Personally I am currently doing my 2nd and 3rd degree at university (Engineering Masters before, currently doing Bachelors in two separate fields,
economics and psychology) at the same time). Although, I have never had much problems with any subject, there is one thing in particular, I have been
truly annoyed and which I believe might be one of the causes behind the unpopularity of scientifical fields is the technicality of the materials.
Let us be honest, the kids nowadays can not be compared to the kids 20 or 30 years ago. The world has changed too much. Nowadays the kids grow up
while living in computers. They have infinite number of different "interesting" activities in the computer, every piece of information is only clicks
away, having a conversation with a friend is only clicks away. The world has changed a lot. That is one of the main reasons behind the increasing
number of ADHD kids, who have basically no attention span. When thinking about it, it would be hard even for me to pay attention to anything, while
there is so much more interesting stuff going on, even as an adult. Imagine a situation, when your favourite team is playing/season finale of your
favourite tv show/in other words, something extremely interesting fo you, although you have to sit still and pay attention to some less interesting
person talking or even worse having to study from rather dull materials. Would it be so easy?
Personally I find science interesting during my studies I have found all my fields extremely interesting, although the way they are often presented
basically kills off the interest for most of the students. The system is fact based on facts and unfortunately the textbooks are similar. They are
usually not designed to create interest or to even explain things.90% of the textbooks give you the information, without explaining anything. I have
seen textbooks, which have no words (Calculus I and II). They had not a single word, only numbers. Of course, I know it is an efficient way to give
out information. Although it is not a good way for studying. Currently Wikipedia, is extremely good way for reminding me some older theories or
formulas, I have forgotten, although for learning something new, I believe just looking at formulas without any explanation is not an efficient way.
For me, and for many others I know, Khan Academy, which is not formal, gave a much better understanding and overally better view of the concept, than
any textbook ever did. That is something to think about.
To be honest, the only thing that matters in any field, is the understanding of it. To be good at anything you must understand theory and be good at
applying it (practice). Yet the whole system is designed for facts. In exams people are required to know all kinds of different formulas, proofs,
definitions by heart, without understanding any of them. In many researches and homeworks, correct form is evaluated more than correct answer. I
personally have had a situation, where I got an F, despite having correct answer calculated correctly. Everything was well, expect the form. Yet the
other guy with perfect form and incorrect answer got a B. For me it was truly uninspiring. Who cares how the engineer did the graphs when calculating
how much force can some item tolerate, the only thing that matters is the fact that he got the answer right. For most people I know, calculating the
answer takes around 1-2 hours, correct formation of the papers takes around 4-6 hours. Total 5-8 hours for a homework. Yet instead of doing the
formation, people could get much more practice when doing more exercises.
Most textbooks are designed to give you the facts. If you bother you create the understanding yourself, although textbook itself has not much examples
I believe the overall belief many people have is that science is all about different formulas and numbers without not too much practical value. Yet in
reality it is the opposite, but most schools and textbooks do not put much value to the practical value of it.
Most people do a decision about anything fast. When opening a textbooks, when it is not visually attracting it kills the interest. When on does not
understand something from the textbook and there is no explanation, it kills the interest.
I am currently studying psychology. Human mind has always fascinated me, although the way how it is presented in my university is making it the most
dull subject of all.
The same is with sciences. From early on, people are shown the duller side of it in a dull way, And then we can not understand why people do not want
to go to learn engineering or different sciences...
We can create an analog with laws. These are important to know and seem interesting, yet when most people open the book to read the laws, the overall
technicality of it, kills most of the interest, and at the end,people go and see a lawyer...
I believe one of the things the educational system needs, is "selling the ideas". When a teacher has the obligation to make things interesting for her
students and the textbooks are designed to create interest and explain things, it would truly create a much stronger education. Currently the
education system works the opposite way. However boring something seems, the student has an obligation to pass it. The overall requirement
technicality and formality simply kills the interest.That creates a cycle where at the end the student does just enough to pass without getting any
knowledge or understanding the area.Later on they probably would not choose such field for studies of university, as the field does not seem
interesting. And then the government and companies tell about the scarcity of good engineers and scientists...
edit on 14-3-2013 by Cabin because: (no reason given)