Sunday 18 September 2011

Pseudo problems are for Pseudo Worlds. We need Real Problems. Ewan McIntosh #TEDxLondon

There is something wrong with our education system. Namely, it is based on problem solving and problem based learning. The aspect that's wrong with this system is that it is generally based on Pseudo Problems. See below for examples:

As our young speakers questioned earlier, where is the relevance, meaning and purpose in these problems? What Ewan called for is problem finders. Not pseudo problem solvers. He challenged us all (including our students) to go out into the real world and find problems to solve as Pseudo problems are simply not relevant for the real world.

Ewan also mirrored Sir Ken's suggestion of more divergent thinking. Generating lots of ideas to start with (as also covered in Ian Gilbert's Essential Motivation in the Classroom) and then using convergent thinking to narrow down the solutions.

Ewan would also challenge the current status quo seen in many classrooms by saying that "Chilcren should be doing most of the learning and the hard work". Some have called this "Lazy Teaching", there are even books about this teaching strategy, where you make the students do the hard work and in turn, they learn more. This certainly worked for Dan Roberts' kids.

The world needs a generation of problem finders and in order to help Ewan make his pledge, I'll be joining him to "Engage 10,000 students in a problem finding curriculum".

The message is simple, go out in the real world, find a problem and solve it. The execution will be challenging and so will the solutions, but this will almost certainly result in powerful, meaningful and relevant learning experiences for everyone involved.

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