2008-09-10

Education (教育)

在上一篇寫下了教育為民主不可少的前提,於是有朋友問香港不是已經有全民教育了嗎?政客賄賂選民有可不妥?不是已比剝削他們好嗎?

相信這位朋友其實瞭解我我意思,不過在看到這兩個問題前,碰巧和老朋友談過有關的問題,以及看了套有關的話劇,所以也在這裏寫寫。

前晚又跟老友食飯。席間講起中學時讀到「一佛出世、二佛升天」的純數 (Pure Mathematics),每天都總在證明左邊的一大堆符號等於右邊的一大堆符號,都不知有什麼用。老友說,那就像證明一個靚女等於另一個靚女,甚至要證明一個靚女比另一個靚。搞餐死,才能在我們嚴謹的老師手上的十分滿分裏,勉強拿走一分半。當然,我們知道那是為將來的科學家作準備,正如微積分是牛頓研究力學時所需要的工具,愛恩斯坦則需要偏微分去定義相對論,但試問有多少人將來想做下一個霍金?

在職場打滾了那麼多年,大家又都再讀了幾個學位,我們都一致認為中英語文能力至為重要。當然基礎的數學都要學好,否則像我教過的碩士學生,連「交差相乘」都忘掉,便有點過份。說回語文能力,自問中文真的差。早兩天要準備份履歷表給客戶,英文部分只花了一小時,但中文翻譯則足足耗了我六、七小時!

老友另外認為學生應被鼓勵去嘗試與發揮創意,好像在註釋古文時,不應有些少用字上的出入,便無分。我則認為學生要有獨立思考能力與學懂統計,是關無論是金融界所需的風險管理,或物流業的存貨控制,甚至市場推廣、醫藥測試、民意調查、博士研究,無一不是建基在統計學上。流行的「六西格瑪」(Six Sigma) 中的 Sigma,就是一個統計學的概念。

最近終於看了好戲量《陰質教育》,一如他們其他的創作,有心有訊息,但劇本比較鬆散,亦太多冷笑話。我印象深刻的,是劇裏的校長,忽然提到什麼 SSS、AAS、RHS 等,那些用來證明兩個三角形是全等的縮寫。當時就像聽到在前世生活過的部落裏用的土話一樣震撼。不禁想,讀了這些,究竟有什麼用?


至於獨立思考能力,必須從思辯中練習,而不是讀兩本李天命,學些邏輯符號便成。我以前讀歷史時,學校的要求是硬記每件事的因果或每個朝代施政的利弊,諸如利有五點弊有六點,每點五分,卻不是陳述背景再叫學生辯論。所以香港人是寫不出《萬歷十五年》的。當然了,現在可能已有不同,則等各方高賢指教了。

上文提到最低工資,問題在於大部人對經濟學一點認識都沒有,一心只想政府派糖。當這些人去抄股抄外匯,傷害的自己;讓這些人去制訂政策,傷害的則是整個社會,就像「八萬五」一樣。

至於政客派糖討好人民,有何不妥?那其實像一個窮母親將家用花在玩具上,而不讓小朋友讀書一樣。小朋友當然開心,但他們長大後便後悔莫及了。很多政客的提案,就是犧牲長遠利益去討好人民;可惜的是人民卻一樣短視,彷如幼兒:否則又怎會選一個不肯簽《京都條約》的總統布殊出來?結果大家眼睜睜看著大量廢氣繼續被排放。你不能說,買玩具的母親總好過拋棄子女的母親罷!

誠如吾友道士所言,沒有一個真正完美的制度。我舊老板便曾很支持獨裁統治。看看佛朗哥、卡斯特羅與李光耀的成就,你不能說他沒道理。中產階級、知識分子、藍領工人、弱勢社群,實在各有難處。但只要香港人繼續動不動就潑婦罵街,那他們能對話並找出折衷甚至雙贏的機會,便很渺茫了。

可能因為自己是半個教師,本只想回應留言,一下子竟忍不住寫了這麼多!

4 則留言:

匿名 說...

I respectfully disagree with your arguments and analogue on Politian bribing voters, and respond as follows.

First it is assumed that children will find their happiness in getting a toy. Toy is the only happiness known to child but nothing else. Second mothers have to spend money to keep children happy and nothing else. Mothers can satisfy children only by giving what they ask for. Third, children do not like to read (讀書), although I am sure you are not one of these children.

I think knowledge can be obtained from various source not reading or studying alone. Some people are a bit narrow minded and believe that school or university is the only way to knowledge, which definitely undermines the experience that can be absorbed in the society. If as you say a child “長大後便後悔莫及” , he will not make the same short term decision again if that decision really hurts. When they grown up, they are not those who distribute candies.

Further, it seems that you don’t like short term benefit and prefer long term benefit, which are misnomers. If long term is 西江之水, when it comes, I am already a dead fish, 不如早索我子枯鱼之肆. Then why shouldn’t a voter support one who give them 斗升之水然活耳? Moreover, why should I believe a political make a promise for a long term benefit as it may never happen? Additional, do you really know what’s a long term benefit and what’s a short term benefit? Can you guarantee if I follow your advice, I will have the long term benefit? WHO is qualified to tell me or anyone what’s long term benefit?

For long term, they will not live to see the benefit; or for short term they will not live because of the adverse effect of the short term benefit, either way leads to an ugly death. As you have work on this kind of charity, will you let them to have some comfort before they die?

When you accused that people are short sighted and act like kids, did you accused them because they did not vote for parties that make a decision with which you do not agree? If they vote for someone you agree with, then they are long sight and grown up? These people are inferior because they do not agree with you, are they?

For argument sake, 買玩具的母親總好過拋棄子女的母親. So a mother who spends all her money to buy books for her kid is good because it is for the kid long term benefit. It is good to teach what’s on the prescribed text books to the kid because they are good. It is okay to tell them Kyoto protocol is good because it will reduce pollution. One should not make up their mind for what is good or bad for them?

You said a lot of people don’t know economics, please name a few who is absolutely correct in economics? Are they all good as criticizing the past but fail in predicting the future. Do you think every voters should be Adam Smith, before they can decide their fate?

If people like dictator, then they can elect one. However, please take him down 4 years later, so that people can elect another. You can educate people or teach any one you like, but democracy should come first.

P.S. I don get the point on 我們都一致認為中英語文能力至為重要Don’t you think there are people who is not good in language but good at other things else? 六祖慧能 is not good at chinese and English language, is he a good teacher, an inspirer?

狂人 - Paul Sin 說...

匿名者,感謝你花那麼多時間留言!這絕對是小弟讀過最長的留言。我想,若閣下的觀點在這裏能刺激大家思考和辯論,將會非常有價值。小弟自己並沒有新論點,只想補充一下寫得不清楚的地方。

上文的「讀書」,並不是指買書讓小孩子讀,而是接受教育的意思。提出「中英語文能力至為重要」時,我們正在討論在職場與學術界的需要。學經濟學的,並不是學預言未來;就像學懂力學並不能預言六合彩攪珠一樣。

最後,所有的立論,都有一個假設,就是選民想達到什麼目的。而我全文都假設他們是想提高物質上的生活質素,則「最低工資」等政策並不是一個好方法,因為長遠來說並不能維持這種生活。然而,若大家的目的是「快樂」,甚至是宗教上的明悟、狂喜等,則是另一番討論。

小弟很少寫議論,閣下的回應充分顯示了小弟立論缺乏嚴謹、經常詞不達意的毛病。定當好好改進!

狂人 - Paul Sin 說...

事有湊巧,剛看了這個,實在發人深省:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfFx_cYiDfU

倉海君 說...

http://zonaeuropa.com/20080911_1.htm

最後的對答是宋生跟餐廳(應該是金膳)侍應的談話內容,部分正是關於最低工資的。教育程度不高的侍應對此有何議論呢?看一看就會知道。

至於教育,我不太樂觀。以前聽聞法國一位教育部長曾說:沒讓學生明白人生意義的不算教育。心理學祖師爺William James則說:"The aim of a college education is to teach you to know a good man when you see one."如果真有這類教育,我們是否還要以"提高物質上的生活質素"為理想呢?到底什麼才是"教育"?恐怕這才是最根本的問題。