What should a well-educated person know?

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Re: What should a well-educated person know?

Postby mōdgethanc » 2014-11-08, 4:21

One of them was in fact on the bus from campus. It's amazing sometimes how dumb educated people can be.

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Re: What should a well-educated person know?

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-11-08, 20:55

mōdgethanc wrote:Social skills like pragmatics are definitely something I wish others paid more attention to, since few things are likely to get my blood boiling than people who interrupt me (or even worse, talk over me). This is one of the advantages of the internet: at least everyone's voice is the same volume.

I really wish people in my family didn't do this to me all the time just because I'm the youngest.

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Re: What should a well-educated person know?

Postby loqu » 2014-11-08, 22:47

I also hate people interrupting me.

In fact I always thought I received an average education about manners at home, given that I grew up in a working-class family and in a working-class environment. Then I grew up and realised most people have just no respect at all and interrupt each other all the time, so I came to the conclusion that my family was rather picky about some manners.

BTW this thread is making me realise I'm not well-educated. I have no idea what ginger looks like. I'm glad I was taught critical thinking at home though.

Varislintu wrote:a 20+-year-old woman

It's funny that we wouldn't call a 20-year-old a woman (or a man) in Spanish in our area.
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Re: What should a well-educated person know?

Postby Varislintu » 2014-11-09, 9:08

loqu wrote:I have no idea what ginger looks like.


That's fine in my book if you don't really eat ginger. Like, if it's not part of your cuisine. But how can a UK-born person not know what a garlic looks like? And that woman was of Caribbean heritage, and her mom had cooked for her with garlic and ginger all her life (or so it was implied). She just had paid absolutely zero attention, apparently, and I kind of hate that in people. So much knowledge is available all the time all around us, if we just pay some attention. :)

My boyfriend also learned zero cooking at home, and I struggled with that, but then at least he knew and recognised all ingredients that he had grown up eating, raw and cooked. That was incredibly redeeming. :lol: (Sorry bf, I know I'm not perfect in my attitudes.)

loqu wrote:
Varislintu wrote:a 20+-year-old woman

It's funny that we wouldn't call a 20-year-old a woman (or a man) in Spanish in our area.


Really? :) Well, they would be seen as adults here, and I'm trying to kick the habit of calling adult women 'girls', even if they are young. :P
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Re: What should a well-educated person know?

Postby loqu » 2014-11-09, 11:24

Yeah, at first I thought, wouldn't I call her a woman because of sexism? But then I realized, to me a 20-year-old man is not an hombre either. Over 25 there's a higher possibility of being called a man/woman.

About the ginger, hadn't thought about that, I never ever saw my mother cook with ginger. But not knowing what garlic looks like is a bit shocking. At first I thought that you were referring to the plant leaves and such.
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Re: What should a well-educated person know?

Postby Varislintu » 2014-11-09, 12:25

loqu wrote:At first I thought that you were referring to the plant leaves and such.


Ah, that would be understandable not to recognise --- we don't see the leafy plant parts very often. But no, she picked up the ginger root, started peeling it for the dinner she was cooking, and that's when she said "This is garlic, right?". :lol:


I wonder, though, if we aren't in this thread sort of fluctuating between what we see as 'well-educated' and what we see as 'generally knowledgable'. I'm not sure this is the best English term for it --- in Finnish we have the concepts of yleistieto and yleissivistys, which literally translate as 'common knowledge' and 'common civilisation'. These are traits slightly distinct from someone who is oppinut, or 'learned'. :hmm:
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Re: What should a well-educated person know?

Postby voron » 2014-11-09, 12:45

I'd absolutely go for adding more housecraft, cooking etc lessons at school, and more sports too, rather then sociology, philosophy and what not. Being well-educated and mass self-reflection that it implies does not make a person happy.

Rather then suggesting what an educated persron show know, I'd suggest things that they shouldn't know and which should be cut from the school curriculum:

- Most of physics
Things like Newton's laws, or Archimedes' law, they are the basics and learnt at age 12-13 here, but I bet 95% of people don't remember them anyway, unless they study maths/physics at college. Let alone more complex stuff like electricity and magnetism or nuclear reactions.

- Most of chemistry
Who the hell needs to know the polymerization process or the like?

- Most of maths
Calculus is absolutely useless and too hard to understand anyway.

- Most of history
Yes. The way it was taught at our schools, it was too detailed. You had to remember countless dates and names and events, and most students ended up with having them completely messed up in their heads.
Highlighting only major events, and perhaps reiterating them a few times, is a better approach. And I'd make them taught in parallel with the literature class, e.g. reading Gilgamesh while teaching about ancient Mesopotamia etc

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Re: What should a well-educated person know?

Postby Varislintu » 2014-11-09, 13:23

voron wrote:Rather then suggesting what an educated persron show know, I'd suggest things that they shouldn't know and which should be cut from the school curriculum:

- Most of physics
Things like Newton's laws, or Archimedes' law, they are the basics and learnt at age 12-13 here, but I bet 95% of people don't remember them anyway, unless they study maths/physics at college. Let alone more complex stuff like electricity and magnetism or nuclear reactions.

- Most of chemistry
Who the hell needs to know the polymerization process or the like?

- Most of maths
Calculus is absolutely useless and too hard to understand anyway.

- Most of history
Yes. The way it was taught at our schools, it was too detailed. You had to remember countless dates and names and events, and most students ended up with having them completely messed up in their heads.
Highlighting only major events, and perhaps reiterating them a few times, is a better approach. And I'd make them taught in parallel with the literature class, e.g. reading Gilgamesh while teaching about ancient Mesopotamia etc


I definitely disagree, especially about history. History may be the most important subject taught in school.
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Re: What should a well-educated person know?

Postby Патрислав Андреевич » 2014-11-09, 13:39

voron wrote:I'd absolutely go for adding more housecraft, cooking etc lessons at school, and more sports too, rather then sociology, philosophy and what not.
In my opinion, these are the stuff you should learn at home. School isn’t for that.

voron wrote:Rather then suggesting what an educated persron show know, I'd suggest things that they shouldn't know and which should be cut from the school curriculum:

- Most of physics
Things like Newton's laws, or Archimedes' law, they are the basics and learnt at age 12-13 here, but I bet 95% of people don't remember them anyway, unless they study maths/physics at college. Let alone more complex stuff like electricity and magnetism or nuclear reactions.

Newton's laws? Archimedes' law? :shock: These are ones of the most basic laws ruling the world! I can’t imagine not knowing at least general ideas behind them.

voron wrote:- Most of chemistry
Who the hell needs to know the polymerization process or the like?
To better understand the world around us.

voron wrote:- Most of maths
Calculus is absolutely useless and too hard to understand anyway.
I always thought of maths problems as teaching mostly logical thinking, and being an exercise to the brain.

voron wrote:- Most of history
Yes. The way it was taught at our schools, it was too detailed. You had to remember countless dates and names and events, and most students ended up with having them completely messed up in their heads.
Highlighting only major events, and perhaps reiterating them a few times, is a better approach. And I'd make them taught in parallel with the literature class, e.g. reading Gilgamesh while teaching about ancient Mesopotamia etc
Here I have to especially disagree, since I love history. To me it was too little detailed. Especially national history should be expanded. Knowing how the world came to the state we see it now is IMO a must-have knowledge. And to know the mistakes of the past to not repeat them, too. Too few people know it apparently.

As for myself, I believe that this
Yasna wrote:I think they should be proficient in at least English and any other lingua franca of the region they live in. They should have general knowledge of chemistry, biology, physics, world history, geography, climate science, astronomy, nutrition, economics, finance, algebra, geometry, and calculus. By general knowledge I mean they should know most of what is found in a textbook covering the fundamentals of the respective field. They should be able to play at least one instrument and be proficient in at least one programming language. They should have read the majority of the classics of world literature.
+ also general knowledge of this:
IpseDixit wrote:-philosophy
-almost anything related to social sciences like political science, law and sociology
-physiology
-any subject related to the mind/brain
-art / art history
-religious studies

Is, IMO, the things a well-educated person should know. The crossed out things are additional advantages, but not necessary for being well-educated. :)

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Re: What should a well-educated person know?

Postby loqu » 2014-11-09, 14:03

You lost me here:

voron wrote:Calculus is absolutely useless and too hard to understand


Like Varislintu, I disagree, I think all those things should be learned at school. Not that everyone should be an expert in those disciplines, but I cannot consider a person well-educated if they don't know Newton's or Archimedes's laws, basic chemical concepts or basic events in history.

I also think that history should be taught differently, but that's a whole different thing.
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Re: What should a well-educated person know?

Postby voron » 2014-11-09, 14:20

Varislintu, xivrox:
Guys do you honestly think every European should strive to possess all the knowledge that you outlined (and I crossed out) above? It will never work, just because the human brain tends to purge all the knowledge it doesn't use on a regular basis.

Another argument is the arbitrary level of detailness and coverage of a subject that they choose at school. When talking about maths in particular (I choose maths because I'm a maths major), why stopping on calculus at highschool? Calculus is a 17th century discovery. There were a lot more groundbreaking and fundamental discoveries after calculus. The whole body of differential and algebraic geometry is absolutely ignored (the recently proved Poincare conjecture belongs to that area), abstract algebra is only marginally touched etc.

Infact a very good high school student who understands all the maths he's taught can not even understand a formulation of any of Hilbert's problems (a list of the most important problems as viewed by Hilbert in the beginning of the 20th century), let alone the Millenium problems, an analogous list for the 21st century.

So stopping on calculus doesn't make any sense really. School curriculum could just as well be limited with Ancient Greek discoveries.

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Re: What should a well-educated person know?

Postby Marah » 2014-11-09, 14:48

Apart from basic maths or percentages and maybe probabilities too, you're unlikely to use any of the maths you learn at school unless you're working in something related, imo.
Par exemple, l'enfant croit au Père Noël. L'adulte non. L'adulte ne croit pas au Père Noël. Il vote.

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Re: What should a well-educated person know?

Postby voron » 2014-11-09, 15:14

Marah wrote:Apart from basic maths or percentages and maybe probabilities too, you're unlikely to use any of the maths you learn at school unless you're working in something related, imo.

That's my point exactly, and if you don't use it, you'll inevitably forget it.

I worked as a maths tutor for some time (preparing students for university exams) and I had so many students who had severe problems understanding fractions, e.g. failing to see differences between 1/(2/3) and (1/2)/3, that I really thought those people would spend their time better learning to play a musical instrument, or learning a language -- these both are beautiful things that develop your brain and are applicable in everyday life.

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Re: What should a well-educated person know?

Postby Varislintu » 2014-11-09, 15:23

voron wrote:Varislintu, xivrox:
Guys do you honestly think every European should strive to possess all the knowledge that you outlined (and I crossed out) above?


Well, unless we want a nation of gullible ignoramuses, then yes, I definitely think we need to teach a certain level of science and history in school. Scientific and historical ignorance is extremely dangerous.

voron wrote:It will never work, just because the human brain tends to purge all the knowledge it doesn't use on a regular basis.


It's not about remembering detailed things by rote learning, it's about gaining an understanding of the basics of the natural world (physics, chemistry, biology, geography), logical and abstract thinking (maths, languages), and tendencies of human enterprise (history). It's not like it goes to waste. Being exposed to these things affects how you understand the world and how you will treat new information that's handed to you. It also builds a base upon which further specialisation can happen.

For example, if you once learned about cell biology, even if you forget all the terms and all the details, it will still affect how you view biological creatures later in life.
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Re: What should a well-educated person know?

Postby linguoboy » 2014-11-09, 15:28

xivrox wrote:
voron wrote:I'd absolutely go for adding more housecraft, cooking etc lessons at school, and more sports too, rather then sociology, philosophy and what not.
In my opinion, these are the stuff you should learn at home. School isn’t for that.

Why not? What about the people who don't learn these things at home? Just because something can be taught at home doesn't mean it is. (After all, you can teach physics and calculus at home if you have the right sorts of parents.)

Moreover, there are synergies between practical skills and the abstract knowledge you're looking to instill. My high school chemistry teacher explained chemistry to us as "just like cooking" and showed us how running a chemical reaction was simply following a recipe, like you would to bake a cake. At that point in my life, I'd been following recipes for years, so I immediately grasped what she was saying. What about the kids who didn't have that background experience? I imagine they were pretty at sea.
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Re: What should a well-educated person know?

Postby voron » 2014-11-09, 15:38

We're not even arguing because I agree with your previous post, Varislintu. I'm propelling this discussion into educational flaws and that's what I can argue about for hours because I see modern educational system as fundamentally wrong. It produces unhealthy people with a mish-mash of unconnected facts in their heads.

Perhaps it's different in Finland, but by watching these videos about Poland I can conclude it's not much different in Poland than in Belarus:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4EIj86S3PE

People in the streets of Poland are asked random questions from the school curriculum and in many cases, their answers are totally off.

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Re: What should a well-educated person know?

Postby Патрислав Андреевич » 2014-11-09, 16:33

linguoboy wrote:
xivrox wrote:
voron wrote:I'd absolutely go for adding more housecraft, cooking etc lessons at school, and more sports too, rather then sociology, philosophy and what not.
In my opinion, these are the stuff you should learn at home. School isn’t for that.

Why not? What about the people who don't learn these things at home? Just because something can be taught at home doesn't mean it is. (After all, you can teach physics and calculus at home if you have the right sorts of parents.)
If they don’t learn it at school, they’ll regret it later in life. It’s housecraft after all. I just don’t think they belong there… :hmm:


Varislintu wrote:
voron wrote:Varislintu, xivrox:
Guys do you honestly think every European should strive to possess all the knowledge that you outlined (and I crossed out) above?

Well, unless we want a nation of gullible ignoramuses, then yes, I definitely think we need to teach a certain level of science and history in school. Scientific and historical ignorance is extremely dangerous.
This. And I agree with the rest of the post, too, but it’s too long to quote. :lol:

voron wrote:Perhaps it's different in Finland, but by watching these videos about Poland I can conclude it's not much different in Poland than in Belarus:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4EIj86S3PE

People in the streets of Poland are asked random questions from the school curriculum and in many cases, their answers are totally off.
I never said Polish education system isn’t flawed. It sure as hell is! This video series (Matura to bzdura) proves it. I used to watch about every episode while Kuba Jankowski was the host. It’s funny, but also sad and depressing at the same time. But it doesn’t mean that we should water down the material that’s being taught… The questions in those videos are (mostly) about very basic knowledge, it can’t be cut off from the curriculum.

In fact, unfortunately, that’s the strategy the government took. Instead of reforming the education system, they are watering down the curriculum (which btw. shouldn’t be the government’s policy), removing a lot of things and making it “easier.” Instead of teaching the material more effectively, they reduce it, so that not knowing the answer to some of those questions will be normal and common.

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Re: What should a well-educated person know?

Postby linguoboy » 2014-11-09, 17:00

xivrox wrote:If they don’t learn it at school, they’ll regret it later in life. It’s housecraft after all. I just don’t think they belong there… :hmm:

By "they" do you mean the subjects or the students?

In the States, at least, many schools make these subjects elective. That's fine as far as it goes, but my concern is that students who would benefit the most from these courses won't take them because if the parents don't value these skills enough to teach them at home, why would they allow their children to study them at school rather than something else?
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Re: What should a well-educated person know?

Postby voron » 2014-11-09, 17:33

xivrox wrote:I used to watch about every episode while Kuba Jankowski was the host.

I have watched every episode that is on youtube, too. :) The host is good and the videos were good for my Polish.
The questions in those videos are (mostly) about very basic knowledge

The questions illustrate how the educational curriculum has become a collection of facts to be memorized. For example, one of the questions in that video asks "What did Prometheus steal from Mount Olympos?" And when people are not able to answer an 'educated' person is supposed to exclaim: "What an ignorance!"

However even if a person gives the correct answer (fire) it doesn't mean that they know the context of the story (which civilization the myth belonged to, what were this civilization's other cultural artefacts etc). Many people would know just the myth.

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Re: What should a well-educated person know?

Postby הענט » 2014-11-09, 18:00

voron wrote:
xivrox wrote:I used to watch about every episode while Kuba Jankowski was the host.

I have watched every episode that is on youtube, too. :) The host is good and the videos were good for my Polish.
The questions in those videos are (mostly) about very basic knowledge

The questions illustrate how the educational curriculum has become a collection of facts to be memorized. For example, one of the questions in that video asks "What did Prometheus steal from Mount Olympos?" And when people are not able to answer an 'educated' person is supposed to exclaim: "What an ignorance!"

However even if a person gives the correct answer (fire) it doesn't mean that they know the context of the story (which civilization the myth belonged to, what were this civilization's other cultural artefacts etc). Many people would know just the myth.


Well the "Greek myths" was the only mandatory book I read in elementary school, so I am aware of the story. :)

Well, this thread is an interesting one. What should an educated person know? I picture an English lord whose greatest hobby is archaeology and speaks Arabic fluently and at the same time he's skilled in fencing, swimming, equestrianism. He must know a great deal of mathematics, physics, politology, philosophy, physiology, anthropology, economics, ethics, sociology, history, law, cartography, biology, chemistry, geology, astronomy and finally logic. I wish I could learn all this, but I think I have to be realistic about my goals and being a jack of all trades in all or most of these is enough.


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