Alright, so my paradigm shift has shifted a little bit since I last proposed the idea.
Originally, I had wanted to focus on STEM field education and how it has become one of the top priorities of the U.S. Because of this focus, people have been gently steered away from non-STEM subjects such as history or literature due to the available positions in the job market, or lack there of such jobs.
However, after doing some research, I am changing my thesis to include the shift of education itself throughout its existence and particularly how it went from originally being a key to an individual’s survival, completely based on the individual to obtain and use properly, to something that our superiors and government has considered and taken over, now requiring individuals to meet certain standards in our school systems and influencing our children to follow certain career paths that ultimately will contribute to the power, wealth, and international notoriety of the country itself.
So basically, education has changed from an individual focus to a collective, “how can I better society” focus.
Now for the outline!
**Note: I still need to work out the kinks and cite all my sources… will update when completed.**
- Education. That’s why we’re all here, at college, isn’t it? To receive an education in a field we’re most passionate about, and someday, hopefully, we’ll be able to make a living in that field doing what we love every single day…
- What is education? Different ways of defining it, understanding it, etc.
- Take a historical approach – education is a result of cognitive evolution.
- For our nomadic ancestors, education meant discovering things about one’s environment through personal experience with hands-on situational learning that, in some cases, may have been the difference between life and death.
- The things learned were very applicable to daily life – immediate use of knowledge such as which plants are poisonous when eaten, touched, etc.
- No need for writing, reading, history, mathematics — not relevant to the lifestyle.
- Everything a person learned was completely up to the child’s parents or environment, and only the immediately useful information was stored and passed along.
- Eventually, nomadic lifestyles gave way for agrarian cultures to settle on the land and create communities that would be built to last for centuries.
- People now had the luxury of consistent food, water, and shelter sources and could focus their time and energy on thought and written word – and education
- Ancient Greece and Rome – well known for their philosophical and mathematical contributions to society [will expand on this]
- Still, education was relatively informal, skills and trades were more highly regarded because of useful production of tools
- Elizabethan era — allows for the arts to flourish [will expand on this]
- European colleges and universities [expand on this]
- Centuries pass; formal education is available to society’s elite and wealthy, until…
- Key Player in significant education reform : Thomas Jefferson [expand on Notes on Virginia]
- First instance of consistent ideas for education – included reading, writing, history, math, etc.
- As new scientific discoveries were made, education was changed to accommodate these findings and to make sure that students were being taught the most widely-accepted, accurate information
- School systems still emerging, not entirely standardized education, farming still a largely popular occupation
- WWII highlighted the importance of a country’s ability to technologically advance faster than other nations in order to be a decent source of competition for power
- Post-WWII – Tensions increase as U.S. and U.S.S.R. prepare to enter the Cold War
- MAJOR SHIFT: Sputnik
- Sputnik launched a huge movement toward STEM fields in order for the U.S. to be able to compete with the Soviet Union in defensive and offensive tactics, sustainability, and overall achievement for humankind
- This sparked a push for STEM fields that the government has been trying for decades to get their citizens interested in, from offering scholarships to minorities, to highlighting the economic opportunity in the job market vacancies
- These incentives function as great motivators for the individuals, but the ulterior motive to education’s promotion of STEM (and now STEAM, which includes Art and design) is the government’s knowledge that the more people are educated in STEM fields, the “greater” their contribution to society will be.
Still a work in progress, and I have to figure out how to wrap up the talk in my conclusion, but this is basically the general idea of my Ted Talk.
Please let me know if anything comes across as unclear or if you think I could add something in particular!