Why people are stupid… and how becoming an informed citizen can help

This week in CEP812, we were introduced to James Paul Gee’s book The Anti-Education Era to help us understand why people are “stupid”. Building on last week’s exploration of problem types, we thought about what limitations exist that prevent us from solving big, complex problems smartly. What stood out to me the most in Gee’s text was the idea of humans developing what he calls a “mental bush consciousness” in which we only gather the knowledge which we feel we will actually use (Gee, 2013, p. 138). If knowledge doesn’t seem to affect us personally, or if we cannot figure out when in the near future we will use it, then why bother learning it? My response to Gee’s text goes into more detail behind the origin of this “mental bush consciousness”, and how I am helping my students to have a more modern mindset by becoming informed citizens in the classroom. Once we realize the importance of knowledge acquisition, we will become more informed citizens and be able to solve big, complex problems smartly. Any comments or questions on my response are appreciated. Happy reading!

7006934854_bbd4ed3552_n

The first step in solving big, complex problems smartly is to become informed. Learn about what is happening around the world, and you will begin to see a solution in sight.

[photo credit: Sackton, Tim. (6 May 2012). Don’t Forget the Passports [photo]. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/sackton/7006934854/. ]

Reference

Gee, James Paul. (2013). The Anti-Education Era. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press

LLC (Palgrave Macmillan).

Sackton, Tim. (6 May 2012). Don’t Forget the Passports [photo]. Retrieved

from https://www.flickr.com/photos/sackton/7006934854/.

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3 thoughts on “Why people are stupid… and how becoming an informed citizen can help

  1. Whitney-
    As I was reading Chapter 15, I underlined the exact quotes you used in your paper, and I remember nodding my head a lot as I was reading it. You do a great job of summing up what he has to say, and it connects to what I chose to write about–students having to care in order to problem solve. Teaching high schoolers, I struggle to establish relevance because some of them are “too cool for school” or are not going on to college. Do you have students who do not respond to your lesson on being informed? What do you do if they do not see that world problems affect them? I’m curious now to read what Gee would suggest we do for those students who evade knowledge and do not seem to care.

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  2. I’ve found that my students are more mature than they seem, and they are at that age where they don’t worry about being seen as uncool for caring about something. I used to do these things called “sharing circles” last year where we could dig deep into social issues and the kids really felt they had a voice – and that was with second graders! They just seem totally willing to share when they see someone their age sharing before them.

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