E. D. Hirsch's Article: Teach Knowledge, Not Mental Skills

Improved Essays
In the article “Teach Knowledge, Not “Mental Skills,” author E.D. Hirsch bases his argument on an experience he went through when he was a teacher in public school. He worked with two different principals in the same school. Comparing these two principal, the first principal did not care about what students acquired from their lessons, and the students’ academic performance was really bad. The second principal was more worried about the knowledge and his students’ academic performance. Hirsch argues that school should teach more knowledge instead of mental skills, and American should learning the teaching method of Europe and Asia which have a similar method of core-knowledge; problem-solving skill is important but depend on pertinent knowledge. …show more content…
I disagree with Hirsch’s opinion because the real situation in China, which is a characteristic Asia country is not what Hirsch thought. In the article “Grades and Self-Esteem”, Randy Moore points out, “…if students are spending their hours being drilled on what will help them ace a standardized test, then we may indeed have raised the bar- and more’s the pity” (124). If students are spending a long time for learning and only focus on the grade, that is one way that students might lose the interested of study. Based on my own experience, When I was in high school in China, I had to self- study at night until ten p.m. and all the time was using for learning and practicing basic knowledge. When I came to America, I took a day at high school in LA. First of all, I couldn’t believe America high school students end class for the day this early. Also, the class had group work and discussed the problems which are difficult to solve by ourselves. If this were in China, that’s teaching method never happen, because if students have problems, they need to study by themselves. Therefore, I believe a successful education should have both mental skill and knowledge. if lack one of them, that can be a one side impact on the students’ learning …show more content…
I disagree with his point, because I went through the education experience which is similar to the “core knowledge” curriculum, and I think this teaching method exist shortcoming. When I was in China, I found Chinese education is totally Examination-oriented education and school were teaching the same knowledge. But in author Hirsch’s view is a great education method, he insists “Since students have learned the same things, teachers can build on that shared foundation and bring the whole class forward” (116). If the whole country is teaching the same knowledge, it restricts the foundation in many ways. For example, China is made up of 56 nations, different regions and nations have different cultures. If students of different nations are taught the same knowledge, they might lack different cultural knowledge. For my personal experience, one time my friend, who came from North part of China, asked me a geographical problem about the South part of China where I was born and educated. I didn’t know what is the answer about this question. Because of my school education, we learned the same knowledge from the book, but our teacher didn’t teach the special knowledge about the place where we live. Thus, depending on different regions and nations; different students’ cognitive abilities is different, so that teachers need to follow the textbook for create particular knowledge for each

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