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Should schools teach harder stuff earlier?

Jack212
Posts: 572
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8/23/2013 3:37:13 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Algebra, Chemistry, Genetics and Relativity are not hard concepts to understand when explained properly. Why can't we teach this stuff to children when they're 10 instead of when they're 15 or 20? Intelligence is mostly determined by environment, so why not teach kids all the "smart person stuff" before they become stupid adults?
orangemayhem
Posts: 333
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8/23/2013 9:48:14 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/23/2013 3:37:13 AM, Jack212 wrote:
Algebra, Chemistry, Genetics and Relativity are not hard concepts to understand when explained properly. Why can't we teach this stuff to children when they're 10 instead of when they're 15 or 20? Intelligence is mostly determined by environment, so why not teach kids all the "smart person stuff" before they become stupid adults?

In the British school system we start doing stuff like algebra at the age of ten and just keep doing it in small doses every year. Same for every branch of mathematics - as opposed to having a year of geometry or whatever, it's all mixed in and built upon every year. I can't imagine the reasoning behind doing it another way.
I'm back (ish).
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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8/23/2013 11:22:23 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/23/2013 3:37:13 AM, Jack212 wrote:
Algebra, Chemistry, Genetics and Relativity are not hard concepts to understand when explained properly. Why can't we teach this stuff to children when they're 10 instead of when they're 15 or 20? Intelligence is mostly determined by environment, so why not teach kids all the "smart person stuff" before they become stupid adults?

Intelligence, as measured by IQ, is primarily genetic.

I'll give you algebra as being relative simple, but chemistry, genetics, and relativity require a fair amount of preparation.

If the material presented to students is too difficult, they not only fail to learn it, but they become discouraged and stop trying. The book "Mismatch" discusses this in the context of affirmative action admissions. Students admitted to programs above their ability not only fail to graduate, they tend to drop out of higher education altogether. If admitted to programs suited to their ability, they succeed quite well.

The way to introduce more difficult material is by sorting students according to ability and giving more difficult material to students who can cope with it. This called "tracking" -- or at least that is what it sued to be called. I think this is good idea. As it is, the better students tend to be bored to death.
Jack212
Posts: 572
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8/23/2013 5:17:45 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/23/2013 11:22:23 AM, RoyLatham wrote:
At 8/23/2013 3:37:13 AM, Jack212 wrote:
Algebra, Chemistry, Genetics and Relativity are not hard concepts to understand when explained properly. Why can't we teach this stuff to children when they're 10 instead of when they're 15 or 20? Intelligence is mostly determined by environment, so why not teach kids all the "smart person stuff" before they become stupid adults?

Intelligence, as measured by IQ, is primarily genetic.

I'll give you algebra as being relative simple, but chemistry, genetics, and relativity require a fair amount of preparation.

If the material presented to students is too difficult, they not only fail to learn it, but they become discouraged and stop trying. The book "Mismatch" discusses this in the context of affirmative action admissions. Students admitted to programs above their ability not only fail to graduate, they tend to drop out of higher education altogether. If admitted to programs suited to their ability, they succeed quite well.

The way to introduce more difficult material is by sorting students according to ability and giving more difficult material to students who can cope with it. This called "tracking" -- or at least that is what it sued to be called. I think this is good idea. As it is, the better students tend to be bored to death.

While genes do affect intelligence, as genes in some way affect everything, the data is not that straightforward. There are environmental and socioeconomic factors that influence intelligence as well.

http://en.wikipedia.org...
Lordknukle
Posts: 12,788
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8/23/2013 5:58:28 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Yes to the first three, no to the last one. Relativity is not useful in day to day lives unless you are a physicist.
"Easy is the descent to Avernus, for the door to the Underworld lies upon both day and night. But to retrace your steps and return to the breezes above- that's the task, that's the toil."
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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8/24/2013 2:00:04 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/23/2013 5:17:45 PM, Jack212 wrote:
While genes do affect intelligence, as genes in some way affect everything, the data is not that straightforward. There are environmental and socioeconomic factors that influence intelligence as well.

http://en.wikipedia.org...

I think there is confusion of heritability with genetics. Heritability measures predicting a child's IQ from the parents. According to Wikipedia, the parents IQ predicts 40% to 90% of the variance of a child's IQ. However, that doesn't mean that what is left is environment. Most of what's left is unpredictable genetics. This is likely a result of many genes rather than just one being involved in intelligence, so the combination inherited is unpredictable.

Compare it to two short parents having a child who grows up to be tall. The heritability predicts the child is more likely to be short than tall, but that he turned out to be tall is still most likely a product of genes that environment.

Some of the genetic variation may be due to the environment in the womb that triggers genetic changes. Identical twins sometimes have have one twin right-handed and the other left-handed. As far as I know, everyone agrees handedness is genetic, yet it isn't perfectly pre-determined.
Jack212
Posts: 572
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8/24/2013 2:26:04 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/24/2013 2:00:04 AM, RoyLatham wrote:
At 8/23/2013 5:17:45 PM, Jack212 wrote:
While genes do affect intelligence, as genes in some way affect everything, the data is not that straightforward. There are environmental and socioeconomic factors that influence intelligence as well.

http://en.wikipedia.org...

I think there is confusion of heritability with genetics. Heritability measures predicting a child's IQ from the parents. According to Wikipedia, the parents IQ predicts 40% to 90% of the variance of a child's IQ. However, that doesn't mean that what is left is environment. Most of what's left is unpredictable genetics. This is likely a result of many genes rather than just one being involved in intelligence, so the combination inherited is unpredictable.

Compare it to two short parents having a child who grows up to be tall. The heritability predicts the child is more likely to be short than tall, but that he turned out to be tall is still most likely a product of genes that environment.

Some of the genetic variation may be due to the environment in the womb that triggers genetic changes. Identical twins sometimes have have one twin right-handed and the other left-handed. As far as I know, everyone agrees handedness is genetic, yet it isn't perfectly pre-determined.

There is no way to determine how much of a person's height is due to genes and how much is due to environment. Environment acts on genes. If the kid had a totally different diet and lifestyle than the parents, that would also affect how much they grow.

Also, just because something is heritable doesn't mean it's genetic. I've inherited my father's bad temper. Does that mean it's genetic? Not entirely, I mostly picked it up by watching him get angry with stuff and having to suppress my childhood memories all the time. I inherited the ability to get angry, but the effect of my DNA on my temper was negligible compared with the environment I was raised in and the choices I made.
YYW
Posts: 36,303
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8/24/2013 11:14:32 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/23/2013 3:37:13 AM, Jack212 wrote:
Algebra, Chemistry, Genetics and Relativity are not hard concepts to understand when explained properly. Why can't we teach this stuff to children when they're 10 instead of when they're 15 or 20? Intelligence is mostly determined by environment, so why not teach kids all the "smart person stuff" before they become stupid adults?

The dominant theory in educational methodology in the United States (really, from the 80, 90ss on is where this was translated into practice -the theory has been around for decades) presumed that grade school children could only master certain concepts at certain times because of the extent to which their brains (and, implicitly, their capacity to learn and reason) were developed. Maybe that's true, but what that theory translated to in practice was a system that catered to the median intellectual level of a student body such that smart kids were bored and the dumb kids were struggling. This created all kinds of problems. Enter, the stratification of primary education among levels.

The idea later became that certain kids should be given the opportunity to take harder classes and other kids should be allowed to keep on keepin' on. The practical consequence of this notion was concepts level, college prep level, honors level, etc. classes. So, a high school diploma became something that didn't mean the same thing for everyone -and the value of a high school education began go deteriorate (assuming, of course, it was worth anything to begin with).

Here's the problem: back in the 1960 there were certain politicians (Democrats) that put forward the idea that every kid in America should go to college -and that message powerfully resonated with working class parents, who made up the most of the democratic voting bloc. The problem was that blue collar work became stigmatized, despite the fact that it is indispensable to the American economy.

What that stigma meant is that trade schools were never built, and the ones that were, never fulfilled their real potential because of the fact that parents believed that "college prep" classes were better for their child. So, instead of learning how to build things, how to fix things and how to make things (i.e. gaining valuable practical skills), students who would have been better off learning trades were made to sit in classes -often under incompetent teachers- to learn calculus, interpret Shakespeare and work out physics problems. To be clear, it's not that math, literature and science aren't important -they are very much so, but they are not necessary for everyone, nor should everyone learn them. But, the idea of a liberal education is that all of those things must be learned, because... of a lot of fluffy abstract bullsh!t that has no practical value. Ironically, that's why some HVAC people can make $60.00/hr. while entry level salesman will be lucky on their salaried position to come by more than $15.00-20.00/hr.

But, to answer your question, that is the reason that "harder" stuff isn't taught earlier... most can't make the cut, so to make it possible to make a majority make the cut, material is made much less difficult than it should be so that on paper it can appear as if kids are learning -but in reality they're not. This is why I'm mostly in favor of the Common Core standards. They're a step towards raising the bar, even though they're not doing nearly enough.
Tsar of DDO
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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8/24/2013 2:33:28 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/24/2013 2:26:04 AM, Jack212 wrote:
There is no way to determine how much of a person's height is due to genes and how much is due to environment. Environment acts on genes. If the kid had a totally different diet and lifestyle than the parents, that would also affect how much they grow.

There is a way, and that is to study identical twins raised separately. The genetics are almost identical, so the variation is with the environment. There are extreme conditions that may override the genetics, a calcium deficiency may cause a person to be shorter or malnutrition may have many serious affects.

"Twin studies suggest that identical twins IQ's are more similar than those of fraternal twins (Promin & Spinath, 2004).

Siblings reared together in the same home have IQ's that are more similar than those of adopted children raised together in the same environment (McGue & others, 1993)."

I'll grant that the subject is controversial and there is evidence of environmental effects as well. "Identical twins reared apart have IQ's that are less similar than identical twins reared in the same environment (McGue & others, 1993)."
http://psychology.about.com...

The amount and quality of education affects IQ scores, but I suspect that is due to improvement in test-taking skills rather than improvement in intelligence. There are IQ tests that don't depend upon reading skills, but those are rarely used.

Also, just because something is heritable doesn't mean it's genetic. I've inherited my father's bad temper. Does that mean it's genetic? Not entirely, I mostly picked it up by watching him get angry with stuff and having to suppress my childhood memories all the time. I inherited the ability to get angry, but the effect of my DNA on my temper was negligible compared with the environment I was raised in and the choices I made.

IQ measures the ability to score well on IQ tests, and that's all. Environment, I believe, is far more important in determining how well a person does in life. Environment is likely to determine honesty, temperament, diligence, and other important elements of character. Education is a very important factor in the environment. IQ is a useful predictor of ability to do academic work, but it doesn't measure what a person has actually learned.
FREEDO
Posts: 21,057
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8/24/2013 2:37:38 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
No. In mathematics, for example, it has been shown that trying to push it on kids early can actually hurt their chances with it later on.

But I don't believe in standardization. Each child needs their own personal curricula.
GRAND POOBAH OF DDO

fnord
saraparker617
Posts: 10
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9/26/2013 5:18:46 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Convert what you have done all your life into something that will make you recognize and stand out among the rest. Get an accredited degree of what you have done and served and where you have out all your efforts. http://www.rochvilleuniversity.org...
jamess86607
Posts: 2
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9/26/2013 11:28:05 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
hello everyone
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jamess86607
Posts: 2
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9/26/2013 11:28:53 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
hello everyone
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Subutai
Posts: 3,223
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10/1/2013 9:48:29 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/23/2013 5:58:28 PM, Lordknukle wrote:
Yes to the first three, no to the last one. Relativity is not useful in day to day lives unless you are a physicist.

Really? Say you want to go faster than a speed of light to a star that you see near the sun. You can't. Not only can you not break the speed of light, but the apparent position of the star isn't its true position because of gravitational lensing. Relativity is pretty darn important.
I'm becoming less defined as days go by, fading away, and well you might say, I'm losing focus, kinda drifting into the abstract in terms of how I see myself.
Subutai
Posts: 3,223
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10/1/2013 9:51:04 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Intelligence is largely determined by genetics. Knowledge is largely determined by experience. Those who are born with a high intelligence will master concepts like relativity very fast, but someone who earns high knowledge could, but it would still be harder. Overall, a one-size-fits-all school system is ridiculous because every child is different.
I'm becoming less defined as days go by, fading away, and well you might say, I'm losing focus, kinda drifting into the abstract in terms of how I see myself.
Lordknukle
Posts: 12,788
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10/1/2013 10:37:38 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/1/2013 9:48:29 PM, Subutai wrote:
At 8/23/2013 5:58:28 PM, Lordknukle wrote:
Yes to the first three, no to the last one. Relativity is not useful in day to day lives unless you are a physicist.

Really? Say you want to go faster than a speed of light to a star that you see near the sun. You can't. Not only can you not break the speed of light, but the apparent position of the star isn't its true position because of gravitational lensing. Relativity is pretty darn important.

Yeah.... if you're a physicist. Note the bolded.
"Easy is the descent to Avernus, for the door to the Underworld lies upon both day and night. But to retrace your steps and return to the breezes above- that's the task, that's the toil."
Subutai
Posts: 3,223
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10/1/2013 10:49:23 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/1/2013 10:37:38 PM, Lordknukle wrote:
At 10/1/2013 9:48:29 PM, Subutai wrote:
At 8/23/2013 5:58:28 PM, Lordknukle wrote:
Yes to the first three, no to the last one. Relativity is not useful in day to day lives unless you are a physicist.

Really? Say you want to go faster than a speed of light to a star that you see near the sun. You can't. Not only can you not break the speed of light, but the apparent position of the star isn't its true position because of gravitational lensing. Relativity is pretty darn important.

Yeah.... if you're a physicist. Note the bolded.

With applications to aerospace engineering, astronomy, and optics with contributions from mathematics and chemistry.
I'm becoming less defined as days go by, fading away, and well you might say, I'm losing focus, kinda drifting into the abstract in terms of how I see myself.
Lordknukle
Posts: 12,788
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10/1/2013 11:20:45 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/1/2013 10:49:23 PM, Subutai wrote:
At 10/1/2013 10:37:38 PM, Lordknukle wrote:
At 10/1/2013 9:48:29 PM, Subutai wrote:
At 8/23/2013 5:58:28 PM, Lordknukle wrote:
Yes to the first three, no to the last one. Relativity is not useful in day to day lives unless you are a physicist.

Really? Say you want to go faster than a speed of light to a star that you see near the sun. You can't. Not only can you not break the speed of light, but the apparent position of the star isn't its true position because of gravitational lensing. Relativity is pretty darn important.

Yeah.... if you're a physicist. Note the bolded.

With applications to aerospace engineering, astronomy, and optics with contributions from mathematics and chemistry.

Perhaps I was too concrete with my definition of "physicist" for the likes of you. Anybody's job that directly involves relativity should, and will, study it. However, the vast majority of people will never touch onto the topic except for intellectual masturbation.
"Easy is the descent to Avernus, for the door to the Underworld lies upon both day and night. But to retrace your steps and return to the breezes above- that's the task, that's the toil."
saraparker617
Posts: 10
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10/2/2013 6:03:10 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Its not favorable in every situation and every academic level that the harder stuff should be taught earlier because to make the students understand the hard part they need to make sure that they connected with the background and every minor detail should be taught to them so that they can easily understand the harder part.
http://www.rochvilleuniversity.org...
Poetaster
Posts: 587
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10/2/2013 8:17:11 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/1/2013 11:20:45 PM, Lordknukle wrote:
Anybody's job that directly involves relativity should, and will, study it. However, the vast majority of people will never touch onto the topic except for intellectual masturbation.

So if one makes a career of intellectual masturbation, then it's not frivolous?
"The book you are looking for hasn't been written yet. What you are looking for you are going to have to find yourself, it's not going to be in a book..." -Sidewalker
Lordknukle
Posts: 12,788
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10/2/2013 8:27:52 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/2/2013 8:17:11 PM, Poetaster wrote:
At 10/1/2013 11:20:45 PM, Lordknukle wrote:
Anybody's job that directly involves relativity should, and will, study it. However, the vast majority of people will never touch onto the topic except for intellectual masturbation.

So if one makes a career of intellectual masturbation, then it's not frivolous?

Sure. Philosophy majors do it all the time.
"Easy is the descent to Avernus, for the door to the Underworld lies upon both day and night. But to retrace your steps and return to the breezes above- that's the task, that's the toil."
Lordknukle
Posts: 12,788
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10/2/2013 8:30:42 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
The thing is that teaching algebra without teaching pre-algebra is equivalent to teaching calculus without pre-calculus; it can be done, but there is no real benefit extracted from it. The physical constraints of time, other subjects, and stupid kids slows down this process.

Same thing with genetics and biology, and relativity and physics. Chemistry is taught pretty early on.
"Easy is the descent to Avernus, for the door to the Underworld lies upon both day and night. But to retrace your steps and return to the breezes above- that's the task, that's the toil."
Poetaster
Posts: 587
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10/2/2013 8:31:46 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/2/2013 8:27:52 PM, Lordknukle wrote:
At 10/2/2013 8:17:11 PM, Poetaster wrote:
At 10/1/2013 11:20:45 PM, Lordknukle wrote:
Anybody's job that directly involves relativity should, and will, study it. However, the vast majority of people will never touch onto the topic except for intellectual masturbation.

So if one makes a career of intellectual masturbation, then it's not frivolous?

Sure. Philosophy majors do it all the time.

Philosophy must be the most practical major of all, then.
"The book you are looking for hasn't been written yet. What you are looking for you are going to have to find yourself, it's not going to be in a book..." -Sidewalker