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Beyond Binary Thinking

57 EpisodesProduced by Beyond Binary ThinkingWebsite

Tired of entrenched view tribalism and binary debates? A psychologist, a philosopher, and an anthropologist walk into a podcast to air out some echo chambers, and try fresh and radical perspectives on the most controversial political, social and psychological discussions.It's not about Left vs. Righ… read more


Episode 2 Education - To Standardise, or Specialise?

Education, Privatise, Standadize, Subsidise, and Specialised

Having an overly scripted and prescriptive syllabus on any course means that there is less room for teachers to adapt to the students, to add their own personal style to classes

Examples of teachers who have left the profession due to over-standardisation)


Can force a “one size fits all” approach, which limits opportunities

The danger is falling into “transfer-content pedagogy” which emphasises one correct way. Enabling intrinsic need for self-development, is fairly Idealised, is it a bit wishy-washy? You want a standardised doctor for pure truths, but that’s false. I don’t see an objective truth, doctors don’t know everything, they make mediocre decisions? And a cure for cancer, might come from a more Asian thinking? Perhaps the next Nobel prize comes from the Swedish system? Or you might get a really good American student that is really good, despite their ridiculous system of over testing.

The Waldorf style school of education doesn’t prevent people from becoming doctors.

I think the key is the public school system because at the end of the day, our taxes are paying for it.

What are the pros of standardised assessment?

  • Ensures a consistent approach and measurement of students across a target group (class/school/district/nation/globally) - especially important for any global qualifications such as universally recognised language certificates
  • Way of getting feedback on how a syllabus and curriculum can be adjusted/improved
  • Can be used to address issues of inequality (geographical/socio-economic/ethnic/etc) where any systematic disparities exist

Cons of standardisation of assessment are:

  • It can overemphasise the importance of test results over authentic learning (short vs long-term)
  • Can lead politicians believing that analysing test results are the main way of improving education
  • High-quality assessment is expensive and time-consuming, so cheaper and easier methods may be applied (e.g. multiple choice) that aren’t as accurate

It’s interesting, with technology, you can now have the best lecture, on any subject, beamed into the classroom, but that’s just wheeling the tv in, and it's a poor substitute for someone that’s in the room, interacting with the kids, seeing their reaction, understanding their needs, and know what they’ve understood, and adjusting accordingly.

The Khan Academy is a good example of a flipped classroom. An individualised and contextualised approach is required, because there’s no such thing as one standardised humanoid, each with different ways of processing information. I’ve learned a bit from watching YouTube videos, with concise 5 minute videos.

Parents get oversight, and managers can see how teachers are doing, but it could be used globally to compare.

I think technology is extraordinary, and I think it’ll change things in more than just that way. As remote working is getting more possible parents have more time with their kids, and can impart more knowledge.  So kids won’t have to bounce off of corporate offices to see how work happens and gain a better understanding.

and Parents being at home is a very important part of the equation, if you look at NGOs and the UN now focusing on educating mothers, and they reason they do that is because mothers are more likely to be at home, so that investment is multiplied compared to a father that’s rarely home.Things like flipping the classroom, teaching social skills, discussing entrepreneurial possibilities, thinking holistically, and even the traditional family business, will all be much more common and doable once the family united is reunited.

Computerized, centralised systems, makes for a freer system, but there will be checks and balances.

Homeschooling is a really interesting alternative if the public school doesn’t meet your requirements.

How businesses view learning compared to governments.

  • Teaching has become increasingly more difficulty (parents/taxpayers/content)
  • State/Local school board voted in by taxpayers (inc. those without kids)
  • Disadvantage of system is religious/political intervention and dictation of syllabus/marking rather than professional educators/best practice
  • “helicopter” vs “snowplough” vs “homeschool” parents (who communicate vs removing all obstacles vs overcoming difficulties)
  • Main issue seems to be “uninformed” parents wielding democratic power (criticism of direct democracy / Brexit etc)
  • How much unionisation of teachers is there in the US? To fight back again parental tyranny
  • “parents want control over their children's education but don't want to educate themselves to do it in the best possible way” totally correct – covering up their own flaws with egoic legal threat, what about Trump as a role model? This is his modus operandi



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