FFT: The future of Education
Wednesday, November 07, 2012

If you have the time to spare, I highly recommend that you watch this Youtube playlist.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dk60sYrU2RU&list=PLgE-9Sxs2IBVEoz0MkIzcUmFkXWpmw2zo&index=2&feature=plpp_video

If you're too lazy, then just watch this as I kind of thought of something while watching it. Again, if you're THAT lazy and not interested in Education, here's a very short summary of it.

We should make education more like games. Change the paradigm of grading from A to F. Instead, make it more like an RPG game, where everyone starts from 0 experience, and slowly gain experience based on what they've done in classes or test. That way, it becomes a positive encouragement for studying, rather than the current method, where you can only fail if you don't do well. Using the game method, you can always "level up" slower, but at least it wouldn't be game over if you failed to defeat the exams.

It is all very interesting and you should definitely have a look, this is a very rough summary.

After watching/listening to all the talks, I can't help but take a new perspective on education. I have always been a pragmatic/logical person. My "end-all, be-all" reason for education is that it benefits mankind. It's really not as selfless as you would hope it to be. Having an educated population benefits mankind overall.

However, I started to think that education exists to draw out the full potential of an individual. That it is for the benefit of oneself, not simply because it's useful to the human species. Thanks to the videos, I realized that there are actually people who wants to change the foundation of education of this era. To help develop the strengths of a person, and not to conform oneself to a rigid system.

Still, such a drastic change will take years to accomplish. Though I see the beauty of their end goal, I don't see the first step that could be taken. Until I thought of this.

We should allow more than one attempt in an exam.
If the fundamental idea of education is to learn, what better way to learn than to learn from your own mistakes?

The problem is that, once you pass a subject/module/chapter, you would never go back to it again. You wouldn't even be tested on it. Sure, the later chapters might build upon the concept and it might be related, but it isn't the same thing. Have you ever revised an older chapter from a couple of months ago and suddenly you just understood everything, wondering "How the fuck did I not see this in the first place?"

Everyone absorbs information at a different rate. Though generally, it takes some time before what you learn is fully internalized in your head. So why should we have a test once and then just forget about it totally?

I believe this is why students have that mentality that once the exam is over, you can forget everything. 

I think that we should have another similar exam, maybe 3 months later. Which will be added to the first exam and averaged out. Sure, it may be a hell of a hassle for the students, but I think that if we're going to stick with the notion of exams for the foreseeable future, this seems like a logical step forward.

I can say this with such confidence because I used to fail my A maths horribly, but if you were to give me 1 month to study the entire textbook now, I could probably score an A for it. Is it because intelligence grew with age? I doubt it. Sometimes, things just become clearer once you've had enough time to think about it. I remember flipping through my Secondary textbooks a year or two ago, and I was smacking myself in the head for my stupidity.

Back to my point of being able to take take an exam twice, you can upscale it and allow the student to retake an exam multiple times. With each new exam being worth less.

There is a major flaw. It will break the current system of filtering out the good students. Because the chance of someone scoring an A for every subject will be drastically higher with this method. However, isn't this what we want? Reward the hardworking. Similar to the "game education", this aims to encourage students to not give up after they fail. The improving grades will also prove that the student is learning over repetition rather than just memorizing and pasting down their answers.

One might argue that this will break the current system of "Good" and "Bad" schools. Where your exam results determines what "quality" school you're going to. Well yeah, that's my point. We have to break this traditional thinking of education. We should be educating people to learn, not teaching them to study. Schools don't teach you the unpredictability of the outside world, it only teaches you the definite answers of pre-determined scenarios. After all, an individual's talent and skills is way more important than his ability to study a textbook.

Of course, I'm just ranting to myself, I doubt such a crazy idea will see the light of the day during my career as a student. This idea probably didn't come by chance. I've always hated how you couldn't try again after you've failed. That I couldn't go back and study in my old school and take a test for it. Why is age such a factor? This kind of education doesn't make sense. I've always been told that "A successful person simply failed more times than an unsuccessful person." That the key is to not give up when you fail. But what's the fucking point if you can't try again when you fail? *

Is this how people envisioned education to be? A cold heartless place where it's do-or-die. Maybe they are trying to teach us that there is no going back in time, that we have to grab hold of any opportunity, or risk failing in life. That's all good and all, but isn't it too much for the little kids?

Well, I don't claim to have the answers to anything, but I definitely do see a need for the current education system to make some changes, as soon as possible.


*fail can mean not doing well, may not literally fail

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