Category: Education

Time for some Cultural Studies

Posted August 17, 2014 by Michael Kitto in Education / 4 Comments

ms marvelWhile writing a review for Ms. Marvel: No Normal I came to the burning realisation that I don’t know how to review art work. As a result of this realisation, I had to leave out any thoughts of the art. This got me thinking, I have a book blog that has been a great tool for developing my skills in reviewing and talking about literature. This blog sadly still gets neglected a little too much but I think I can make use of it for developing my skills.

Knowledge Lost was created to allow me to talk about what I have learnt and I can apply them into a blog post. So I have to wonder why I am not trying to socially critique all things pop-culture. Thanks to two recent books I’m starting to see issues relating to feminism (The Fictional Woman by Tara Moss) and sexuality (Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith) in everything I see. I’ve decided to practice these skills and start critiquing movies, TV shows and obviously art. The goal is to improve my writing skills in these areas and gives me an excuse to look more into pop-culture.

I have plans to talk about a few topics already, so I’m hoping that this blog is going to be neglected less. If you read my book blog you may have seen my manifesto where I have decided to write every day. So stay turned, it might not be as educational as before but this blog is now my new playground to practice and develop my abilities. I think the term for this is cultural studies, it is very similar to literary criticism but it applies to all things related to pop-culture.


Returning to my Autodidactic Ways

Posted June 5, 2014 by Michael Kitto in Education / 4 Comments

autodidactI recently wrote a manifesto on why I write a book blog. One of my plans was to write every day and I think I’m off to a great start but I can’t write about literature everyday; or can I? I look at this blog with fond memories and remember enjoying writing about my autodidactic exploration. I think it is about time to get back into writing this blog. I started studying, thinking I would learn a lot and have lots to write about.

For some reason university never really helped with blogging but I have been learning. I have to remind myself why I started blogging. When I started Knowledge Lost (wasn’t the original name) I planned to use this as a vessel for documenting my learning. I feel like I learn better if I try to explain everything in my own words. In fact it turns out that people’s retention rates increase if they try to teach others what they learned.

Not that I actually plan to use this site as a place to teach people; this is my dumping ground to sort out my thoughts. I like learning and I wish I got a decent education but then I realised this isn’t a fault with the teachers. This is a problem with the education system, the method of learning isn’t really effective to people. In fact only about 10% of people retain the information from a lecture teaching style.

I remember a wonderful book called The Elements by Ken Robinson, which talks about the need for educational reform. The book explores the concept of helping people to find their passion in life, if we can tap into this passion they will feel inspired to achieve at their highest levels. The scary thing about this book was discovering that I had an interest in education; obviously not enough to ever consider become a teacher.  I think I found the idea of finding my passion in life has pushed me to want to learn everything about the topics I’m interested in (Art History, Philosophy, Psychology, Literature and Sociology). I created the blog to help explore these topics and slowly write down everything I learn about these topics.

I kind of lost my way; I should be writing down what I’ve learnt so I can retain the knowledge. I’m working on understanding literary theory and plan to start reading Sigmund Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams in an effort to understand his theories. I’m hoping this will help develop a better understanding of psychology and the literary theory psychoanalytic. So watch this space, I’m hoping this blog will return and be updated more often.


Autodidact Vs. Higher Education

Posted May 5, 2011 by Michael Kitto in Education / 0 Comments

While I love considering myself as an autodidact, my thirst for knowledge is growing so strong, that now I am considering going to uni to study a Bachelor of Arts focusing in English Literature – there are probably heaps of subjects I would love to study, but I think this one will suit me best.

For those who are unsure autodidacticism is learning on your own and an autodidact is someone that teaches themselves. I have developed my own education philosophy, in which I try to learn or make sense of something every week and then write about it in a blog post. I have this fear that I might be wrong or missing interesting elements of a topic. The other draw card to studying this via a university is the degree; who knows, it might get me a job, working in a field I’m passionate about.

The drawback of going to study – for me – is the fear that the classroom may kill my passion for learning. Over the past few years, this passion has been growing and growing; what started with Culture, expanded into Art History, Literature, Philosophy and now Educational Theories. I know that all these topics go hand in hand, but if I lose my passion, what will I do then?

I’ve been left with a difficult decision and while I’m worried about it, I think my thirst for knowledge far outweighs my fears. Though I think I will start out small; I will start with something basic (as I will need to study part time) and just take the subject in Critical reading.

I would love to know others’ thoughts in Autodidact verses Higher Education and I would love to know how others journey into higher learning went.


The Measure of Intelligence

Posted February 10, 2011 by Michael Kitto in Education / 3 Comments

In 1904, the French psychologist Alfred Binet created the Binet Scale which became the basis of what is now the IQ Test. Originally it was created to measure a child’s strengths and weakness so the teacher knew which areas would require special attention for each individual student. The Binet Scale become a revolutionary approach to the assessment of individual mental ability, but it was never designed to test someone’s intelligence. Binet himself cautioned against misuse of the Binet Scale and has been quoted in saying “the scale, properly speaking, does not permit the measure of intelligence, because intellectual qualities are not superposable, and therefore cannot be measured as linear surfaces are measured.” He also feared that the test would be used to condemn a child rather than assist their education.

The Binet Scale had a profound effect on educational development but they failed to listen to Alfred Binet’s warnings and as a result of Lewis M. Terman’s revisions to the Binet Scale (now known as the Stanford Revision of the Binet-Simon Scale of Intelligence) we now has a standardised intelligence test. This IQ Test became a standard practise and a multimillion dollar business; even resulting in the American Academy for the Advancement of Science listing the IQ test among the twenty most significant scientific discoveries of the twentieth century along with nuclear fission, DNA, the transistor and flight (in 1989).

If the IQ test was meant to monitor a person’s intelligence I have some questions that need answering;

How are they defining intelligence?

  • The ability to do well in school?
  • The ability to read well and spell correctly
  • Or the ability to following an intelligent person?

When did a person’s intelligence become linear?

The problem I found is that standardised testing is trying to make everyone the same, when we should be using the test on the young for its original purpose. Maybe we should just scrap the whole thing. I’ve also think other tests like the SAT’s are been misused as well. Let me know your thoughts.


What Would You Read in an Introduction to Fiction Course?

Posted February 1, 2011 by Michael Kitto in Education, Literature / 16 Comments

Currently on the curriculum for the Ohio State University course, An Introduction to Fiction is Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. I’ve also heard of some other high schools and universities using it as an introduction to fiction or gothic fiction courses. At first I felt sorry for all the future English majors who will have to read this book. But I thought, instead of bad mouthing the book (which is so easy to do), I would take some time and think about what I would want to see in an introductory course of fiction.

I started by compiling a list of topics I would want to cover if I ever did a course about fiction. I narrowed it down to ten key topics when looking at fiction;

  1. Plot
  2. Characterisation
  3. Dialogue
  4. Point of view
  5. Setting
  6. Style
  7. Narrative
  8. Themes
  9. Genres
  10. Concepts/Issues

 

It was the last point that stood out to me more than any of the other topics. When looking at good fiction, I would want to look at the issues that drive the discussions about these books. With this I picked out five books that would explore moral, social, philosophical or intellectual issues. When picking the books, I also tried to pick different genres and writing styles that make for a great read.

 

So if I was to create an introduction to Fiction course, my reading list would include;

I would love to know what you would pick for a reading list if you were to lead a similar course.


Education Vs. Passion

Posted December 18, 2010 by Michael Kitto in Education / 0 Comments

For the past year I’ve been receiving an education, but not in the  conventional sense. I don’t believe education starts and ends in the classroom. It can be a never ending process and it really depends on the person’s willingness to learn new things. When I’m talking about education, I believe there are multiple ways to become educated and that’s why, if people are willing and open to learning new things, we will learn.

I’m only new to the possibility of learning new things; and if you have been following my blog for a while you would notice the evolution involved. I started with Culture, then there was literature, writing, art, philosophy and now I’m talking about education. I believe that when you discover your God-given talent and develop a passion for it, interesting things happen. I would have never expected to develop an interest in education but I think that came with developing an interest in learning and discovering passion.

Picasso famously said “All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” The harsh truth of this statement is that we have lost the ability to try and be creative; we are taught from an early stage in life that failure is bad and we grow up always thinking that. Sir Ken Robinson said it best when he said; “If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” Along time ago I read a book called Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success by John Maxwell, in which it discussed how failing is not a bad thing; it is how to move of from failure, ultimately failing moulds us into the people we are today.

I’ve only just started reading this fascinating book by Sir Ken Robinson called The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything; in which he talks about the importance of passion in life and how it can affect every aspect from job satisfaction, creativity and even education. But before reading the book I just wanted to write some of my views and I may talk more about this later.

Public Education (or from what I remember) is so standardised that it could almost be viewed as a conveyer belt in a manufacture line and we are just churning out the same information to every student and expecting the same results. I know I had this problem at school and I never really did well. When it came to go to university I just didn’t feel it was right for me then, and I wasn’t sure what I wanted.

Public Education Hierarchy doesn’t help the students; we shouldn’t be telling the kids that some subjects are more important than others. While it is important that some subjects are essential for every student we need to get out of the habit of making some subjects inferior to others. The hierarchy I believe is;

  • Math, Science and Languages
  • Humanities
  • Arts

Parents and Educators need to be careful not to step on any students’ dreams.  There are no wrong answers when it comes to dreams and passion. Parents and teachers seem to be more concerned with what job the student will end up with; the ability to make lots of money shouldn’t be more important than job satisfaction. There is no reason a person should have their dreams squashed; we don’t know what the future would be like so we can’t predict how the students will thrive in that situation.

An education doesn’t begin and end in the classroom. A lot of people have been educated in unconventional ways; my education is self education at the moment; people learn in different ways so education needs to be adapted to the person.

Discovery of Natural Talent is not the sole role of the person. While they need to learn to look inwardly and get to know themselves, they also need to learn to try new things. The people around them can help by doing simple things like providing encouragement. How much happier in your job would you be if the boss could see what you’re passionate about and found something in that field that could be added to your job description? What about if a teacher discovered that you are doing really well in a certain subject and they encouraged you further into the study of this topic? Or if your parents could see your passion and they sent you to a school that does well in that field?

I could probably continue on about Education and finding that spark in life that makes you happy, but this was more of a chance to get some thoughts down before I study this topic further. I know not all schools are standardising education and I know education reform has been a big focus all around the world. I just wanted to express some aspects that I’ve noticed from education that may be squashing people’s ability to be creative or to find joy in life. I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.