My first bike arrived on my seventh birthday. It was red, a bit too large and familiar. My Dad put on new tires and a rack on a bike a neighbor had grown out of making it nearly new in my eyes. As if that mattered - it was now mine and a bike spelled freedom. Learning to ride it endangered a few posts and trees over the course of a few days, but finally balance and steering sorted out and my world expanded.
I was lucky. My parents were very busy and, as long as my chores and homework were under control, I could do nearly anything as long as I didn't injure anyone else or myself (at least not too badly). They allowed me to focus on my interests. We went through our share of first aid supplies and there were some broken bones along the way, but I still have all of my fingers and toes and a reasonable amount of my hearing.
I've seen kids ride bikes with training wheels for months learning poor habits that need to be unlearned when the wheels come off. The same may hold for education. Science and math are sometimes considered hard and are watered down. Proficiency is measured by rote memory or by the ability to plug numbers into memorized formula that are only remembered for the test. No real education occurs. Too much caution and protection...
I could ramble on for a long time - heaven knows I've spent hours on these subjects with a few of you = but I'll keep it short and link two items.
First is a teaching review of a close friend. Bjarne spent a few years in academia recently and agreed to teach a CS 101 level class. I wasn't suprised that he turned out to be an excellent teacher. Here's one of the reviews. It is worth reading even if you don't know anything about the subject. What comes through is excellent technique along with respect for the student. I'm familiar with how he worked out some of his lesson plans - hours and hours of thought.
The second link is wonderful. An episode from npr's new Invisibilia podcast - How to become batman. Listen to the full show - trust me. Training wheels, expectation, and human potential.
It doesn't get simpler. Fantastic for watching a blizzard. There are any number of variations
° 2 cups raw almonds with skin
° 1 tbl olive oil
° 1 tbl chopped rosemary
° some garlic powder
° 1 tsp sea salt
° oven to 350°F
° mix the ingredients in a blow and spread out on a tray
° bake 15 to 20 minutes
° cool to room temperature and see how many people eat