My friend Seth Hawkins, who teaches in a high school, recently posted a link to an SMBC comic about the typical, frustrating method a student takes to completing a homework problem in math. This humorous link led to a more serious discussion about what we should be teaching our students.
A running current through my mind has been the value of a liberal education. My officemates from China and Vietnam have talked about how they didn’t have hobbies growing up, since their parents strongly encouraged them to study hard, to the exclusion of everything else. This can be very efficient in creating people who are very good at a very narrow skillset. However, when it comes to working as a team or public speaking, they are at a disadvantage to many students from the US. Even worse, if it turns out that they don’t enjoy doing the job that they were trained from a young age to do, then it can be very difficult for them to find their own path.