Chapter 2 - Why not the best?

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Why not the best?


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"super learning," "suggestopedia," "whole-brain learning" and "integrative learning." But it's unfortunate that such labels imply complexity. The best learning systems are simple. Better still, they are fun. Generally they have this in common: they encourage you to use all your "intelligences" and senses to learn much faster: through music, rhythm, rhyme, pictures, feelings, emotions and action. Overwhelmingly the best learning methods are similar to those we use as infants.
  Thinking skills are also easily learned, and proven methods include Edward de Bono's Lateral Thinking, Alex Osborn's Brainstorming, Donald Treffinger's Creative Problem Solving, Robert Fritz's Technology For Creating, Stanley Pogrow's HOTS (Higher Order Thinking Skills), Dilip Mukerjea's Superbrain and Calvin Taylor's Talents Unlimited. Again, the best techniques are simple, fun and effective.

9. Just what should be taught at school?

   Almost everywhere in the world the debate rages about what precisely should be taught in schools.
  There are at least four major curriculum "camps" - and a fifth one is growing fast.
  The first is essentialism: the concept that teachers should pass on to students the core knowledge of an "essential" but small range of subjects.
  In ancient Europe, Plato* in his Republic set down a curriculum for philosopher-kings or guardians. It revolved around seven "subjects". Four of them - music, astronomy, geometry and arithmetic - were designed for a "sound education". And three - grammar, rhetoric and philosophy or logic - were designed to provide methods by which essential knowledge should be studied.
  This theory dominated Europe during the Middle Ages, but of course it was never intended to "educate the masses". It still dominates much of high-level British education today.

* In China around 2,500 years ago, Confucius (a Latinization of Kung Fu Tzu, meaning K'ung the Master) was proposing some theories that were similar to those advocated by Plato, particularly the need for rulers' main advisers to be selected by examinations. Confucius and his followers also advocated the need for training in "six disciplinary arts": ritual, music, archery, charioting, writing and mathematics. But Confucius was in fact the first great teacher who sought to popularize education. We return to his influence on modern China in the final chapter of this book.


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