Critical Question: World Around Us

“The subjects we learn in school provide the most effective tools with which to understand the world around us.” Do you agree or disagree?

The only reason this question is a tricky one for me, is that it all depends on a person’s definition of “understanding”. According to our good old friend, The Oxford English Dictionary, understanding means “The ability to understand something; comprehension”. If you take it by that meaning, then I fully agree with the statement.

At school our core subjects are Science, Maths, English, German, Art and for us taskies, Latin. If we go by the previous definition of “understanding”, these core subjects do teach us about the world around us. Science is literally about understanding the world around us and how it works. Maths is just the core of science plus we use it on a daily basis. English we use all the time, even during this very paragraph and without it, we wouldn’t be able to communicate as well, so there would be less information for us to pass on to one and other. German is similar to English in it’s usability, except that it’s not as widely accepted. On the other hand it has been proven that learning a second language can do things like stave of dementia, increase brain growth and more. Art can be quite a controversial topic, but in my opinion, it does help with things like creativity, imagination and analytical thinking. Latin has been an controversial one for us taskies, because we just see it as extra work, but Latin has all the same benefits as learning a second language as well as improving your English.

But to me, to understand the world around us, we don’t need to literally understand it, we need to  understand the world around us. By that I mean, we need to know and learn practical things for the real world, not things like quadratic equations and what the author really meant by “the curtains were blue”.

In my opinion, what we learn in schools is less about teaching us about the real/practical world, but more to teach us to learn. At our school, we do the program I am currently in, the Galileo Program, which has been explained to us as the teachers giving us the opportunity to learn, rather than “this is right, write it in your books.”. But to me, I also see it as an opportunity to learn life skills, that we will need later on in life, such as the Community Services we do, or all the interviews we’ve done to better understand the reality of things.

I think one of the main problems contributing towards this is not only that schools don’t do things like our Galileo Program, but also that they are too heavily academic focused, expecting everyone to do something academic. What about all the the people who want do art or something that requires less maths and more creativity? That is one of the biggest flaws with the current academic system. The people who get through with high scores, aren’t always the most intelligent, they just know how to jump through the right hoops at school.

So in conclusion, if you go by the literal meaning of understanding, then yes, I agree, our current curriculum helps us understand our world. But If you were to go by the idea of practicality, then no, I would have to heavily disagree.

Bibliography:
http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/understanding

http://www.spring.org.uk/2013/09/10-superb-psychological-advantages-of-learning-another-language.php

http://plpnetwork.com/2013/11/07/obsession-academic-teaching-preparing-kids-life/

One thought on “Critical Question: World Around Us

  1. Week 6 – Critical Question Assessment

    The World Around Us Week

    Hi David,

    Your efforts to differentiate between understanding on a theoretical and transactional [language] level versus how you practically apply knowledge is really interesting.

    Unfortunately you are let down by your choice of example – you really need to remember that Galileo is still housed within UHS and the standards of language still apply to your written expression…

    While you do a good job unpacking the purpose of Galileo – I wonder if you could have drawn more effectively on your experiences over the course of the week in order to support your argument.

    Good to see you doing research – just make sure it’s appropriate next time.

    Tamar

    Coherence of argument: level 1 of 2
    Use of evidence: level 1 of 2
    Further Research: level 1 of 1
    Multiple Perspectives: level 1 of 2
    Critical Thinking: level 0.5 of 1
    Expression & language use: 0 level of 1

    These levels refer to the

    Assessment Rubric.

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