What should students learn in school?

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What should students learn in school? by Mind Map: What should students learn in school?

1. How to live with ourselves

1.1. Creativity, Innovation, & Imagination

1.1.1. Claims On a societal level, creativity and innovation are good for driving economic growth. This is but one of the many arguments as to why students should learn creativity in school. Creativity is essential for success in the 21st century and should be focused on in schools. It is a skill that predicts long-term success. Art has the ability to make students smarter and fosters valuable modes of thinking. Especially in an age of increased rationalization and testing, art allows for alternative modes of thinking based on subjectivity, embracing complexity, and innovating.

1.1.2. Arguments For Pink Pink argues that the 21st century skills needed today are creativity, big picture thinking, and inventiveness. He believes that all people have the capacity for creativity, as it is "part of what it is to be human." To teach creativity, Pink argues that we need to shift the focus of schools from "compliance" to "engagement." Kluger Kluger states that creativity is a "universally distributed" trait and asserts that moments of creativity can arise out of inspiration or through lots of thinking and practice. While a majority of American's believe that creative ideas occur spontaneously, Kluger points to examples of inventors who have created important innovations with practice. This supports the notion that people can become creative through practice and that it should be taught in schools. Winner & Hetland Winner & Hetland provide data that students who participate in art get higher test scores. She also notes the modes of thinking fostered by art, such as increased perception and greater consideration of decisions based on seeing more nuanced complexities in a problem rather than seeing it as "black or white." Bronson Bronson discusses how creativity requires both divergent and convergent thinking. He states that successful school programs that teach creativity must focus on both. The rationale for caring, he argues, is that is helps our nation remain economically competitive. Eisner Eisner believed that in order to be good question posers, students needed to be creative and innovative.

1.1.3. Arguments Against Potential Flaws with Conceptual Education Pink's interviewer believes that Pink's notion of a conceptual education based on teaching creativity could be flawed, as some people don't have the ability to be especially creative. Thus, he fears the rise of a small number of elites that rise over the masses. Bauerlin Bauerlin argues that focusing on creativity in school should be approached cautiously. He says, " For one thing, whether such creative, higher-order skills of the Conceptual Age can prosper without lower-order aptitudes being mastered first is a debatable proposition, and "perhaps artistic geniuses can get by without learning to spell or multiply, but the rest better learn the fundamentals."

1.2. Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

1.2.1. Claims Students should learn to pose good questions. This exemplifies the ability to think critically (and creatively). The study of history helps to increase critical thinking skills. The study of art can also aid in critical thinking, as it allows students to resist thoughtlessness

1.2.2. Arguments For Wineburg Wineburg argues that history helps students embrace complexity and think critically by adopting new and different frameworks of thought. He discusses an intelligent AP student who was able to do well in history, but did not effectively place himself in the frame of thought of the time he was studying. Thus, Wineburg implies that history, done well, has the potential to build students' capacity for critically thinking in very new ways. Loewen Loewen said that in order for schools to succeed, students must "learn how to ask questions about our society and its history and how to figure out answers for [themselves]." If students are able to relate to the history they are learning, they will find it relevant and will find it to be an effective tool for critical thinking and question-posing. Greene Greene argued that art helps to broaden perspective, facilitate critical thought, and foster creativity in students. She said that it makes people more self-aware and allows them to connect with the narrative of the human condition. Eisner Eisner proposed that students need to become better question-posers. He values creativity, curiosity, and big ideas. He also describes his Stanford students who are smart, yet have difficulty posing good questions. His hopes schools deemphasize the need for efficiency and place greater care in facilitating more powerful, meaningful, and critical thinking. He also hopes that learning is always a process rather than an end goal.

1.2.3. Arguments Against Complications with History Education Loewen discusses that a major problem with history education today is textbooks, which make history seem boring, dry, and stagnant. He argues that quality history education notices the constantly evolving state of history. Who's History? Another problem raised by Loewen is that history education often focuses on Western culture and ignores the critical topics of non-Western culture, diversity, etc. For example, a substantial portion of his work focuses on the multicultural historical figures who are slighted in history education today.

1.3. Independence, Maturity, & Following our Passions (Curiosity), and Taking Risks

1.3.1. Claims Independence facilitates original thinking for one's self. It allows people to resist the influences of propaganda, groupthink, and other harmful social phenomena and processes. Students should not be "babied" throughout their schooling experience. They should be given opportunities to develop maturity. Students should learn about their curiosities and should be given the freedom to shape their own education.

1.3.2. Arguments For Holt Holt believes that schools aren't conducive to independent thinking. Rather, they dictate what students should learn. Thus, Holt argues that students should learn how to be independent thinkers, who will find greater fulfillment through following their passions and interests. Gatto Gatto discusses the "infantilzation" that occurs in schools where students' hands are constantly held. He argues that this impedes the development of maturity and thus advocates that students have the choice to choose what to learn based on their own interests. Gatto also believed that schools should foster independence and curiosity. He said, "Whatever an education is, it should make you a unique individual, not a conformist; it should furnish you with an original spirit with which to tackle the big challenges; it should allow you to find values which will be your road map through life; it should make you spiritually rich, a person who loves whatever you are doing, wherever you are, whomever you are with; it should teach you what is important: how to live and how to die."

1.3.3. Arguments Against Hirsch Hirsch rejects the notion that students should learn whatever their heart desires. Instead, he advocates for a uniform curriculum of essential knowledge students should know and states that this collective learning enhances cultural literacy needed for effective communication in society. Adler Adler'sPaiedea program calls for a one-track-for-all model of schooling that eliminates differences and supports the knowledge of all students equally. This directly contrasts with the views of Holt and Gatto, who believe that students should have more freedom of educational choices. Gardner Gardner believed in creating a disciplined mind through fostering particular modes of thinking. To accomplish this, he believed that certain academic disciplines should be taught. For example, he states that science, art, history, and math all instill crucial modes of thinking. Thus, he would no favor student choice in schooling.

1.4. Discipline & Work Ethic

1.4.1. Claims Education should discipline the mind by teaching students specific subjects that lead to particular modes of thinking. There exists a hierarchy of importance for academic disciplines, with some disciplines being much more important than others.

1.4.2. Arguments For Bauerlin Bauerlin's review of Pink's book heeds caution to the idea that schools should teach creativity. He argues that lower-order aptitudes should be mastered before higher-order skills like creativity. Thus, Baurerlin would support the belief that students should master academic subjects that discipline the mind, and in turn, such low-order learning could facilitate higher-order learning in the future. Hutchins Hutchins believes that the purpose of education is to make rational animals more rational. Thus, he supports the discipline of the mind provided by a strict curriculum and believes in the value of teaching for cultural literacy. Jacobs Jacobs agrees in the value of learning academic disciplines and wishes to update them to 21st century standards. For example, she pushes for greater education on technology and real-life relevance of math through teaching more relatable subjects like statistics.

1.4.3. Arguments Against Noddings In "A Morally Defensible Missions for Schools in the 21st Century," Noddings questions the notion that a liberal education truly teaches the things that students need to learn to live intelligently, morally, and happily. She argues that rather than organize schools around academic disciplines, they should be organized around themes of caring. Gardner Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences recognizes the varied talents of children and the multiplicity of human capacities and interests. Thus, it does not make sense to Gardner why "the best education for the best is the best for all." The idea of multiple intelligences is incongruous with the notion that all children should be learning the same things.

2. How to live with others

2.1. Character & Caring

2.1.1. Claims Making good judgement and decisions in life requires more than intelligence; it requires good character and integrity. Our ability to care for others signifies competence.

2.1.2. Arguments For King "Intelligence Plus Character: That is the goal of true education." King believed that the worst criminal could be one who is intelligent but who does not have morals. Thus, he believed that education should "give one not only the power of concentration, but worthy objectives on which to concentrate." Dellattre Dellattre argued that student should aspire to have integrity, which includes the characteristics of wholeness, justice, temperance, courage, and intellectual and moral honesty. Given these qualities, one is able to make not only smart, but also quality judgements in life. Noddings Noddings said that the goal of education is “to encourage the growth of competent, caring, loving, and loveable people" and advocates organizing schools around themes of caring. This, she believes, will combat the social problems that exist in society such as poverty and homelessness.

2.1.3. Arguments Against Whose Values? Teaching character can be problematic. For example, character education has a tendency to turn into the indoctrination of values. To effectively teach character, students should have the capacity to think critically about their values and act with integrity. A problem here is that too many character education programs inculcate what they believe to be "correct" values rather than allowing students to decide for themselves. Hirsch Hirch's idea of cultural literacy focuses not on character development or caring, but rather on teaching a prescriptive set of ideas and concepts that "every student should know." This is potentially problematic because it risks the very thing that Dr. King fears, teaching intelligence without character.

2.2. Global Interdependence & A Shared Purpose with Others

2.2.1. Claims In order to create a more united, open-minded, and accepting society, students need to embrace diversity and develop a shared purpose for humanity. The ability to collaborate across differences of thoughts, cultures, etc. is important for most creative processes that improve our lives and the world. Students can gain a sense of global interdependence through history.

2.2.2. Arguments For Postman Postman's idea of centering education around narratives that could unite students shows his concern for fostering a shared purpose among students. Postman also believed that subjects such as archeology, astronomy, and geology could be used to illustrate ideas about global interconnectedness. Pink Pink says that empathy is a skill needed for success in the 21st century. Building empathy allows people to work across difference toward a common goal. Robinson Robinson argues that most creative processes benefit from collaboration, and that in order for maximal collaboration to occur, people need to work beyond their differences and desire for homogeneity. Wineburg Wineburg discusses the value of history and says that it has the ability to unite humanity and allows us to recognize the limits of human knowledge as well as learn from past mistakes. Greene Greene argued that art has the power to connect people in a narrative of the human condition. For example, all people can listen to music, no matter where they are from. This illustrates the connective power of art in uniting people of diverse backgrounds.

2.2.3. Arguments Against Rothman Rothman's main focus in education is on college and career readiness. To him, the goal of shared purpose and connection with others is secondary to learning academic subjects such as ELA and Math. Hirsch Hirsch is not against global interdependence. However, his prescriptive ideas of what every student should know do not promote diversity of thought or experience. Rather, they attempt to minimize difference and assimilate all students into a common, very Western set of ideas.

2.3. Cultural Literacy

2.3.1. Claims People should know enough information to be able to effectively understand and communicate in society. Cultural literacy allows this to happen. It is more important to have a breath of knowledge than depth of knowledge. For example, if a student hears about the Titanic, they don't need an in depth knowledge of the disaster. Rather, they simply need to know a few details about it so they can at least understand what people are talking about when they say "Titanic."

2.3.2. Arguments For Feinstein Feinstein advocates for scientific literacy and wants people to be "competent outsiders" who are able to understand when science has some bearing on their needs and how it can help them achieve their goals. It advocates for breath over depth of scientific topics. Hirsch Hirsch is most well known for his ideas on cultural literacy and also promotes a breath of knowledge over depth. He has created a book series, "What Every (X) Needs to Know" and believes in specific facts and concepts students should know at each educational stage in his/her life. Trefil Trefil, similar to Feinstein, said that students should oly learn enough science to understand it in daily life. They should know its connections to politics and environmental issues, for example. However, it isn't necessary that they be "mini scientists" with a depth of scientific knowledge. Labaree Labaree believed that a central aim of education should be democratic equality. Here, students would learn not to be selfish and work only for the goals of mobility and social efficiency, but also for the common good.

2.3.3. Arguments Against Holt Holt believes that students should have choice in choosing how and when they should be educated. This would mean that students all learn vastly different things, which would not promote cultural literacy. Gatto Similarly to Holt, Gatto believes in student choice when it comes to choosing an educational path. He would believe that such a restrictive system is a form of infantilization, allowing students to detach from making any meaningful sort of decision about their education.

2.4. Democratic Values

2.4.1. Claims One of the overarching goals in education is to prepare students for democratic life. A responsibility of education is to create the public. Thus, schools should teach students not only about how democracy works, but how to participate in it as well.

2.4.2. Arguments For Postman Postman called for the use of narratives that connect learners together. For example, he discusses "Spaceship Earth," which asks students to become stewards of the planet and recognize interconnections between all people. He also proposed the narrative of the "American Experiment" that told a story of America as being a great experiment in which students could participate in. Barton & Levstik Barton & Levstik argue that the success of democracy lies in teaching about and practicing it in schools. They promote the value of teaching "democratic humanism," which promotes reasoned judgement, an expanded view of humanity, and deliberation over the common good.

2.4.3. Arguments Against Rothman Rothman discusses the Common Core, whose aim to prepare students not for democracy per se, but rather for college and career readiness. While he does state that the common core will increase equity, his aims of education focus on the economic stability of the nation and the college and career goals of students. Holt and Gatto Holt and Gatto maintain a much more student-centered approach to education, stating that one primary goal of education is to promote curiosity and lifelong learning. Thus, they don't believe any sort of civil education should be forced upon unwilling students. Rather, they believe that students should independently choose to participate in such programs.