You should read Schools Struggle to Separate the Truly Gifted From the Merely Well-Prepared” (news article, Feb. 18) along with this letter from Howard Gardner, professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education.
What we test for signals what we ultimately desire. The use of tests for which 4-year-olds can be prepped signals that we want to find those youngsters who can do well on future tests. In that way, the process works perfectly — whether in China or in New York City.
If we desired people who were likely to make creative advances, we would look for youngsters — be they 4 or 14 — who have a passionate interest that they pursue without a lot of prodding. If we desired people who would help build a more civil and more generous society, we would look for 10- or 12-year-olds who have found a need in their school or community and have taken steps to help meet that need.
In the unlikely event that these skills could be coached, at least we would end up with adults who could not simply ace the next standardized test.
Cambridge, Mass., Feb. 18, 2013
The writer is a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Date: Tue, May 15, 2012 at 3:35 AM
Subject: delanceyplace.com 5/15/12 - unconventional education
In today's excerpt - an unconventional approach to education:
"In 1999 the Indian physicist Sugata Mitra got interested in education. He knew there were places in the world without schools and places in the world where good teachers didn't want to teach. What could be done for kids living in those spots was his question. Self-directed learning was one possible solution, but were kids living in slums capable of all that much self-direction?