Thursday, September 02, 2021

keeping things simple

In planning school learning experiences that involve doing real things in a relatively short period of time with a group of students, it's important to keep an eye on simplicity. The adult mind can get overly complicated and abstract as we follow proposed threads of inquiry. Most teachers teach the what we were taught, while the learning needs of our students are often different from that.

Yesterday we were discussing making bat houses and spent 30 minutes doing so before we finally got around to actually look at where the bats nest on campus and learn a few things that would have been right before our own eyes had they been open and inquiring. 

I'm reminded of the story of one hand clapping in which the young monk was challenged with the question, "what is the sound of one hand clapping?" The young monk ran all over and kept coming back with proposed answers. "It's the sound of water flowing in the brook." "It's the sound of a child laughing." "It's the sound of rustling leaves." And each answer led him no closer to the simple truth that could have been easily discovered by waving one hand alone in front of his own face.

This calls to mind a principle that I mentioned yesterday from Educational Sloyd. Move from the simple to the complex. Is it the teacher's job to complicate things, or is it best that he or she start simple leading the child to observe and reflect and to move from that point letting complications arise on their own, which they always do?

Make, fix and create.

No comments:

Post a Comment