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Archive for September, 2011

8th Grade Worldview Project

September 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Students are working on a worldview project this week and next in Social Studies that will culminate in a poster or 3-D object that illustrates and explains the 8th grade LJHS worldview.

Time has also been allotted in class for purposes of planning and coordinating among group members, designing the project, checking for progress, using computers and other collaboration.

Students have exchanged contact information and received the first of many handouts and will be given daily group task lists in order to stay on track.

The project is dueMonday, October 3rd and is worth 100 points.

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Lecture: Revolutions in Worldviews

September 22, 2011 Leave a comment

LECTURE SLIDES:
Revolutions in Worldviews:

Creativity, Critical Thinking & Content

September 12, 2011 Leave a comment

I divide each Social Studies unit into content and conceptual mastery, analysis and creative interpretation because public education, has three core objectives:

1. To impart a body of knowledge and academic skills deemed valuable by society.

2. To teach the students to think analytically, critically and independently.

3. To render the students capable of discovering original insights and pursuing the discovery of new knowledge or invention.

The first goal  has been delved into depth by educational researchers and gurus like E.D. Hirsh of “Cultural Literacy” fame, Chester FinnWilliam BennettDiane Ravitch and others, and is reflected in such legislation as NCLB, which has put tremendous pressure on school districts to focus on test scores in a few basic subjects and expanding the amount of content in the curriculum by increasing the time spent on rote memorization exercises and skill-based drills. Breadth but not depth.

The second goal is reflected in what used to be termed ” liberal education” or “Great Books” programs or the upper tiers of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Schools do this less effectively across the nation but there is still a fair emphasis on eliciting critical thinking in public education, most of all in Honors and AP classes, gifted and talented classes  and special programs like and Paideia and International Baccalaureate. Colleges and universities, of course, are also intended to focus on liberal education but the degree to which this is true in practice has declined since the 1960′s.

The final objective, made possible by the teaching of creative thinking and synthesis to students, public education does not do well at all at present, here or in any industrialized nation, where measurable declines in the creativity and problem-solving abilities of k-12 students appear across the board. Some people even consider creative thinking to be inimical to mastering content or logical analysis; this is untrue. One cannot think creatively or engage in analysis without content knowledge and content is itself meaningless unless the student can effectively put it to use in the real world. Content knowledge, critical thinking and creativity are like the three legs of a stool – our students need them all.

Ken Robinson, noted educational expert, giving a lively talk on creativity and public education

Perception vs. Reality

September 12, 2011 Leave a comment

The students were introduced to two concepts in the last two weeks – that Perception and Reality can be very different and that Western Civilization has two basic and opposing Worldviews on the nature of Reality itself (going back to Plato vs. Aristotle). Characters from the sci-fi movie, The Matrix, were used to illustrate the point.

After viewing material and discussion, questions were asked:

And now, simply for fun !:

Technical Problems on Blog Being Fixed

September 12, 2011 Leave a comment

Having some difficulty logging on and uploading slideware.  Solved the first problem tonight, now trying to address the second one.

Will catch up on posts in the meantime!

Perception, Cognition & Worldviews Unit Vocabulary

September 12, 2011 Leave a comment

The introductory unit ” Cognition, Perception and Worldviews” focuses on how people’s understanding of the world around them is affected by their culture, ideas and history; and, in turn, how their actions can create systemic changes that shape worldviews. The following are terms, concepts and individuals used for this unit of study ( If you don’t what some of these are, don’t panic – the whole point of education is to learn new things, not rehearse what you already know):

Concepts:

Perception, Perspective, Position, Philosophy, Values, Orientation, Cognition, Metacognition, Meme, Culture, Society, Rule-set, Worldview, Paradigm, Paradigm-Shift, Evolution, Cultural Evolution, Objective, Subjective, Bias, Social Contract, Empiricism, Scientific Method, Natural Law, Revolution, Humanism, Framing, Feedback, O.O.D.A

Worldviews:

Prehistoric, Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, Reformation, Enlightenment, Scientific Revolution

Thinkers:

Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Francis Bacon, Rene Descartes, Isaac Newton, Montesquieu,

Charles Darwin, Thomas Kuhn, Richard Dawkins, George Lakoff, John Boyd