Patric A. Parker sent the following letter (response sent from redirected to Web page).

On the new theory of learning:

Your "rant" shows that you are a genius [aside: always flatter the professor], but the theory begs an essential question: how can the formal education process install the issue (like the real life problem of a difficult co-worker) that stimulates the desire to learn? The idea of backward learning is dead on point. When in a real life problem, the desire or need to research (learn?) solutions is worlds different than obeying an assignment.

But the world and the need to make a living is too complicated to suggest jumping into "real" life work without extensive training and learning backwards when a real problem comes to you. Sure, life-long learning is the way of the future. But the hormone filled 18 year olds need some education/training to put them into a position to get to the real experience/problems that should further stimulate "backward learning". How to instill the best base possible through old fachioned formal education is the issue that I (humbly) believe you beg.

Response from Tom M.

Thanks Patrick? or is it Patricia? or just Patric?

I don't think I begged the issue. But I did only only allude to it briefly in my sentence about colleges being full of people who don't belong there. Sure, the need to make a living does lead us to believe that we should "train" people in advance of any knowledge regarding what they should be trained at or in. That fallacy is what has led us to so-called "formal education." But in my opinion, it's wrong. Under the current system, college students waste some very valuable resources and lots of very precious time pretending to be preparing for life and developing a profession. Could they not spend those four years doing something productive AND at the same time, learning what they're really interested in or good at. Then, they could attend some form of New Theory-- backward learning "institute" (which would be very different from the current educational system.). Under such a system, everyone who was "enrolled" in some kind of learning experience would WANT to be doing it. All professors would have to throw away their lecture notes and get down and dirty. Many academics (most?) would fail at this, and an entirely new system would evolve. The industrial world would have to merge with the academic world, instead of being two separate--and as it is now--mostly unrelated worlds. Let me know what you think. And thanks for the comments.

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