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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Education thoughts

I'm a little short of original thoughts at the moment. End of the school year, and all that! Here are some interesting quotes about education I thought I would share with you.
"We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character--that is the goal of true education. The complete education gives one not only power of concentration, but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate." (--Martin Luther King, Jr.)
I teach in a school for the gifted - all the students are above average in intelligence. Unfortunately, not all of them have the self-discipline to use their abilities. Also, sometimes we see some of the students misuse their abilities - their characters are not good, in at least some of their decisions. They are children, so we understand that they are still growing and maturing. The goals for our students include becoming better people, as well as more skilled and knowledgeable. Simply making people more knowledgeable may lead to smarter bad people!

Howard Hendricks tells us,
“All true learning only occurs after you are thoroughly confused.”

I think this is a bit of an overstatement - a little confusion is probably all that is needed!! When you or I think that we know something, then there is little incentive to learn. On the other hand, if I know that I don't know something, or if I am uncertain as to details about the material, then I have more incentive to learn and to remember the material. When I teach my students I try to raise a healthy amount of confusion or uncertainty.

And lastly, a link to an interesting blog on giftedness and hard work. (Read it and then come back!!)
One of the amazing (and discouraging) things that I deal with is the idea that some my students (fortunately not all of them) have that learning must always be fun and interesting. If something isn't immediately interesting and easily learned, they lose interest in it. This especially tends to be a problem for gifted students, who on the plus side are often interested in learning for its own sake.

In the sports and music worlds we recognize that those who are good in those areas must work hard so that they can use their gifts to their fullest. Those who aren't naturally talented in those areas can still increase their abilities with hard work and practice. We must develop this same attitude in academics. Hard work and study from an average person will probably contribute more toward success in life and contributions toward society than laziness and lack of focus from a genius.

Success is 90% perspiration.

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