Tuesday, May 24, 2016

When Ignorance Is Bliss

Whenever we try to re-think, re-design or re-imagine education, we invariably become a prisoner of what we already know. What might it be like to approach the process of helping "x" amount of people master some amount of skills, knowledge, and dispositions, over "x" amount of time, in order to to be successful at any number of things once they leave us, without the baggage we currently carry? In other words, how might it feel to be blissfully ignorant?

As I work with groups both inside and outside of our district, I encourage them to approach their desired end without ever once saying "but that can't happen because of ___________" or "we will never be allowed to __________" or "where will we find the time to __________". Instead, think about where you are, where you want to be, and how to get there. Worry about permission, logistics, and funding later. You're just dreaming right now, and it is in dreams that reality takes root. Make a plan and show it to others. Gather feedback. Keep moving it forward.

I like to direct people to this scene from Disney's The Little Mermaid:

Sure, there were "traditional" uses for the fork and pipe, but ignorance was bliss. Because the characters did not approach their thinking with any preconceived notions on the limits or prior uses of the objects, they were free to imagine and use them as a dinglehopper and a snarfblat.

How might we take this same approach as we re-imagine education? 

Join the conversation....
What's your dinglehopper or snarfblat? How do we move toward at least a temporary state of ignorance so that our minds can be more open?


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