Education Leads to Immaturity cont'd

Earlier in "Education Leads to Immaturity", I commented briefly on Charlton's hypothesis that people are becoming more immature. I'd have to read the study to see how Charlton came to these conclusions. Still, in some ways, this relationship makes sense. Maturity is closely tied to responsibility. And as long as one is in school, responsibility is at a minimum for several reasons. One is that students are not stakeholders in their education: They have no, or little, voice in how their education should proceed. Another reason is that they have no, or little, direct feedback on how their education will contribute to their future interests, careers, and lives. (For student voice, see Listening to Students and for the value of feedback, see Flow, Games, and Learning. And somewhat related, download Maehr & McInerney's book chapter, Motivation as Personal Investment.)

I imagine one thing that would help would be to have students share responsibility in the governance of classes and schools, and in the direction and nature of their learning, along with graduates (from recent to not-so-recent) serving as ex-officio members to provide feedback as to the consequences (successes and failures) of their education preparing them for their careers.

As I continue to think about this, it doesn't seem so odd that the level of education correlates with immaturity. What does seem odd is that schools do not have curricula that help students become responsible and mature. What seems unlikely is that schools will redesign their curricula accordingly as long as they remain overfocused on testing. Unless, of course, they can test maturity, too. What seems likely is that NCLB's testing mania results from "highly educated" politicians, acting outside of their areas of competence, being "unbalanced in priorities, and tending to overreact.” Interestingly, "highly educated" educators who are supposedly acting within their areas of competence apparently also have unbalanced priorities on testing. Perhaps, we're back to "Emotion Overrules Reason". Or perhaps what Charlton has come across is a variation on "Experts predict no better than non-experts":

The experts’ trouble in Tetlock’s study is exactly the trouble that all human beings have: we fall in love with our hunches, and we really, really hate to be wrong.

And hating to be wrong, many continue to love the road of testing what can easily be counted rather than measuring what counts.

The article on Charlton's hypothesis also stated:

A “child-like flexibility of attitudes, behaviors and knowledge” is probably adaptive to the increased instability of the modern world, Charlton believes. Formal education now extends well past physical maturity, leaving students with minds that are, he said, “unfinished.”

Actually, I don't mind being unfinished as long as I have the flexibility to keep learning.