Barefoot In the head

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The future of people?

Schools are designed to produce children who will:
-please their parents (because they send the children to school)
-please the government (because they pay for the school)

Schools are not designed for:
-employers (because they don't pay schools)
-peers (because who cares what peers think? they dont count)

20 or more years later, parents would be gone, the government changed 5 times, the employers - starnge new jobs. The peers would be only ones around, for whose desires we do not design schools.

From neuroscience:

- threat perception stops the prefrontal cortex from rational thought. a teacher hovering around produces threat perception, as do examinations

- suppression of emotion also stops the prefrontal cortex, this is what happens when we 'engineer' behaviour.

creative thought and imagination activate when there is no threat perception, no emotion suppression, peer interaction and imaginative problems.

From history:

- the education system is designed to produce identical clerks to run an empire that does not exist and a manufacturing industry that has gone away.

In other words, we are doing everything - exactly wrong.

The curriculum should be taken from the nature of the Universe and our purpose, if any. The universe has a scale from around zero to the 30th power of 10 as far as I can guess. Time goes from the big bang to plus infinity as far as we know. If we examine each power of ten over each epoch of time, will get a curriculum.

Then we can use a combination of the findings of neurosciece and peer expectations to build an education that will produce people who cannot run empires, fight wars, kill animals, hit other people - but are quite intersting, fun to be with and get along well with each other.

22 Comments:

Blogger Luis Hernán Briones said...

Mr Mitra, I am a big fan of your work. Like you I work in education and I am striving to follow your and Ken Robinson's steps to create knowledge and change educational systems (specially in my own country, Chile). I'm a TEDx organizer, and I hope that someday, hopefully soon, I'll be able to invite you to pay us a visit (TEDxTemucoTeachers).
Keep up the good work, I'll make sure to spread your ideas among my colleagues.

regards,

Luis Briones

November 20, 2012 at 5:30 AM  
Blogger jake said...

Hello Sugata,

I have written to you before and I love what you are doing. I have been trying to base my teaching off of your ideas. While I have met with some amazing success, I also have met with a ton of resistance from other teachers, parents and students. Sometimes it is a lonely path.

Keep blogging please as it always reminds me that I am on the right path and to keep going in the face of criticism, inertia, apathy and misunderstanding.

With respect.

November 20, 2012 at 8:22 AM  
Blogger Luis Hernán Briones said...

Hi, Jake, just to let you know, you're not alone: http://www.ted.com/tedx/events/6082

November 21, 2012 at 3:50 AM  
Blogger laughing tree said...

Dear Doc,

I find the epochial curriculum development interesting...

Regards
Nutan

November 21, 2012 at 4:15 AM  
Blogger laughing tree said...

Dear Doc,

I find the epochial curriculum development interesting...

Regards
Nutan

November 21, 2012 at 4:20 AM  
Blogger Sugata Mitra said...

I salute teachers like Luis and Jake. We will get there because of them. One day, one of their pupils will become the Education Minister somewhere. Then, no one will remember us, but things will change.

By the way, I love Chile. Someday, I will go there again and go to Easter Island to find out what those statues are waiting for....

November 21, 2012 at 8:32 AM  
Blogger kranthi P said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

November 22, 2012 at 1:45 AM  
Blogger minal desai said...

hello there,
It was great to hear you on TED. Had known about the NIIT experiment but I did not know you had taken it so far and had so much to share.
We have a a school in Ahmedabad. It is under construction and at this moment we have something called GGIS Pathshala where we work with the workers' children and teach them basic letters and numbers. We wanted to try the HiW thing and I have even written to the organisation.
Just wanted to thank you for your commendable efforts. We are glad to have people like you around!
Regards
Minal Desai
GEMS Genesis International School

December 4, 2012 at 9:43 PM  
Blogger Aman said...

Hello Sir,

I appreciate your work on primary eduction. Your TED videos are excellent and all my friends are deeply motivated after we have seen the work that you have had done.

I am an Indian living in Finland and a father of 5 year old boy. by profession I am a software engineer, and now it is a time for us to decide a preschool for our children. We have two options in Finland English medium or a Finnish school. How do you relate the quality of the education with the language in which a kid is studying?

How it is possible to contribute to your work or to be part of the work that you are doing in India? I can give maximum 2 weeks per year.

Thanks and Regards,
Amandeep Dhadwal

January 4, 2013 at 6:17 AM  
Blogger Susan Sharma said...

Learning from peers! is what we do in a Community of Practice. Isn't it sad that even for education about the environment in which we live, we go to school and colleges rather than learn from peers.

February 25, 2013 at 11:50 PM  
Blogger traidmarkdotorg said...

Congrats on your www.tedprize.org can we help your great work eg with www.webiversity.org and www.trustlibrary.org more at www.whymandesign.wordpress.com

February 27, 2013 at 5:16 AM  
Blogger traidmarkdotorg said...

Congrats on your www.tedprize.org can we help your great work eg with www.webiversity.org and www.trustlibrary.org more at www.whymandesign.wordpress.com

February 27, 2013 at 5:16 AM  
Blogger traidmarkdotorg said...

Congrats on your www.tedprize.org can we help your great work eg with www.webiversity.org and www.trustlibrary.org more at www.whymandesign.wordpress.com

February 27, 2013 at 5:17 AM  
Blogger Adam said...

Really great work and have admired from a distance ... I am an artist who sometimes work in schools and helps teachers to become learning designers.... I am also helping make a library reading and writing app game at Culture Lab (Newcastle) and would love to meet, talk... help.

February 28, 2013 at 4:57 AM  
Blogger Tony Pfeiffer said...

Your closing comments gave me hope and made me laugh. Then we can use a combination of the findings of neurosciece and peer expectations to build an education that will produce people who cannot run empires, fight wars, kill animals, hit other people - but are quite intersting, fun to be with and get along well with each other.

True learning changes your brain and behavior. As parents, grandparents, educators and community members we need to salute the learning and keep the joy of learning alive and spreading. Our wow and wonder supporting the children's wow and wonder.

Together, we are changing the conversation and the yardstick of learning, one family at a time.

March 4, 2013 at 5:39 AM  
Blogger Tony Pfeiffer said...

Your closing comments gave me hope and made me laugh. Then we can use a combination of the findings of neurosciece and peer expectations to build an education that will produce people who cannot run empires, fight wars, kill animals, hit other people - but are quite intersting, fun to be with and get along well with each other.

True learning changes your brain and behavior. As parents, grandparents, educators and community members we need to salute the learning and keep the joy of learning alive and spreading. Our wow and wonder supporting the children's wow and wonder.

Together, we are changing the conversation and the yardstick of learning, one family at a time.

March 4, 2013 at 5:40 AM  
Blogger Jim and Sim's Great Adventure said...

Professor,
You and Salman Kahn ought to hook up and see if there is any synergy there.

March 5, 2013 at 7:10 PM  
Blogger Anu Vadlani said...

Hi Sugata,

I watched your videos and they are very insightful. However, I had a bunch of questions crop up in my mind and I thought it would be nice if I can get those clarified with you.

Firstly, what would be the effect of having kids sit in front of electronic teaching devices for extended periods of time. Do you think there will be no negative health impacts?

I have observed kids that do use technology for extended periods of time tend to be develop ADD(Attention Deficiency), what is your take on that?

Also, the kids might tent to rote memorize what they read online without actually experiencing it.

Personally I also think that whatever is shared online is from a path already discovered, will the creativity of the child be hampered and not allow the child to think on her/his own?

I have two young daughters and my wish is to provide them with the best learning environment. I am in search of the same and would really appreciate your response.

Thank You!

Anu

April 9, 2013 at 11:22 PM  
Blogger Anu Vadlani said...

Hi Sugata,

I watched your videos and they are very insightful. However, I had a bunch of questions crop up in my mind and I thought it would be nice if I can get those clarified with you.

Firstly, what would be the effect of having kids sit in front of electronic teaching devices for extended periods of time. Do you think there will be no negative health impacts?

I have observed kids that do use technology for extended periods of time tend to be develop ADD(Attention Deficiency), what is your take on that?

Also, the kids might tent to rote memorize what they read online without actually experiencing it.

Personally I also think that whatever is shared online is from a path already discovered, will the creativity of the child be hampered and not allow the child to think on her/his own?

I have two young daughters and my wish is to provide them with the best learning environment. I am in search of the same and would really appreciate your response.

Thank You!

Anu

April 9, 2013 at 11:23 PM  
Blogger Milan said...

Sugata, what do you think about Kahn Academy?

April 10, 2013 at 9:07 AM  
Blogger Justice said...

Mitra, Hi, you stated that "creative thought and imagination activate when there is no threat perception, no emotion suppression, peer interaction and imaginative problems." I agree wholeheartedly with you.

October 10, 2013 at 11:09 AM  
Blogger Jake Crutchfield said...

Sugata,

Enjoyed the piece.

Challenge!

What are your thoughts on the big history project

https://www.bighistoryproject.com/bhplive

December 24, 2013 at 6:57 AM  

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