juezy wrote:
most americans get their knowledge from watching the simpsons

It's easy to pick on America when she's down. I see so many people jumping on that bandwagon. Fair-weather friends. When America is fueling the economy of the Western World, people love her, but when she has problems, those same people scoff at and mock her. It makes me sick.
deanhills
Ophois wrote:
deanhills wrote:
probably juezy will have to find other shows to define the US culture by?
Kopernikus wrote:
Not that I think I get my ideas about the "american way of life" from this show...

Juezy didn't say either of those things. Here is what was said:
juezy wrote:
most americans get their knowledge from watching the simpsons

Thanks for the correction about what juezy said. You really have a good eye for detail.

Ophois wrote:
It's easy to pick on America when she's down. I see so many people jumping on that bandwagon. Fair-weather friends. When America is fueling the economy of the Western World, people love her, but when she has problems, those same people scoff at and mock her. It makes me sick.
Totally agreed. The colonial history of Africa is a very good example of that. At least the US took a much stronger position to divorce itself from the UK. Although with the latest financial disaster I thought the UK was in the same boat as the US. They had been very exposed to all the financial dealings that had gone south. Also the UK does not appear to be financially strong, even when the going had been good. So possibly it is still relying on the States, whereas Europe is basking in some artificial sunshine. I wonder however how long that will last.
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