By Paul Sutton, Posted February 26, 2009 on www.edweek.org
Throughout his now-famous “Last Lecture,” the late Carnegie Mellon University professor of computer science Randy Pausch talked about what he called the “head fake.” It is the idea that learning and education work best when they work on the personal and general levels simultaneously. It’s clear what calculus can teach a high school student. But beyond that learning, a character education lesson on the dialogues between Socrates and Crito can teach critical-reading skills and democratic dialogue, while also teaching personal and social justice and integrity. The study of both calculus and Socrates demands intellectual rigor, and yet these subjects are not valued in the same way in our public high schools.
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