It's possible the future of education will look quite a bit like education of the past. We aren't teaching people very well, and I'm not certain we are following the best leads fast enough to fix problems mass education has induced.

How did people learn, before? Mostly, they learned by seeing someone do useful work, and then doing it themselves. The notion of grades (cohorts of skill or standard evaluations) or prerequisites or educational foundations might be complete nonsense. It sort of makes sense for math, but I strongly suspect that getting students used to truly original theory work early, pushing them to imagine and then generalize solutions instead of merely proving lemmas, does more for their mathematics than all example problems past number 3. Do the work of math – the frustrating, sometimes creative, ponderous work – not just the labor. And that might be the best case scenario for the current structure of schools.

People also used to learn a lot through stories and humiliation. Tradition says we do something a certain way. When you deviate, the costs are made extremely visible to you. You know the way things are supposed to be, so you can drive those grooves in your mind until you are competent and have seen enough to mark your own, newer grooves to explore.

It goes without saying that, modern schools are hives of vicious humiliation, almost entirely petty, it's just none of that effort is done by the educators, providing an uniquely destructive atmosphere.

People learn by having trust placed in them, responsibilities and promises they make to others, knowing it is difficult to overcome the burden of a reputation for carelessness, and impossible to completely extinguish the memories of a failure.

I've seen a great deal of people lecture at each other. I'm less sure that's a useful way of learning. I've lamented for a long time that wisdom is ice on the flat, unyielding iron of a mind. If you press, it will just slide across faster.

Of course, it raises the question of why would I write a blog. Partly, because even this is something of a story. A memory that someone else felt the same way, felt certain things were important. A reminder that ideas you don't often hear may be extremely common, so long as they aren't the type of thing people share.