[OT] debate about Free software for the ACT Government

Simon Fowler simon at himi.org
Fri Apr 26 11:20:56 EST 2002

On Fri, Apr 26, 2002 at 10:06:53AM +1000, Martijn van Oosterhout wrote:
> On Fri, Apr 26, 2002 at 09:47:56AM +1000, Alex Satrapa wrote:
> > Perhaps the reason high-school kids aren't writing structured documents 
> > properly is because they haven't been trained properly.  Maybe they 
> > aren't getting enough practice either.  Training people to use a word 
> > processor should involve the minimal amount of character-formatting, and 
> > focus more on how to put ideas into electronic form, rather than messing 
> > about with pretty-ing up a dumb document.
> And then there is always the problem of teachers needing to know the stuff
> before they can teach the student. Since teachers arn't being taught this
> sort of structure, what hope is there for the children?
The teachers need to know the stuff, but with something like this
they almost inevitably /will/ - teachers /do/ have to go through a
full degree course at university in order to get their
qualifications . . .

Perhaps the bigger problem lies with the curriculum - teachers have
to follow the set course outlines, and they're not allowed to add
lots of random stuff. If the curriculum is b0rken, they're stuffed,
as are the students. 

As with most things to do with large organisations, the real
problems are with the high level structures - the people down in
amongst the nitty gritty details are just doing their best within
the limitations from on high. It's those limitations that need to be

> > With the appropriate training, most people (who want to learn) could 
> > learn the skills required to bring order from that Chaos.
> Children learn extremely quickly. Adults can learn also, but it's not quite
> as straight forward.
/Anyone/ can learn - children tend to be more flexible about it,
because they have fewer preconceptions, but adults can be just as
good. Unless you're talking about spoken language, in which case
children /do/ learn vastly more easily, but that's because the
structures in their brains that handle spoken language are still
developing - it's a special case.

> > (Re-)Training is going to be part of the costs of moving away from a 
> > Microsoft dominated workplace, so it's useful to bring up the discussion 
> > about whether old dogs can or can't learn new tricks.  Or more to the 
> > point - what are the appropriate tricks to each the dog in the first 
> > place.
> I think this the same issue as training people in C or training them to
> program. Someone who is only trained in C will have difficulty with Perl,
> but someone trained to program can pickup new languages easily.
*points up at his comments about curricula*

Fix /that/, and the rest will be much easier to deal with.


PGP public key Id 0x144A991C, or ftp://bg77.anu.edu.au/pub/himi/himi.asc
(crappy) Homepage: http://bg77.anu.edu.au
doe #237 (see http://www.lemuria.org/DeCSS) 
My DeCSS mirror: ftp://bg77.anu.edu.au/pub/mirrors/css/ 
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: not available
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 232 bytes
Desc: not available
Url : http://lists.samba.org/archive/linux/attachments/20020426/d596c381/attachment.bin

More information about the linux mailing list