O Americano Outra Vez by Richard Feynam

Richard Feynman’s ‘O Americano Outran Vez’ tries to address learning. At word level, he looks at learning of the meaning of a word in terms of other words which are used. He says that education should be practical and even quotes Ann Pachet who says “to learn a word you had to know the definition and to own the word you have to use it in a sentence”. He thus explains that this is what was missing in the Brazilian education in that, “though the students were ‘learning theories’ what they missed was the practical part which meant application of their studies”. The worst part, he says, is the fact that the education system and curriculum denies the teachers and students any creativity or diverse thinking. He thus declares the process one dimensional because the student is not part of the process.

He further claims that students fail to be their own products but instead became products of the education system. Therefore, the principles and theories that they learn in school are flawed. In his talk, Feynman brings out the fact that there is no science being learnt in Brazil and reiterates that “without the ‘experience of nature’, one is unable to learn anything about nature but just learn ‘‘what a word means in terms of other words.”

This relates to the banking method of education as was brought about by Freire and Feynman. They call for practicability of the learning process and claim that we should not just memorize what we are taught, but we should ensure practical application and creativity for learning to be effective.



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