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How People Learn - Chapter 1

I am reading the book How People Learn and writing reviews which are encouraged to have your thought on the chapter, which makes me love writing these. Here's my first one, the next ones to come will just be the small summary and my thoughts:

It has become evident in education that learning by teaching the facts and assuming every student is equal is a flawed approach. The understanding of what the student knows, and his ideas about the subject matter are of incredible importance prior to introducing new material for learning. Learning is not a process of filling a glass with lemonade, but rather mixing the glass that may have some ingredients, but lacks the remaining, with what it is missing, and possibly removing ingredients that are not needed, to make the lemonade. It is this process that will create a lasting impression on the student. The first chapter of the paper expresses its subjects in a very orderly manner, tackling education in general at first, and then the actual design of a classroom, to take you through a general spectrum of what the entire book will cover. The chapter however is somewhat repetitive and uses the same example in very similar occasions which is very unnecessary.

This reading provoked a lot of thought in my mind as to the business approach that implementing these core ideas of learning would be. The biggest problem I saw with all the ideas that were put forth in the first chapter of this book was that if teachers in developing countries (the area I want to bring educational technology to) were so proficient in their field to be able to perform the activities that are suggested here (knowing your students and their prior knowledge, and understanding how to introduce new material to them in a way that allows them to learn it as opposed to memorize it), they would probably have a higher paying job in a higher education field. Further, it leads to the point of how teachers are underpaid. However, aside from that issue, it provokes the thought of where children in 30 years are going to go to get educated. Is it really possible to change the business model in public education in order to obtain better educated teachers with better salaries for a true learning experience, or is the future in private education? Further, what effect can the changing of an entire countries public education have on the overall success of the country? For larger countries like the United States this hardly seems possible over the short period of time, but for countries like Panama, with a population of around 3.5 million people, and a steady income from the Panama Canal, can a country change its entire education system in order to increase dramatically the quality of life of everyone? It drew me to the conclusion that solving the problems that are at the very core of our lives, in learning and understanding, that will solve the bigger problems of poverty and crime.


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