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 91 
 on: July 14, 2017, 09:56:25 AM 
Started by Hermes - Last post by BoogieMonster
Transcribed because FB images disappear after a while...

Party mense ruik na sweet, want spuit kom altyd te laat.

Danksy 'n rug besering kan ek nie meer films maak nie, my regisseur.

Ek was lank in die boubedryf, maar toe ontwikkel ek 'n kompleks en verloor die plot.

Ek het oor 'n boks cornflakes gery, nou't ek 'n pap wiel.

Ons tuisnywerheid is beroof, van al die misdade vat hierdie een die koek.

As jy te veel paashase eet kry jy Lindt wurms.

Almal kla ek ry te stadig, dis dalk tyd dat ek my voet neersit.

Tandheelkundige: Dis nogal 'n mond vol.

Ek haat dans met 'n passie.

Mense wat tydskrifte versamel het baie issues.

 92 
 on: July 14, 2017, 09:20:24 AM 
Started by Rigil Kent - Last post by Rigil Kent
Fantasties Tweefo!

 93 
 on: July 13, 2017, 19:16:35 PM 
Started by Rigil Kent - Last post by Tweefo
Just to show that there are progress, I think.





 94 
 on: July 13, 2017, 15:27:25 PM 
Started by brianvds - Last post by brianvds
Bacchus is proudly Roman ... or at least, he is Roman without necessarily giving a toss about being Roman.

He's probably too drunk to remember where he fits in. What was the ancient Greek version again? Dionysus or something?

The Ancient Greeks invented gods. The Ancient Geeks invented math.

 95 
 on: July 13, 2017, 15:12:35 PM 
Started by brianvds - Last post by Rigil Kent
Bacchus is proudly Roman ... or at least, he is Roman without necessarily giving a toss about being Roman.


 96 
 on: July 13, 2017, 14:54:32 PM 
Started by brianvds - Last post by brianvds
Perhaps what got lost among the attempts to cover my many thoughts on the topic is that the initiative under scrutiny marks a desperate push for finding a quick fix to a serious and pervasive problem that will likely require a few generations to rectify and only gradually get fixed.  Dropping maths is not even close to a fix, quick or otherwise.  In fact, it will only hide the problem and actually aggravate it because it will in effect say that it’s okay to separate people from the subject even further.  There’s the unholy stink of educational wholesomeness playing second fiddle to political intrigues—and that’s a legacy even the bluntest morons in government should not want.

Very true. As I hint at in my previous post, the solution has to start at home, and at preschool level. Pottering around with the matric syllabus is pointless; those kids are already lost. But if we start right now, we can at least save the present cohort of one year-olds, and within three decades we'll start reaping handsome rewards.

Alas, it is as you say: they are scurrying around looking partly for quick fixes, and partly for ways to hide the problem.

To be honest, some friends and I are quite seriously beginning to think of emigration. Perhaps I am too pessimistic? But I don't want to reach retirement age only to find myself in another Zimbabwe, or a civil war, or a refugee camp in Mozambique, dependent on U.N. food parcels.

 97 
 on: July 13, 2017, 14:48:08 PM 
Started by brianvds - Last post by brianvds
Hell, I remember our English teacher giving us tuition on what forms of creative writing were most probable to give us good grades in the matric final. "Creative" writing, as if.

Makes me think now of the amusing story of my nephew Arthur. He's intelligent, very much so, but coasted through most of his school career. His argument was that since it's your matric marks that count, matric is when you should work, not the rest of your school career. So he spent his time playing guitar and assured us he would do well in matric. Yeah, right, we thought. Especially when halfway through matric his marks were still pretty mediocre.

But then he started working, putting in 16 hour days, exactly as he said he would. He made great progress, with everything, except Afrikaans, of which he doesn't speak a word, but had to pass as second language in order to pass matric (another of the government's ill-considered ideas). He eventually started joking that he was going to be the first pupil in history to fail matric with six distinctions (he was pretty sure he would get six distinctions; only the Afrikaans bothered him, particularly the essay he would have to write).

So eventually he made a plan: he went to look at previous Afrikaans papers to see which kinds of topics most often came up for the essay. And then wrote a generic essay in English, which my brother (his father) helped to translate into Afrikaans. So he went into the exam having memorized a generic essay that could be adapted to most of the commonly set topics. Ended up getting 60% for Afrikaans; still doesn't understand a single word of the language. And yes, he did get get distinctions for everything else, becoming probably the most mediocre student ever to nevertheless end up with academic colours.

He's now studying second year math at Wits. He also completed first year music, and is quite the virtuoso on the guitar. But perhaps all of this was despite his schooling rather than thanks to it, and he went to one of the top public schools in the country (King Edward School in Johannesburg).

Quote
The really, really sad bit is I don't really know how you could make those horses drink. Any education system I can imagine will necessarily contain pupils who will do the absolute bare minimum to scrape through without incorporating the lessons taught into their minds.

Someone told me that in Germany, from around grade 3, pupils are put into various streams according to their talents. Including a vocational stream, and I suspect (but I am not at all sure) that for that stream they probably don't need to study much maths. Which is for the best, because as you pointed out, lots of kids just never get it, no matter what you do.

They'll probably never do it that way here, because certain races will end up being far more represented in the vocational stream than others, and we can't have that now, can we? In any event, in my dealings with the youth I have noticed that none of them are willing to do such menial work anyway. Most of them actually looked down upon me for being a mere teacher rather than holding an important and well paying job like their parents.

So, at the moment the fail is so big that the maths for matric issue is perhaps the least of our troubles. By the time kids reach schooling age, half of them are literally brain damaged (as a result of malnutrition and/or emotional and intellectual neglect), after which there is nothing even the best school in the world can do for them. I have dealt with lots of these types of kids. There is not a thing you can do for them, or teach them. You cannot even appoint them as gardeners or petrol pump attendants (and even if you could, most of them are not willing to do such humble work). Teach them critical or abstract thinking? Good luck with that one.

The funny thing is that I am not talking about desperately poor township kids here. These were all kids from quite well off middle class homes. Alas, with virtually all of them the same thing happened: their parents spoiled them rotten in a material sense, but otherwise had virtually no dealings with them. So they grew up emotionally and intellectually completely stunted, while at the same time growing used to a high living standard and always getting whatever they wanted without ever having to work for it. And while they never went hungry, they often had symptoms of malnutrition because of unhealthy eating habits.

So now you had these hugely fat, lazy, entitled but utterly useless individuals drifting through their school careers so they can go get the top jobs they are all convinced they'll get (and the ones with the right political connections no doubt will get those jobs too). This combination of materially spoiling kids while otherwise neglecting them makes for an absolutely toxic combination, and is turning into a national disaster.

Not that I'm complaining too much; I make part of my living out of it. :-)

 98 
 on: July 13, 2017, 14:13:16 PM 
Started by brianvds - Last post by Mefiante
Perhaps what got lost among the attempts to cover my many thoughts on the topic is that the initiative under scrutiny marks a desperate push for finding a quick fix to a serious and pervasive problem that will likely require a few generations to rectify and only gradually get fixed.  Dropping maths is not even close to a fix, quick or otherwise.  In fact, it will only hide the problem and actually aggravate it because it will in effect say that it’s okay to separate people from the subject even further.  There’s the unholy stink of educational wholesomeness playing second fiddle to political intrigues—and that’s a legacy even the bluntest morons in government should not want.

'Luthon64

 99 
 on: July 13, 2017, 13:21:51 PM 
Started by brianvds - Last post by BoogieMonster
As I said before, most of the schools are now so broken they might as well close them down altogether. They are rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

What? No! This administration is flying high! If anything, they're re-arranging the deck-chairs on the Hindenburg!

If I take "issue" with anything Mefi has said, it's kinda in the same jibe as Brian ... I think the subject most likely to inspire such critical thinking faculties would be physical science, and in that class we got Hypothesis, Testing, Observation, etc. repeated over and over, and know what... Most kids still didn't get it. "So, does that mean I put the blue thing in the red thing right? Just please tell me how to pass."

The school system at some point did kinda devolve into a memorisation and repetition mode where if you just got pupils to do the quadratic algebra equation enough times they could fake understanding it in a test. The point (according to most of the system) is not to understand the subject matter, the point is to get good grades. There's a critical distinction there that is lost on too many people.

Hell, I remember our English teacher giving us tuition on what forms of creative writing were most probable to give us good grades in the matric final. "Creative" writing, as if.

Yeah maths requires creativity, a lot of it and the higher you go the more it requires. Imagination, even. Sadly though, if people are just repeating the same stuff onto paper without truly understanding it the creativity bit cannot possibly be exercised. I guess I'm saying even Mefi is being too optimistic. Sad

The really, really sad bit is I don't really know how you could make those horses drink. Any education system I can imagine will necessarily contain pupils who will do the absolute bare minimum to scrape through without incorporating the lessons taught into their minds.

 100 
 on: July 13, 2017, 12:41:01 PM 
Started by brianvds - Last post by brianvds
But people typically are too much attached to their habitual fuzzy thinking, their intuitions and their gut reactions, and so they don’t want to bother.  “Why must I study this?  I’ll never use it again once I have the job I want,” one hears far too often.  Maybe they won’t be solving quadratics or doing geometrical proofs but the meta-education these exercises contain, viz. a principled way of approaching and solving a problem, are of virtually universal application.  And that would be the real harm in the mooted removal of mathematics:  Being okay with sloppy and lazy thinking prevailing in ever-increasing spheres of endeavour.  The overwhelming majority of countries have compulsory basic mathematics education for reasons other than being able to boast calculus-savvy sportsmen, musicians, lawyers and actors.

In principle I would agree - mathematics is not just about solving equations, it is a way of thinking and analyzing. But we are in deeper doo-doo than you think: my personal experience with people tells me that at the moment, the vast bulk of people who do have math at matric level cannot in fact think in this way. They can solve equations (well, they can solve them in the exam, and then promptly forget even that meager skill within a month or two). As I pointed out above, it is by rare exception that I run into a person with matric math who can apply even grade 7 math. Ask them something as elementary as scaling up a recipe that feeds four people to one that will feed seven (a skill they supposedly learn in both grade 7 and in math literacy) and they have no idea how to even begin.

And even worse, I have run into plenty of people with university level math, and indeed with university level math vastly above the level that I managed to reach with my rather puny brain, who ALSO cannot think in this analytical manner.

In other words, at the moment, while math is still required, it is not accomplishing its goal. The question here is not merely at which level we require people to pass math, but what exactly it is that we teach them. Because whatever the freck the kids are being taught at the moment, it ain't math, however many equations they can solve.

Quote
The connection between adequate basic education and national success is not hard to see, yet it seems to escape the leaky cognition of the powers-that-be, likely because they themselves are the victims of subpar mathematics education.

"Eleventy-two million hundred, twenty four, and onety six, and.... heh-heh-heh..."
I think you hit the nail on the head there.

Quote
Finally, and on a slightly more personal note, there’s a general view that mathematically inclined and talented individuals are by their nature not creative.  The implied-but-unstated corollary is that forcing children to learn mathematics impedes their creativity.

Well, I don[t need to tell you that such a notion is nonsense: mathematics in fact requires more imagination and creativity than just about any other subject. That is why it can be such fun.

Quote
In short, this proposal must not be allowed to succeed because the resultant long-term harm will soon far exceed the discomfort of having many pupils fail the subject.

Yeah well, I think it is not just a question of discomfort. We might as well be honest here: it's the black kids who fail*. And thus any system where white kids progress and black ones remain behind is politically unacceptable. That is the hoop through which they have been jumping since the 1990s: finding a sort of holy grail of education that will ensure all population groups can boast exactly the same school results and thus get into the same jobs.

As we can see with this proposal, they have still not accepted reality. They are not likely to either.

As I said before, most of the schools are now so broken they might as well close them down altogether. They are rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

* By pointing out reality, I am not in any way, shape or form suggesting that black folks are inherently inferior in maths or IQ. However, tests show what they show and we cannot address a problem if we refuse to accept that it exists in the first place.

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