Monthly Archives: February 2017

The “Conceptual Framework” of Modern Education

The conceptual framework of modern education is misleading and unhelpful to students. It now seems more prominent than ever, the idea of “being good at school”. It has taken over the lives of students since we entered into the system. We’ve been spoon fed by our teachers and professors. Page limits, word counts, exact specifications. We’re taught how to do things “the right way”. We crumble when we are simply told to “do”. The simple task of reading a document and writing a reflection ignites a wave of anxiety among students. Where’s the rubric? How long should it be? What should I write about? What should me thoughts be? We are so used to being provided with the answers to all of these questions, so used to being told exactly what to do and how to do it. We have lost our ability to think, learn and create.

The classes in which I have learned the most are the ones where I am left to my own devices. These types of courses give me the opportunity to think critically, to conquer the moment of panic that accompanies vague assignment descriptions. When I am left to think, I am also given the opportunity to fail, which I think is incredibly important for my formation as a student and as a person. The problem with the conceptual framework of modern education is that students are rarely given an opportunity to fail. Teachers are afraid to let their students fail, and students are afraid to fail. Students don’t work to create or to learn, they work for the A. They work to avoid failure. They study the ins and outs of grading for each professor, memorize their favorite writing styles, and fill their work with fluff. We complete assignments by checking off items on a checklist, not by using our brain power. What kind of learning is that? We aren’t learning from each other, we’re learning through a manual. We sit, absorb, and regurgitate.

So what can be done to fix the conceptual framework of modern education? Let the students fail. Give students the opportunity to think wildly, create fervently, and learn constantly.

The Fatal Flaw of Rational Expectations

While I believe that expectations are important to include in economic analysis, the belief that people and the economy are rational in tandem is fundamentally flawed. The mathematization of people’s decision making processes is flawed. The mathematization of economics is flawed. The equality between the two: flawed. I know what you’re thinking: If we don’t mathematize economics, what are we to do? How can we forecast? Where is the basis of our science? Honestly, I’m not sure. But I do know this: sometimes, people are rational. Take our class for example. All of us (with one exception) made generally rational claims about future inflation. Claims based on past inflation rates, the current economic climate: rational. But what even qualifies as a rational expectation? Is it a prediction that aligns with some complicated, all-assuming, idealistic model? Is it a prediction that matches the actual inflation, even if you just picked your guess out of a hat? How then, are we supposed to be rational agents if the quantifiers for our rationality are flawed? The economy will do as it will. Recessions happen. We will not always see them coming.