have you ever had that feeling?

A student taking Coursera's Machine Learning
I gave up on this course.

I couldnt do even the first assignment in matlab.
I don't understand the logic, math, nothing.
Maybe one day I get smarter and I will come back to this.

I don't understand what I have to do in first matlab assignment.
I need to write code for j function.
I guess I am not smart enough.
Caroline Sacks taking Organic Chemistry at Brown
You memorize how a concept works, and then they give you a molecule you've never seen before, and they ask you to make another one you've never seen before, and you have to get from this thing to that thing.

There are people who just think that way and in five minutes are done. They're the curve busters. Then there are people who through an amazing amount of hard work trained themselves to think that way. I worked so hard and I never got it down.

The teacher would ask a question, and hands go up around me, and I sit in silence, listening to everyone else's brilliant answers. It was just this feeling of overwhelming inadequacy.
From David and Goliath, by Malcom Gladwell
Sal Khan on let's teach for mastery – not test scores
Imagine if we did other things in our life that way [learn in school]. Say, home-building.

We bring in the contractor and say,
"We were told we have two weeks to build a foundation. Do what you can."
So they do what they can. Maybe it rains. Maybe some of the supplies don't show up.

And two weeks later, the inspector comes, looks around, says, "OK, the concrete is still wet right over there, that part's not quite up to code …, I'll give it an 80 percent."

You say, "Great! That's a C. Let's build the first floor." Same thing. We have two weeks, do what you can, inspector shows up, it's a 75 percent. Great, that's a D-plus. Second floor, third floor, And all of a sudden, while you're building the third floor, the whole structure collapses.

What was really broken was the process. We took the trouble of inspecting and identifying those gaps, But then we built right on top of it.

So the idea of mastery learning is to do the exact opposite.
Dr. Brian Keating and Dr. Sean Carroll
I have a lot of aspiring students, graduate students, non-traditional students, people that want to go back to school.

What do you say when they tell you,
"I want to go back and do this in my second life if I could do it again?"

I hear this a lot about people. Wanting to go back for their MBA. Law degree. Medical degree. Sometimes I hear it about physicists too.

I would actually argue for distinguishing or separating the idea of getting a PhD and becoming a professional physicist.
These are both two worthy things but they're different things.
I think this is one of the shameful aspects of our current educational system.
We only let you in to do a PhD if we think you want to become a professor of physics. And then maybe 25 of the students will become professors of physics.

Wouldn't it be awesome to
take something complicated
and someone make it easy?

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