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There are 4 models of education - most of us start at the bottom and work our way up;
- Pain: fear of external consequences modifies behaviour
- Pleasure: desire for external reward modifies behaviour
- Consequences: basic understanding of immediate effect related to causative action modifies behaviour
- Understanding: a relatively comprehensive model allows us to understand probable effect for given cause and we modify our behaviour accordingly.
Work In Progress
what is education? what is its purpose (to improve life)
learning new things that will hopefully be useful - knowledge itself is of little value - applied knowledge can have great value.
there are two key approaches to educating and four levels of learning (shown above). The first level of teaching is the most popular, it is fact based. By presenting a large enough quantity of facts, or by presenting the same facts enough times, we hope that the student retains some and can benefit from them.
The second approach to teaching is model based. If you can assist the students in improving their models of reality, making them more consistent with truth, often by providing examples they can relate to, then the student goes away with a new/improved means of interpreting their surroundings.
so why exactly is fact based teaching so popular? I see two key reasons
1) facts can be hard to test, while general models of reality can postulate theories which can easily be tested. The best models are those that are universal, they apply across multiple domains and or disciplines. These can be tested in one place, verified, and used in another. This becomes especially important if the teacher is promoting a world-view that doesn't conform to reality. "Facts" are easy to fake and hard to prove were faked. Models that produce theories that make predictions about reality are much harder to consistently fake.
2) change is painful for most of us - we desperately cling to our existing paradigms, convinced that were we to change, we would be out of the stew pot and into the fire. As instructors we are only able to present at or below our own level of understanding. If our own paradigms are limited and inconsistent (they always are) then that sets the hard limit on what we can teach - and we may be stuck teaching facts and hoping it sticks.
other points to consider
- truth is inherintly consistent - translating across domains/disciplines
- common sense canfill in for great quantities of knowledge (common sense is merely making decisions based on a model that is in very close alignment with reality).
- pre-edication beats post-education by expanding both awareness of and availability of opportunities
- learn from others mistakes so you don't have to learn by making your own.