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This lecture is about changing education, though I continue to think that what's really revolutionary about it is the animated medium in which it's delivered:


By Ezra Klein  | October 14, 2010; 1:12 PM ET
 
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I went through middle school and high school taking Ritalin, and nothing arouses my disdain more than the smug dismissiveness we see in this video. Ritalin does not "anesthetize" your emotions or turn you into a robot. It does not "calm you down." Ritalin is a stimulant, like coffee. Yes, that is counterintuitive, but it is still true.

This conception is based on what you might think a medicine for hyperactive kids would be. Like, if you lived in a world with no Ritalin, and you wrote a book about another world where people had medicine to help kids do well in school, then you would probably write that the medicine is a sedative or something that robs you of emotions, like Soma in Brave New World. But that is simply false, even though it's intuitive. It's a common falsehood, like the belief we only use 10% of our brains. And it's offensive, because it pretends that i spent my childhood as a "zombie," when actually I didn't. I went through my life much as most people do when they drink a little coffee.

I also can't stand the attitude toward standards and testing and routines expressed in this animation.

It's so easy to criticize something when your alternative is vague, untried, and rejects even the distinction of "success" or "failure." My brother went through the montessouri system, and floundered because that was "his pace." When he switched to the public school factory model, it turned out he couldn't do math at all. Now he is an engineering student. The reason he didn't do well wasn't that he had his own pace. It was that no one demanded a whole lot of him on math and there was not even a sense in which he would "know math" or "not know math." I don't know if this is typical of montessouri, however, so it is more a criticism of an attitude than a particular system.

Posted by: Lewis500 | October 14, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Love these illustrated lectures, but they obviously missed a spot where Robinson relied on his lecture slides to tell the story. The percentage of divergent thinking “geniuses” in that longitudinal study dropped to 32% and then to 10%, as a simple Google search would have revealed:

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/LeaderTalk/2009/06/creativity_index_legislation_1.html

Only 2% of adults scored as "geniuses".

Posted by: BillinChicago1 | October 14, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

that is an excellent presentation.

The map of ADHD prescriptions doesn't seem reasonable, though. The US West is not immune to ADHD prescriptions.

Here are some older (2000) statistics:
http://www.justice.gov/dea/pubs/cngrtest/ct051600.htm
I couldn't find more recent stats - where's Dylan when we need him ;-)

Posted by: DougK1 | October 15, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

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