Secondly, Mr. Whittle asserts that young children cannot learn successfully except by rote. Really? On what does he base that astonishing assertion. You're expected, I suppose, to accept it on your faith in his expertise. That sounds uncomfortably similar to the assertions made by the very educators he is denigrating. Indeed, teaching by rote has much the same effect as marching troops using the goose step. It tends to dull the senses and stifle independent thought. I never succeeded as a scholar because I had too much imagination to put up with learning by rote.
One of America's greatest gifts to the world of education, Sesame Street, uses storytelling to teach preschoolers every imaginable subject. In fact, storytelling was used successfully for thousands of years to teach children the collective wisdom of most communities. It is second only to teaching by example. (Ironically, you'll just have to take my word for that assertion.)
Once upon a time, when we were an agrarian society, children learned the skills they needed to survive and prosper by observing their family and helping from an early age. Suddenly, with the birth of the industrial age, adults disappeared each day and children were left to wonder at what mysterious functions they might be performing at their jobs. Schooling became important to provide that insight and most performed that function well until a class of professional educators arose, educators who had no practical knowledge of business and commerce. The quality of education steadily declined as these professional educators lost touch with the world they were ostensibly preparing children to engage in, and ideology began driving the educational system.
Interestingly, as the Information Age is replacing the Industrial Age, more adults are working from home thereby once again exposing children to real life job functions. Indeed, their toys and games are not only similar to the tools that their parents use, they are in some ways superior. Compare your computer with that of a “gamer.” You'll see what I mean.
Mr. Whittle goes on to recount his own education in physics and avers that it prepared him to vote. Really? I know that we once used “levers” to cast ballots. That's as close as I ever came to using physics to vote. I can't begin to address his assertion beyond that because there is no other obvious connection between physics and voting that I can see. He'll have to explain it to us.
No, what this episode of Trifecta demonstrates is the ease with which three ordinarily sensible men can slip into a mindless diatribe when they allow their ideology to drive their discussion. I would have preferred it if they had remarked on the apparent stress the Japanese students appeared to exhibit as they were performing their mathematical gyrations. Seriously, didn't they appear stressed to you? And, what was the point of building kites? Maybe there was one even though it wasn't obvious from the brief clip they provided.
I will continue watching PJTV despite this lapse on their part, and I will continue recommending it to others. Even when their commentary fails to provide cogent analysis of a subject, it inspires rational thought. Well, at least it does for me.