Sunday, June 24, 2012


(Two sides of the same coin)

Mathematics, like poetry,
half-conceals truths
so abstract that,
were they made explicit,
the very substance of the universe
would burn.

You must learn what they
can express
to understand
what they can't.
 Lauren (aka SilverInkblot) of Autumn Brontide has been writing poetry in a series she calls "A Poetic Education". (The poemish thing above is part of my attempt at a response.)  My favourite so far is Half. The series is, I think, an interesting exploration of learning and schooling and education and how the three get tangled up together or end up (very sadly) excluding each other. I muddled around what she'd written a little, and she responded and expanded on her thoughts here. In consequence, I am thinking about education.

I read a few blogs about homeschooling, higher education and occasionally both. They're interesting, but I don't often do anything about them. I'm not a homeschooler. I'm not  a university professor. I guess I do a little bit of TA-ish work, but I've yet to discover a blog about those sorts of things! Despite that, I think it's worth reading those blogs.

Partly, they're just interesting. If something's interesting, I like to learn more about it. (Perhaps this is because I'm lucky in having received an education that by and large nurtured my love of learning, rather than crushing it.) Partly, I think they're useful even when I don't immediately act on them. Becoming aware of how education and learning work means that if I do end up making a decision about them, I have data to work with. And I'm sure I make minute day-to-day choices slightly differently when I make them against a broader background.

That is, I think awareness makes a difference and I think that an education -- even an education on education -- has to be built up over time. Which is why I think that saying something about it will almost always be better than saying nothing, even if the something has to be accompanied by and admission that it's a long way from being everything. I don't think the difficulties education has to overcome can go away overnight. But by engaging with them and thinking about them, we make change possible.


  1. The real problem with me and learning is everything is so damn interesting XD

    I was actually on the road to a career in education; right up until I took my first education class. Everything about it just... fell completely flat for me. Or maybe I was just holding the people educating about education to a higher standard than usual. But probably not, because the teacher I have now makes me wish I had stuck with it, if only so I'd have more excuse to sign up for his classes.

    1. Ah, that's a problem I know! Notice the physics student rambling on about poetry and education. :D Picking classes and majors is a horrible thing, but you sound like you've found gold in your current prof!