Friday, October 30, 2009

FLG Has A Few Education Axioms

...but none come up as often as Liberal Arts, Not Science and Engineering.

Well, via Capital Gains and Games, that MIT is trying to teach people skills to its introverted, arrogant nerds students.

Business leaders complain that many of today’s engineering graduates, trained as abstract thinkers, have too little grounding in the actual practice of working with others to deliver innovative products amid time and budget constraints.

As I've written over and over, and as somebody who followed a core engineering curriculum at one point, engineering education habituates the mind into deterministic, sequential thinking. Human beings do not generally work in deterministic, sequential ways, and this breeds resentment in the minds of engineers. And I haven't even mentioned the self-selection bias of people who pursue engineering.

“Most engineers are very introverted,’’ he said, including himself. “Most creative, technical people are a little bit off the edge.’’

I just don't know that sitting "under structures built from newspapers and tape as part of a leadership training session" is the way to resolve this dilemma. In fact, why is it that all people skills training, whether it be some moral building exercise organized by a corporation or some sort of program as part of an academic program, always ends up being some Kindergarten bullshit? It's all self-esteem balloons. Trust buckets. Big, plastic phones as a metaphor for better communication.

I realize that the supposed "people skills," like respect for others, turn-taking, being nice, listening, etc, that so many people lack are basic things they should've learned when they were children, but when the exercises people develop to teach them to adults are literally something developed for pre-schoolers it's fucking offensive. It's the intellectual equivalent of having clowns come into the conference room, make balloon swords, and then proceed to sodomize everybody with them sans lube.

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