Sunday, April 2, 2023

On Education - Rousseau & Strike

On the "provide-and-prepare" model:

What, then, must be thought of that barbarous education which sacrifices the present to an uncertain future, which burdens a child with chains of every sort and begins by making him miserable in order to prepare him from afar for I know not what pretended happiness[?] … I hear from afar the clamors of that false wisdom which incessantly projects us outside of ourselves, which always counts the present for nothing, and which, pursuing without respite a future that retreats in proportion as we advance, by dint of transporting us where we are not, transports us where we shall never be.

- Jean-Jacques Rousseau

On the "aspirational" model: 

Mrs Smith was my ninth grade algebra teacher. To enter Mrs Smith’s class was to enter the Temple of Mathematics. Equations were objects of reverence. There were no attempts to make math fun or ‘relevant’. There was no discussion of how math helped one get a good job. Rather, Mrs Smith was able to point to the goods that made math intrinsically valuable. … I do not recall that Mrs Smith used terms like elegance, simplicity, paradox or power to describe mathematics, but I do know that she showed us that these things were what motivated her about mathematics. … In effect, her message to us was this. ‘Here is what I see in math. There are goods internal to its practice. There are virtues required to realize these goods. Let me help you see them’.

- Kenneth Strike


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