Sunday, May 31, 2020

Areas of Knowledge and Education

There are many topics I'm interested in learning about but they fall into five categories:
  • Theoretical topics (e.g science) - It's interesting to learn about the world even if I probably won't make new scientific discoveries myself. This category is the main focus of schools, but usually without checking whether the students are interested in learning them.
  • Practical relevance to world (e.g politics) - learning these topics isn't something I can practically use, but it can affect how I vote, and one individual can influence other people. Even one blog post can have an impact!
  • Practical skills - These can be a specific skill relevant to one's career (e.g software development) or generally useful skills (e.g. typing). This could also include general-purpose abilities such as thinking rationally. 
  • Interpersonal skills (e.g public speaking) - these are also the subject of many self-help books
  • 'Intrapersonal' skills - this includes practical areas like time management and learning techniques, as well as skills for living a happier or more meaningful life, such as Stoicism or meditation. This could potentially include being a good person more generally.
Schools focus on theoretical topics but have very few classes dedicated to Interpersonal and Intrapersonal skills. Most people don't manages to pick up all these skills on their own so it's something a good education system could potentially help with.

Note that many subjects can contain topics in multiple categories. For example you can learn algorithms to practically apply them and also learn the mathematical theory behind them. While some theory may be always be required, a good education system would let people choose to focus on more practical areas if they prefer.

In future posts I'll outline actual topics in more detail and what I'd like to learn more about them. While it will be a personal list, these outlines could also serve as a potential topics that educational systems could offer.

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