Humans posts

Schooling: focus on life

Schools are very focused on ‘academic’ stuff; they need to give better focus to things important to people, things to help them get jobs and to live their lives. If given an easy path into the job they want, many people will take it. The easier that path is, the better. Many things are expected to be taught at home, but they aren’t always, and most people will be missing bits and pieces of it even if parents and family do teach it.

People are finding themselves in financial strife very often these days, especially the people currently entering the work force. They are using credit cards and going into debt so much that some call them Generation Debt (or something like that). Schools provide little to no information about how to handle personal finances to the vast majority of students. The basics of finance could be taught in a very short time, yet have a huge impact on students understanding of handling their money. Much of it is fairly simple stuff, but it isn’t always easy to figure out on your own when you have so much else to worry about. Discussions should be had about debt, how to manage it, when to use it; how to save money for expensive things, childrens education, retirement; budgeting and deciding what is important; banks and stock brokers and how those work relative to a student using them; bill paying. Students should learn how to balance a checkbook.

Home economics classes briefly go into some of the things a person needs to know about running a home, seeming to focus though on sewing and cooking. There is a lot involved in running a home. There should be at least discussion of all that is done to run a typical home. They should learn how to budget their time, in the more and more hectic lifestyles they will likely be living, to be able to handle cleaning and making food.

Nutrition and Lifestyle
The United States is having somewhat of a crisis with health problems, particularly ones related to high fat, high sugar diets and sedentary lifestyles. Students should be taught basic nutrition, how certain foods can reduce their risk of certain diseases, and how to create meals that are both healthy and taste good. They should go through physical education courses, as they already do, and taught how excercise can reduce risk of disease and increase the duration of the livable portion of their life. They should be taught how and where to excercise after they leave school in ways that might suit them best: they might prefer workouts at gyms, organized sports organizations, walking at work, jogging in the mornings, etc. They should be taught how gyms and sports organizations work and can be found.

Sex and children
Sex needs to be better taught about; it is covered only briefly and somewhat danced about currently. Students should see how it works, learn (directly) how to put condoms on, learn how to time a womans ovulation to know when she can and cannot get pregnant, learn about the diseases. They should learn about the signs of a woman becoming pregnant, about what needs to be done if she becomes pregnant as far as nutrition for her and what should be done with her doctor, and how to prepare for having the childe. Basic parenting skill should be taught.

Health and Biology
Students should learn how their bodies work and how to deal with them. Human biology is a lot more important in everyday life to most than more general biology. Basic first aid is important. Students should also learn how the health care system works and about health insurance.

Job finding skills
Anybody should be able to find and land a job they want and enjoy. They can, but they need to know how. They need to learn both how to figure out what that job might be for them and how to obtain it. They should be given a brief description of ‘all’ general job fields and interests they relate to, and slowly from an early age be directed towards the ones that best match their personal interests, capabilities, and desires. They should be taught the best ways to find jobs in their areas of interest.

Everyone should learn the basics of how their mind works and how people work (behaviorly/interacting with each other).

In Sum
I think schools should focus first on job hunting skills, nutrition, lifestyle, finance, health and biology, psychology, social skills, and managing a home. These are the things that most everyone will make use of in their lives, and would benefit from having a lot of knowledge in. I also feel some history to be very important, so people know how they came to be as they are; and some basic physical sciences, so people will know how the world works. Many of the more ‘academic’ subjects are used very little by most people after they finish school, and so are less useful. Schools should ensure that the above things are learned by everybody. They should not need to waste time with tests over these subjects; rather, they should slowly drill the information in over their entire school career.

The schools should follow students interests and very early on start to send students on paths towards the careers they like. The students interested in science would begin learning more about science, while students interested in art would be given more teaching about art. They would need to be followed closely and always taught their interests; they must never be trapped in one path, even if they keep changing paths and only learn a little from each. If their interests are broad, then they will best be served with knowledge that is broad. Individual schools might need to be more narrowly focused to better teach the areas of knowledge, so students might have to go to different schools based on the path they choose. They should be able to take students farther along in the path they choose, as the teachers in those areas would only be teaching students with interest in them.

And so schools should be there to prepare students for life and career.

schooling: variable length course duration

timeless schooling
a person takes a class to learn a certain set of tasks or pile of knowledge. they want this whether they find it to come easy or hard. It is the teachers charge to teach it to all of them. For this reason, a course should not have a defined length, but instead be the length for each student that it takes that student to learn the knowledge. People to whom it comes easily can finish the course quickly and move on to the next, while people to whom it comes hard might take quite some time completing it. No grades shall be given: the person takes the course until up to the proficiency standards the course requires, or fails and gives up. Completing a course should suggest the student has learned certain things, not pushed through it and been given a letter representing their success at learning those things.

Cost – as teacher time is a costly resource, and students in this system could make a lot of use of it, the payments for the course would have to be based on time taking it. Students already proficient in the course matter, thus those who don’t really need the course anyway, could breeze through and pay little. Students who need the most help would have to pay for it.

Handling Different Paces – obviously handling multiple students running at different paces as well as coming in and going from the classes at random times would cause a significant challenge to some teaching methods, while others, particularly the sorts that are currently more independent as is, would lend themselves well to this method.
– Lectures certainly wouldn’t work if every student was at a different point in learning the material. So, I think, lectures would probably be given as learning material for courses but would not be specifically part of them. Each lecture would be a single event given on a specific subject, and students would come to whichever lectures they desire based on the content and where they are in their learning. A course geared heavily toward lecture might require certain lectures to be attended at least once (more times for students who do not get what they need to out of it), while others (probably more than not) would only have lectures available to aid in, or perhaps further, or even differentiate, the learning in the courses, for those who desire those sort of things. These one-off lectures would have the very nice side benefit of allowing students not in these course but interested in the subject to take in the bits of it they are most interested in, and perhaps incite them to take the related course at a later time. It also would provide fine learning opportunities for folks who want to learn something but not become full-fledged students.
– Labs should work out well. Teachers would give each student, or group of students if necessary, their labwork assignments based on their current development in the class and what they think will most help the specific students learn the course material. Then they will watch the students and help whenever it is needed, or give helpful or insightful pointers when needed. This will give the teachers a lot of flexibility in tailoring their assignments to the students. It will likely require relatively small lab sizes, or/and probably more preferably, several teachers per class to be able to watch sufficiently the students activities. More teachers may work better than smaller individual class sizes, as the greater number of eyes simultaneously sweeping the room, as well as the differing perspectives, should see more even with a large class size.

frued: repressed memories

Freud showed that some psychotic disorders could be fixed if certain ‘repressed’ memories were drawn into the ‘concious’ part of the brain.

People don’t necessarily actively try to forget things in their past. Sometimes they do, but everything in the past fades away as time goes by. New memories butt in for room amongst the old ones, and sit more towards the ‘front’ of ‘conciousness’. Current events are most commonly the most important at any given moment, so they are given prime memory real estate, while old ones are filed away.

Every even in ones past is essentially what one is in the present. If any of those past things had happened differently, the present person would be different. It may be such a slight difference as to be unnoticable, or it may be so large that it would seem impossible the two people could be the same one biologically, depending on the significance of the effects of the event on that person. The human psyche has a tendancy to want to know who it is. Who it was is very important to understanding who it is. As everything in the past has an effect on the present, an understanding of that past helps understand who that present person is. The more significant the event, the greater an effect it had on the present, and thus the more important its understanding helps understand the present.

So unearthing hidden memories of significance helps one understand who one is, allowing one to be more comfortable with oneself.


My response to a survey asking how my education could have been better

would have worked better to have:

occupation training in more of a working business environment, with no classes per-se, learning specific areas of the business as progress through one large ‘class’. the business would have all students from a given field as first observers learning from instructors, then workers still being given instruction, the more senior of who would take part in training the new ones. The business would pay students once they begin work, as well as provide the program with income. Students could elect to focus on certain areas of the business, which instructors would then concentrate on.

less concentration on memorization and much more concentration on use

less concentration on getting good grades on assignments/exams and more on learning the material – a student could learn to the same level as another, but reach that point more slowly and thus perform more poorly early on in the class and thus get worse grades though they come out with the same level of knowledge

better connection between classes in a series

many more short classes on a wide variety of topics, that would allow students to take many of these classes at once, and thus learn many more subject areas. work load would be minimal, the classes would merely provide an introduction (the basics) of the topic. I had wanted to take a lot of classes when I had looked at the course book, but was unable to because of time restrictions and especially prerequisites.

more flexibility of course hours, able to spend proper amount of time to learn current material, including both length of time spent in classroom in a day and number of weeks attending the class

ability to learn desired amount of a given subject, by either offering more and less involved versions of classes, or by allowing students in the same class to choose their desired work loads/learning amounts (with several broad categories), or by having many short (perhaps even only one visit long) classes in a series that a student could attend until they feel like they’ve had enough

anti-Psychiatry (drug based)

I see there is a movement of anti-psychiatry. I generally agree with this movement and its premises. Diagnosis like sluggishly progressing schizophrenia are very scary to me. I fear being hospitalized based upon my state of mind. My mind is all that I have that will always be there, and I don’t want people messing around with it. I wouldn’t consent to taking drugs to modify it, and I certainly wouldn’t want someone else consenting for me.

The mind is very complex, well beyond the understanding of current scientists/doctors. It produces thoughts and elicits behaviours that, really, are who a person is. Many governments classify some of its problems as unallowable, essentially illegal states of being, and require unconsented treatment for these socially improper thoughts and behaviours. I agree that someone should be allowed to take medication or other similar treatments to attempt to fix their problems if they want to, but an outside mandate is an attack on the person.

New Medicine

(based on article in December 13 2004 Business Week)

don’t use new drugs for several years after they’ve been developed unless they are a breakthrough – first and only cure for a given ailment or clearly and significantly more effective than older drugs

-older drugs can be significantly cheaper

-tried and true, older drugs are more well tested, while new drugs often have problems that come to light through consumer use

ask a doctor thoroughly about drug, reasons for using it over another, potential problems

check the internet – medical and other sights have lots of information available on drugs, often significantly before that information is released as ‘news’ to the general public. compares effectiveness of various drugs

on love

I don’t much like love. Love seems to be something not that is real and exists, but a feeling created by our minds to encompass several human needs in a single want: a physical need for sex and for contact; a mental need for someone to share things with, a person to do this with like no other; social needs, both in a need for a person to socialize with a lot and a person that you being with makes you fit into society better by being in a relationship, just as so many others are and so many books and movies says is the end of all means; some others that I forget at the moment.

Suicide Steps

there are three general steps one should take before committing suicide.

Suicide is a rather permanent choice, and thus one must be absolutely shure before committing to it. One should take three steps previous to commencing in order to ensure the decision is really wanted. These steps are long and involved and will be hard for a suicidal person to deal with, but they must be carried out with a full willingness and receptiveness to what the steps shall show. If these steps can be carried out with full diligence, only then may a person rightfully make the choice as to whether or not suicide is the best option. These steps will shine a light on possibilities and truths of life. The more significant the changes in each step, the better, and multiple instances of practicing each step are also significantly more effective. Time must be allowed in each step to get a feel for the changes and what they feel like to you: each step will take more time than the last, step 3 taking quite a while to really get a feel for the changes.

Step 1 – LIfestyle changes – In this step, the person will take parts of its lifestyle and change them to things it thinks will be better. Some of these, the person has probably been thinking about doing for a long time: now is the time to carry them out. Others must be thought of at the time of undertaking. These changes may include eating a healthier or more fulfilling diet, excercising more or less, socializing more, or having more sex; whatever the person desires. Do things differently, more like you want to. Don’t let worries about consequences hold you down, as you may be killing yourself later anyway.

Step 2 – Major life changes – The person will change the major facets of its life.


Old friends exchanged for new.

New spouse

Getting rid of (giving up for adoption) or having children

New job in a new career field

New hobbies

Committing some crimes or saving some lives

Step 3 – Complete change – In this step, the person will leave all that it has, without telling anyone from the previous life to where. The move must be far enough away to ensure extreme improbability of meeting people from former life. This is it, a chance to start a completely new life from scratch. There will be no people with memories of your former ways to tie you to that way of life. Make all choices based on what you feel will be most fulfilling.

Step 4 – Decision time – After partaking in all of the above steps, it is time to make a decision about life. If these steps have allowed you to find a life that you would enjoy living, then live it. If they haven’t, but they have given you a glimmer of hope, you may continue trying until you either find something that works or give up. If you still have no hope, then you are finally justified to off yourself.