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Annotated captions of RSA Animate - Changing Education Paradigms in English

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aviatorone 00:11
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Sir Ken Robinson-Changing Paradigms

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Every country on earth at the moment is reforming public education.

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There are two reasons for it.

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The first one is economic.

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People are trying to work out

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"How do we educate our children to take

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their place in the economies of the 21st century.

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How do we do that?"

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Even though we can't anticipate what the economy will look like at the end of next week.

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as the recent turmoil is demonstrating

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How do you do that?

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The second though is cultural.

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Every country on earth is trying to figure out

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how do we educate our children so they have a sense of cultural identity

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and so that we can pass on the cultural genes of our communities.

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while being part of the process globalization. How do we square that circle?

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The problem is they are trying to meet the future by doing what they did in the past.

ferchuse 01:05
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And on the way they are alienating millions of kids who don't see any purpose in going to school.

aviatorone 01:10
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When we went to school

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we were kept there with the story, which is if you worked hard and did well

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and got a college degree you'd have a job.

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Our kids don't believe that,

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and they are right not to by the way.

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You are better having a degree than not, but it's not a guarantee anymore.

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And particularly not if the route to it marginalises most of the things

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that you think are important about yourself.

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And people say we have to raise standards as if this is a breakthrough.

aviatorone 01:34
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You know. Really? Yes. We should. Why would you lower them,

aviatorone 01:39
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you know. [chuckles] tell me, I.. I haven't come across the odd one that persuaded me of lowering them.

aviatorone 01:43
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But raising them, of course we should raise them.

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The problem is that the current system of education was designed and conceived and structured

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for a different age.

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It was conceived in the intellectual culture of the Enlightenment,

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and in the economic circumstances of the Industrial Revolution.

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Before the middle of the 19th Century, there were no systems of public education.

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Not really, I mean, you could get educated at [inaudible] Jesuit's if you had the money.

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But public education, paid for from taxation,

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compulsory to everybody, and free at the point of delivery - that was a revolutionary idea.

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And many people objected to it. They said it's not possible

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for many street kids, working class children to benefit from public education.

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They're incapable of learning to read and write, why are we spending time on this?

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So there's also built into [there] the whole series of assumptions about social structuring capacity.

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And it was driven by an economic imperative of the time,

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but running right through it was an intellectual model of the mind,

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which was essentially the Enlightenment view of intelligence -

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that real intelligence consists in the capacity for certain type of deductive reasoning

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and the knowledge of the classics [originate] -

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what we'd come to think of as academic ability.

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And this is deep in the gene pool of public education

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that there are already two types of people: academic and non-academic.

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Smart people and non-smart people.

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And the consequence of that is that many brilliant people think they're not

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because they're being judged against this particular view of the mind.

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So we have twin pillars: economic and intellectual.

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And my view is that this model has caused chaos

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in many people's lives.

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It's been great for some.-

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There have been people benefiting wonderfully from it.

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But most people have not.

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Instead they suffered this.

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This is the modern epidemic, and it's as misplaced as fictitious.

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This is the plague of ADHD.

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Now this is a map of the instance of ADHD in America.

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Or prescriptions for ADHD.

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Don't mistake me I don't mean to say there is no such thing as attention deficit disorder.

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I'm not qualified to say if there isn't such a thing.

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I know that a great majority of psychologists and paediatricians think there's such a thing.

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- but it's still a matter of debate.

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What I do know for a fact is it's not an epidemic.

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These kids of being medicated as routinely as we have our tonsils taken out.

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And on the same whimsical basis and for the same reason medical fashion.

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Our children are living in the most intensely stimulating period in the history of the earth.

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They are being besieged with information and parse their attention

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from every platform, computers, from iPhones, from advertising holdings from hundreds of television channels.

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And we are penalizing them for getting distracted.

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From what? Boring stuff. At school for the most part

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It seems to me not a conscience totally

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that the instance of ADHD has risen in parallel with the growth of standardized testing.

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And these kids are being given Ritalin and Adderall and all manner of things.

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Often quite dangerous drugs to get them focused and calm them down.

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But according to this attention deficit disorder increases as you travel east across the country.

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People start losing interest in Oklahoma.

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(laughs)

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They can hardly think straight in Arkansas.

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And by the time they get to Washington they've lost it completely.

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(laughs)

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And there are separate reasons for that, I believe.

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It's a fictitious epidemic.

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If you think of it, the Arts - and I don't say this is exclusively the Arts,

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I think it's also true of Science and of Maths.

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I say about the Arts particularly because they are the victims of this mentality currently.

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Particularly.

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The Arts especially address the idea of Aesthetic experience.

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An aesthetic experience is one in which your senses are operating at their peak.

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When you're present in the current moment.

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When you are resonating with the excitement of this thing that you're experiencing.

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When you are fully alive.

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And anaesthetic is when you shut your senses off,

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and deaden yourself what's happening.

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And a lot of these drugs are that.

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We're getting our children through education by anaesthetising them.

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And I think we should be doing the exact opposite. We shouldn't be putting them asleep, we should be waking them up,

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to what they have inside of themselves.

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But the model we have is this.

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It's I believe we have a system of education which is modelled on the interest of industrialism.

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and in the image of it. I'll give you a couple examples.

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Schools are still pretty much organised on factory lines.

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On ringing bells, separate facilities,

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specialised into separate subjects.

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We still educate children by batches.

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You know, we put them through the system by age group. Why do we do that?

aviatorone 07:01
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You know, why is there this assumption that the most important thing kids have in common is how old they are.

aviatorone 07:06
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You know, it's like the most important thing about them is their date of manufacture.

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Well I know kids who are much better than other kids at the same age in different disciplines.

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You know, or at different times of the day,

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or better in smaller groups than in large groups or sometimes they want to be on their own.

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If you are interested in the model of learning you don't start from this production line mentality.

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This is essentially about conformity. Increasingly it's about that

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as you look at the growth of standardised testing and standardised curricula.

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and it's about standardisation.

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I believe we've got go in the exact opposite direction.

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That's what I mean about changing the paradigm.

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There is a great study done recently on divergent thinking

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- Published a couple years ago. Divergent thinking isn't the same thing as creativity.

aviatorone 07:48
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I define creativity as the process of having original ideas which have value.

aviatorone 07:53
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Divergent thinking isn't a synonym, but it's an essential capacity for creativity.

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It's the ability to see lots of possible answers to a question.

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Lots of possible ways of interpreting a question.

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To think, what Edward de Bono publicly called laterally.

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To think not just in linear or convergent ways.

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To see multiple answers and not one.

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So I made up a test for this. I mean one called the cod example would be people might be asked to say:

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How many uses can you think of for a paper clip?

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Follows routine questions.

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Most people might come with 10 or 15.

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People who are good at this might come with 200.

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And they do that by saying. Well, could the paper clip be 200 foot tall and be made of foam rubber?

aviatorone 08:38
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You know... like does it have to be a paper clip as we know it, Jim?

aviatorone 08:42
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The test is this. They gave them to 1500 people in a book called Breakpoint and Beyond.

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And on the protocol of the test if you scored above a certain level,

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you'd be considered to be a genius of divergent thinking.

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So my question to you is: what percentage of the people tested of the 1500

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scored genius level for divergent thinking?

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I need to know one more thing about them.

aviatorone 09:07
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These were kindergarten children.... So what do you think?

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What percentage of genius level? -80

ferchuse 09:15
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80, OK? 98%

aviatorone 09:17
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Now the thing about this was a longitudinal study.

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So they retested the same children five years later,

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ages of 8-10. What do you think? -50?

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They retested them again 5 years later, ages 13-15.

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You can see a trend here coming.

ferchuse 09:39
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Now, this tells a interesting story.

aviatorone 09:42
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Because you could've imagined they're going the other way. Could you?

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You start off not being very good but you get better as you get older.

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But this shows 2 things: One is we all have this capacity

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and Two: It mostly deteriorates.

aviatorone 09:56
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Now a lot have happened to these kids as they grown up, a lot.

aviatorone 10:00
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But one of the most important things happened that I'm convinced is that by now they've become educated.

ferchuse 10:05
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They spend 10 years in school being told there is one answer, it's at the back, and don't look.

ferchuse 10:11
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And don't copy because that's cheating.

aviatorone 10:15
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I mean outside school that's called collaboration but, inside schools.

ferchuse 10:20
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This isn't because teachers wanted this way it's just because it happens that way.

aviatorone 10:24
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It's because it's in the gene pool of education.

aviatorone 10:29
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We have to think different about human capacity.

ferchuse 10:32
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We have to get over this old conception of academic, non academic.

aviatorone 10:36
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Abstract, theoretical, vocational and see it for what it is: a Myth.

ferchuse 10:44
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Second, we have to recognize most great learning happens in groups.

ferchuse 10:47
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That collaboration is the stuff of growth.

aviatorone 10:50
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If we atomize people and separate them a judge them separately,

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we form a kind of disjunction between them and their natural learning environment.

ferchuse 10:59
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And thirdly, it's crucially about the culture of our institutions.

ferchuse 11:03
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The habits of institutions and the habitats that they occupy.