I’ve just read this article on TES, entitled ‘Why education needs more fuzzy thinking’. In the article, Ewan McIntosh proposes a “fuzzy world” of education where there are “activities that help students to learn for themselves, synthesise complex information, generate large numbers of ambitious ideas and build prototypes”. It is also an education where there is “almost no content”.
I’ll ignore the fear mongering attempted with his entirely irrelevant reference to terrorism, but McIntosh finishes by telling us: “We don’t need people who know about history; we need people who can think like historians to help us prevent future conflicts.”
How does he think historians think like historians? Does he really assume they can think the way they do without knowing about history?
These sorts of suggestions from experts make me cross. They make me cross because the expert seems to have spectacular amnesia about the content that they have consumed and the knowledge that they have built up over the many years that has led them to their expertise. As such, they seem to assume that they are just innately skilled and so further assume that such innate skill can just be brought out of children, and the passing on of knowledge is entirely absent in the process. This is not only wrong, it’s selfish. It says: I’ve had a good education which has put me in the position I am in, but I’m not going to offer you the same standards of education I had.
Anyway, I couldn’t help reading that article without thinking of this brilliant Saturday Night Live sketch:
McIntosh’s article is just missing these lines:
Now, thanks to technology… it doesn’t matter if you have skills or training or years of experience: you can do it! You can do anything!
The world needs more singer-songwriters and fewer doctors and engineers.
If you think you’re talented, then you are.
I await the revised version of the article.