About teaching, not just teaching 'climate stuff'

Discussion in 'Environmental Discussion' started by tochatihu, May 18, 2015.

  1. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    Bill Nye gave commencement speech at Rutgers highlighting climate change, but I’d set that aside. One graduating student was quoted in media "I learned from Bill Nye probably more than any other science class…”

    Nye’s TV program is no doubt entertaining and with some level of scientific rigor. However, this comment speaks unfavorably to Rutger’s Science Faculty. Listen you guys, how can you fail to out-teach a TV show? ‘The kids’ are in your room for an hour at a time, ostensibly paying attention. Laziness and a failure to engage. To paraphrase, “I see dead teachers”.

    The student earned a degree in journalism and media studies, and thus may not have reached higher-level courses. I don’t care. Most major universities put their ‘better communicators’ in intro choices, for what seem like obviously good reasons. If Rutgers does not, there might be a structural problem.

    In science (or whatever) courses, have you not all had at least a few teachers who could really make you understand why they do their thing as a career? It so, 'tis a pity.
     
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  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    what, no mention of the ideal gas law?:p but seriously, i agree. i don't know bills credentials, but his show is entertainment for kids, with an eye toward informing and making science cool. all my intro teachers were like that in their own way, it just didn't 'take' with me. hey, what kind of a world would it be if we were all scientists?:cool:

    it's like doctor oz, the television thing and popularity goes to their heads.:rolleyes:
     
  3. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    OK, perhaps a bleak world with only scientists. But could we work towards a world with nominal science literacy? With help from big-bucks universities?

    I think science literacy is a good defense against 'warmest temperature ever' (etc.). Better than 'it's all a hoax'.
     
  4. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    that's an interesting concept. how much literacy would it take to understand cc? it's a fairly complicated subject, and making matters worse is the opposing views in the scientific community.

    however, i would support moving funding from many of the basket weaving courses to science.
     
  5. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    I propose that to an extent this is a symptom of a even bigger problem.
    That is we have brought up a generation not very well suited to the challenges of discipline.

    By that I mean that we have a younger generation that seems to expect that everything must and will be entertaining. Or they won't embrace it.

    Which is why a large majority of younger people admit to getting their "news" from Daily Show. And I think also why a Rutgers Graduate would admit to learning more from Bill Nye The Science Guy.

    But honestly I would think it isn't so much that they didn't learn from formal avenues of education, so much as those avenues aren't typically as entertaining.

    I don't have anything against "Entertainment and Education". As long as the truth that some things that must or should be learned may not be so entertaining to absorb- isn't lost.

    This started somewhat in my generation and even before, with shows like Mr. Wizard and Saturday Morning Cartoon shorts like "School House Rock". These were both educational and entertaining but should not be expected to be replacement for REAL education.

    Even though sadly, my understanding of law passage in the USA hasn't progressed much farther than "I'm Just A Bill".
     
  6. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    edutainment?:whistle:
     
  7. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    Start with the basics, not climate change. One semester of intro math and statistics.Plenty of examples not from cc. What claims are supported by data presented? Course needs an attractive title.

    I actually tried to make this happen at a large US university, but it's a long story.

    About basket weaving, there are students 'out of their depth' at the highest-level universities, for which such courses are GPA improvers. They helped me personally, another long story which happened a bit higher up than Rutgers. So while this is a tangential matter, I am not entirely in favor of their abolishment.
     
  8. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    higher education is complicated. having put three children through college, graduate school and medical school, over half a million dollars later, i can only attest to that much.
     
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  9. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    In one large Asian country :) education is based on memorization and respect for Authority. The students have oodles of discipline. But they don't think outside the box, and really don't know what the box is.

    That alone is not the answer.

    We could do a poll: How many of you hated studying Chemistry? This is entirely a failure of teaching, for it is truly an amazing window into how the world works. One of many windows.
     
  10. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i hated chemistry, my son was a chemistry major. go figure. maybe he had a better teacher, but my father never bought the 'my teacher is bad' excuse.:oops:
     
  11. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    Half a mill, Bisco? You deserve at least a named bench on the quad.

    This is at least partially how the system should work. Overpaid professionals (if you'll excuse that), paying it forward.
     
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  12. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    I propose that Bisco's son buy dad a copy of "The Disappearing Spoon"
     
  13. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i should have sent them all to the same school, maybe i would at least have got a brick or something.:D

    but what really happens is, when they find out you don't qualify for financial aid, they start asking you to dinner and hitting you up for donations.:eek:
     
  14. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i had to google this. looks interesting, i'll ask him if he read it.
     
  15. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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  16. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    No Bisco, he buys it for you.
     
  17. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    Interesting.
    I believe a balance should be struck.

    What I fear is being lost in the attitude and approach to "challenges" and education is a challenge- both in teaching and learning is I think what John F. Kennedy said in his speech about Why We Were Going to The Moon:

    "We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills."-John F. Kennedy

    I'm concerned that this attitude and approach is being lost in regards to everything. Whether it is through "Entertaining Presentation" or the aide of technology, I think youth expect everything to be "easy".

    The greatest challenge of a teacher I think, is to get a student to embrace acquiring skill and knowledge that IS hard to acquire. And to do it in part at least because it IS hard. I think it has become a bigger challenge today to advance that way of thinking.
     
  18. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i'll show him your post.:)

    funny story though, we went to his fiancé's graduation over the weekend (nurse practitioner) and all the restaurants were booked because all the schools graduate the same weekend. we wind up at a steakhouse chain called 'del frisco's'. why are they not booked? the entre's start at $40. for lunch. six of us, and two hours later, he picked up the check like a trooper. i would never have let it get that far.
     
  19. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    I know that at the two big public research universities that I received degrees from taught their introduction to science courses with lecturers in large lecture halls. The better professors didn't want these courses. There were grad students in the disussion sections, but these ta's are often uneven.

    Supplemental on-line materials could help a great deal.
    Let's face it our senior citizens typically choose fox, or msnbc, or cnn. These stations pander to people in a certain political point of view, and often misinform as much as they inform.

    I'm glad my mom watches the daily show too ;-) As for science none of the major news networks or major television networks with national news seems to have real science reporters anymore. I guess they were not entertaining enough. So they get bill nye a tv personality debate a guy from a political think tank, and a democratic and a republican operative. If I was thinking cnn did better than a fake news show I would be embarrassed.
    Bill Nye: Climate change is our most urgent, number one priority right now. – Crossfire - CNN.com Blogs

    versus
     
    #19 austingreen, May 18, 2015
    Last edited: May 18, 2015
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  20. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    As fossilization sets in, I have come to regard undergraduate as 'the end of childhood'. Last chance to taste everything at civilization's buffet table (with presumably qualified guidance. It need not be feverishly hard, at least at the 100 level, but it needs to include motivations on why people would elect to work harder in 200 level courses, etc.

    After UG, people go pro, or grad school, or cook at del frisco's , etc..This will all turn out better if the preparations did somehow include the value of discipline, and the need to work hard. At least sometimes. But along with that, there is almost always a need for somewhat narrowed focus.

    So if the UG teachers have not presented the wonder and value of broad knowledge, it might never happen. A pity not just in terms of personal loss (the world's you never learned existed), but because people can mislead you on matters of science. Doesn't matter if it's me or mojo or whomever, you need tools in your own mental toolbox to sort out what probably is, or is not, and all that stuff in between.

    Impolitely responding to my own #9, will say it is probably the only way to learn the language. It's a toughie. But for everything else that comes after, rote and authority are just not enough.
     
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