RE: Formality is going bye-bye

Subject: RE: Formality is going bye-bye
From: "Nuckols, Kenneth M" <Kenneth -dot- Nuckols -at- mybrighthouse -dot- com>
To: "Damien Braniff" <Damien -dot- Braniff -at- asg -dot- com>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 8 Feb 2006 08:24:57 -0500

Damien Braniff said...

> I don't know about the US but here in the UK there's been a big push
> over the last number of years to 'quantify education' with schools
> ranked on exam results. While this has some merit it seems that pupils
> are taught to pass exams rather than get an education (not always the
> same thing). Year on year results have got better but with a big
> down debate.

Well, one of our societies exported that brilliant idea to the other.
Standardized tests have been a major part of American education for
decades--it used to be the SAT and ACT for college entrance. Now here in
Florida we have a state-wide test called the "FCAT" which is
administered at several grade levels to measure students' progress. I am
friends with several elementary school teachers, and even at the younger
grades, they get pressure from their principals and school boards to
"teach to the test" since public school funding for each school and
district is tied to how well the students do on these tests.

> I think we live in an 'immediate' society at the moment - we have to
> have everything NOW, often not prepared to put in the time to read
> Not sure if this indicated a 'dumber' society, a 'lazier' one or what.

I'm not sure about that, either--I've read and heard that the amount of
knowledge and information in existence is exploding at breakneck pace--I
think in high school they said it doubled every 7 years (that was about
20 years ago for me). Recently I heard it was doubling every 30 months
or so.

If we are a more "immediate" society, then I would submit it's out of
necessity and not necessarily "dumbing down." There's more "stuff" to
know, therefore, it's more important that we "know it when we need it."
If anything, IMO, the educational paradigm should be about teaching
students (1) a basic understanding of a broad variety of subjects, and
_more important_ (2) a thorough understanding of how to quickly and
efficiently winnow through the intellectual "chaff" that bombards one on
a daily basis to find pertinent and useful information when it is

> However, getting back to TW <gr>, whatever the cause it impacts (to
> degree) on what we do and how we do it. People no longer read the
> manuals (did they ever?!). They want the info now and we need to adapt
> audience is king :-)

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