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Teach Students To Think Irrationally

Teach Students To Think Irrationally

by Terry Heick

The folly of formal learning is a humbling thing.

As planners, designers, executors, and unstipulated caretakers of public and private education systems, we are tasked with the insurmountable: overcome a child’s natural tendency to play, rebel, and self-direct in hopes of providing them with a ‘good education.’ Reading, writing, arithmetic, etc.

And this isn’t wrong. This is good by scrutinizingly any measure. Our intent is noble, our effort extraordinary, and certainly the learning of many children, expressly those from disadvantaged circumstances, is largest than anything they might have had otherwise.

But there’s moreover an unfortunate darker side to formal learning processes–especially when you prod 800 in a school and 32 in a classroom and ‘hold teachers accountable.’

This is a side that can be increasingly concerned with that peccancy than anything else–and that ways students subject to teachers, teachers subject to principals,  principals subject to superintendents, superintendents subject to state government agencies, and everyone subject to many measures of ‘motivation’ and/or punitive action.

See moreover Student Engagement Strategies

The net result can be a learning climate where spontaneity, curiosity, and learner self-direction are secondary to just the right ‘research-based’ literacy strategy to ‘move kids to proficiency’–and a crucial loss of ‘childlishness’ of learning.

It’s within this context that I watched the pursuit video by Adora Svitak, who eloquently (please tell me this child was coached, or else I am going to wish she was moreover increasingly ‘childish’ herself) discusses the role of ‘immaturity’ in unconfined accomplishments. Regarding ‘childish’ policies and ‘immaturity,’ she explains:

“Then again, who’s to say that unrepealable types of irrational thinking aren’t exactly what the world needs? Maybe you’ve had grand plans surpassing but stopped yourself, thinking, “That’s impossible,” or, “That financing too much,” or, ‘That won’t goody me.’

“For largest or worse, we kids aren’t hampered as much when it comes to thinking well-nigh reasons why not to do things. Kids can be full of inspiring aspirations and hopeful thinking. Like my wish that no one went hungry or that everything were a self-ruling kind of utopia. How many of you still dream like that and believe in the possibilities? Sometimes a knowledge of history and the past failures of utopian ideals can be a undersong considering you know that if everything were free, then the supplies stocks would wilt depleted and scarce and lead to chaos. On the other hand, we kids still dream well-nigh perfection.

“And that’s a good thing considering in order to make anything a reality, you have to dream well-nigh it first.”

It’s easy to take that treatise a step remoter and wonder what education would be like if it were worldly-wise to really lose itself in the learning, and be fully immersed in content and community. Standards? Fine. Assessment? Fine–but standardize the towage without standardizing the learning.

What if the learning was like the child: irrational, in motion, and in love with discovery?

You can view the video here.

Idea: Teach Students To Think Irrationally; Image attribution flickr user Tim Pierce

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