Creators of new ideas

Published by Lori Pickert on November 25, 2008 at 02:24 PM

If teaching is reduced to mere data transmission, if there is no sharing of excitement and wonder, if teachers themselves are passive recipients of information and not creators of new ideas, what hope is there for their students?  — Paul Lockhart



Comment by Kerry on November 25, 2008 at 04:32 PM

I love that quote! My favorite part of working with my kids is learning with them. I don't remember too many teachers who seemed excited about new ideas, though. I know when I was trained to teach I wanted to be that way, but it was always a struggle to actually do it that way in the "real" world of tests and accountability.

Comment by amy on November 25, 2008 at 05:07 PM

"data transmission"--what a great way to describe it. I think of the image of opening up the child's head and pouring in knowledge--the empty vessel waiting to be filled. Not really what I'm trying to do! The discoveries my kids make themselves are the ones they remember. And it's tough, because my 7yo has always been big on questions, and I try to answer them, which sometimes feels like data transmission. But I've noticed he always repeats what he's heard back to me, in his own words, still making the information his own.

Comment by Theresa on November 25, 2008 at 09:08 PM

Whew! That puts the pressure on, doesn't it? I suppose if we hope to teach by example, and we want our children to be creative, then we have to be creative ourselves, right? It makes sense.

Comment by elf on November 25, 2008 at 10:55 PM

hope this'll quicken someone

Comment by Lori Pickert on November 26, 2008 at 01:29 AM

oh, kerry, i agree it’s hard to do in today’s typical public school ... so this quote is something we need parents and politicians and administrators to ponder. if we want things for our children, can teachers today with the limits placed on them by our schools deliver them? are we preparing kids for 2030?

amy, i think all you need to do is try to help him find his own answers as much as possible rather than just answering them straight out ... you have a kid made for inquiry-based learning! :^)

theresa, lol, the pressure is on! we are, after all, our children’s first, best model of how to interact with the world. whatever we want for them, don’t we need to want those things for ourselves as well? and how better to teach than by example? if we say but don’t do .. what will they follow?

Comment by jeannine on November 26, 2008 at 01:43 AM

Lori, i'm a designer at an educational publishing company. I've recently been having these long "discussions" about the best ways to teach young children. And I'm generally disappointed with many of the decisions that are being made by the decision makers. They are pretty rigid and single minded, stuck in a textbook rut. I'm inspired by the observations and experiences that you're sharing here. These are the types of learning experiences that I hope for my children to have.

Comment by Lori Pickert on November 26, 2008 at 02:18 AM

jeannine, thank you so much.

there is an interesting article in the new national geographic traveler about complex systems and “system accidents”, a term coined by sociologist charles perrow. it talks about self-organizing systems and how a lot of people in a large system, each doing their smallish, fairly simple bit, can come together to make a system that can go terribly wrong. the article talks about a climbing incident that led to multiple deaths and also our economy. i, of course, thought of all the different people who come together to make our huge educational system.

my colleagues and i used to sit around and discuss how best to change the system -- inspire the parents? convince the administrators? get the educational programs to change their curricula? inspire and support the teachers? unfortunately, i don’t think changing any •one• of these things makes a difference, if the other parts are working against you.

thank you so much for your comment -- i really appreciate it.

Comment by molly on November 26, 2008 at 04:20 AM

this is so good, and convicting and inspiring and encouraging...all of that!! :)

Sorry I disappeared on our DMing on twitter yesterday. I shoot you an email soon so we can catch up. miss talking to you!

Comment by Ali on November 26, 2008 at 07:22 AM

I like to think of the conversations the old philosophers had with their pupils when i think of a teacher. In this way learning involves two and both teacher and pupil learn. And there's that saying that's something like 'in a conversation between a wise man and a fool, who learns the most?'. Our children have so much to teach us, we just have to know how to listen and learn.

Comment by Lori Pickert on November 26, 2008 at 01:05 PM

hi, mol ;^)

ali, yes, exactly. if a teacher feels they have nothing left to learn, what message does that send? and it’s not just the children who teach us; we can teach ourselves, just as we want them to learn to teach themselves. everyone says they want to raise “life-long learners” .. the easiest way to do that has to got to be *being* a life-long learner yourself. *really* still learning, in a way that is obvious to your children.

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