Five Popular Posts Of The Month

Monday, March 18, 2019

Welcome! And don't judge the blog by its "cover", please.




What is the difference between an expert and a professional?
A professional does what is needed to be done.
An expert explains - why.  
How do people become professionals?
By accumulating professional experience.
How do people become experts?
By reflecting on accumulated professional experience.
(C) Valentin Voroshilov




 Dr. Voroshilov: from A to Z; A driven professional, an eloquent expert, a productive author, and a collaborative colleague (Professional past, present, and future)






 (c) Education Advancement Professionals consulting services.

·                The Full List Of Posts
·                Politics
·                Artificial Intelligence
·                Fundamentals of Quantum Physics 
·                Full List Of Post On Education
·                Philosophy Of Education
·                Strategies For Teaching Science

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The mission (i.e. the reason for existence) of science as a human practice is making reliable predictions.
The mission of a scientist as an agent of that practice is discovering truth and presenting it in a testable form
The mission of a teacher is fostering in students his/her love for learning. 
The mission of a science teacher is sharing with students the feeling of pleasure from thinking.
The mission of a mentor is sharing with students the feeling of pleasure from doing the right thing.
The mission of a parent is making children feeling safe, loved, and confident.
The mission of humanity is making world a better place
(C) Valentin Voroshilov
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A Master is an expert professional.

My Mentors taught me a secret of becoming a master teacher:
There are ONLY two rules for becoming a Master
1. Learn from the Masters;  
2. Never stop pushing yourself.
I also like: "In order to be able to think you have to risk being offensive" by Jordan B. Peterson, because ability to take risk is correlated with curiosity (only curious people are capable of taking risk; people who play it safe have no curiosity; only truly curios people who are not afraid of making a mistake ask "What if I'm wrong?").  
The most read post of all time (by 03/11/19)
(I) Teaching
(A) Groups
5th-graders; 6-th graders; 7-th graders; 8-th graders; 9-th graders; 10-th graders; 11-th graders; 12-th graders; 2-year college students; 4-year college students; university students; school teachers; school administrators; district administrators.
(B) Subjects
Physics for Engineers (two semesters); Elementary Physics (two semesters); algebra, geometry; trigonometry; formal logic; problem solving; group theory (discreet and continuous); methods for teaching science courses; methods for advancing individual teaching practice; managing innovations in education (initiation, implementation, growth, support, assessment, audit).
(II) Managing/Consulting
Assistant to Director of an Institute; Director of Department of computerization and information technologies; Director of Center for Development of City School system; member or a team leader of a group of consults for schools and school districts (initiation, implementation, growth, support, assessment, audit of innovations in education).
(III) Learning
graduated from schools with high GPA; participated in a wide range of extracurricular activities; developed personal approach to teaching (flipped the classroom before the approach was described in publications); published papers on various aspects of advancing education; converted publications into PhD theses and then found an adviser; moved to a country without knowing the language; learned the language; learned how to teach using foreign language; started publishing in foreign language.

Thank you for visiting,
Dr. Valentin Voroshilov


Disclaimer 
am not an idiot or a reckless person. The reason I can allow myself writing what I think, even if that is perpendicular to commonly adopted and conventional views, is that my financial situation is sufficient and stable. Of course, as a normal person, I wouldn't mind making more money, or being involved in more interesting projects (as described in my generic resume). But I do not have to pretend to be someone I'm not to make my living. I am aware of the fact that my chance to find many professionals with similar views is slim. The demand for "professional correctness" is taken to such an extreme that it has become a demand for personal conformity. I believe in telling truth. Truth is facts. Facts are science. Facts can be upsetting or encouraging, but facts cannot be offensive. I also know (and fine with that) that the chance that my writing will have a significant effect is negligible. But the butterfly effect exists, so the chance is not exactly zero.

To learn more about my professional experience:



P.S. A large portion of my ideas come to me while I am in traffic or in a swimming pool. During the day there is not often much of a time to formalize them in a fashionable way. This blog is the best I can do. Well, so far, let's wait for retirement.





(C) Education Advancement Professionals consulting services

Sunday, March 17, 2019

No sign for improving math education soon.


No sign for improving math education soon.
When browsing the Internet I accidentally stumbled upon this piece from 2018: “We Should Teach Math Like It's a Language”, By Jeannine Diddle Uzzi, the provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of Southern Maine (https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2018/05/30/we-should-teach-math-like-its-a.html).
The author makes a case that math needs to be taught in a way similar to teaching Latin. She appeals to a 2011 article, "An Apology for Latin and Math," by high school Latin teacher Cheryl Lowe.
This is where I see the problem.
The approach to study math as a language has been known for decades.
A simple search can show books (not just articles) on the matter published more than 10 years ago.
And every math teacher who wants to be good at teaching should have read at least elements from Euclid’s “The Elements”.
It starts from a “dictionary”, a.k.a. definitions.
BTW: this approach is not limited to teaching languages or math, it is the fundamental scientific approach essential for teaching any subject, or at least any STEM one (I use it when teach my physics courses, very successfully).
The fact that efficient math teaching strategies have been developed decades ago but math teachers at large still need to be introduced to the very idea of the approach, demonstrates how poor the teacher professional development has been and is – on all levels, K12 and above.
This is the actual issue that needs to be addressed.
But evidently, for decades, it hasn’t.
Hence, I see no indicators that things are going to be much better any soon.

A recent tweet on the matter:
 

What is Wrong With Socialism. Really.


What is Wrong With Socialism. Really.
(the picture is from the cover of a book by Thomas DiLorenzo, which I have not read, so have no idea if the book is any good)
The good thing is this discussion about “socialism-smoshiolism” v. “capitalism-smashiolism” eventually will help some people get a better understanding of how economy works.
The bad thing is people in both camps have no idea what they are talking about, and even worse, they have no idea how to carry a meaningful debate.
Well, that’s not really my problem (there is a specific ideology my mentors taught me to follow), but I can offer my two cents.
First, give a definition of the most important terms you use in the debate.
Don’t try to make it as exact as possible, find one core feature and state it as clear as possible.
The initial definition is never perfect, but if it is good enough, it can always get improved in the future.
And nowadays one does not even have to go to any school to learn stuff, just Google whatever you want to learn about.
So,
And,
Simple like that.
Universal Basic Income” has nothing to do with socialism, as well as “Medicare For All” (well, that would depend on its actual realization), as well as many other “socialistic”-like features American socialists and capitalists constantly debate about.
The debate “capitalism” v. socialism” is a debate about the form of ownership:
private (i.e. capitalism) v. communal (i.e. socialism).
And this is exactly what American socialists promote.
This is what I “stole” from the Twitter (thanks to @MestizoBobbyHil, the original is at @OfficialSPGB)
So, what I want to say right now, is that those idiots, and this time I really really mean it, don't understand that when property “belongs to everyone” there are always specific individuals who manage that property, and there are always specific individuals who choose those managers. In the end, it means that property that “belongs to everyone” in reality truly belongs to few people who select some few other people to manage it.
Plain and simple.
To be completely honest, all social reformers always forget that their ideas are going to be brought into practice by flesh-and-blood people. Not everyone can become the President; not everyone wants that, but everyone wants to have some bread and to watch some circus. People behave according to the Maslow hierarchy, not according to the Golden Rule.
Socialism makes a few people essentially be the owners of the “property of the people”.
Socialism, in its classical sense, is just kind of a corrupt capitalism.
But, that is not the end of the story, of course.
As many people would agree, capitalism, at least in its current form, does not really work anymore for vast majority of citizens everywhere (not just in America) – and there are objective reasons for that.
If that would not be a case, we would not be having this discussion right now; no one would even remembered this word, “socialism” – in America, at least.
However, people who framed this whole discussion as a dichotomy “only private property” versus “only common property” are just inherently stupid.
No one has ever said that a hybrid economy cannot exist.
The economic structure of a society does not have to depend on its ideology.
People (yeah, yeah, who are smart enough, educated enough, strong enough and, hopefully, honest) can design whatever economic system they want.
Thousands of years of human history offers a solid proof for that (there are no pharaohs anymore anywhere, aren’t they?).
The structure of the economic relationships has been evolving with the evolution of human society.
The structure of the economic relationships, in the end, essentially depends on what outcomes and for whom that economy delivers the most.
For any economic structure the first question to ask is who extracts the most benefits from that economy.
When the distribution of economic outcomes reaches a large disbalance – in a way that depends on historic circumstances – people change it – one way or another.
That is exactly what we all are observing right now.
The change in the economic structure of American society.
At its very very beginning.
It will take years, maybe even decades, to finish this transition.
No one can predict today what the new structure be look like.
But the old, meaning the current, economic models do not work anymore; economic “experts” are constantly wrong in their predictions.
 
Of course, I would never called people who are much more often wrong then right “experts”, but the point is, politicians need new economic models, and those models yet don’t exist, and the whole society is being shaken because of that.
Progressive politicians like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, or Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez are not offering anything new; their “model” is just old fashioned “take from the rich and give to the poor”.
The goal, the mission, the reason for existence of new politicians like Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez is to shake the system.
Nothing more, nothing less; just to make its structure loose.
And BTW, a truly smart politician would not use to describe himself/herself a term which would impede his/her political agenda.
The current progressives are not reformers; they are people who pave the path for the reformers who will come later.
The can't even sell their own ideas. For example, to promote the idea of basic income they say to people: "You are useless, but we do not want you to starve to death, so we will give you some money just because".
Unfortunately, until then the economic well-being of the Country as a whole will keep degrading.
But the true reformers will eventually come.
Some of the young politicians may even slowly evolve into those actual reformers.
But people, the Country, are simply not ready yet to accept them and their ideas (whatever those ideas will be).
The task of restructuring the whole economic system is not an ordinary task; it is an extraordinary task and demeans extraordinary people.
Ordinary people cannot create a solution to an extraordinary problem.
“Progressive” solutions which are currently propelled by progressives are not extraordinary. But until those solutions will be tested and fail, no one will be even searching for new, extraordinary solutions.
And the fact that a person has reached the top level of business or politics does not make that person extraordinary.
Successful people are divided into two categories; those who have been working hard and got lucky; and those who just got lucky.
But working hard is a natural, genetically built in into every healthy person, condition. Laziness, procrastination is an illness, a disease, often psychological, sometimes cultural, and sometimes is a result of a chemical imbalance in a brain. All normal, healthy humans want and can work hard.
Note: “conservatives have a different take on it; they believe that most people are lazy and stupid and incapable of creativity, and require a strong and guidance from the few smart and innovative.
The economic “model” of “conservatives is this:
Conservative 1. “I want it all, and I want it now!”
Conservative 2. “No, I want it all, and I want it now!”
Conservative 1. “OK, let’s negotiate
Conservative 2. “OK, but what about all those people?
Conservative 1. “Screw them, they are lazy and stupid, they’ll eat up anything we’ll tell them”
Conservative 2. “OK, but let’s pretend we care about them. They can vote
But if working hard is a natural human condition, then successful people are successful just because of their good luck. They were lucky to get good healthy genes. There were lucky to meet a person (at least one) who impressed them, who influenced strongly their aptitudes (maybe it was a face-to-face interaction with a parent, a friend, a teacher, maybe it was a book or a movie character, maybe it was someone from the Internet). They also were lucky to meet a person who believed in them, who trusted in their ideas and abilities. All that good luck is basically “be at the right place at the right time” and be smart enough (due to genes, culture) to recognize the opportunity and act on it.
So, good luck, not extraordinary abilities, propel people to success.
It does not mean that extraordinary people do not exist; they always exist. But in ordinary times, under ordinary circumstances, ordinary people do not require any extraordinary actions. So, extraordinary people remain unnoticed, but may be eventually discovered, sometimes, postmortem.
When social fabric begins to crumble, at first many ordinary solutions begin to be tested. Eventually, things become so bad, that a large portion of a population notices that ordinary solutions do not work anymore. Then and only then they turn for a search of an extraordinary person who could pave the path to a new social and economic structure.
America has observed it in 2008 and 20012 when elected Mr. Obama as the President.
Mr. Obama was elected not because he was an extraordinary politician, but because he was different from other politicians.
People wanted changes, and Mr. Obama promised them that, and most importantly, he was that.
But as an ordinary person – smart, educated, polite, funny, hardworking, honest – but ordinary, he has not delivered on his promise.
And that what propelled Donald Trump.
Donald Trump is a racist, a misogynist, a bigot, and a white supremacist.
But he is an extraordinary person.
To the surprise of everyone on the left and on the right, even to himself, he became the President. And that was an extraordinary achievement (again – a BIG surprise of everyone on the left and on the right).
What progressives do not have is an extraordinary politician who has extraordinary ideas but can present them to ordinary people in an ordinary form.
“Universal Basic Income” or “Medicare For ALL” are not those extraordinary ideas because they do not address the most important question of any economy – how is wealth being produced?
All they offer is various forms of a redistribution of wealth.
But only after trying all ordinary solutions, people and politicians will come to a realization that they need to go to the root of the economic functioning – forms of wealth production.
The notion that wealth can be produced only by private  economic entities is wrong.
That is what is wrong with capitalism.
But the notion that wealth can be produced only by “communal” entities is wrong either.
And that is what is wrong with socialism.
Really.

NB: From The Degradation of The White Male American Elite (I advice to read this post, too, and other linked in it).
I want to stress that terms “stupid” and “idiotic” do not have any offensive meaning, but used in their clinical/original sense. “Stupidity” means an inability to think (e.g. due to biological reason). “Idiocy” means a refusal to think (usually due to psychological reason). “Idiots” are those people who due to their social status or official position are supposed to be smart, but make stupid decisions.
One may ask, why using so strong language, anyway?
Well, to stress my frustration with the actions of current politicians on both sides of the political aisle. Because the actions of the current politicians will greatly affect my own living 15-20 years from now, and most probably, in a negative way (I have another post on this matter). Plus, I write for people who can hold their emotions in check. People whose emotions override their reasoning do not matter in politics because they are easily manipulated (an old Russian saying goes "Call me a pot, if it makes you feel better, just don't put me in an oven").

This is the link to the list with more post on politics.

Appendix I: An example of an ordinary thinking.
Donald Trump is a racist, a misogynist, a bigot, and a white supremacist. But he has never really tried to hide it, hasn't he?
So the question is redundant, rhetorical, basically meaningless, because the answer is simple - that is who Donald Trump is.
So, why ask such a question?
This is how I see it.
The author, the editor, many readers, have a rather comfortable life, good job, family, friends. And the only splinter in his/her eye is Donald Trump. The President is not a nice person. If only the President of his/her Country looked good, was nice, polite and educated, if only he was a good person, the whole life would have been just peachy. There would be no more problems in the life of the author, the editor, many readers.
So, why asking difficult question, like why did Donald Trump become the President, what social and economic events have led to it, what are the political and economic perspectives for the Country, and what to do about them? 

Why thinking about political future of the country, planning political actions which must be done to ensure that the future will be at least as good as the past?
No, all the author, the editor, many readers want is not having them be reminded every day that there is something wrong with them. It is just much easier to ask - why is Donald Trump such an awful person - express your distaste, and feel good about themselves, feel involved, feel important.


 P.S. A comment on a recent attack on Chelsea Clinton.
Yep. And don't be the one.
  
Appendix II: Some Further Reading
https://www.cognisity.how/2019/03/Porgs.html