WAYS TO EMPOWER THE THINKING OF YOUTHS
There are many ways to educate the young to think powerfully [But they all work better with youths who are naturally bright, have great energy and are bright eyed with enthusiastic curiosity.].One phrase summarizes the essences of empowering education: “The enthusiastic, serious discussion of non-trivial topics, in small varied groups, over a long (minimum two years) period of time.”
American “Liberal Arts” has promoted our great creativity across all fields of endeavor. Its essence includes: “a broad, general variety of subjects (especially literature, essay writing, history, mathematics and science) learned in depth by inter-active and open-ended discussions plus empirical observation, use of inductive reasoning and hands-on experimentation in science. The breadth of subjects is essential to give a wide variety of “world views.” The methods of teaching are vitally important. Teachers are significant as role models and when they “name the best in youths to live up to.” Each teacher should use methods best suited to their own natural talents. This general outline covers many different possible combinations of materials and methods.
America’s edge in creativity is based on our broad, general education, taught deeply by cooperative, inter-active discussions. When China stops Westernizing (copying)
and Modernizes (teaches the use of empowering thinking processes), then China will dominate the world by the combination of their intelligence, energy and organizational abilities with the intellectually empowering education described above. Most engineers, doctors and other non-creative careers can be trained for. Empowering education for scientists and creators in all careers is essential as it is for teachers and leaders in every field. The scientists and other creators need to come up with original hypotheses. For that, they need a broad, general education with deep inter-active discussions as a foundation.
One great problem all cultures face today is the extremely high cost (and inefficient!) teaching of children in classrooms. When there are more than 25 in a classroom, the teacher is forced to be more a police person than an educator. With all the advances in technology, very little has been applied to education. Most of that has been the same text book approach but delivered by technology. No one yet has developed ways to replace inspirational teachers or deep, inter-active discussions by technology.
Another basic problem is in the definition of “education.” Most people still think or act on the 20th century’s “education is the teaching/learning of information and skills.” But youths in the 21st century need to re-define education as’ “the learning to use empowering thinking and evaluating processes.” All youths today have to think more powerfully. Especially, young people will have to be able to evaluate wisely (critical thinking) the information they find on the internet—not an easy task.
Universities specialize ever earlier and narrower, so empowering education will have to be done at secondary level (Higher Education through Arabic only specializes!).
The International Baccalaureate provides the breadth of subjects, BUT the breadth must be taught by deep, inter-active and cooperative discussion methods.