Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Here's a an off-topic post; if you come here solely for the Guardian-bashing, feel free to skip it.

The Economist tells about two reports about to be published in the UK dwelling gravely on the sorry state of schools. One, the product of a collaborative effort of lots of experts, suggests that perhaps school-children need be inculcated with knowledge. The other, written by a serial report writer who was carefully primed in advance, suggests that children be taught literacy, maths, and how to use Google. Lots of knowledge vs. knowing how to find stuff: guess which strategy is going to be adopted?

Alongside that article is a quick annotated dictionary for the language spoken by the officials who deal with such matters. It's hilarious.
Satisfactory. One of the four possible judgments of the schools inspectorate (the other three are inadequate, good and outstanding). It means “unsatisfactory”. (“Inadequate” for its part means “dire”.)
Also, if I'm already in the business of recommending off-topic reading, there's an article in the NYT which suggests that scientists have their own political positions, just like everyone else, and their scientific utterings can be influenced by them, also just like with mortal humans. What a shattering thought.


Anonymous said...

Why does there have to be a choice between those two strategies? What's wrong with knowing how to upholster knowledge on the web? and even if Wikipedia is inaccurate or hard to understand as a rule I find there a bunch of links which will answer my questions.
Learning how to use dictionaries way back in school has proved to be a wonderful preparation for successfully googling for for example texts of out of print books on the web, for finding the context of wild quotes being thrown at me by elquent columnists and so on - in short it has given me access to a broader scope of sources and informations than a small town library and book shop ever could have.

Anonymous said...

if you come here solely for the Guardian-bashing

Yaacov, don't denigrate Guardian-bashing.

The Beeb and the Guardian are mortal enemies of Israel nad of the Jews, harmful to Israel's reputation and to her surivival, alleged by some to be witting or unwitting instigators of anti-semitic violence. Bashing the Beeb and the Guardian is a patriotic act on your part, and you have often done that job well.

Please keep up your excellent work!

Anonymous said...

I guess the point is that you will hardly achieve "lots of knowledge" without "knowing how to find stuff", and to classify the stuff you have found is at least very difficult if you do not have lots of knowledge already.

(who has volunteered for years as a tutor for "underprivileged" children but still is regularly astonished about the degree of ignorance taught in modern school. The astonishment is only topped by that about the high marks students get who cannot even grasp their textbooks.)