A perfect analogy

Bringing the six virtues to learning situations improves education just like burning more calories than are consumed reduces weight. The analogy holds in two ways:

  1. Both desired outcomes occur when a person does what the facts require. Weight is lost when more calories are burned than consumed. It is a biological fact. Academic learning occurs when teachers and students demonstrate the six virtues. It is an academic fact because the the six virtues define the educated person. (If you say they don’t, you have to name a virtue that is NOT a combination of these six.)
  2. No matter what else people do, the desired outcome will not be achieved, if a person fails to do what the facts require. They can try to lose weight without burning more calories than consumed, or they can try to improve learning without bringing the six virtues to the situation; but neither will happen.

But those who sell weight loss and “improve learning” training and supplies ignore both #1 and #2. Their messages are the same in what they say and in what they don’t say. They say, “Lose weight or improve learning by purchasing our training and supplies.” They never say, “Burn more calories than you consume;” or “Bring the six virtues to learning situations.”

Americans spend an enormous amount of money trying to (1) lose weight and (2) improve learning. We are usually unable to do either because it is difficult to both burn more calories than you consume and demonstrate the six virtues. The first is difficult because of the food we eat and our sedentary life style. The second is difficult because public school teachers model and teach three virtues (understanding, strong character, and generosity) and three vices (intellectual incompetence, fear of truth and pride) they were taught in public schools.

Therefore, we yearn for ways to lose weight and improve learning by purchasing something, rather than by changing our behavior. Advertisers and sellers satisfy this yearning. Today’s profits are huge from “weight loss” and “improve learning” scams, which is a third way these two ideas are analogous.

The following list of Education Week white papers illustrates how far American educators go to ignore the six virtues as they try to improve learning:

Improving Student Outcomes with Advanced Analytics

Streaming Improves Parent Engagement

Great Books Programs: The Cure for the Common Core

Educators, Data & Decision Making.

Data-Driven Goals: A Solution to Personalize Education

Most Effective Way to Transition to the Common Core

Best Practices in Information Management, Reporting and Analytics for Education

Leadership Strategies: Effective Tech Integration

New Research Report on K-12 Mobile Tech Adoption

How Districts Use Data to Drive Proactive Decisions: Benefits and Best Practices for Creating a Data-Rich Culture

None of these white papers say, “Bring U, I, S, C, H & G to learning situations;” just like no weight loss advertisements say, “Burn more calories than you consume.” Now you know why.

 

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