Thinking and Education

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Continuous Education

Education – Your Child At Risk

Most children start their intellectual life with a handicap. From the day they are born they are taught what is right. They are then told to do what is right. This sounds very noble and good.

Unfortunately the child is never told that what is right is open to question and doubt.

In fact whenever the child asks why, the parents and all significant others try to find all kinds of “reasons” to justify what they say, do or belief about the world. The child is taught to “rationalize”. Its like a continuous debating exercise where the family encourage the young child to look at all the facts( this is for most educated and knowledgeable parents) and select, arrange or twist the facts to support what they say is right.

The child’s young brain is being taken through a process of being “hard wired.” The neural pathways are laid down. Thinking means justifying what you feel, say or do. This goes on subtly, through gentle persuasion and finally through authoritarian dictation. Some people call this child abuse or indoctrination. But most of us call this education.

The children are never told that what the family think is right may not be the same as what other families think is right. They are never told that there are all kinds of people in the world who do things differently. They are never told that they have the option or choice to select and choose for themselves.

In an ideal parent dominated world the child will not be capable of seeing the other side. Aware of other possibilities or world view.

What saves almost all children from this intellectual disadvantage is that the child is surrounded by a very diverse environment. People do things differently. Even when they come from the same community. Very often there is disagreement between the older and the younger generation. The parents may tell it different from the grand parents. The child will become aware of the difference between “mummy” and the maid. When the child meet children from other families, they will notice differences. When they go home they will ask their parents to resolve the differences. The parents then go on to repeat the “rationalization” process. But the child will be hit by the differences at the very next meeting with their friends.

This interaction forces the child to question. All the explanations to justify or rationalize does not hold up in the face of all the differences which the child encounters daily.

Obviously another mode of explanation is necessary. Another mental path must be opened up.

This mental path is to tell the child that everything is open to question. We have to hard-wire our children’s mind so that they are free and able to questions anything. In the old days we have difficulties in getting simple answers. We need to look for a teacher. The teacher’s knowledge maybe deficient. We have difficulty verifying. We have to read a book. The book maybe hard to find or not available. But today the world has changed. We have the internet. We can find answers to anything if we know how to ask questions.

This constant questioning will contribute to the intellectual development of the children.

Filed under: brain, education, thinking, , ,

Intelligence by Ministry of Education

The Ministry of Education Malaysia works on the assumption that intelligence is limited to a few students who passed the “examinations” especially the Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah scoring all “A”s in the subjects. The know what it is and they are very sure they have the right technique to identify this quality.

The MOE collects all these clever children placed them in special schools like MRSM, Sekolah Asrama Penuh, Premier Schools, Controlled schools etc. Every year when the public examination results for Form 5 students are announced, inevitably the best performing students and the best performing schools are these pre-selected students and special schools.

Apparently they are right. They know and the UPSR examinations truly separates the clever from the stupid students. So convinced are they that they are going 1 step further by creating 40 High Performing Schools, 20 primary and 20 secondary schools. All the best of the best will be closeted in these schools. They will also identify and send all the best teachers and super principals and headmasters to take charge of these schools.

The public has also bought into this idea. They are now clamouring for more of these schools to be set up so that more children can be sent there. Looks like the support for this is overwhelming! Indeed we should not be surprised as most of our top officials and administrators are products of this type of schools.

But wait, something is wrong. Very wrong!

Question, Why does the MOE want to confine these students to special schools? If clever children have to be confined to special schools, are they the same as those that we confine to special places like Tanjung Rambutan or Pulau Jerejak of old? What is wrong with these children that they have to be confined to special environment?

One possible answer is that “intelligence” is very delicate. It evaporates, disintegrates or vaporizes when it is open to normal school environment. Perhaps if “intelligent” children stay in the same house as their parents, they will likely lose their special quality?

Or maybe it is because of the “other” students? The Stupid ones? When intelligence is juxtaposed with stupidity, intelligence will lose. Stupidity will permeate the brains of the intelligent children causing them to become stupid? Stupidity has nothing to worry. It will remain strong and dependable. Stupid will be stupid, always! Is that the reason why these “special schools” are created?

tbc

Filed under: brain, education, intelligence, , ,

The Brain and Language Learning

The technology is here! We can now find out which parts of our brain is “turned on” when we think of something, do something or even imagine doing something. 

Magnetic Resonance Imaging machines can take a picture of the brain. We should be able to see which part of the brain is switched on when we learn a language, do mathematics, kick a ball or have a drink of water.

Our experts in the universities should get to work on this.

Seems like a lot of emotions, prejudice and pride is always bubbling to the top in any discussion on language. People are carried away. Decisions are made that maybe detrimental to the real development of our people. In the absence of acceptable evidence people tend to flow with their feelings! If there are incontrovertible facts that can be shown then the correct decisions will be clear.

The whole academic community must weigh in on this. Make all your before and after studies on as many samples as you can and make sure that the methodology is properly spelled out. But for our future’s sake get the MRI machines to work!

Filed under: brain, education

Building Better Brains

We are stuck with the stuff we are borne with. But can we do something to make what we have work better? We have always taken what we have for granted, never thought much about it. And therefore did not do anything about it. So can we do something to make our brains better? Well, there are 2 things you can do to start making yourself a better brain.

Here goes:

1.Take care of what you eat and drink. Well if you have children or grand children then you better watch what you feed them. Now that you are grown up you can take some action. There are all kinds of beliefs some stranger than the bird’s nest and camel urine. But there are clear differences between people who only eat meat and those who eat vegetables only. Claims made on behalf of proteins, vitamins and herbs should be checked out.

2.Scientist tells us that brain activities are spurred by minute amounts of chemicals and electrical charges. This happens all the time. But if we do the same old things, in the same old way, with the same old people …will our brains get better? We can only get better of we are doing something new, learning something new all the time. In case you are worried that your brains will be overloaded with facts like I used to think…well dont worry. There are more than 100,000,000,000 cells in your head. So go out there, make new friends – look for some foreign types, learn a new language, learn a new skill or just take a new way to work!

Do this for a month, keep some records. Tell me if your brain has improved,

Filed under: brain, thinking, ,

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