30 July 2010

Being Comfortable with Knowledge

One of my interests is exploring the meaning of a good education. I am a person who has a poor memory, so I am not very good at sitting examinations. I am also quite anxious in test situations.

Formal education has not been something particularly enjoyable for me, probably because I have always desired relevance when so much information bombards me on a daily basis.

I can sometimes feel intimidated by the views of people who appear to have more expertise in a particular area of knowledge, especially if those people belittle my comparative ignorance. I like learning, at least when my interest is sparked. But what is it that I need to know to lead a better life and be a better leader?

As most readers of my blogs only know me as "Via", they are probably unaware of the leadership roles I play in society.

I am the sort of leader who likes to question meanings, seeking a sense of purpose and fair play in the activities people choose to fulfill or ignore. I frequently like to stand back from situations and look at them from the "outside". And I find it useful to think of good leaders as those who respect the time people give to useful tasks, however mundane.

On my Blogger profile, you will find that several of my interests have a scientific basis, and that many of those interests are related to human health. I am not a health professional, however. I am just an ordinary person without much knowledge of science who seeks to understand the basis of good health.

My interest in understanding various aspects of health also connects with my civic beliefs, especially those related to health policy.

I wish I knew more about science than I do. Unfortunately, my schooling did not assist the process. Science was not exciting and beautiful in the way it was taught to me. I wish it had been. Fortunately, I have discovered in recent years a more interesting way to engage people like me in science and that is through its history.

I find the scientific revolution a fascinating topic, perhaps because I find history fascinating. I like learning about the lives of people like Nicolaus Copernicus. I like learning about the way women became more interested in science as time went on.

But what does science mean to you? Why is science literacy important?

Here is an article about science education in Australia:

Science literacy at risk of extinction - ABC News

As I never particularly enjoyed school or university (as mentioned above), I cannot imagine ever wanting to be a teacher or lecturer of any sort. The question I would ask is: How can education be inspirational and enjoyable for people like me?

Are schools necessary? I am interested in self-education and distance education, especially for young people. I would probably have been far happier as a child if I had just had the opportunity to sit quietly at home with my books more frequently instead of being in a classroom:

Australia's 50-year-old virtual classroom - BBC article

Now I wish I had a larger office/study at home for all of my projects. But that is a story for another day.

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