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jerryking : rigour   5

John Stuart Mill Showed Democracy as a Way of Life - The New York Times
David Brooks JAN. 15, 2018

John Stuart Mill demonstrated that democratic citizenship is a way of life, a moral stance and a humanistic adventure.....Mill is famous for his celebration of individual liberty. But he was not an “anything goes” nihilist. He was not a mellow “You do you and I’ll be me” relativist.

In the first place, he demanded constant arduous self-improvement. In his outstanding biography, Richard Reeves points out that in “On Liberty,” Mill used the words “energy,” “active” and “vital” nearly as many times as he used the word “freedom.” Freedom for him was a means, not an end. The end is moral excellence. Mill believed that all of us “are under a moral obligation to seek the improvement of our moral character.”

“At the heart of his liberalism,” Reeves writes, “was a clearly and repeatedly articulated vision of a flourishing human life — self-improving, passionate, truth-seeking, engaged and colorful.”.... staged a lifelong gentle revolt against his father’s shallow intellectual utilitarianism.

Having been raised in this way and, as an adult, living in Victorian England, what he hated most was narrowness, conformity, the crushing of individuals under the weight of peer pressure, government power or public opinion.....Mill cures us from the weakness of our age — the belief that we can achieve democracy on the cheap; the belief that all we have to do to fulfill our democratic duties is be nice, vote occasionally and have opinions. Mill showed that real citizenship is a life-transforming vocation. It involves, at base, cultivating the ability to discern good from evil, developing the intellectual virtues required to separate the rigorous from the sloppy, living an adventurous life so that you are rooting yourself among and serving those who are completely unlike yourself.

The demands of democracy are clear — the elevation and transformation of your very self. If you are not transformed, you’re just skating by.
David_Brooks  democracy  Victorian  values  engaged_citizenry  arduous  critical_thinking  tough-mindedness  rigour  discomforts  struggles  history  op-ed  profile  philosophy  utilitarianism  liberal  political_theory  John_Stuart_Mill  self-improvement  19th_century  liberalism  indivualized  self-actualization  individual_choice  autonomy  intellectually_rigorous 
january 2018 by jerryking
Good Schools Aren’t the Secret to Israel’s High-Tech Boom - WSJ
March 20, 2017

Israel’s shadow education system has three components. The first is our heritage of debate—it’s in the Jewish DNA. For generations Jews have studied the Talmud, our legal codex, in a way vastly different from what goes on in a standard classroom. Instead of listening to a lecture, the meaning of complex texts is debated by students in hevruta—pairs—with a teacher offering occasional guidance.

Unlike quiet Western libraries, the Jewish beit midrash—house of study—is a buzzing beehive of learning. Since the Talmud is one of the most complex legal codes ever gathered, the idea of a verdict is almost irrelevant to those studying. Students engage in debate for the sake of debate. They analyze issues from all directions, finding different solutions. Multiple answers to a single question are common. Like the Talmud itself—which isn’t the written law but a gathering of protocols—the learning process, not the result, is valued.

The second component of our shadow education system is the peer-teaches-peer model of Jewish youth organizations, membership-based groups that we call “movements.” Teenagers work closely with younger children; they lead groups on excursions and hikes, develop informal curricula, and are responsible for those in their care. As an 11th-grade student, I took fifth-graders on an overnight hike in the mountains. Being given responsibilities at a young age helped shape me into who I am today.

The third component is the army.
Israel  ksfs  education  high_schools  schools  Jewish  Talmud  protocols  Judaism  books  religion  coming-of-age  technology  science_&_technology  venture_capital  innovation  human_capital  capitalization  struggles  convictions  tough-mindedness  rigour  discomforts  cultural_values  arduous 
march 2017 by jerryking
Seven characteristics of great education systems
Sep. 02 2013 | The Globe and Mail | Editorials.
"Smartest Kids in the World"
* Mathematics is vital. Math is even more important than we knew. Math skills correlate highly with future income, and with academic success, research shows.
* Teachers should be highly prized. It should be difficult to become a teacher, and the job should be socially prestigious. Students, parents and bureaucrats respect teachers, because they know how hard it is to become one.
* Classroom technology is a waste of money. There’s no indication that fancy pedagogical doodads such as electronic whiteboards and tablets have a tangible effect on student performance.
* School should be about school. Rigour is key, and standards must be high.
* Extra help is widely available.
* Critical thinking is emphasized.
* No system is perfect. There are union squabbles, dissatisfied parents, policy shortcomings and rampant inefficiencies in even the highest-performing education systems.
books  education  howto  editorials  high_schools  ksfs  Finland  rigour  teachers  inefficiencies  mathematics  prestige 
september 2013 by jerryking
Women, Welch Clash at Forum
May 4, 2012 | WSJ | By JOHN BUSSEY.

He had this advice for women who want to get ahead: Grab tough assignments to prove yourself, get line experience, and embrace serious performance reviews and the coaching inherent in them.

"Without a rigorous appraisal system, without you knowing where you stand...and how you can improve, none of these 'help' programs that were up there are going to be worth much to you," he said. Mr. Welch said later that the appraisal "is the best way to attack bias" because the facts go into the document, which both parties have to sign.
Jack_Welch  GE  work_life_balance  rigour  gender_gap  movingonup  executive_management  performance  performance_reviews 
may 2012 by jerryking
The Arduous Community - NYTimes.com
December 20, 2010 | NYT | By DAVID BROOKS.
Erica Brown leads Torah study groups and teaches adult education classes
in Jewish thought....Brown has what many people are looking for these
days. In the first place, she has conviction. For her, Judaism isn’t a
punch line or a source of neuroticism; it’s a path to self-confident and
superior living....In her classes and groups, she tries to create
arduous countercultural communities. “We live in a relativistic
culture,” she told me. Many people have no firm categories to organize
their thinking. They find it hard to give a straight yes or no answer to
tough moral questions. When they go in search of answers, they
generally find people who offer them comfort and ways to ease their
anxiety.

Brown tries to do the opposite. Jewish learning, she says, isn’t about
achieving tranquility. It’s about the struggle. “I try to make people
uncomfortable.”
Judaism  education  tough_love  David_Brooks  community_builders  convictions  tough-mindedness  rigour  discomforts  struggles  self-confidence  candour  arduous  counterculture 
december 2010 by jerryking

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