FFT: Encourage learning, not studying
Thursday, April 18, 2013

Some people know that I like to learn about the most random things possible. Not that I have a passion for torturing my brain, but some stuffs are just really interesting.

Recently however, I have been encountering topics that I have studied back in my schooling days. Topics that I really hated, not because that it's not interesting; but because it was dry and I see no use for it, nor the reason for it's existence.

Firstly, Chemistry; mainly, Stoichiometry.
I am annoyed why my school didn't teach us like this video did.


I love Crash Course, you have to subscribe to them if you haven't yet. These weekly lessons just makes me feel a hell lot smarter. They have also covered Biology and Ecology in the past.

Here's the thing, when I learned about moles(unit of measurement) in the past, we learned about the equations pretty much immediately. Which obviously doesn't make any sense to me at all. Here's a brief overview: The amount of moles shows how much "stuff" is in a substance. So for example, a 5mol/cm3 Hydrochloric Acid is more concentrated than a 3mol/cm3 HCL.

What I was taught is simply how many moles of Hydrogen, mixed with that amount of Chlorine will yield how many moles of Hydrochloric Acid.

Honestly, that didn't make any sense to me at all. Why wasn't I taught that the whole point of the mole system was so that I could measure the Chemicals in grams?! Why?! Sure, I'm pretty sure it was mentioned in some point in time but it wasn't drilled into our heads. Like it was just a "oh btw you could do this too" kind of thing.

It would make our lab practicals so much more meaningful if we have to calculate the weight of the chemicals we are mixing in, in order to achieve the amount of product we want.

All we did was mix chemicals until it changes color, or some smell; or measure the amount of chemicals we have to mix in a beaker until some observable reaction occurs. The problem with that was, I didn't know why the fuck we were doing those things. It didn't promote learning at all, I didn't want to learn anything more about it, all I was doing was just studying my ass off on it.*
(well... I'm not that much of a model student)

Secondly, Mathematics. Mainly, the Infinite Series.
I came across something called the Zeno's paradox.

The "simpler" (shorter) version of it is this.



You may alternatively check out the geekier version of this. (which explains it better mathematically)

I learnt about the infinite series while I took engineering maths. But I could never really found a reason to apply it to anything, or why the fuck I even needed to learn it in the first place.

Studying about ST→infinity = 2 (S equals 2, as Time approaches infinity) makes little sense. Not unless we have some sort of pretext like the Zeno's paradox, it makes the existence of the equation more interesting. Why? Because studying about the electrical discharge graph of a capacitor isn't as interesting as a philosophical question that mind fucks you.


So, what does these 2 examples have in common? They perk my curiosity, they make me want to learn more about the subject on my own. They become more than concepts that I get preached to while I sit in a spot for hours.

I hate the way education is being carried out currently. It gives you the tools you need to make things work as quickly as possible, but it doesn't make you want to make things work. There isn't a sense of wonder when you are taught about concepts that took someone his entire lifetime to work it out.

Of course, being a teacher and teaching the same topics for years isn't the best situation for someone to remain motivated about motivating others. The syllabus is also taught in a "one size fits all" method. I know that there are things that can't be helped, but man I don't see the effort at all. I may well be speaking out of my ass, offending the teachers who are trying their best out there, but again, all these is purely from my own experiences.

What do I think we need?

Stories.

I don't care if it's fake, better if it's real. I think that a story is the best way to interest someone. For example, the concept of levers can be taught by how some farmer in the past wanted to carry more crops and use less energy. You could link a story to everything, it gives a sense of wonder and makes me think, "Wow, that's a freaking smart way of doing it."

Most importantly, it makes me want to learn more.
Because honestly, I'm just so sick of studying. 

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