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The Great Fire Wall of China

As my regular readers know, I am writing from China these days, and have been doing so four years so far. Sometimes the blog becomes inaccessible to me, making it impossible to post regularly. In fact, starting in late September 2014, China began interfering with many Google-owned entities of which Blogspot is one. If the blog seems to go dark for a while, please know I will be back as soon as I can get in again. I am sometimes blocked for many weeks at a time. I hope to have a new post up soon if I can gain access. Thank you for your understanding and loyalty.

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Western Education has the Wrong Mindset

Science educators know full well that school textbooks lag at least a generation behind the times. Teachers who do not take the initiative to independently keep up and supplement the textbook with current information are teaching possibly out-of-date stuff. Sad to say, the vast majority of teachers teach the book, especially at the lower grades where the lifetime foundations for critical thinking are laid.

Hans Rosling, a professor of public health, in a presentation to the US State Department, marvels that the Western world is a generation behind in its understanding of the global situation, especially regarding the developing world.

My problem is that the worldview of my students corresponds to the reality in the world the year their teachers were born.

In Dr. Rosling's words, “Their mindset does not match the data set.”

We have a world that cannot be looked upon as divided.
The world is converging.

We have completely misunderstood the HIV “epidemic.”

There is no such thing as an HIV epidemic in Africa...It's not war...It's not economy...Don't make it Africa. Don't make it a race issue. Make it a local issue and do (appropriate) preventative approaches.

Dr. Rosling has made his data presentation software available for free at Gapminder.

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