QUOTE(Susie @ Jun 6 2008, 10:55 PM)
But, I think it's rather sad that your reply rather gives the impression that we should be interested only in knowledge which is actually needed. Surely, there should be enjoyment in acquiring new knowledge in general. (I apologise if that's not what you meant, but it's how it comes across to me.)
I'm a Maths student, absolutely love knowledge with no apparent purpose. But in the school system it make sense that the people making the programme target it in such a way that it is as useful as possible. If I intend to spend most of my working life in Britain as most pupils do it makes sense not to spend valuable class hours learning about the locations of European capitals. If twenty years after leaving school my company transfers me to New Zealand then obviously I'll need to start learning about where Auckland is etc.
Take Latin as an example, I'd have loved to learn it at school but 20 years ago people decided it wasn't necessary and much as I'd have liked to do it I'd be far less likely to put it to use than the French I did learn. At one point Latin was a hallmark of a good education, it was crucial but then its importance faded and its position in the syllabus was displaced by things considered more important. Similarly while at one point a lot of time in class was expended teaching children about various parts of the Empire, the Commonwealth, the capitals etc of our allies/opponents in the Wars there is less importance placed on it now so it is being replaced by other things.
Thirty years ago it was a very small minority of people who could use a computer. Now just about every student going through school will be fluent in using the internet, word applications etc. Its quite possible that any of the younger people on the forum could come on complaining about the absolute ignorance of their Gran/Mum/Aunt on computer, how they can't even find the return key or the backspace button or whatever. The skill set required has changed, a finite amount of time is available to learn it.
QUOTE(Violinia @ Jun 6 2008, 10:55 PM)
I find what you're saying somewhat insular. Are you suggesting there's no point knowing anything about countries who aren't 'going to matter in the future'? So there's no point knowing about polar bears or any other animals we don't eat because they're not useful to us in some way?
So you think it's OK for British children to grow up to be the laughing stock of Europe because of our ignorance of countries that 'don't matter to us'? Isn't this a bit arrogant? Don't you think a certain amount of general knowledge is something we should just have? Because a basic knowledge of the world, the people in it and their various histories and geographical placements contributes to our understanding of the world? And aren't we in danger of becoming potentially dangerously ignorant and one-eyed if we don't have this basic degree of general knowlege? To others and also to ourselves?
It is not insular when I'm taking account of what will put Britain in the best position for the future. There are hundreds of countries, would you prefer a student to know the capitals and position on the globe of each or to know a lot about the countries and groups who hold the power?
I don't care if other countries are laughing at us, so long as we have the last laugh. Each country must take policy decisions to bring about the outcomes they consider desirable. If for other European capitals that means being able to pinpoint the capital of Bolivia is vital to their future success then fine, if it means knowing enough about the vital countries/organisations and better positioning us for the future then I'm all for it. Apart from anything else nothing says that parents can't take their children home and sit them down while they point at maps and ring off capitals, the fact they don't suggests that the country at large doesn't consider it as important as some Europeans might think.
General knowledge is all very well but it changes. Today people know about Iraq War 100 years ago they'd have known about the Boer War. Perhaps yesterday people knew all the worlds countries and capitals and today they know the WWW and computers.
QUOTE(Mad Tom @ Jun 6 2008, 11:51 PM)
QUOTE(snhs @ Jun 6 2008, 09:41 PM)
Well that is the attitude which has apparently been shaping education policy. For the most part you can make a perfectly decent argument for it
You can make a great argument for turning people into brainless sheep ... IF you are a wolf
QUOTE(snhs @ Jun 6 2008, 09:41 PM)
Are you advocating interventionism or globalism? There are relatively few countries/groupings that are going to matter in the future, some include the US, China, India, the U.N. and possibly the E.U. and G8. We have a seat at the top table of the last three groups, India is a former part of the Empire and as such has certain ties/similarities with Britain and we have quite good relations with the US. I don't think thats too bad for an allegedly insular country. For certain professions it may be important to have some idea of where things are like pilots in case the navigation goes down. But beyond that the knowledge which is actually needed?
Are you deliberately trying to wind everyone up AGAIN
or can you really not help it?
If thats the case the argument against it should be very strong, the fact it is not suggests your position is flawed.
How about this for an idea, if you have something relevant to say, on the topic and not about me, you say it if not you don't start trying to insult people. Please bear in mind that trolling, insults, personal attacks, and abusive/offensive/aggressive posts are against the forum rules. Oh, and I just noticed defamatory attacks as well, try to bear that in mind