I had a problem in school–actually several. One was maturity. But then I grew up, finally. The big one was I was always asking why. Followed by its companion, “How do you know that is true?”
Rudyard Kipling had six honest serving men who taught him all he knew. I had two and forgot about the ones that the professors wanted–what, when, who, and where. A couple of professors taught thinking. Most asked for memorization.
I collect ideas about education. The Abundance Newsletter from Peter Diamondis should be on your reading list. He’s the X-Prize guy. He also thinks completely off the wall. You probably will only agree with half of his ideas, but the rest will change your life.
He was recently thinking about learning and compiled a list that is congruent with thoughts I have propounded for years. Try these on for size–and for practice:
For me it’s about passion, curiosity, imagination, critical thinking and grit.
Passion: You’d be amazed at how many people don’t have a mission in life… A calling… something to jolt them out of bed every morning. The most valuable resource for humanity is the persistent and passionate human mind, so creating a future of passionate kids is so very important. For my 7-year-old boys, I want to support them in finding their passion or purpose… something that is uniquely theirs. In the same way that the Apollo program and Star Trek drove my early love for all things space, and that passion drove me to learn and do.
Curiosity: Curiosity is something innate in kids, yet something lost by most adults during the course of their life. Why? In a world of Google, robots and AI, raising a kid that is constantly asking questions and running “what if” experiments can be extremely valuable. In an age of machine learning, massive data and a trillion sensors, it will be the quality of your questions that will be most important.
Imagination: Entrepreneurs and visionaries imagine the world (and the future) they want to live in, and then they create it. Kids happen to be some of the most imaginative humans around… it’s critical that they know how important and liberating imagination can be.
Critical Thinking: In a world flooded with often-conflicting ideas, baseless claims, misleading headlines, negative news and misinformation, learning the skill of critical thinking helps find the signal in the noise. This principle is perhaps the most difficult to teach kids.
Grit/Persistence: Grit is defined as “passion and perseverance in pursuit of long-term goals,” and it has recently been widely acknowledged as one of the most important predictors of and contributors to success.