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Mawrtyr2008's picture

Unconscious Education

            I’d like to go back to Natsu’s comment about learning new languages.  I worked in Paul’s lab this summer with Ian, and we spent a lot of time examining current education systems and brainstorming about educational reform. An often cited example about education, one that is totally relevant to a discussion about consciousness, is language acquisition.  When you take a step back and think about it, learning language of any kind, let alone two or three, is a daunting task, especially when you look at who primarily does the learning… kids.  Isn’t it interesting that we debate whether young children are conscious, and they can still learn language?  Perhaps there’s something here… Out of all the time children spend learning language, a very small portion of it is conscious education (doing workbooks, being forced to read a book by a teacher, practicing grammar exercises) and yet they still learn language!  Most of that time is spent learning language unconsciously, being educated inductively.

            There’s quite a bit of evidence besides the language example (though I think that’s the most interesting one) that suggest that great things can be produced unconsciously.  I think the word “unconscious” sounds…. passive?, stupid?, lazy?, undesirable? inauthentic?.... so in keeping with many of my other posts, I think the meaning of this word, all the cultural baggage it carries, needs to be changed. That, in sum, is why I think this is a great topic for inquiry and an area of research that I’d be eager to read more about.



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