Tuesday, December 29, 2009

things easily measured part 2

I have talked about this before in the blog, but it came up today in a visit with a friend. Those things which can be most easily measured become of disproportionate importance, overshadowing things that anyone in his right mind would consider essential. For example while schools should be imparting character traits that would insure our children's success, the current educational model is focused on measuring right and wrong answers, thus creating a false sense of reality. Children will cheat to avoid work and learning and thus seek "success," while acting completely contrary to the values we might hope they would learn from the school experience, those of placing value on the process of learning as its own reward.

My friend is an engineer whose work, if poorly done would have adverse economic impact in the billions of dollars and affect the life and health of hundreds of thousands of people. His supervisor has a particular interest that when his engineers are scheduled for training that they not show up even a moment late. If someone shows up late by a minute, they must meet with him for disciplinary discussion. Little else seems to be of concern. Rest assured that when someone has a disproportionate concern with the trivial, it covers for a lack of sense of confidence and control over the more important issues.

The same is true in our schools. We see that children are disruptive and poorly engaged. It stares us in the face. But if we can find a false sense of confidence by comparing test scores, one school, one class or one student to another, we can create for ourselves a sufficient delusion of our success... even as disruption and disengagement stare us blankly in the face. Wanna do something about our schools? Pull your hands out of your pockets and let's get to work.

Also, continuing this morning's subject, metaphor, this link describes Conceptual metaphor: ...the idea that we use metaphors to explore and explain seemingly unrelated scientific principles and concepts. An example is the use of the computer to describe and understand the workings of the brain. They are completely different, unrelated things, and yet the computer analogy can shed light on the workings of a complicated and abstract neurological system.

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