Teaching Children: A Theory Based on the Evolution of Concepts

From my studies over the years, it seems everything stems from a couple basic concepts. Philosophy is the foundation for math, which is the foundation for physics, which is the basis for chemistry, then Biology, then Psychology, etc. etc.

Same thing with other fields, I’d venture to say that philosophy is the foundation of art, which in a sense is the foundation of words and language, which is the basis of History.

So why don’t we teach in that order? I really believe children are smarter than what we give them credit for. Yes, of course, they haven’t developed the reasoning abilities that adults have, but what if rather than teaching them subjects in parallel, we taught them in a pyramid fashion based on what they seemed to be most interested in.

The most basic way to learn about something is to try to really get to know it and recreate it or destroy it as to learn more about it. We often try to do a little of both. Let’s assume that science is the destruction of things, and art is the recreation of things. If we let children move down their own paths towards a greater understanding of the world, then won’t they learn more. Won’t they be able to apply information to a greater range of material.

Then as they learn more and more, they will be on a path to specialize more and more, a quality that doesn’t seem to be taught in our schools and understandably so. Schools teach concepts, not applications, which is why a communications degree is almost useless in today’s market, whereas an engineering degree can get you a job in almost anything you desire. So why do schools teach like this? Well, because they want students to think about many different things as to develop better reasoning and applications, but I believe it fails. I believe that by teaching children in a pyramid scheme that they are building the foundations for their future. They will learn to apply knowledge based on the philosophies they have found, learn to reason based on the math they’ve done, learn to apply information based on the application of these prior fields to biology and psychology.

Here’s my proposition: Teach a child from the ground up. Develop their understanding of why 2+2=4 and why doesn’t 2+2=6, then move to the next concept, rather than throwing a lot of random information at them at once and never building any real concept of WHY things do exactly what they do and why things are the way they are. I believe if children had a better understanding of the world then our futures would look a lot brighter than they currently do.

A Short Autobiography

I came across this little autobiography I wrote to win a scholarship a few years back, figured it could be a good introduction to who I am for this blog. Maybe some of you can find connections between the way I think and my past. Here it is:

I remember sitting in the floor of my grandmother’s house discussing dinosaurs, the universe, and asking why everything was the way it was. I remember driving down the street asking my mom why leaves were green, why things fell, why some cars were faster than others, where the wind came from, and where we came from. I remember laying alone in bed at night after reading a Scooby-Doo book, thinking about how it was that Dinosaurs existed and how big the universe was and wondering if there was a God. I was born this way, or maybe my parents shaped me to be this way, that’s a psychological debate, but I am what I am and I am a Thinker.

The best way for anyone to understand me is to know my past. My grandmother has Masters degrees in the fields of Chemistry and Physics and did research and taught classes at various schools and colleges. From the very beginning she presented me with science magazines and articles, which of course at that age I didn’t understand, but in compliance with my natural ambition, fueled my curiosity. That’s my hypothesis on why I’m a Thinker.

Both of my parents went to the College of Charleston, but had me their sophomore year and folded underneath the pressures of working full times jobs, being full time students and raising a child. This was a major setback for us, as with no money to help from the rest of my family, we lived a poor lifestyle. We moved around a bit as my father tried to find a good job, but with no degree and another child on the way he stressed himself to the limit, finally settling in Spartanburg, SC, where he worked as a bartender, a restaurant manager and did side jobs such as newspaper delivery and waiting tables. My mother worked for a Vet and went back to school to finish her degree. My little brother was born premature, having highly under-developed lungs; he spent the first several months of his life in the hospital, adding even more stress to our young family. This added an even greater financial burden and so my father, a man of great common sense, above average intelligence, and a knack for business, started a company in our basement as a distributor of nuts and bolts. During this time period, I learned what hard work meant, the importance of stability for a family and what I needed to do as to build a better future for myself.

Unfortunately, life had become too much for my parents and they separated. I watched as my mother, a very ditsy, but highly intelligent and caring woman worked as hard as she could to take care of my brother and myself, while completing school and working full time. My world was turned upside down. Though my parents tried hard not to let any of this affect me, I would sit for hours at night staring up at my Universe themed wallpaper. Like the ancient Greek philosophers, I, amidst the turmoil, questioned why things had to be the way they were, why the mind works the way it does, why the world behaves as it does both socially and physically. I was twelve years old.

That’s when things began to change. My father’s business boomed and he became a fairly successful businessman. My mother with her new found degree didn’t find much more money, but she was doing what she had her heart set to do, helping mentally challenged children learn as to prepare them for education, so that they too could be productive members in society. My parents amended their separation and once again things were at peace. My little brother grew and overcame all of the medical disadvantages that plagued him, we could afford to live in a nice house in a safe neighborhood and my parents were only working one job each. Life was good, but I was still troubled with questions and uncertainties.

Though my problems at home had settled, my problems at school were just beginning. Due to my introverted nature, acquired from hours of sitting alone and thinking on my own, analyzing everyone around me in school and focusing on my books; I had become awkward. I didn’t know how to talk to people and was overly sensitive to things people would say to me. I had stayed inside for so long due to the lack of children suitable for me to play with in my old neighborhood I had fallen out of shape physically. I think I became socially aware of my standing late my seventh grade year, which I believe to be pretty late. I was an outcast. I began to try to make friends, but I just didn’t quite fit it into this new environment of wealthier children already formed into their cliques. So I did the one thing I knew I was good at: study.

I began to watch the people around me at how they interacted with each other, read books on psychology and took up sports to try to get back in shape. Sports presented me with an even better avenue. I became even more interested in medicine as I became even more interested in the human body. I began to study workouts and stretches, and used them myself. By my Junior year of high school, I was beginning to make friends, even got a girlfriend, and I had become fairly athletic. I was finally playing Varsity football when in the fourth game of the season I had a double concussion, ending my season and my career with football. This sent me downhill again as I struggled with depression. I felt that my world was crashing down around me. Once again, I would sit for hours thinking about my life and the world around me.

That’s when I put things in perspective and set the goals and the standards for myself that I have today. I decided that I would make myself what I want to be. Like the clay to a craftsman, my personality, character and attributes are under my control. I buckled down on school my Senior year making a 4.89 GPA on a 5.0 scale. I began working my hardest in all aspects of life; school, work, and home. I looked at every challenge and opportunity as stepping stones on the road to shaping myself into the person I want to be.

I did this by quitting my job at Quiznos and working for a Best Buy, thereby testing my social skills on a regular basis. I took on more responsibilities from my parents, and began to do community service on my own accord, without the push of Honor societies or teachers. I began to love myself, and then began to start really understanding and caring for others.  To this day I keep these ideas, as I am still shaping myself, still becoming the man I want to be. I can’t tell you for sure what my life’s dreams are, or where I’ll be in 10 years but I’ve got some ideas and no matter what I will be successful. I just need to figure out my definition for success.

Note: Currently I am a Biochemistry Major with a minor in Biomedical Physics at the College of Charleston, planning on graduating Suma Kum Luada within the next year. Unfortunately I still haven’t defined my success. A year ago this next weekend I met a beautiful girl who has completely changed my life. Whereas my previous definitions of success included things like career titles, money, and power they now are more along the lines of family, friends, and quality of life. I can only hope that one day I will be a man of wisdom, looking back on accomplishments that changed my community, country, or even the world, but that I will also be a man adored by my family for the care I gave them.

Effects of Marijuana

Abstract:
Actually sat down and did some REAL researching on the effects of marijuana, not just the political garbage the National Institute for Drug Abuse feeds us and pot-head websites.
Introduction:
To often we see anti-marijuana campaigns citing studies that link marijuana to depression and schizophrenia. That discuss the implications of marijuana on ambition and memory. Then on the other side of the aisle we hear that all of these reports are completely falsified by the government in support of political exploits. I propose a medium here.
Method:
Tried to find scientific articles, not funded by the NIDA, on actual pot research.
Results:
Labs have reported that the NIDA would not fund them when doing research on the benefits of marijuana but would fund them when they changed their purpose statements to the negative aspects of marijuana use. Most articles found in support of marijuana use and against marijuana use do not contain any references to scientific data. Many reports suggesting that marijuana use leads to depression do not suggest that depressed people are more likely to use marijuana, which would probably make a large difference in their data. Actual organizations (kinda) outside of the political realm such as the WHO refuse to give an actual declaration on whether they believe pot is harmful or not and yearly release the statement “more research is needed.” Many scientists and professors have tried to develop theoretical models for how pot effects the body and aside from decreases in short term memory and ambition levels while on the drug, and the very act of inhaling smoke (if not considering vaporizers or food) can be damaging to the lungs, no permanent or serious damage occurred. Studies have never been able to link marijuana use to lung cancer. Studies have shown that the toxicity of marijuana is below that of alcohol, cigarettes, and ASPIRIN (50 people died of aspirin related problems last year, 0 died of marijuana related issues). No significant data has related marijuana use to schizophrenia that considers the fact that people who are triggered into schizophrenia are more likely to use pot. Research on monkeys found that pot did create a decrease in motivation while on the drug, and for heavy users this effect lasted for weeks after last use. Caffeine use is considered to be more addicting.
Conclusion:
More research is needed! But it appears as if the drug is not NEARLY as damaging as the government would seem to have you believe and if used in moderation would have no adverse side effects (any more than any other drug we take on a daily basis). This seems to be a purely political battle.
References:
http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/features/print/1441/marijuana-what-science-has-say?page=0%2C0 (unbiased)
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=marijuana-research (unbiased)
http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/180/3/216.full (biased – Anti Legalization)
http://norml.org/component/zoo/category/recent-research-on-medical-marijuana (biased – Pro legalization)
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/21/health/21marijuana.html (unbiased)

The Codependence of Men and Women

I believe men are letting their female counterpart down. Men complain about how women are so selfish these days and seem to be so shallow, but when they encounter a female with the values they seem to desire they fail to live up to her as a counterpart. SInce the beginning of human history, men have been the leaders. Sorry girls, but its true, men possess biological advantages that help them to appear psychologically dominant in addition to physiological dominance (if you really need proof of this, look around you, there is a reason society is still male dominated after 10,000 years of human civilization). But that doesn’t mean females are inferior in ANYWAY. I believe females possess attributes that will complement the attributes of their male counterpart and it is this very concept that drives the want for relationships. I’m sure those of you in HEALTHY relationships can attest to feeling more whole as a person. The problem is that men are acting as boys rather than men, and as the natural leaders, its only natural that our female counterpart follows suit and behaves just as immaturely as we do. So boys, better yourself! Improve your confidence, let go of your vices, do what needs to be done, not what you want to do, and most importantly believe in something… and our female friends will be there, more powerful than ever. I really believe males and females depend on each other (we are all human in the end), and as one grows stronger, so does the other. The suppression of female rights in our past was a dark stain, a stain caused by the insecurities of men. It’s almost as if since men have given power to the women, we feel as if we lost power, when really we haven’t lost anything but are simply sharing the responsibility with our counterpart. Remember “Two heads are better than one”!

Googlitity

Googlitity should be a word… Googlitity (Adj.) (Google – it – ity) – something’s ability to be verified by google, which means that it isn’t necessarily true but the speaker of such a claim is justified because they had in fact googled it and thought it was true and therefore is not a liar, ex. Well I thought I had heard it was Taylor Game not Taylor Gang, let’s check its googlitity.

A Bit on Happiness

Can happiness increase forever? In “Happiness: Enough Already” by Sharon Begley in Newsweek, she explores the concept that maybe there is too much happiness. She argues that due to increases in happiness until the 1970′s (presumably due to increase in technology which has helped people work less, make an average of more money, and create more free time), people fear sadness more which has increased cases of depression. She then maintains that many of these cases which are classified as clinical depression are really normal bouts of sadness. So does happiness have a limit? Is happiness actually making us crazy, jumping from bouts of depression to bouts of manic happiness like someone with a bipolar disorder. I actually agree, but does that mean that we should decrease our happiness? Hell no! That would be like quitting a job because you just got promoted and your worried about the responsibility. Since when has it been acceptable to not want to move forward for the betterment of one’s self because your worried that being better at something might have consequences… never. I thought about this because as I was texting Chelsea this morning, I was expressing how happy I am. Disregarding humility for a minute, I’ve got a lot going my way! An amazing girlfriend, great friends, success in business, school, and personal ventures (such as gym results), all the while living in one of the best cities in America! Which got me thinking… what if it all came crashing down? Which brings me to this… if you are moving forward, it won’t! I think all to often people get up on their high horse, then let something knock them off. Don’t let ANYTHING knock you off! I also believe too often people lose control of their feelings, well here’s the truth, we have full control over our feelings. If your sad, then take control of your life and take steps to make yourself happier. Maybe you won’t be happy in an hour, a day, or even a month, but keep moving forward and you will be happy. I believe that happiness down to the deepest core is our minds recognition of things that improve our lives and sadness is the recognition of things that hinder our lives. By focusing on your happiness, you will be taking steps to improve your life, but by drowning in sorrow, you are quite literally drowning your life. Well can we be too happy? Or does happiness have a ceiling? Yes and no. I think people put to much into what the material that they have. If you want to focus on the bad parts of my life, I’m currently lost as to what I want after college, I do not actually own any home myself, and I’m working my butt off with all the jobs I have… But you don’t see me focusing on that… I know they are there, I’m being realistic, I have goals and dreams, some I believe I will attain, some that I realize the odds are strongly against me, but overall I am happy! I think as I take steps to complete my goals I know I will not complete them all, its impossible really, which brings me to the question of the happiness ceiling. It exists but I believe we approach it like the inverse of an exponential curve, which for all of you non-science/math peoples, means that as we approach that ceiling we do not ever stop increasing our happiness, just that the amount of increase decreases with time, so we are always becoming happier, but we just are not become happier as quickly. This dismisses setbacks in your life, such as the death of a family member, or a break up, etc. but I believe those things are “setbacks” not stopping points… keep moving forward!

Modern Feminism is Illogical

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-scientific-fundamentalist/200908/why-modern-feminism-is-illogical-unnecessary-and-evil
Just went as saw Snow White and the Huntsman, a wonderful movie that explores the modern feminist, with the Evil witch portraying the negative side of feminism and Snow White portraying the true potential of women to lead. In a previous article I stirred up some emotional responses to my perception of the relationship between man and woman, and the male’s responsibility to live up to our female counterpart (which was widely misperceived). Turner Foster presented a great argument that the very definition of a leader could be questioned, with which I agreed. In case you missed it, the argument was that men make better leaders in some senses of the definition and women make better leaders in other senses of the definition. I contributed this to biological and psychological differences in the genders. This article, written by an evolutionary psychologist (psychologists with limited understandings of biology – haha remember I consider anything below biochemistry as basket weaving) says what I was trying to say in response to some of the lash back. I do not particularly agree with modern feminism as being inherently “evil” as I believe they have good at heart (though I know some feminist that are extremely power hungry and would like to see the rise of the female gender over men – which could be perceived as evil). I respect feminist for their willingness to stand up for what they believe, be different from society, and the fact that they have been able to make some HUGE changes in society which I believe WERE very beneficial, but I believe they have achieved their goals in America and it is time that they look outwards. There are is still a lot of injustice towards women in this world particularly in Asian societies… it’s time feminist stop looking in and start looking to change to world!
Why Modern Feminism Is Illogical, Unnecessary, and Evil | Psychology Today
Feminism is the radical notion that women are men By Satoshi Kanazawa…