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NiteStryker

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#21 9 years ago

At the minimum you should know basic world history, for at least what Mr. Fancypants said. Know history or repeat it.

With the exception of Space Travel, there are no new events in the world.




Guest

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#22 9 years ago

The whole "know history or repeat it" thing is true, but only in the context of learning from other people's mistakes. Previous events don't predict future outcomes.

Exhibit A: The "Recent Numbers" board at the roulette wheel sways people's bets but has nothing to do with the probability of the next spin.




Crazy Wolf VIP Member

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#23 9 years ago

AlexMac;4953708The whole "know history or repeat it" thing is true, but only in the context of learning from other people's mistakes. Previous events don't predict future outcomes.

Exhibit A: The "Recent Numbers" board at the roulette wheel sways people's bets but has nothing to do with the probability of the next spin.

This isn't a perfect example. If the roulette board was unevenly weighted, then this might be a better one. Human behavior isn't the exact same across all cultures, but basic drives are the same for most actions.




Mr. Pedantic

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#24 9 years ago

At the minimum you should know basic world history, for at least what Mr. Fancypants said. Know history or repeat it.

With the exception of Space Travel, there are no new events in the world.

Principles of history. If you are going by this, then there is no real need to recite lists of Roman Emperors or dates of battles involving in the Punic Wars, and similarly for Americans, there is little need to be able to know all the founding fathers, POTUS', or dates of battles in the American Civil War/War of Independence. In this day and age, all this information is a Google away. More significant, however, are circumstances leading up to said battles, aftermaths, and effects of major events.




jumjum

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#25 9 years ago

I'd settle for speaking English. The diversity silliness, with its emphasis on setting up separate enclaves and making little attempt to find common ground with fellow Americans* has done more to promote divisiveness and lack of a feeling of unity in the US than anything else.

As for the "test", of course the danger is always in who is doing the testing and what do they hope to achieve. It would be abused horribly. But as for what citizens should know, being able to pass a basic 8th grade class in what used to be called "civics", now "government", would be a tremendous improvement. How a bill becomes law isn't all that hard. Nor is the Bill of Rights. Certain basic stuff should be easy enough, although we will have those who were a little lax in their studies: [INDENT][INDENT] "I want to thank you ladies of The View for playing our little Citizen Knowledge game. Ms. Walters you did just fine. But I am so sorry to say to Ms. Goldberg and Ms. Behar, that the First Lady does not follow the Vice President in the line of presidential succession. What's that? Oh, yes, it is a plot I'm sure. Now if the two of you would step over to that line over there, we're going to give you a VIP all-expense-paid sightseeing cruise of the lower Hudson today just for playing our little game! No, don't worry, it won't take long at all, and you'll be able to be back in time to tape the show.....someday...maybe. Yes, right over there. Don't worry, the blindfolds are because we want to surprise you when you find your, uh, cabin. 'Bye, now! [/INDENT][/INDENT]I dunno, maybe a test like that wouldn't be too bad after all. ;)

*That's another problem - they aren't "fellow Americans" in far too many cases. The huge percentage of illegal aliens in the general population, so many of whom have no intention of seeking citizenship, contributes greatly to the breaking up of a society with common values and experiences. This is not limited to the US, and is a problem in many European countries as well in which "economic immigres" never intend to really become a part of the society of their host country. Such a distant attitude destroys any feeling of unity.




SpiderGoat

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#26 9 years ago

Mr. Pedantic;4952765Surely modern culture is far more important than history? I don't know why Americans have this obsession with their history.[/QUOTE]

[also @Nemmerle] But modern culture was formed by history. Which is why it's important to know something about the history of the world, and your country. To really get something like the Simpsons, you need to know your history (!). The same is needed to understand why Africa is having structural problems with its economy, or how European parliaments work.

[QUOTE=Mr. Pedantic;4952765]In this day and age, all this information is a Google away. More significant, however, are circumstances leading up to said battles, aftermaths, and effects of major events.

Though I agree there is no need to know many dates and Emperors, this is still a dangerous way of thinking. My brother, who was an assistent at Stony Brook University, often told how his American students used computers to find everything they needed for writing articles. No need to remember anything.

Nice in theory, but their papers were terrible. If a book has some sublte references to the life of Plato (for example), how will you know if you don't know anything about him? "You could look it up." What are you going to do? Look up every word and sentence, in the hopes of finding intertextuality? Good luck.

You need an active knowledge of literature and history to understand such things. Same with a language like Latin. You need to fully comprehend the vocab and grammar, until you 'see' how the language works.




NiteStryker

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#27 9 years ago

Mr. Pedantic;4953777Principles of history. If you are going by this, then there is no real need to recite lists of Roman Emperors or dates of battles involving in the Punic Wars, and similarly for Americans, there is little need to be able to know all the founding fathers, POTUS', or dates of battles in the American Civil War/War of Independence. In this day and age, all this information is a Google away. [/QUOTE] Agreed. Unless the power is out or we face some giant destruction that destroys computer access to entire regions. Or Google goes bankrupt.

[QUOTE=Mr. Pedantic;4953777] More significant, however, are circumstances leading up to said battles, aftermaths, and effects of major events.

Agreed.




Nemmerle Forum Mod

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#28 9 years ago

'-=[Ranek=-;4952514']True but at least then they may have some understanding, probably not, but can always hope.[/QUOTE]

If the time their kids spent in school being subjected to those lessons, or in society being exposed to the expressions of those ideologies, didn't teach the majority of them that are around after a few generations then there's little hope.

NiteStryker;4952569Its one thing to know it works, but why and how is different. And if you are going to call yourself an American, you should know how your government came to be.[/QUOTE]

Why and how has very little to do with America itself and a much greater portion to do with global history over the last thirty thousand years. Learning the specifics of who your presidents were and so on isn't worth anything. History is not created by a few great men.

[QUOTE=SpiderGoat;4954076][also @Nemmerle] But modern culture was formed by history. Which is why it's important to know something about the history of the world, and your country. To really get something like the Simpsons, you need to know your history (!). The same is needed to understand why Africa is having structural problems with its economy, or how European parliaments work.

Why would people, who have no say in the running of the systems with which the subject is concerned, need to know about the historical context of those systems? And even if they were concerned directly with the running of those systems you don’t need to learn quantum physics in order to use a computer well. Why then would you need to know that the current police system arose in the 1800s under a certain set of historical variables in order to work out sensible modifications to the system as it stands today? History contains many general lessons that can be learned of human behaviour but you don’t need to grasp their relations to specific events today to use those, nor are they purely the purview of history since many of them can be gained by living and observing people or from philosophical works.

[QUOTE=SpiderGoat;4954076]Though I agree there is no need to know many dates and Emperors, this is still a dangerous way of thinking. My brother, who was an assistent at Stony Brook University, often told how his American students used computers to find everything they needed for writing articles. No need to remember anything.

Nice in theory, but their papers were terrible. If a book has some sublte references to the life of Plato (for example), how will you know if you don't know anything about him? "You could look it up." What are you going to do? Look up every word and sentence, in the hopes of finding intertextuality? Good luck.

You need an active knowledge of literature and history to understand such things. Same with a language like Latin. You need to fully comprehend the vocab and grammar, until you 'see' how the language works.

Well that's the problem with testing something. You can test according to names and dates but then that becomes the main criteria people focus their revision on. Monkey see monkey do. It goes in gets used to construct an essay and then gets flushed out the other end a few months later. Oh and if you're lucky while you're doing it you pick up some general principles and reasoning skills along the way. It's why there are so few good writers for non-scientific subjects (Psychology, Sociology, History, English, etc) out there anymore. The grading standards have very little to do with anything outside of academia.

The important bit of an education is the ways of thinking it teaches. In a few years after graduation chances are you won't remember very much of the factual trivia you've learned; and there won't be much knowledge of what bits of that trivia you put down in the many essays you wrote either. But if you're lucky you might just have learned to think and analyse in a reasonably systematic way and have a kind of roadmap overview of the subject.

The practical standard as far as knowledge goes is to know that a certain bit of information exists and how to go about finding it. Once you make that the grading criteria rather than the idea of remembering it in detail you free up time to teach the concepts that actually matter. Obviously you have to be widely read to know that the bits of knowledge exist in the first place, which would seem to be where your brother's students fell down, but grading on the criteria of remembered minutiae is simply harmful insanity.




Mr. Pedantic

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#29 9 years ago
Agreed. Unless the power is out or we face some giant destruction that destroys computer access to entire regions. Or Google goes bankrupt.

I would suggest that if some giant destruction destroys computer access to entire regions of the planet they would have more to worry about than who lost to what where 200 years ago. How to keep their power and water, for a start.




NiteStryker

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#30 9 years ago
Nemmerle;4954244 History is not created by a few great men.

Yes it is. Our entire country's system of government that have lasted over 200 years was created by a few great men. And our country came from a mere colony to a world superpower based on those ideals set forth by those "few great men". Without them, I doubt we would exist or have existed for so long.