X-Message-Number: 19197
Date: Mon, 3 Jun 2002 09:20:48 EDT
Subject: "hands-on" science

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As one who spent many years teaching college physics, I agree with Ron 
Havelock that the discovery or rediscovery method is largely baloney.

There are caveats. Students differ, and teachers differ, and doubtless some 
ot the time, for some people, hands-on yields a payoff. But it is obvious 
that in any case only a small fraction of what is known can be taught by 

As a student, I was bored by chemistry and physics laboratories, and learned 
virtually nothing new. In most cases, a few minutes with a book will teach 
you more than hours in the lab. 

It should also be borne in mind that ANY novel teaching method, or any method 
that arouses the interest or enthusiasm of teachers or students, tends to 
work--at least for a while, simply because of the energizing effect and the 
expectations effect. This is why the "work shops" or "encounter groups" of 
pop psychology often get good grades from the customers, regardless of how 
wildly ridiculous their premises may be.

Robert Ettinger
Cryonics Institute
Immortalist Society


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