An article in the March, 2007, issue of Wired magazine titled, “The World Needs More Rebels Like Einstein,” states, “At a time when the U.S., worried about competition from China, is again emphasizing math and science education, Einstein’s genius reminds us that a society’s competitive advantage comes not from teaching the multiplication or periodic tables but from nurturing rebels. Grinds have their place, but unruly geeks change the world.”
The article dovetails nicely with an article in this week’s New York Times magazine about how, at a time when
American educators seek to emulate Asian pedagogyâ€“a test-centered ethos and a rigorous focus on math, science and engineering â€” Chinese educators are trying to blend a Western emphasis on critical thinking, versatility and leadership into their own traditions. To put it another way, in the peremptorily utopian style typical of official Chinese directives (as well as of educationese the world over), the nationâ€™s schools must strive â€œto build citizensâ€™ character in an all-round way, gear their efforts to each and every student, give full scope to studentsâ€™ ideological, moral, cultural and scientific potentials and raise their labor skills and physical and psychological aptitudes, achieve vibrant student development and run themselves with distinction.â€?
One thought on “How Would Einstein Have Fared in Today’s Schools?”
And of course, let’s not forget that is was Einstein himself who said: “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” It is exactly our children’s imaginations that not just excessive homework, but excessively structured and test-oriented curriculums and behavioral control through medication, that is ridding our kids of what truly makes for a great mind. As one learning specialist blithely put it to us when recommending ritalin for our child’s supposed learning difficulties: “He may lose some of his spark, but he’ll get a lot done.” Imagine that!