Nothing New Under the Academic Sun

In summary, you have read a  comparative analysis of an Eastern Philosopher ( Tseng Tzu – 500 B.C.E.) with the various schools of education during the 20th and 21st centuries, and with the 7 Employability skills of Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. These 7 employability skills are deeply rooted in this ever ancient, yet relevant philosopher who challenges us to seek the truth, to search for it wisely, to know it truly, and to accomplish it faithfully.

Here are the 8 Steps to Great Learning of Tseng Tzu as compared with NWTC’s 7 Employability skills. The 8 steps of Tseng Tzu are in bold print. In addition, added to this comparative analysis are various and sundry educational and learning schools of thought in bold print which complement and supplement this comparative analysis of Tseng Tzu with NWTC’s employability skills. The seeds of these modern day schools of education are rooted in the great learning of Tseng Tzu.

   Step 1: To search for knowledge and to investigate the world corresponds to Employability ability skill – 1 – Solve problems effectively; and Employability skill – 4 – Think critically and creatively. Here Inquiry Based Education (EBM) is relevant which emphasizes that all disciplines are based on specific methods for gathering information, interpreting that information, and generating solutions to problems. In addition, Integrated Education (EBM) expands upon the inquiry education in that students do not learn in bits and pieces as if they were separate items to memorize. Rather, the students understand that knowledge exists in systems of meanings that are interconnected, and therefore they can more effectively apply their knowledge to the real world issues. Critical Thinking Education (EBM) is essential to all levels of learning, in fact, it is a universal imperative in education, and also includes number 2 of the 8 steps of Tseng Tzu. Critical thinkers reason through issues and problems so that their thinking processes are functioning at the highest level. Critical thinking education should encompass all levels of subject matter. In tandem with critical thinking education is its complement, Creative Thinking Education (EBM) which encompasses number 2 of the 8 steps of Tseng Tzu. Students should be challenged to think for themselves, to run with ideas, to realize that there is more than one “right” answer in many situations, and don’t just stop with the first answer. Our employability skills and our competencies for each course are related to Out-come Based Education or Standards – Based Education (EBM). The emphasis is what students should know and be able to know and understand as opposed to just memorizing.

Step 2: Knowledge is extended and expanded corresponds to Employability skill – 1 – Solve problems effectively; and Employability skill – 4 – Think critically and creatively; in addition, these two employability skills relate to the essential idea behind Constructivist Education (EBM) which emphasizes that students learn only the knowledge that they actively construct in their own minds. The teacher cannot infuse knowledge into the heads of students; and the students cannot gain knowledge through passive listening and mindless repetition. Core Knowledge Education (EBM) is extended and expanded when students learn new knowledge by building upon what they already know. Students learn a broad base of knowledge in many fields which is why general studies courses are so important in expanding and extending the core knowledge of information, so that students will be able to function more adequately and successfully within society.

It appears that Didactic Education (EBM), that is, teaching content through lectures falls indirectly under the 8 steps of Great Learning.  One cannot pour information into the minds of students and expect it to be digested, unless after 15 minutes of lecturing, the teacher would facilitate an active and disciplined processing of the lecture so that the knowledge becomes expanded, extended, and assimilated.

   Step 3: The will becomes sincere corresponds to Employability skill – 5 – Value individual differences and abilities. Here the Learning Style Education (EBM) is applicable and relevant. This method of learning is particular to an individual’s desire and will to learn by seeing, by hearing, by processing through reading and writing or by doing OR a combination of more than one of these learning styles. No Child Left Behind (EBM) is akin to Dream: Learn it! Live it! where student success is the highest priority. Although recently No Child Left Behind has been under much scrutiny and criticism in that the teachers are teaching primarily for the test. Dream: Learn it. Live it. challenges teachers to enter the hallways of holistic education to nurture the physical, intellectual, emotional and social dimensions of one’s character.   This is when accountability, expectations, and greater success of staff, students, and instructors are paramount. Dream: Learn it. Live it. directly involves numbers 3, 4, and 5 of Teng-su’s grand learning – the will, the heart, and the person.

Step 4: The heart is rectified corresponds to Employability skill – 5 – Value individual differences and abilities; here Emotional Intelligence Education (EBM) brings intelligence to bear upon emotions whether one is reasoning or making decisions. In any decision making process, one’s emotions, attitudes, and passions are interacting across the cognitive and affective domains. Education is also a matter of the heart as well.

Step 5: The personal life is cultivated corresponds to Employability skill – 6 – Demonstrate personal accountability and is related to Gifted Education (EBM) which encourages highly talented individuals the opportunities to enhance and advance their various domains of thinking. Here too, it would be wise to include Feminist and Gender Education (EBM) since schools have been dominated by male-based perspectives, and sometimes to the exclusion of female-based perspectives. Multiple Intelligences Education (EBM) emphasizes the strengths of individual learners. As it is discussed in the educational world, “Do you learn how I teach, or do I teach how you learn?” In essence, students are encouraged to develop those “intelligences” that intrigue and interest them. I may not be able to understand Boyle’s Law in chemistry from a logical-mathematical analysis, however, Boyle’s Law might be better understood if it was presented from a language, spatial, musical, kinesthetic, self-knowledge, understanding of others, naturalistic, and/or existential points of view. As an instructor, are you willing to present an idea from 8 different perspectives? Perhaps it is time to put away the yellowed notes, the over-used power points, and break out in an imaginative and creative fashion, thus involving the whole class instead of just a few who understand the logical-mathematical analysis of Boyle’s Law.

Step 6: The household can be regulated corresponds to Employability skill – 3 – Communicate effectively. Multiculturalism Education (EBM) emphasizes social habits and customs from many cultures. Students learn to deal rationally with the multiplicity of cultures and the alternative ways of living within a social group or culture.

   Step 7: The state will be well ordered corresponds to Employability skill – 2 – Works cooperatively and professionally; and Core ability 7 – Demonstrate community and global accountability. The Educational Process (EBM) is comprised of administrators, teachers, students, parents, school board members, legislators and the governor. Collectively, if the state is to be well ordered, it is imperative that all of these entities should be involved in the educational process, that is the qualities of an educated person and the proper design of the educational process. Sometimes the public school systems are strangling in their own legal and bureaucratic constraints and budget cuts. Consequently, Charter Schools (EBM) are chartered with their own unique educational emphases. These schools are more free from the entanglement of the public school systems. Parents are able to choose which school system is best. Hopefully, the competition between the public school and the charter school will be like iron sharpening iron. This competition highlights the choice-based system (EBM) for the improvement and betterment of learning and preparing students for the reality of life. Of course, there is the Private school and the Voucher system which has caused great debate among the states, and one wonders if number 8 will become a reality, that is, “therefore peace will reign in the world.”

Step 8: Therefore peace will reign in the world corresponds to Core ability 2 – Works cooperatively and professionally; Core ability 7 – Demonstrate community and global accountability; in addition, these two core abilities correspond to Cooperative Education (EBM) that students can learn more when they work together – there is pooling of knowledge and helping each other learn. Also, Global Education (EBM) is relevant here given the idea behind it that we are increasingly living in a “global” world in which business competition is to be understood from a global perspective. Our survival is linked to the degree to which we learn to teach and think globally. One can also add Multicultural Education (formerly mentioned) whereby we understand and respect the positive attributes and achievements of all cultures.

In summary, you have read a  comparative analysis of an Eastern Philosopher ( Tseng Tzu – 500 B.C.E.) with the various schools of education during the 20th and 21st centuries, and with the 7 Employability skills of Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. These 7 employability skills are deeply rooted in this ever ancient, yet relevant philosopher who challenges us to seek the truth, to search for it wisely, to know it truly, and to accomplish it faithfully.

As one committed to “Dream…Learn It. Live It.” I am challenged to enlighten myself through education, and to influence others by the carefulness of my reasoning, the soundness of my decisions, the proper disposition of my heart, and the impact of my behavior in promoting social justice issues by means of outreach cooperation and learning.

Sources:

+Great Thinkers of the Eastern World, edited by Ian P. McGreal, 1995, pages 50-54

+Educational Fads by Dr. Richard Paul and Dr. Linda Elder, 2007

Roger J. Vanden Busch

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