One of the main purposes of schooling is to produce educated, informed citizens – people who can think, interpret and make sense of the world for themselves. This idea, an “Educated Citizenry” is a necessary pre-requisite for a functioning democracy. There are many sources of information in the world – some are good, some are… less so. The media is a primary source of information for people to learn what is happening in the world; after all, you can’t be everywhere. To find out what is happening around the world you must read reports about what is happening. Just like any source of information, the quality of information in the media varies dramatically. Issues can be complex, and journalists may not have specific expertise in the material they are reporting on – and to make it even harder, frequently their will be the intent to “shape public opinion”, by providing information to the public that is only part of the story. This is often called “Spin”, but it is more honest to call it propaganda.
Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ category
Tests are everywhere. Tests are more than “just” a part of school. You will be tested throughout your life – anytime somebody wants to know whether you know what you should know – or how well you know what you know – there will be a test. This could be your teacher testing what you have learnt, your boss checking to see if you can do the job right, or anybody who has responsibility for or authority over you. This is not a reason to be worried.If tests are going to be an ongoing part of your future, you have to learn how to deal with them. Here’s an example of what not to do:
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So why should you study Science? Some of you will say because you want a career in science, some because you think it will help you achieve your other goals. Some of you don’t want to study science at all, and will stop as soon as you can. Any of these reasons are insufficient.
Dihydrogen Monoxide is a common chemical that you are exposed to every day. There are a number of dramatic effects as shown in the above link (read the Environmental effects statement), and petitions have been raised to ban it. This is unfortunate, as the following video illustrates:
Waves are everywhere around us at all times. There are light waves, sound waves, water waves, pressure waves – waves are an essential part of physics. Waves are a way of transferring energy without transferring mass. To put it more simply, I could transfer energy to you by throwing a medicine ball at you which you catch (transfers mass to you)- knocking you backwards (thus transferring energy to you), or I could transfer energy to you by tying a rope to you and then whipping the rope (you don’t gain mass, but you do gain energy).
It is often said that everything begins somewhere. As I am (amongst other things) a teacher of Mathematics, my first thought is: “What about Möbius Strips?”
A Möbius strip doesn’t have a defined beginning – or an end either. In this way, it is much like education – which does not begin, nor end at any point. We learn throughout our entire lives, and my role in this classroom this year (2008) is to be part of your ongoing education.
This year, I want to go beyond the content of the various classes I teach, and venture more into the development of personal insight. This doesn’t mean I won’t be pushing you to master the curriculum, but that I want you to be aware of your own knowledge – of what you know, and what you don’t know. To verge into the Zen, I want you to know what it is that you don’t know. Only then will you be able to grow your own potential to its uttermost.
I will put regular posts on this blog discussing what we have done in class and what we will be doing, and linking to interesting resources and things to do. I want all my students and their families to post comments (which will be moderated), to take part in this educational journey.
Welcome, and enjoy the scenery!