by Tina Holmboe 29th of November 2009 (archive)

Despite claims to the contrary, humans fascinate me. It is their ability to tune out sounds that disagree with them which might interest me the most.

One example is a comment published in Swedish newspaper «Expressen» on the 24th of November. Journalist Johannes Forssberg draw parallells between the Swedish schools and Chinese ones — the latter because a politician, Jan Bj√∂rklund, thinks the former should be just like it.

Less fluff, more drills. Less focus on creativity, more focus on basic knowledge of math and so forth. Swedish schools have, quite naturally, evolved to where they attempt to teach both the answers to existing questions, as well as the ability to ask new ones.

For anyone trying to hire people, in particular perhaps in the IT industry, the latter is an invaluable skill. It takes little effort to see that an ability to adapt multiplication algorithms to numbers one has not gotten drilled into one’s head is far more useful than having a fixed set of tables learnt.

Something the Chinese school system has acknowledged, and which have set them onto a course making /their/ schools a little bit more like the /Swedish/ schools.

A little bit of irony there. The fun part begins in the comments section, however. This is where normal Swedes get to say their bit about the topic and the article. And they do — thirty so far, and most to the tune of «We must get rid of all this fluff! Just look at the Chinese schools!».

The ones introducing what you call «fluff» you mean?

Curious. It would appear that the proponents of the disciplined school system has not, themselves, had the discipline to actually /read/ the article before they comment ’pon it. Or is it just that the things in that article are disagreeable to their already formed, and set, opinions and so they tune them out?

Perhaps the Swedish school system /do/ fail in their task of creating independent, inquisitive, and above all rational adults.