> From: GMBrady@aol.com (Marion Brady)
> Subject: Curriculum Proposal LO3449
> The key is education, and today's education isn't up to it. The subjects
> and courses that make up the general education curricula in our schools
> are, in large measure, ritual. Neither individually nor collectively do
> they speak to the issue Senge raises. In fact, as students move through
> the school day, exposed to an hour of this and an hour of that, exactly
> the opposite conclusion is justified: no "whole" exists. The message is
> that nothing relates to much of anything. As long as this approach to
> education continues, each generation will have as much difficulty grasping
> the systemic nature of reality as the previous generation.
Agree... It's almost a global phenomenon that only transmission of
information without "learning" takes place at schools. Of course the
process depends heavily on the educators, some parents, and, sadly,
bureaucrats. In many cases it is other constraints, such as budgetary,
that keep learning from happening while they promote transmission of
information -- the easier of the two! The "whole," I think, can only
manifest when the process involves parents also (particularly in grade
and middle schools). One just can't put all the burden on teachers
just because one already pays taxes -- as the case in the US public
school system -- or tuition.
> One way to think about what I'm proposing is to see it as an effort to
> provide the young with the broadest possible "systemic conceptual context"
> for everything else that's taught--both in and out of school. If the
> whole of reality is visualized as a conceptual tree, the familiar
> disciplines are various-sized conceptual clusters of branches of that
> tree. Presently, the thrust of advanced-degree programs is toward ever
> greater elaboration of these clusters, with new "twigs" appearing on their
> periphery. I'm working in the other direction, trying to help students
> connect those more or less random disciplinary conceptual clusters, and
> other random clusters, to major "limbs," and then connect those limbs to
> the "trunk,"--reality, the whole.
Very true, but I doubt that kids would digest them. Remember, formal
education is a two-way street. Learning only occurs when the students are
willing and teachers (parents and professionals) are supportive. When I
was younger I generally ignored whatever sounded very complicated or
required a whole lot of thinking (philosophical). For example, my parents
taught me about persistence, patience, and passion as keys to success.
Well all I did was ignoring them! I thought they said it because their
parents said it to them. Their parents said it because their parents'
parents said it -- on and on up the generation or family tree. I was also
taught, in school and at home, about music, books, chess, sports, and
arts. I must admit that these seemed fun when I saw them for the first
time. Only recently did I realize the importance of knowing the five
"disciplines" and the real impact of the three "keys."
> 1. The purpose of general education is to expand understanding of
> reality. The central question is, "What's going on here?"
"What" should be accompanied by "Why" so that the young will have some
understanding to do exploration on their own. It IS self exploration that
leaves lasting impact!
> 2. Reality presents itself to us whole, but the educational establishment
> considers it too vast and too complex to study holistically. It has been
> "broken apart" ...
But one needs to understand the bits and pieces of the whole before being
able to put them together. Much like a jigsaw puzzle, one must be able to
see what is in each piece and get a feel of its shape before composing the
big picture. The missing parts, I think, is the understanding of
interconnectedness between each piece of specialized academic disciplines.
While Marion proposed a functional approach to introduce systemic thinking
to the educational systems, I will propose a fun approach. Hey, the first
three letter of functional is "fun" so my proposal may be a practical and
fun implementation of Marion's.
An education process should involve the five disciplines of Music, Books,
Chess, Sports, and Arts. Actually their origin is an ancient oriental
philosophy of the five basic skills: Zither, Books, Chess, Sword, and
Brush. A contemporary interpretation of these skills may be as follows.
Music: Students will learn about harmony of musical notes. Those belong
to a band will also learn about team learning. In some cases
music can be used as an expression of one's feeling. Music is an
excellence way to learn about the creative process in the sense
of making some abstraction real.
Books: Students will learn about Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic (the
classical 3Rs) as well as other academic disciplines such as
physics, chemistry, biology, economics, sociology, philopshopy,
and other goodies.
Chess: Students will see the interconnectedness between each piece. In
learning chess they will see that the importance of systemic
thinking. The outcome of the game will depends on moves made in
the past. Before making a move students should consider past
moves as well as the present condition of the pieces on the board.
This way they will see that disadvantage of considering the
present board condition (configuration) before making any move --
the disadvantage of thinking some "patterns of behaviors" as
Sword: In the traditional sense, sword literally means martial arts. By
studying martial arts students will learn about self control and
self discipline. One can get hurt if punched so he/she should
never punch another as doing so will hurt others! Doing the
exercise regularly also improves health and physical well being.
(In a healthy body resides a healthy mind.) Of course any intense
physical activities qualify as contemporary counterparts. The
idea is to maintain health and to develop self discipline.
Brush: The modern interpretation of brush is arts. Development of
artistic ability is important as it also involves development of
one's sensibility and appreciation for the "beauties." Often
enough the artistic ability also develops one's creative ability.
As we can see all the five disciplines of a learning organization (team
learning, shared vision, mental model, personal mastery, and systems
thinking) can be developed through mastery of the five educational
disciplines. Mastery of the five educational disciplines also cultivate
the three keys of persistence, patience, and passion. Better yet, kids
will learn them without the pressure. They will learn them because they
want to. They want to learn because learning is FUN!
-- Ben Budiman email@example.com
P.S. The three P's are my parents'. I give full credit to them.