Re: EDUCATION: Genius Schools

Eugene Leitl (
Sat, 4 Jan 1997 13:14:37 +0100 (MET)

On Fri, 3 Jan 1997, Anders Sandberg wrote:

> [first-graders personality cores already immutable?]
> Huh? What do you mean by personality cores? My impression, after

No fact, just a figure of speech. The core (sand grain/microparasite)
causing the pearl grow concentric spheres of aragonite. The core being
the basic personality traits already crystallized, causing future
direction of growth/atrophy.

> finishing an introductory psychology course, is that personality is very
> flexible long past adolescence. There are of course some basic traits

Thanks for pointing this out, I did not knew. I have no training in this
area whatsoever.

> that remain fairly constant (and might have a biological explanation)

I conjectured the determinant to be biological/precipitated development
history. Everything. Nothing.

> such as introversion/extroversion or novelty seeking, but these traits
> may be expressed and re-evaluated in a multitude of ways as personality
> develops. In the first grade, much of the mind of the child is still
> under development.

Of course, but how does one direct this developments, in an environment
not entirely under our control? Which should be our means, since we can't
do experimentation because of ethical constraints and time scales involved?

> > [ reform a learning-avoider, howto ]
> By finding out why the avoider avoids learning (lack of interest, social
> pressure, resistance to authority, the use of wrong sensory modalities in
> teaching etc.) and circumventing or removing the hinder. The most

Yes, but what if it is a personality trait. Insulin shocks? Neurosurgery?
Giving up?

> important thing is to learn what triggers the enthusiasm of the student -
> whatever that may be - and then link it to learning.

Current systems can't achieve this. This would need a personalized
programme for every child, a couple of hard-to-fool agents benchmarking
the development of the child/concocting its future programme. Even with a
child:teacher ratio approaching unity this would be difficult to do, and
a computer system? in an notoriously conservative/finance-cut
environment, while the rest of the IT technology flashes past development
stages, rate of acceleration itself increasing? Difficult. We don't have
even emate300 approval yet, and it is a puny machine, compared to what
infrastructure is actually needed.

> > Potential there might well be (but how much?)
> > -- but what to do if there's no will? How to negate unfavourable
> > influences coming from outside the school?
> This is not just a schooling problem, but a global problem. How to handle
> a world where most people don't want to change themselves?

That was the thing I was trying to convey. To change current paedagogical
system is not just curing a case of (resisting) imbecility, but to quest
against the current state of the world itself. Somewhat difficult.