Monday, June 23, 2008

"I belive his name is Mr. Crato, but I am not sure."

Actually I sure, Nuno Crato is his full name. The title is to relate to his entitled best start of a text, since after reading it one necessarily wonders what comes next. I don't want to make a big post about just one person after having a long weekend that provides me with a lot of material for posts.
So before talking about the things said by Mr. Crato that made me view things from another perspective on the issue of education, I want to share what I did over the weekend.
I went to Oxford for the Luso 2008, which was the annual meeting of Portuguese Students and Researchers in the United Kingdom. For those who haven't been to Oxford, well it is one of those must see places, thus I highly recommend a visit, but this was not a tourist visit and as such I will say no more than this.
The meeting was very good, some talk with a lot of interesting people (as always some more interesting than others :P), diverse topics, high socialization, which for me was the whole point of the meeting. Create a network of people with different views, but common interests, or even without them, actually I think it was a meeting of awareness over Portugal. How strange it is that we have so many brilliant people around that we don't quite hear about, but this would take this post in a direction not intended for today.
The last of the talks was done by Mr. Crato and he talk, among other things, about Education and more specificity the modern pedagogy novelists. The funny and well written speech was an eye opener for me, not that I agree with all he said, but that was partly the point, the following of seemingly consensual ideas, that are generic enough for all to agree but also too generic to have any practical use. This was one of the ideas, the need for the real understanding of what people mean with concepts in education, and NOT the mere description of abstract concepts that have little practicality, namely because due to the encrypted nature of the describe concepts. I could go on, but I think this is enough for some to read more about this (I will provide some links). Nevertheless I do want to describe one of the things said.
The student that reaches the answer by himself, doesn't exist, or better yet rarely exists. The concept that teaching is providing help to the student to find things out by himself, because he is somehow as brilliant as the best minds that developed these concepts after years of education (this is a mathematics example :P). The thing is, he is not, the understanding of concepts is not exclusive of those who reach it by themselves, or even for those who are guided there, if are provided the complete knowledge of it and it is assimilated, well the concept would be mastered. The evolution of knowledge over thousands of years, worked, people mastered knowledge, and produced new knowledge, thus it is somewhat strange that this is disregarded over this pedagogy umbrella. Some thoughts, practising, memorising, are key aspects in our lives, and in the way we learn, they are tools that speed up learning and reasoning... Anyway hope I didn't bore you too much with this view of mine influenced by this nice talk...
Now one of the links, if you want more google it ;P...

Well I'll leave you with a taste of Oxford and its grand colleges...

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