Thursday, November 24, 2005

Brainiest Kid or Biggest Repository of Superficial Knowledge?

There's this tv quiz show "Australia's Brainiest Kid". It's for schoolkids in their early teens, and they pitch it as being about braininess or intelligence, but its really about 'general knowledge', which really means superficial knowedge of facts.

It may be 'just a tv show' but do we really need more things reinforcing this confusion of general knowledge for intelligence? It's a confusion that seems pretty common in our community, and also entrenched in a lot of ways in our education systems -- both to quite negative effects, I think.

The sort of knowledge that's important is more universal and deeper, including such things as principles and details of how systems work. Facts play a part in such knowledge, but it's mostly peripheral. They're required in learning the deeper knowledge, and you'll know them as a result of knowing that deeper knowledge.

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