The Testing Industry

Author: Robert Bruce Baird

EDUCATION - TESTING INDUSTRY - LEARNING STYLES: - What is aptitude? Why must people work within a social framework that values following 'norms' of intellect and has questions on tests rather than judgments of soulful and ethical actual behavior? The book 'Emotional Intelligence' makes a good case for EQ rather than IQ. Kaoru Yamamoto of the University of Colorado describes the making, coaching, and taking of tests seem like all our teachers are learning. He correctly identifies the flawed ability to maintain or generate effective learning by turning the process into unwilling students being force fed by uncharismatic automatons without authority. Most teachers know they are little more than 'glorified baby-sitters' and so they don't want to be held accountable. Accountable to tests that value regurgitation is not accountable to real value. They have lots of good arguments on all sides of the issue because the fundamental premises are hugely flawed.

Some social scientists make a very good point about the purpose of education in our recent history when they note the Industrial Revolution sought workers to punch time clocks and follow the bosses and their minion's orders. The homogenization of memorization being the key to learning assumes something worse than what isn't in evidence. It is not evident that linear logical processes or competency in memory skills is paramount to the functioning character development of productive people. In fact we have ample reason to limit these skills now that hand held or wristwatch sized data bases are able to connect to near total knowledge networks. Forgetting that important point, we must understand what education and teaching really is supposed to achieve. Simple common sense alone would indicate a high priority should exist in the augmentation of interest in learning and the joys it may offer a person throughout their life.

Co-operative and social integrational skills teaching are well enough developed in the science of education and should be given more support. In Canada the word ‘co-operative’ is used but the purposes of learning style (Take a look at H. Gardner's work which now has eight distinct learning style proficiencies.) and personality differences aren't known by the teachers who think co-operative learning means some kind of teamwork between teachers, students and parents. Group dynamics within the student’s core appreciation of purpose and relating to each other is more the point. Seeing the benefits of a good creative spatial competency in another person within the group and learning the most important things are useful creative outputs rather than some goal established by someone outside the group, might have more merit. The compassionate diplomatic and purposeful ethic of net additional value rather than homogenized adherence to hypocritical unquestioned pablum with frequent prejudicial or egoistically infused judgement needs support.

Celebration of relevant new approaches that offer explorations of new perspectives without a sense of black and white answers are seldom found and the character seems to be judged according to how well we imitate or fit the prevailing 'norm'. How can we maintain a desire to explore that is born into the human core courage to know something more than the personal? When will knowing how to cope with sexual, sensual psychological nurturing and other life skills including how to make each other healthier become valued? The old emphasis on individuals enjoying each others different character becomes lost in a maze of peer and social structure. Is it possible that people will learn to read and communicate at different times in their life? Recent research shows that men learn math best, later than women. Language and communication engages the young brain more fully and should be focused upon at the ages before seven. The Bardic schools knew these things and had young people work as jesters and minstrels early in the process.

Physiologically we can say there are 350,000 neural connections possible that become atrophied to the point most people use only half of them. What about thinking? It isn't dumping of data - it requires integrating and making judgments. Perhaps we are encouraging a lack of judgement as an over-compensation against old racial ideologies or because authoritarian religions sought faith-full 'followers'. Maybe it is because the armies of feudal lords wanted hateful and macho murderers; and parenting became a castle for power ‘over’ rather than nurture FOR the children. Children are not the property of parents as much as they are rightful and important members of the tribe, clan or larger social unit. These things were known in the pre-Christian times when women weren't the property (Hammurabi's Code specifies and Biblical baby-factories enforced) of men.

There may be eight physiological or neurophysiological different core learning style competencies with numerous variations but each of us is capable of learning to augment all of these attributes and appreciating other strengths and weaknesses. Building brotherhood rather than competing against each other is an excellent character-building alternative to established fences or hurdles to jump over. If at the end of five years of school a person still wants to learn and yet has learned little - is that better than a person who has learned 'reading, writing and arithmetic' but thinks they know all they need to know. There were initiatory stages available for lifelong education and soulful growth (The Australian aborigines still have this; and many others do as well.). Beyond seeing what one ‘can do’; we do need to establish what one should do. The decision about what we should do is hard to make at some far away central administration center. Beyond teaching the ethical constructs (woefully lacking especially without comparative religion) we should support or enable purposes beyond what generates occupation-oriented proficiency. There is reason to believe that students learn to read and write or compete without a structure to ensure it. Technology exists to allow students to learn much of what is taught in their own time away from the sense of right or wrong and ridicule.

Do I think we should create groups and movement between groups as a key focus on working together and helping each other? Do I think music and performing creates an environment of learning language and communication as well as improving self-esteem. Would I encourage rhetoric and diminish early writing initiatives that force failure through unwarranted structured thinking. Would I hold writing back until the person is able to feel they can do most anything and their brain has fully grown after the age of eight? Would I have lots of schools where students chose what to learn and when? And at the end of some period of time would I make the challenge become how much they can achieve as a unit, group or school against another such unit? If I did want all these things and was seen as 'primitive' because this is the kind of thing the ancient Kelts did: what would I say to those who laughed.

I'd say these schools taught specific memory techniques rather than memorization of unimportant data. This created a skill rather than a mark on some test relating to some often propagandized history. With this skill the memory almost never was an issue and asinine regurgitation of trivia passing as knowledge seldom occurred in people's day to day lives. I'd say the creative urges to perform according to disciplined use of musical instruments, dance and song or other acting skills and craftwork made secure citizens who felt they could help and be useful in their societal group. How would they respond when I told them the clans taught a group responsibility that made it impossible for a child to work their blackmail of emotion on a loving parent, through extended families; and that this led to lawful and respectful behavior? How would they respond when I made it clear that worship was real and that people were encouraged to know the ever-increasing insights that the soul may offer.

How would they respond when I challenged them to find a more egalitarian and nurturing group of people who truly valued the inputs of women and knew they were biologically superior to men or were at least the equal? Yes, women have more endurance, don't faint when wounded, are better diplomats because they use their whole brain and don't get carried away on ego as much. Endurance was a key thing amongst warriors. The child-rearing was shared in a whole family unit and the woman was able to be the leader in all fields of endeavour rather than simply thrown into a one-dimensional role as care-giver or ornament.

Clearly they wouldn't be able to point to a more gifted group of scientists and teachers than the Druidic hierarchy produced. We are still learning or re-discovering what they knew. The 'Lost Chord' and harmonics or the healing techniques of shamans and dream-dancers, is worth our investigation. The wholistic appreciation for nature and all the majesty of love and beauty we have lost through the ministrations of macho models of greed and power, must be re-kindled. The creeds of the present power-oriented churches versus the Keltic Creed must be considered.

About the Author

From my Encyclopedia which can be found at


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