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Old 05-16-2007, 09:16 PM   #1
Joe Hart
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Default Well rounded eduaction

So what in your opinion makes a well rounded education? What levels of Math. Should a person focus on a few subjects or do you think its better to spread yourself around?

For me I want to improve my Science and Math just so I can help my children with those topics when they get to that level. But when you get into Liberal Arts (for lack of a better term) where do you go? What is applicable to everyday life or atleast being able to carry on a a good conversation?

What do you all think?
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Old 05-16-2007, 09:31 PM   #2
Greg Everett
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i think a strong backgronud in all the physical sciences/math is super helpful. do you need to be familar with quantum physics and outer space theoretical math? probably not unless that's your specialty.

i think language is the biggest problem, though. Math is not that helpful if you can't even communicate effectively with people. I've been consistently shocked at the horrendously poor grasp of English by more and more people for whom English is the first language--even within university English departments. Not nearly enough reading or writing by students, or at least structured and monitored reading and writing. I worked with Japanese exchange students who had more mastery of English in terms of spelling, vocabulary and grammar than senior English majors. Not cool.
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Old 05-16-2007, 10:12 PM   #3
Russell Greene
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When it comes to education I am a confirmed elitist. That said, I would say:

logic (this should be covered much earlier and more extensively than it currently is, considering that it is useful for so many different fields)
foreign languages - at least one, preferrably 2
Math at least up to BC Calc
Chemistry, bio, and physics
Writing and speaking
macro and micro economics
American history and American politics

And being that I am in the School of Foreign Service, I of course advocate extensive education in the rest of the world: geography, international relations, comparative politics, and history.

I also think that theology, philosophy, and literature are very important.

I would advocate beginning with a basic education in the above fields. This will take a while. Then one should pursue specialization in one of them.

Well looking back at that, my attempt to narrow essential knowledge to a simple list has completely failed. I also clearly have a bias to the subjects that I have focused on and succeeded at. I am very interested in hearing what others think.
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Old 05-16-2007, 11:18 PM   #4
Don Stevenson
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Oh the irony of the title of this topic (look closely kids)

In my opinion as someone more famous than me said "I never let my schooling get in the way of my education"

Education is about experiences and learning a bunch of stuff that's relevant to your life. I've done maths to a university level and it was the most boring, pointless and confusing thing i've ever done and I can't remember a single shred of it.
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Old 05-16-2007, 11:31 PM   #5
Coach Sommer
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Default The essential pillars of an effective education

An excellent topic and one that is unfortunately going to delay my getting some much need sleep.

This is incredibly simplified, but in my opinion the essential elements of education, that will provide for an exceptionally well rounded and prepared person, naturally break into the following categories of Scholastic, Gymnastic and Artistic.

'Scholastic' essentially breaks down into two main components; mathematics and Latin. These are two of the three universal languages which directily affect the development of the brain. These are not survey courses, but in depth gradual development of the focus subjects over the period of years.

As a side note and an attempt to at least marginally illustrate the importance and effectiveness of the in depth study of Latin, I will share that growing up I was in all honors or AP classes; including English. In college, the same. In the military, I was a Chinese Mandarin Linguist among other things. That meant that for 47 weeks I studied Mandarin for 8 hours a day. Yet I learned, and understood, more English grammar from studying a third grade Latin text book with my son for six months than I had learned in all of the years of prior education. (Just thinking about all of those wasted years and ultimately profitless busywork, still causes me to grind my teeth in frustration.)

'Gymnastic' need not be actual gymnastics, but could be any form of developmental progressive sports training (wrestling, OL, track & field, whatever). It should, at least occassionally, involve intense effort, discomfort and perseverance. Outside of the physiological adaptations, one of the supreme side effects of a correctly managed physical education program is the development of character.

'Artistic' involves any and all of the arts, especially including music. Music is the third universal language and quite literally, when pursued with vigor and focus, develops the mind in ways unappoachable with any other tool. My own daughter has been fortunate enough to train in classical piano with an instructor trained at the Russian Music Conservatory since October of 2006 (she had just turned five years old) and the changes in her maturity, ability to reason and focus, as well as the blossoming of her personality in that short time frame are staggering.

I believe that it may have been Plato who said, "Give your children math, music and gymnastics." In my opinion, it was true four thousand years ago and continues to hold value today.

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Old 05-17-2007, 02:48 AM   #6
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I took a year of Latin in college, and as Coach Sommer said, I learned more about the English language in those 2 semesters than in the entirety of the rest of my academic career.

Math is good (full disclosure, I am a math teacher) but I am not a big fan of learning higher level mathematics for the sake of mathematics. Learn some higher level math so you can learn some physics. Physics is badass. 2 years of undergrad physics will improve anyone (it's 4 classes: 1. Mechanics; 2. Electricity and Magnetism; 3. Waves and Optics; 4. some Modern Physics). Learn as much math as you need to get through those courses.

If I had it to do all over again, I would have majored in Physics. It is a great foundation for whatever you would want to do in science or engineering post undergrad.
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Old 05-17-2007, 04:31 AM   #7
Steve Liberati
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Stevenson View Post
Oh the irony of the title of this topic (look closely kids)

In my opinion as someone more famous than me said "I never let my schooling get in the way of my education"

Education is about experiences and learning a bunch of stuff that's relevant to your life. I've done maths to a university level and it was the most boring, pointless and confusing thing i've ever done and I can't remember a single shred of it.
I agree Don. Most people treat college like an extension of high school. They take the most mainstream courses, did the minimum amount they needed to get an A, tried not to get into "trouble" with the professor or face the uncertainty of the unknowable. They were the ones who spent six hours a day in the library, reading their textbooks.

University is more about the experience. The best part of college is that you could become whatever you wanted to become, but most people just do what they think they must.

Quote of the day:

"Cut class. Take a seminar on french literature. Study abroad. Organize a protest movement. Whatever."
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Old 05-17-2007, 04:45 AM   #8
Steve Shafley
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Good thoughts.
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Old 05-17-2007, 05:54 AM   #9
John Vernon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Forbis View Post
I took a year of Latin in college, and as Coach Sommer said, I learned more about the English language in those 2 semesters than in the entirety of the rest of my academic career.
I agree. I had two & a half years of latin in high school and found it to be extremely beneficial. Had it been offered at the college level I would have taken it up again.
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Old 05-17-2007, 09:47 AM   #10
Yael Grauer
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I went to Shimer College, which is a Great Books school. It was probably the best decision I ever made.

When I went, it was in a hellholle called Waukegan that we all put up with for the wonderful classes. Now that they are affiliated with IIT, people can take all kinds of math and science classes. When I was there, all we got was science theory. We learned about things like phlogiston and read works by the Pre-Socratics.

The Humanities and Social Sciences and Integrative Studies courses were awesome, however.

Anyways, I'd recommend starting with the Cannon on your own. The only thing missing is Eastern studies...

Another great book I've read is called How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day. It covers the seven Da Vincian principles, which as defined on Amazon are:

Curiosita: An insatiably curious approach to life.
Dimonstratzione: A commitment to test knowledge through experience.
Sensazione: The continual refinement of the senses, especially sight, as the means to clarify experience.
Sfumato: A willingness to embrace ambiguity, paradox, and uncertainty.
Arte/Scienza: The development of the balance between science and art, logic and imagination ("whole-brain thinking").
Corporalita: The cultivation of ambidexterity, fitness, and poise.
Connessione: A recognition and appreciation for the connectedness of all things and phenomena; "systems thinking."

This from the humanities perspective. I would like to get more into math at some point.

Great thread.
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