Something beautiful and true

In a meeting today with some fellow educators, at one point the conversation took a surprisingly negative tone. I showed an inspirational video from somebody who was clearly delighted by what they were showing and talking about, after which one of the educators in the room said, in effect: “Well, that could just turn most kids off. That person seems to be showing off that they’re good at this.”

The more I thought about this comment, the more horrified I became by the reasoning behind it — it reminded me a bit of Kurt Vonnegut’s story Harrison Bergeron. If someone loves what they are talking about, and is sharing their enthusiasm and joy with an audience, I’ve always thought that this is a good thing. Sure, we can’t all play guitar like Jimmy Paige, or dance like Fred Astaire, or tell a joke like Jerry Seinfeld, but does that mean their performances should not be shown, because we worry that kids might be intimidated?

If we are failing to teach our kids the joy and excitement and beauty in ideas, is the solution to shield our kids from the joy and excitement of others? In my view (and I realize that this is a radical view in some circles) if we are finding our kids systematically failing to learn something we know to be beautiful and true, then the fault is not with our kids, but with ourselves.

2 Responses to “Something beautiful and true”

  1. Lee says:

    I agree completely! Most curriculum takes beautiful discoveries of the human mind, and what is often the passionate life work of many people, and turns it into rote boredom with no sense of discovery or adventure. Living life is way more interesting than learning about living. In the same way the classroom needs to be more alive, allowing for individuals to explore subjects. If you really engage people then you do not need to force feed them information. They will assimilate and reapply it. Importantly, curiosity breeds adventure which leads to discovery. Eureka! This is how we learn, it’s a dynamic process which most of our classrooms are lacking, but we can work to change this!

  2. Mari says:

    They got it completely wrong–I think the excellence and the excitement of others motivate the kids! At least that’s what I see in my kids. It’s the passion, the “Eureka!!” that keeps people moving forward, not carefully designed “no child left behind” curriculums…

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