The Importance of Turning Theory Into Application

theory vs applicationAs students ourselves, we of course have a number of critiques of how our own educational paths have turned out, and what we felt like we learned well and did not learn well.

One of the biggest areas where we see room for improvement, practically across the board in every single subject, is the ability to apply the theoretical concepts learned in the classroom to the practical, everyday necessities of working and functioning in contemporary America.

Math and the Hard Sciences

The best example of this notion comes with math and the hard sciences. Commonly favored as the “real” subjects in schools across the country, as opposed to the “secondary” subjects of art and music, etc, not one of us felt like we ever had a teacher that inspired us to want to learn math or any of the other sciences.

The reason?

Stuck in an overwhelming world of theories and laws, no one ever showed us how these concepts play out in the real world. For example, Cristian pointed out in our last discussion that the first time he became interested in math was in a Physics course he took in his last semester of college.

He saw how math was actually applied to come up with some of the fundamental theories of our universe, and the magic it brings. Another example is computer science, and how fundamental algebra and calculus can allow us to compute incredible tasks using information technology.

Read this article from Education World for more on learning applications of math.

Business, Finance and Success

The other main area where this applies comes to business and personal finance, as well as individual success.

Despite all of our learning, we, as a society, don’t ever teach our students how to be successful. We spend very little time learning the fundamentals of business, when that is a core part underlying just about everything in our society.

Similarly, we are never truly taught the basics of personal finance or success. This stretches from everything of how to save and invest money to how to envision and create a plan for success in whatever field you choose.

Books like Rich Dad Poor Dad and Think and Grow Rich are two popular examples of how these concepts, which are vague and abstract to many, can actually be applied on a day to day basis.

Get the Rich Dad Poor Dad audiobook to learn more, or check out the Think and Grow Rich audiobook.

The Arts

Finally, we, as a society, tend to ignore the arts altogether.

While some would argue that the arts is pure theory, we have found exactly the opposite, through our own individual endeavors and interests.

The arts permeate life in every aspect, whether that’s the act of learning discipline to become a great musician, or how to relate to others, or just about anything.

This is something we really need to work on, but there isn’t space to get into the details here. This article from Johns Hopkins does a great job explaining the need.

The broader point, across all of these issues, is that while our education system is designed to teach of theory and fundamentals, it is poorly designed when it comes to teaching how to apply that theory to the everyday life.

This leaves students “reality-struck” the moment they leave school and enter the real world!

Electronic Books vs Real Books: Pros and Cons

electronic books vs realWhen it comes to how they read, most people have strong preferences to opt for either an electronic book or a real paperback or hardback copy.

There are distinct advantages to each. Consuming electronic information tends to be, in general, 50-80% cheaper than purchasing the physical book, and there are obvious benefits for individuals who spend a lot of time traveling.

Paperback lovers, on the other hand, argue that reading a book on a kinle or nook or iphone just can’t stack up to the feel of having an old fashioned book in your hand.

Not only that, but many people assert that they have tired eyes after reading too much electronic information, or may even have difficulty sleeping.

For more information on the pros and cons of ebooks vs real books, check out the video below, or read this great article from Scholastic, which goes into considerations parents may have for their children on the topic, which is a distinct discussion from whether or not adults should read ebooks or real books.