Ideas, Influence, Impact

Posts tagged ‘questions’

Learning: Either/Or No More

Before the start of the new school year, my family took a week-long vacation to Duluth, Minnesota.  We had never been there before, but were excited by cool temperatures in July, a beach in the Midwest, and the opportunity for a lot of family fun.  During the trip, we visited a children’s museum, a coastal lighthouse, the Aerial Bridge, the Great Lakes Aquarium, the Lake Superior Marine Museum, the Lake Superior Railroad Museum and so many other interesting places.

Throughout the trip, my family (five kids ages 2, 4, 7, 9, and 11) had a great time – and asked a lot of questions.  With each stop, we learned something.  It was a great trip!  It also reminded me that school may be a place, but learning is a process.  It can – and does – happen anywhere.  It happened as we spent 45 minutes learning about the locks and dams along the Great Lakes.  It occurred in the replica steam engine, and it certainly occurred standing on the beach of Lake Superior.

With each stop, new questions were asked and answers were sought.  We learned, we laughed, and we did it as a family.  Now, not all learning is family based, but it is personal.  What Grace (my 11-year-old) learned at the aquarium was different that what Elle (my 9-year-old) learned, but it all had value.  And don’t even get me started about all the train things I learned from Sam (my 7-year-old) at the old train depot.

Competency-based education does just what this family trip did.  It takes what is personal and connects learning to what is necessary.  There were a lot of science, math, English and social studies standards met while on vacation.  We learned because we wanted to, and ultimately, it will be deeper learning because of our interest.

Competency-based learning holds the potential to take each one of this moments and turn it into a learning experience.  We do not need artificial lesson, because real life did it for us.  Imagine all that can be learned, is learned, in a single day.

CBE can help us do it better, do it richer, do it deeper.

CBE can help us cross the bridge from “required to know” to “desired to know.”


The Aerial Bridge in Duluth, MN


I Might Be a Bit of a Hypocrite

I realized this weekend that I might be a bit of a hypocrite . . .

My second child, Elle (age 7), loves to ask questions.  Lots of them.  Random questions.  Pointed questions.  Questions with easy answers and questions with no good answers.  But, A.  Lot.  Of.  Questions.

And, sometimes, I am annoyed by the questions, the sheer number of them.  Sometimes, I ask Elle to stop or wait, or (rarely) go ask her mother.

And this weekend, I realized that every time she asked a question, she was trying to make sense of her life, her world, and her experiences.  She was trying to learn more, and I was denying her that experience because I was tired or busy or embarrassed to not know the answer.  But, I was clearly stifling what comes natural to her – asking a lot of questions.

I believe strongly that school should be filled with STUDENTS asking questions are a far greater percentage.   Th students should ask more questions than the teachers.  And both the students and the teachers should sometimes struggle to get the answers to those questions.  Not all answers are quick or easy in life, and we have an opportunity (and in my opinion, a responsibility) to show that life does not always have the “right answer”.

Those of you who know me, know that a child of mine who asks me a lot of questions is exactly the child I deserve.  Yes, she is.  I deserve to be asked to match my professional support for inquiry with my parental responsibilities.  Anything less is hypocritical . . . And I am sure Elle will ask me what that means and why I am one.

Questions > Answers

In an economy and a society flooded up with answers,

it will be questions that will set us apart.

Only questions solve.

We have the solutions.

We need the questions.

Only questions solve.

Only questions solve.

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