“The intelligence of 11-year-olds has fallen by three years’ worth in the past two decades (in the UK)”. This is a very bold claim put forward by researchers at Kings College. As a matter of fact, the resulting discussion on Slashdot was very revealing. Many persons, including myself, think that this must be true.
Because kids today simply don’t play with Mecanno, never had the “delightful” experience of getting a 220V surge in the hand (and understanding electricity and the Maxwell equations in 1 second…) and (more important for me) learning to program their computer.
They are learning facts at school but I’m not sure they are understanding them and their implications. Kids are becoming less intelligent and I’m feeling that at tertiary level every day (I may be mistaken though).
What can we do? Can we still do something?
(Image courtesy of Irobotics India)
hi . i’m a stutent of technology’s university . i hope give me how it do’s material s please
I’m not sure I correctly understand your question. If you are asking what is the best learning technique, I can only tell you about what worked for me when I was a tertiary-level student.
I always tried to understand what the teacher (and lecturer) was talking about. I was not afraid to ask questions when something was not clear in my mind. I took brief notes (but to the point) during lectures. I was an avid book reader (it’s still the case now). Subscription to a good library (ex. the British Council in Mauritius) is essential IMHO. The Internet is now a fantastic source of information, visit essential sites like Slashdot, AnandTech and, especially, Wikipedia daily…
Try to be off the beaten track. Use Linux. Listen to good music. Try to appreciate photography and art. Open your mind!
But first and foremost, quickly find someone compassionate and explain to her (must be a her, n’est ce pas Christina?) everyday what you’ve learnt during your lectures.
You’ll find out that explaining something complicated to someone else is the best way to make sure you’ve understood it.
PS: And, don’t forget to write clearly :-)
“Kids are becoming less intelligent and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m feeling that at tertiary level every day” i sincerely hope you have good insurance for your car :D
Don’t forget that I’ve been a tertiary level lecturer for more than 6 years now… and, therefore, I am not specifically referring to UoM students when making the statement.
But, to be frank, some students are at a loss in the Computer Science dept. I’m not saying that they are not intelligent but rather that they don’t have the proper aptitudes or inclinations to really become an excellent computer scientist.
For instance, there are some 3rd year students who don’t like programming!
I can agree to some extent with your point of view, i mean some students enrolled for the IT course just to follow the trend, even if they don’t know, or care, what computer science is all about.
But, still I can’t bring myself to entirely blame them, for instance, you’re saying that some 3rd year students don’t like programming. How could it be otherwise? given that the first programming module, fundamentals of programming, could be rightly renamed, learn c++ by heart or fail your exams.
From my point of view, kids are not entirely at fault, they are just trying to fit, unsuccesfully most of the time, in a wrongly thought academic system, where brain cramming takes precedence over proper education.
Inteligence is like a delicate rose plant, you cannot expect it to bloom without nurturing it, only a plentiful supply of fertilisers, water, sunlight, etc… will prove to be inadequate most of the time.
I guess my answer to your question “What can we do? Can we still do something?” would be to act in a sarkozy like manner, and clean the whole of the system with a karcher, and start afresh, changing the way we teach and guide kids, no rather, change the way you “older and evolved” persons will teach and guide kids :P
just my, unevolved uom student, 5c
I think that instead of focusing on the inaptitudes of students, maybe it would be better to think about the system of education itself. Let’s take UOM for example, and its teaching practices. It is hardly any different from any secondary level institution. In most lectures we are either taking down notes or sleeping! For exams we are not required to think and solve problems, but rather to remember! Is University education all about learning 100 lines of code and be able to reproduce it exactly at exams?
What about actual problem solving? What about learning to think independently, going outside the beaten paths and actually do something innovative? What about truly giving us the chance to express ourselves and not be restricted by a rigid system where getting 40% of the marks becomes the sole aim of the student!
For instance, there are some 3rd year students who donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t like programming!
This is bcoz they have chosen CSE by default!!!! ;)
i thnk u BBCODE shuld b enable in the site….
Interesting arguments from all of you.
My deep belief is that Universities should provide an environment for young (and not-so-young) talented persons to learn, to discover, to create… and to have fun in the process.
Obviously, this is not the case now at the UoM but also in most (all?) the other tertiary institutions of the island. The main reason being, as you all know, our inadequate education system. As Val said, the system does not give students the opportunity to express themselves.
Instead of being only negative (that’s too easy), let’s try to find a simple solution to our problem.
I propose that, as from tomorrow, we devote 15 minutes at the end of every lecture to discuss things that you find interesting. Let’s see if that make things more fun :-)
I’ll also (re)start giving students oral presentations (exposÃ©s) to do (on any subject provided it’s (somewhat) related to what we are doing in the lecture). I used this technique at lot at MCCI with very good results.
Any other thing that we could try?
“I propose that, as from tomorrow, we devote 15 minutes at the end of every lecture to discuss things that you find interesting. LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s see if that make things more fun”
Seems to be an interesting proposal…
I agree with the fact that most student (well not only students) dont really have an open mind on many issues… Maybe it’s just because of the type of society we are living in today… we tend to take verything for granted… people don’t want to think, because they feel its useless… “kifer mo bizin cass mo latet r sa moi? mo lavi deza compliker kumsa!” : reponses like this have unfortunately become more frequent…
Amidst the UOM students’ retaliation and the (innocent) lecturer waiving the white flag here, there are still some people who do not have the chance to attend Uni. Enfin…
Book me a place in one of your classes next year :>
Oral presentations are of course always very interesting and it certainly does break the monotony of non-stop lectures!!! If only other lecturers cud do so as well ;)
Am studying at uom n i had the gr8 chance of attending ur classes this week. The idea of 15 mins discussion time after lectures is very good but as far as possible if the topics chosen cud b those where there is a good balance between freedom of speech n cultural differences in the discussions.
I know it was the first time we did that so the 1st try must not always b the good 1 rite away but we r on the rite path
The idea of those students who dont like programming in 1st year despite doing a course in IT, may b becoz of the way of delivering the material if it can b more interactive like using an RGB projector or making use of animations in class itself or in computer labs may help a lot
I think we all need a 2nd chance in life n the steps towards success, better life, fun while studying, “wasting time in a constructive way” – as u said in class; all these will b achieved by making the 1st step first of all n this is exactly what u have done.
I have got only 1 more thing to say 2 u
THANK YOU SIR ;)
P.S If u need any help or any suggestions which might help US make a better world for our next generations, we r here (students) :-)
Gee Avinash, looks like you have a groupie. ;)
hey am no groupie !!!! (if ur comment means wat it really means)
just wanted 2 give my opinion on the subject from the point of view of a student n wanted 2 encourage the lecturers who want 2 think like us 2 make things change, thats all.
P.S just 2 clear out any misunderstanding from other people reading, sir ;)
Aadil was just joking….
I was? I mean I was. ;p
Guess i was a bit carried away.
No grudge against u Aadil, lets b friends ;)
wanna befriend aadil? buy him an armored concrete boxer short, a good supply of smokable material(non-matinee) and half glass of rhum(more than that, and u’ll have to carry him home), he’ll b eating from your hand in 2 days:P
no offense meant ahdeal, i mean, i guess so:P
Intelligence is an umbrella term used to describe a property of the mind that encompasses many related abilities, such as the capacities to reason, to plan, to solve problems, to think abstractly, to comprehend ideas, to use language, and to learn. There are several ways to define intelligence. In some cases, intelligence may include traits such as creativity, personality, character, knowledge, or wisdom. However, some psychologists prefer not to include these traits in the definition of intelligence.( Wikipedia )
I think we are getting something wrong here, we are trying to impart so much knowledge that we are destroying their desire for discovery. Intelligence englobes creativity. I watched a movie yesterday called Coastguard, the actor needed to teach the students the effects of Hypothermia, he carried out the lesson in a pool of ice cold water and said ‘in two minutes you will know!’. Shall we teach them or let them know… which IMHO are two different things.
Nice comment Gavin,
I follow this philosophy when I teach: it’s better to limit the quantity of information (facts / knowledge) being imparted but make sure that students are really understanding what I am saying.
I’ve followed this philosophy for years now and it works relatively well. I always say to my students: “There are 2 types of persons: those who understand and those who believe that everything is black magic”
Ketwaroo D. Yaasir says
â€œThere are 2 types of persons: those who understand and those who believe that everything is black magicâ€
you never said that!
found this entry through the possibly related posts thing you have on the right. terribly useful thing. and sorry for necroposting.
Actually I Think The Source Of The Problem Is Wikipedia.
Now the point of me making an arbitrary statement like that is that I can then construct rationalisations such as “kids these days just go on the internet and ask google (or any search engine) and more often than not the first hit will be a wikipedia page. they will immediately assume that wikipedia is truth and not look for further explanations. they fail to realise that wikipedia is an unreliable source (much as anything else )partly because of the wiki-pricks but fundamentally because nothing is EVER absolute. take for example people believed that the the sun rotated around the earth. today people would tell you ‘ayo to per koz KK’ if you said that. But what these blithering idiots still fail to realise is that relative to the Earth, the sun actually follows an orbital path. So you can all just shut up with your facts and figures and go stick your head in a pig. or any other farm animal available.)” and so on. But this still has to do with facts. and the lack of training to realise that it’s not intelligence.
something else. take Maxwell’s equations(which I found on wikipedia, the irony). looks like lots of weird symbols to me. Which is exactly what they are. until you properly attach a meaning to a symbol it doesn’t mean anything at all. to make, say students, understand, what it means, you’d have to waaay back. For ecample, you’d first have to make them realise that most things they’ve ever been told is not true. Atoms for example are not invisible at all. you see nothing but atoms all day long. even at night. you just can distinguish them from one another, that’s all. The best thing to do is to tell those people who use the excuse “You don’t need to know that, this is not for your level” to kindly shut the fuck up.
the most important thing is to realise that even though infinite, it’s a really small universe with very few things in it. you don’t need much of it to get by. It’s only once you think you know what you’re missing that the trouble starts.
so, am I dropping any hints or even making any sense?
I like this sentence from your longish comment:
That’s why I love making “parentheses” in my lectures. I hate teaching something to students without explaining to them the fundamentals (or the motivations) behind this idea. I love it when I see this “Aha! Now I get it!” expression in the eyes of my students…
Ketwaroo D. Yaasir says
I also heard that when google engineers, i.e. the people google employees who aren’t actively concerned with the sweeping of floors, hit a problem, they ask google until they find an answer…. So it’s not just the 11 year old who are lacking curiosity.
side note: the reply to comments notifications still aren’t working.
Ketwaroo D. Yaasir says
this is what we’re all about.
Very nice discussion indeed. I think this type discussion should be used in education too… like discussing a particular class topic in a forum or blogs amomng students or why not with willing lecturers… should be a good idea too. I wonder how many out zer (lecturers and students alike) are using such tools to enhance learning … Its high time for our students to have their own saying in subjects they learn and put forward their critics and/or appreciations for a particular subject matter. This can be ‘hard’ for some in class (i mean depending on the type of lecturers you have) but blogging is a good way too!
avinash, last post dating back to 2009, how do you see the kids/young 2 years now?
worst, same or better?
personally seeing it getting worst n worst past 5 years!
how about you guys out there?
been lately through very hard to accept facts: 21 yr old student who read fluently english but not understanding a single word, unable to explain me what she understand from what she reads!! Uni computer students who does not even know how to use a computer!!
I’m seeing the same kind of trend lately i.e. people who have spent years in schools but still relatively clueless on things they should have learnt during those years. Is this the fault of the kid himself, his parents, the teacher, the education system or the sad state of the world we’re living in? Maybe all of those.
You’re right when you say that kids read less now and, when they manage to get a book, they do not necessarily understand what they have read. Maybe, we, adults have less time to devote to the kids and explain things to them…
[Of course, I’m generalising here.]
From what i have seen, the problem lies with the actual trend of the world. More things are simple, less you learn from it, and unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) we are in a world where we strive to simplify things the most. Thus, it seems that we as human beings are actually striving to make a world full of ‘idiots’ (if i may use this word). For me its not the kids fault, it is just that everyone is trying to make everything simpler for others without considering the side-effects.
Well, thats just my point of view…
You have a point.
We are overprotective and, consequently, kids rarely have to find solutions to complex problems by themselves.
And, then, there’s the issue of our education system which also distorts reality…
Great article, very informative. I miss my Mecanno set. But I pefer Lego.
Avinash Meetoo says
Thanks for reviving this old thread of comments. This made me read the article and the comments again after more than ten years…
Unfortunately, I don’t think that the situation has changed much… Today, I sometimes interact with young people with a lot of diplomas, some of them even PhDs, and, while they are nice people, are far being authoritative.
Personally, I would forget about diplomas, degrees, etc. and focus on having a critical mass of open-minded, knowledgeable, skillful and effective young people. That’s the best way, according to me, to bring some changes in the country.