I came to believe that learning to type and learning to get along with people (emotional intelligence) are two keys that would enable a person to move forward in the modern society we live in. It was very rewarding to teach the young folks in Zambia to type. They all started on some paper mache typing boards that the local polio folks built for us to make some extra money for their work. They then graduated to some manual typewriters we were given just for this person. Those that seriously learned how to type were given opportunity to produce documents on our personal computer. That was over ten years ago and now those who strove to learn that simple, by western standards task, scored jobs that would normally have went to much older applicants. Charles Chifuku was a great success story. He also edited the film “James Tembo, Detective” for us. Royd Mwauluka and his wife Imeldah, who will now be pastoring in Kafue, Zambia were also beneficiaries of our typing program.
All of this to say that I have mixed opinions about the technology rich classrooms I substitute in. Spengler gives some further insight with this article. Here is a quote:
“In the Classroom of the Future, Stagnant Scores” is the headline of a New York Times account of the uselessness of high-tech education. Since the Clinton Administration, liberal “experts” have argued that giving every kid a laptop, “educational” software and Internet access will produce a generation of geniuses. That has to be the stupidest idea in the history of education. Of course, it hasn’t worked. But that doesn’t discourage the New Age nerds who run the Obama adminstration’s education policy.
Goldman (Spengler) goes on to compare the Chinese with their 50 million children studying classical music to our hip attempts to incorporate “Facebook” into the classroom with this quote:
It must be a conspiracy. Chinese parents are selling plasma-screen TVs to America, and saving their wages to buy their kids pianos making American kids stupider and Chinese kids smarter. Watch out, Americans – a generation from now, your kid is going to fetch coffee for a Chinese boss.
There is little doubt that classical music produces better minds, and promotes success in other fields. Academic studies show that music lessons raise the IQ of six-year-olds. Elite American families still nudge their children toward musical study. At Brearley, New York’s most exclusive girl’s school, playing in the orchestra is a requirement. American medical schools accept more undergraduates who majored in music than any other discipline (excepting pre-med).
Any activity that requires discipline and deferred gratification benefits children, but classical music does more than sports or crafts. Playing tennis at a high level requires great concentration, but nothing like the concentration required to perform the major repertoire of classical music. Perhaps the only pursuit with comparable benefits is the study of classical languages. It is not just concentration as such, but its content that makes classical music such a formative tool. Music, contrary to a common misconception, does not foster mathematical ability, although individuals with a talent for one often show aptitude for the other.
Western classical music does something that mathematics and physics cannot: it allows us to play with time itself.
I think he stopped speaking to our society when he mentioned “discipline and delayed gratification”. Answers? or just more of the same.