Big Picture

what education should be


It is clear that an infant abandoned outdoors will not long survive, let along mature to a functioning adult.  The basic needs of a new human being must be provided by a family or equivalent for a decade and often more.  For significantly longer, the the new person needs to be taught by the community those ideas and skills discovered and developed by earlier people and thought of value for the next generation and the future of human kind.  Primary among these are

What is the value of knowledge and understanding?  We know that with understanding how aspects of the universe work, we can reduce illness, disease and suffering and prolong and improve the quality of our life and that of others.

But the universe is complex and expanding.  It will expand forever.  Information also expands at an exponential rate.  There is no way for a human being to know everything.  If understanding is of value, but an individual cannot know everything, what should be the selection of what is best to learn?  What should be taught?

The complete answer is not yet known for certain.  But it is nearly certain that the detailed answer should be different for each person.  The basic skills listed above should be taught to nearly everyone.  But the depth of skills and understanding will vary.  Each individual should be encouraged to develop specialized skills and understanding so that the community can benefit from a wide diversity orders of magnitude beyond what any single individual could provide.
physical/environmental science

learning mechanism

understanding synapse is done by growth

It appears all learning is done by newly associating an observation accompanied via the senses or a response action provided by muscles to prior learning.  This long term memory is accomplished by growing new synapse between neighboring brain or ganglion neurons that are stimulated in rough time proximity.

Brain activity associated with Learning activity
classical location lecture classroom laboratory real world
basic activity observation imitation assimilation
teaching practice presentation of example as favorable authorization and encouragement to duplicate practice with positive reinforcement strengthens learned behavior
brain activity recognition of presented characteristic or behavior

associate presented action with prior pleasures
attempt duplication of desired pleasurable action with associated past muscle actions

synapse associates observed stimulus, behavior response and past pleasure
recognition of situation as appropriate triggers behavior

synapse strengthened between stimulus, response and pleasure

related essays:

Learning to be Innovative

   creative thinking: Calandra's Barometer Story

 Curricula content


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page started 4 October 2005
learning mechanism added 17 November 2008
latest revision 16 December 2008
by D Trapp
Mac made