Jeff Utecht says that in
America (as opposed to China):

[W]e focus on getting students to think different, we encourage them to
think, to analyze, to question their findings. We teach them to learn on their

Do we, Jeff? Or do we just benefit from our country’s overall openness
compared to China? ‘Cause I gotta tell you, I don’t see a lot of explicit
instruction here in American schools regarding how to learn on your
, at least not using present-day information and communication
technologies (which, of course, are what people need to master to be effective
learners in this century). And I don’t see a lot of encouragement of students
to really think, to critically dissect and analyze information that’s
meaningful and important (as opposed to better regurgitating
factual-procedural knowledge
or doing what we say more often). And
I see few opportunities for children to engage in discovery learning
opportunities where they might actually have findings that are interesting and
worth questioning (as opposed to the controlled and often contrived
‘experiments’ that accompany publishers’ science curricula).

I’m fairly certain that Postman & Weingartner’s quote from Teaching
as a Subversive Activity
is as applicable now as it was in 1969:

What students do in the classroom is what they learn (as Dewey would say) . .
. Now, what is it that students do in the classroom? Well, mostly, they
sit and listen to the teacher. . . . Mostly, they are required to
remember. . . . It is practically unheard of for students to play any
role in determining what problems are worth studying or what procedures of
inquiry ought to be used. . . . Here is the point: Once you have learned how
to ask questions – relevant and appropriate and substantial questions – you have
learned how to learn and no one can keep you from learning whatever you want or
need to know
. . . [However,] what students are restricted to (solely and
even vengefully) is the process of memorizing . . . somebody else’s answers to
somebody else’s questions. It is staggering to consider the implications of this
fact. The most important intellectual ability man has yet developed – the art
and science of asking questions – is not taught in school! Moreover, it is
not “taught” in the most devastating way possible: by arranging the
environment so that significant question asking is not valued. It is doubtful if
you can think of many schools that include question-asking, or methods of
inquiry, as part of their curriculum.

I agree with the general theme of your post, Jeff, but so far I disagree with you on this issue. I think that whatever advantages America may
enjoy over China regarding critical thinking, creativity, innovation, and the
like might be occurring despite our schools, not because of

Thoughts, anyone else?