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Old 10-27-2013, 10:53 PM
 
Location: Denver
3,020 posts, read 2,441,436 times
Reputation: 1871

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As a person who is currently in his second year of college, I have to say that much of my knowledge has come from self education. I like to learn, certain things at least, and will research it on the internet. I paid attention in school, got good grades, and learned what the class was supposed to teach me, but sometimes school and your interests don't match up all the time. For instance, forum discussions have taught me a wealth about how to write quickly, effectively, and concisely. English classes did this too, but forum posts are like a bunch of little English assignments. Also it has taught me how to quickly see logical validity or flaws in peoples arguments.

So, from this, I am leery of putting too much emphasis on formal education. Do I have the potential to do well at a prestigious college, yep. Do my parents and I have the funds to go to a prestigious college, sure. Am I going to a prestigious college, no, because I don't want to be burdened down with debt to go learn something that I can learn if I just read some of the unassigned portions of the book.

About the job situation, I'm not sure how much the degree counts compared to experience, people skills, interview skills, and entrepreneurship in the work world.

So, the question I have is are we putting too much emphasis on formal education? I've heard once that the social benefit to the public of education diminishes greatly after about 6th grade. And are the people who really learn from college the same ones that would educate themselves if they weren't encouraged to go to college? Does lots of education for everybody really make everybody more knowledgeable?

Last edited by toobusytoday; 10-28-2013 at 06:48 PM.. Reason: fixed typo
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Old 10-27-2013, 11:32 PM
 
319 posts, read 483,443 times
Reputation: 432
Consider that everything you 'teach yourself' is made possible through the formal education you went through prior to this point in your life.

I agree with the underlying message that once equipped with the right skills (taught through formal education), we all have the potential to further our own education.

Interestingly, your take on 'formal education' seems to be the somewhat outdated system of a teacher being the holder of all truths, and students being empty vessels that are to be filled with knowledge - these days it is hoped to be student-centered, where the teacher is simply a facilitator of the child's own learning journey - which aligns well with your view that we teach ourselves... we just need a little guidance along the way
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Old 10-27-2013, 11:40 PM
 
Location: california
5,496 posts, read 4,616,438 times
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I am far different.I got crummy grades in school .they passed me out of high school to get rid of me ,not a trouble maker but just the school system. I prefirred learning on my own, and do very well engineering machinery and building equipment to suit my needs on the job and on my own. Some of my creations are taken by other manufacturers never the less I am glad to have made a contribution. I have loved learning on my own as well, doing my own reserach and learning from other engineers . Retired now but stil enjoy making things.
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Old 10-28-2013, 12:03 AM
 
624 posts, read 756,554 times
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From my own recent experience back in college after an absence of 20+ years, I'd say most professors, if not most programs and schools, are still adhering to that "outdated" mindset.

I don't necessarily think that "we" are putting too much emphasis on formal education...but I think employers are, these days. I'm sure there's some rationale behind it, like a means for determining if a person can commit to a goal and achieve it, etc., but requiring receptionists to have a bachelor's degree (just for one example) is a very silly trend in our businesses and institutions, IMO.

People who love learning aren't necessarily the bulk of the people who earn a degree anymore. That's largely because of the conditions I've just described, and it's a mistake for employers to assume that degree-holders are the best and brightest, most adaptable and resourceful employees. I belong to MENSA, and there is (what outsiders would consider) a surprising number of MENSA members who are academic underachievers. The structure and methods of most universities are often not terribly compatible with the learning preferences of many very intelligent and intellectually curious people.

And no, I don't think a more formally-educated public is any guarantee of a more knowledgeable one. Once you get into the realm of the PhD crowd, you would find that all that time spent concentrating on specialized academics can make for a less well-rounded general knowledge base. I worked for a group of cancer geneticists for a number of years at a university research facility. While they were extraordinarily knowledgeable in the sciences, most were generally lacking in other areas of knowledge...with many even appearing to have sacrificed emotional and practical development.

Also, the more people we crowd into classrooms, the fewer people will actually belong there or even really want to be there, and meanwhile, the education of more capable and interested students may very well suffer for the lack of individual interaction with instructors.

All of this is just my opinion, of course.

You might want to Google "hacking an education". It's a minor trend that you might find interesting.
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Old 10-28-2013, 12:14 AM
 
624 posts, read 756,554 times
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My ideal education would be in the style of the old Greeks...a handful of people discussing things in as much detail and for as long as they liked. The artificial timelines of college syllabi are a hindrance to deep learning, if you ask me.

You mentioned what you've learned on forums...I've learned a great deal more on CD in one month than I did in an average college year. By digesting and responding to the thoughts of others, I have done much more reasoning and independent research than I ever did by listening to a classroom lecture and completing canned assignments. Discussion is really lacking in our universities, I believe. Real learning requires dialogue, not just monologue.

Sorry for the second post in a row. You've struck a nerve, here!

Last edited by Slithytoves; 10-28-2013 at 12:23 AM..
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Old 10-28-2013, 08:14 AM
 
Location: Shawnee-on-Delaware, PA
3,713 posts, read 3,311,106 times
Reputation: 6642
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil P View Post
I paid attention in school, got good grades, and learned what the class was supposed to teach me, but sometimes school and your interests don't match up all the time. For instance, forum discussions have taught me a wealth about how to write quickly, effectively, and concisely.
That's not concise, that's redundant. Use either "sometimes" or "don't match up all the time", but not both. (Your welcome) LOL I guess this proves your point about learning from forum discussions!


Quote:
So, the question I have is are we putting too much emphasis on formal education?
I would say, no, we're not. Take a look around at your classmates and imagine that all of them were on their own surfing the 'net in for knowledge.
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Old 10-28-2013, 08:17 AM
 
Location: Shawnee-on-Delaware, PA
3,713 posts, read 3,311,106 times
Reputation: 6642
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil P View Post
About the job situation, I'm not sure how much the degree counts compared to experience, people skills, interview skills, and entrepreneurship in the work world.
A lot of large corporations won't even interview you for certain positions if you dob't have a college degree. I know that the hard way, because I'm in IT and I don't have a degree. I can't interview at IBM, for example.
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Old 10-28-2013, 08:43 AM
 
4,541 posts, read 9,544,148 times
Reputation: 3848
College is defiantly not for everyone. That being said, I think the days of learning something on your own and making it far for certain jobs are gone.

For example, my husband is self taught in IT and has moved up and does quite well. But he started down that road long ago so now his experience is more important. He also did have a 2 year degree but it had zero to do with anything he does now.

But as the previous poster stated, some places you can't even interview with without e degree.

Obviously having a love of learning is great and researching things you are interested in is important. Our son did that when painting his Jeep and also with all the modifications he has done on it. Research and forums getting advice from others. He is in his sophomore year of college as an aerospace engineer. I suppose you could say those things sort of coincide. The engineering mind part. For him, obviously both components are important. Formal school and doing his own thing.
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Old 10-28-2013, 08:53 AM
 
Location: USA
7,778 posts, read 9,708,760 times
Reputation: 11676
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtab4994 View Post
That's not concise, that's redundant. Use either "sometimes" or "don't match up all the time", but not both. (Your welcome) LOL I guess this proves your point about learning from forum discussions!

<snipped>

(Your welcome) should be you're welcome. Gross error.
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Old 10-28-2013, 09:01 AM
 
Location: Shawnee-on-Delaware, PA
3,713 posts, read 3,311,106 times
Reputation: 6642
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubi3 View Post
(Your welcome) should be you're welcome. Gross error.
LOL That was a test! The OP was supposed to catch that!
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