Archives For EDLD 5313

This video is part of a series on Applying Cognitive Psychology to Enhance Educational Practice that you will find on the Bjork Learning and Forgetting Lab – https://bjorklab.psych.ucla.edu/research/

In the video 4 Keys to CSLE+COVA and in the upcoming CSLE+COVA book my colleagues and I are just about to release we argue that we need to take a positive approach to exploring how we improve or enhance the learning environment and we propose the following four keys or presuppositions to creating significant learning environments by giving learners choice, ownership, and voice through authentic learning:

  1. Anything we do for the learner will improve achievement.
  2. There has never been a better time to be a learner.
  3. There really are no new fundamental approaches to learning; just new ways of combining well established ideas.
  4. There is no quick fix to learning, the classroom or education.

I want to focus on the 3rd point where I argue that there really are no new fundamental approaches to learning; just new ways of combining well established ideas. I am not alone in the assertion; Piaget made a similar claim over fifty years ago. Ginsburg and Opper (1969) point out in the summary of their book Piaget’s theology of intellectual development: An introduction:

It should be clear that these ideas are not particularly new. The “Progressive” education movement has proposed similar principles for many years. Piaget’s contribution is not in developing new educational ideas, but in providing a vast body of data and theory which provide a sound basis for a “progressive” approach to the schools. A long time ago, John Dewey, in rejecting traditional approaches to education called for and attempted to provide a “philosophy of experience”; that is a thorough explication of the ways in which children make use of experience in genuine learning. Piaget has gone a long way toward meeting this need (p. 231)

Piaget spent most of his career, over fifty years, observing and interviewing children of all ages as he gathered the data to support his theories. It is extremely important that we recognize that “none of the investigators whose theories have been used to explain the development of children—Freud, Lewin, Hull, Miller and Dollard, Skinner, Werner—has studied children as extensively as Piaget (Ginsburg & Opper, 1969 p. x).

We should be shocked and concerned to learn that Skinner who is one of the originators of the Behaviourist approach that still dominates our educational system “hardly studied children at all” (Ginsburg & Opper, 1969 p. x).

Despite writing over 30 full length books and over 100 articles, being considered the first theorist to provide an effective empirical argument against behaviourism, and being viewed as one of the founding fathers of constructivism, Piaget’s writing is difficult to read for a contemporary audience that may lack the necessary philosophical background. Even though many hold Piaget to be one of them foremost authorities on child development he did not intend to focus on the field of child developmental psychology but was more interested in dealing with the problems in the philosophical study of epistemology which is concerned with how we come to know and how we attain knowledge—how we learn. Piaget’s writing may be difficult to access because he is first a philosopher and only used the science of psychology to help him deal with the philosophical issues of knowledge. He also felt that many epistemological problems were essentially psychological and scientific method would help him to move from the speculation of philosophy and move more of an objective explanation.

This notion of how we come to know or make meaningful connection and essentially learn is a fundamental aspect of the CLSE+COVA approach and as we have stated earlier we owe much of our foundational thinking to Dewey, Piaget, Brunner, Papert and more contemporary authors who provide current interpretations on these foundational works. Ginsburg and Opper (1969) chapter Genetic epistemology and the implications of Piaget’s finding for education offers some the the most accessible and concise summaries of Piaget’s ideas that we have incorporated into CSLE+COVA. The chapter deals with much more than what I will share below but my intention is to make Piaget’s work accessible rather then expand on his blending of philosophy and psychology. Since this particular issue of Ginsburg and Opper (1969) book Piaget’s theology of intellectual development: An introduction is out of print and only used copies are available I will share as much of the final chapter of the book that I can. Newer editions of the book are also out of print but used copies are available online. Where ever expedient I will paraphrase the writing and where it is more appropriate I will use direct quotes.

Active learning – Authentic Learning Opportunities

Perhaps the most important single proposition that an educator can derive from Piaget’s work and thus use in the classroom, is that children, especially young ones, learn best from concrete activities. (Ginsburg & Opper, 1969 p. 220).

The concrete activities that Piaget refer to can easily be mapped to the authentic learning opportunities that we recommend in COVA. Our use of the notion of authentic correlates to concrete in the sense that the activities have a “real-world” component and are activities that the learner can fully engage. Ginsburg and Opper (1969) expands on how a teacher would create this type of a Piagetian classroom or learning environment.

For these reasons a good school encourage the child’s activity, and their manipulation and exploration of objects. When the teacher tries to bypass this process by imparting knowledge in a verbal manner, the result is superficial learning. But by promoting activity in the classroom the teacher exploits the child’s potential for learning and permits them to evolve an understanding of the world around them. This principle (that occurs through the child’s activity) suggests that the teacher’s major task is to provide for the child a wide variety of potentially interesting materials on which them may act. The teacher should not teach, but should encourage the child to learn by manipulating things (Ginsburg & Opper, 1969 p. 221).

This notion of active learning means that an educator must reorient traditional their beliefs about education and focus the fact that:

Teachers can in fact impart or teach very little. It is true that they can get the child to say certain things, but these verbalizations often indicate little in the way of real understanding. Second, it is seldom legitimate to conceive of knowledge as a thing which can be transmitted. Certainly the child needs to learn some facts, and these may considered things; the child must discover them for themselves. Also, facts are but a small portion of real knowledge. True understanding involves action, on both the motoric and intellectual level…The teachers job then is not so much to transmit facts or concepts to the child, but to get them to act on both the physical and mental levels. These actions—far more then imposed facts or concepts— constitute real knowledge. (Ginsburg & Opper, 1969 p. 222).

Since information transfer isn’t the role of the teacher creating a significant learning environment in which the learner is able to discover things for themselves is the key. We would argue that this guided discover happens by giving the learner choice, ownership and voice through authentic learning opportunities.

Ownership of Learning

Equilibration theory emphasizes that self-regulatory process are the basis for genuine learning. The child is more apt to modify their cognitive structure in a constructive way when they control their own learning than when methods of social transmission (in this case teaching) are employed. Do recall Smedslund’s experiments on the acquisition of conservation. If one tries to teach this concept to a child who does not yet have available the mental structure necessary for its assimilation, then the resulting learning is superficial. On the other hand, when children are allowed to progress at their pace through the normal sequence of development, they regulate their own learning so as to construct the cognitive structures necessary for the genuine understanding of conservation (Ginsburg & Opper, 1969 p. 224).

Ginsburg and Opper (1969) indicate that Piaget would then argue that to take these principles seriously then one must extensive change classroom practice. Teachers should:

  • Be aware and assess the learners current level of understanding/functioning.
  • Orient the classroom toward the individual rather then the group.
  • Give the learner considerable control over their learning.

The following section summary captures what this type of learning would look like. Piaget argues that the classroom unit should be disbanded and that learners work on individual projects that they are interested in and given considerable freedom in their learning. To deal with the most common objectives to this learning arrangement Piaget suggests learners shouldn’t all be learning the same thing at the same time and that we should have more faith in the intellectual life of the learner. He stresses the importance of tailoring the learning to the individual and points out how important it is to allow the child and the adolescent to follow their interests and control how they acquire knowledge through their own directed activities apart from instruction in school and formal instruction.

Perhaps the most poignant example of how foolish it is for us to attempt to rigidly control all aspects of learning with traditional teaching methods is to consider how an infant is interested in the world around them is able to learn so much without formal instruction.

One need only watch an infant for a short period of time to know that they are curious, interested in the world around them, and eager to learn. It is quite evident, too, that these are characteristics of older children as well. If left to themselves the normal child does not remain immobile; they are eager to learn. Consequently, it is quite safe to permit the child to structure their own learning. The danger arises precisely when the schools attempt to perform the stalk for them. To understand this point consider, the absurd situations that would result if traditional schools were entrusted with teaching the infant what they spontaneously learn during the first few years. The schools would develop organized curricula, in secondary curricular reactions; they would develop lesson plans for object permanence; they would construct audio-visual aids on causality; they would reinforce “correct” speech; and they would set “goals” for the child to reach each week. One can speculate as to the outcome of such a program for early training. What the student needs then is not formal teaching, but an opportunity to learn. They need to be given a rich environment, containing many things potentially of interest. They need a teacher who is sensitive to their needs, who can judge what materials will challenge them at a given point in time, who can help when they need help and who has faith in their capacity to learn (Ginsburg & Opper, 1969 p. 224-225).

Social interaction

Piaget suggests that in addition to physical experience and concrete manipulations the learner needs social experience and interactions with a wide assortment of people. He points out that younger children learn to relinquish their egocentrism through social interaction and adjust to others at the emotional level. In addition, the social interaction helps the learner to become more coherent and logical and use language to discover reality and internalize the experience into a compact category of experience. Piaget argues:

…social interaction should play a significant role in the classroom. Children should talk with one another. They should converse, share experience, and argue. It is hard to see why schools force the child to be quite, when the results seem to be only an authoritarian situation and extreme boredom. Let us restrict the vow of silence to selected orders of monks and nuns (Ginsburg & Opper, 1969 p. 228).

Traditional Methods of Instruction

Piaget’s theory implies that there are grave deficiencies in “traditional” methods of instruction, especially in the early years of school. By “traditional” methods we mean cases in which the teacher uses a lesson plan to direct the students through a given sequence of material; attempts to transmit the material to the students by means of lectures and other verbal explanations; forces all students to cover essentially the same lessons; and employs a textbook as the basic medium for instruction. Under such an arrangement students take fixed positions in a classroom; talk to one another only at the risk of punishment; are required to listen to the teacher; must study the material which the teacher feels is necessary to study; and must try to learn from books. It is, of course, the case that teachers differ in degree to which they employ traditional methods. No two classrooms are identical, and it would be difficult to find one which is traditional in all respects and at all times. Nevertheless, traditional methods are still highly influential in education today, as even casual observations of the school reveal (Ginsburg & Opper, 1969 p. 229).

This traditional environment is based on four assumptions that have some aspect of merit but are acted upon in the traditional school in a excessive manner.

  1. Students at a given age level should learn the same material. While it is true that there are levels of development and age appropriate instruction the traditional school forces students to cover the same material each day the traditional method ignore the fact that there are individual differences in the pace of learning.
  2. Students learn through verbal explanation from the teacher or through written exposition in books. While this has some element of truth Piaget’s research shows that students verbal explanations are only useful after a basis of concrete activity.
  3. If given greater control over their learning students would waste their time and learn little. If students aren’t given guidance then they would waste their time but this doesn’t mean they should have no control. Piaget points to research that a major part of learning depends on the self regulatory process. In addition, we can’t ignore just how much students learn outside of school.
  4. Uncontrolled taking in class is disruptive to the educational process. Piaget points out that while excessive noise may prevent learning he also points to the fact that teachers are more distracted by noise then students. The the noise is worthwhile because the clash of opinions and the intelligent and spontaneous conversations is beneficial for mental growth.

The following quote from Piaget offers a helpful summary of his educational goals:

The principle goal of education is to create [people] who are capable of doing new things, not simply of repeating what other generations have done—[people] who are creative, inventive and discovers. The second goal of education is to form minds which can be critical, can verify, and not accept everything they are offered. The great danger today is of slogans, collective opinions, ready-made trends of thought. We have to be abel to resist individually, to criticize, to distinguish between what is proven and what is not. So we need pupils where active, who learn early to find out by themselves, partly by their own spontaneous activity and partly through material we set up for them; who learn early to tell what is verifiable and what is simply the first idea to come to them (Duckworth, 1964 p. 175).

References

Ginsburg, H., & Opper, S. (1969). Piaget’s theology of intellectual development: An introduction. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Duckworth, E. (1964). Piaget rediscovered. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 2(3), 172–175.


Over the past 25 years that I have been involved in the education I have seen so many claims that this or that technology will begin to replace teachers in “X” number of years. Years ago, my initial response to these types of articles was humor and occasional annoyance because I know from first-hand experience that there is much more to learning than just delivery of content. Unfortunately, authors of most of these types of articles are wrongly assuming that learning just involves the delivery of content and then the regurgitation of that content by the student. This commonly held and very naive understanding of how we learn that goes back for centuries. If you look at the notion of the Nuremberg Funnel from the 17th century that is depicted in this image/stamp you will see that this idea of pouring information or content into the brains/heads of our students is a very old idea.

Nuremberg Funnel
The 19th-century commercial artist Jean-Marc Côté created a series of picture cards as inserts that were intended to depict how life in France would look in a century’s time. The education card depicts the notion of pouring information directly into the student’s minds.

21st Century School
While some may see this as an early prediction of the audiobook the notion of pouring information into the learner’s minds is the focus of the image and is at the heart of the problem with these types of depictions/predictions. Before I focus on what I believe is the primary issue I need to acknowledge that there is a very long history of unrealistic claims of how technology would reform education. The following three contemporary authors have documented how schools have failed to effectively use technology to enhance learning. Larry Cuban’s Teachers and Machines: The Classroom Use of Technology Since 1920, addresses how the potential of film, radio, TV and computers has been wasted in the classroom. Todd Oppenheimer’s The Flickering Mind: Saving Education from the False Promise of Technology expands on Cuban’s work and further reveals that creative power of computers has been squandered due to their use as standardized testing tools. Both these authors acknowledge the potential and power of technology but show how we have failed to leverage that power for learning.

In the timeline History of Teaching Machines Audrey Watters points to the list of teaching machines that have been invented, patented, and promoted as time-saving solutions to the problems of education. We see major figures like Thorndyke, Skinner and even Neo from the movie Matrix promising a future of instant learning. In her discussion of dystopian future portrayed in the Matrix Watters questions how we value the process of learning when we so often want to supplant it with something that is, fast, cheap and instant. She argues that this desire for instant learning will continue to resurface time and time again and in the more recent stages of her timeline she points to Kahn Academy and MOOCs as the most recent iterations of the teaching machine.

This brings me back to the heart of the matter. Are we using technology as a tool to help make meaningful connections and to address the challenges of tomorrow or are we just using technology to deliver content and confirm that the student can regurgitate that content? There was a time not so long ago when getting access to information was the greatest challenge. We only have to look back a few years to a time when the Internet didn’t exist and we had to go to the library or other repositories of information to get at the content. I am not that old but I can recall a time in the 1960’s when a set of encyclopedia was one of the most important purchases a rural family could make; I grew up searching those books for all kinds of answer. In the last 15-20 years the explosive growth of the Internet and more recently the ease with which we can find information with Google, YouTube or other search tools and then can share that information on blogs, social media and in so many other ways has changed the way we need to view our challenges regarding information. The greatest challenge of the industrial age was accessing information and now that we have moved into digital information age our greatest challenge or problem is assessing information. This means we need to reassess our primary role or job as teachers.

If I imagine my primary job as a teacher is to serve information, am I helping solve the current informational problem or do I make it worse?

And given the vast complexity of the informational network, if I insist on my centrality and authority, does that establish or harm my credibility as a teacher?

If assessing information – and the wisdom & experience that this requires – is the central challenge of the current informational age, then are teachers more or less necessary?

Depending on how you answer this question should determine if your role as a teacher can easily be replaced by a computer or an inspirational robot. If you believe that your primary job is to deliver information to your students then these predictions will come true sooner than you expect. Technology is at the point where the delivery of information and the assessment of the reception of that information through some form of standardized test is already happening and can easily be automated. If you are a teacher that practices content delivery as the primary way to prepare your students for standardized tests then you can easily be replaced by a computer, robot or other technology.

If you are a teacher who believes it is your responsibility to inspire your learners and to help them assess information and make meaningful connections by creating significant learning environments (CSLE) in which you give your learner choice ownership and voice through authentic (COVA) learning opportunities it will be impossible to replace you with technology. Furthermore, if you hold to the CSLE+COVA approach then you are not afraid of technology and can put technology in its proper place by using it to enhance the learning environment.

Before you breathe that sigh of relief that your teaching job is secure because you believe in the student-centered rhetoric of Dewey and other constructivists you may want to have a look at your practice. Are you talking the talk of Dewey but walking the walk of Thorndyke? Along with the long history of misapplying technology in education, we also have a long history of using the constructivist or progressive rhetoric of Dewey but practicing the behaviorist methods of Thorndyke’s standardized testing (Labaree, 2006).

If you really don’t want to be replaced by an inspirational robot then you need to not only talk the talk of Dewey but walk the walk. Does your practice match your rhetoric? If it doesn’t what are you doing about it?

References

Bodkin, H. (2017, September 11). “Inspirational” robots to begin replacing teachers within 10 years. The Telegraph. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/09/11/inspirational-robots-begin-replacing-teachers-within-10-years/

Hill, D. J. (2012, October 15). 19th-century French artists predicted the world of The future in this series of postcards. Retrieved October 3, 2017, from https://singularityhub.com/2012/10/15/19th-century-french-artists-predicted-the-world-of-the-future-in-this-series-of-postcards/

Labaree, D. F. (2005). Progressivism, schools and schools of education: An American romance. Paedagogica Historica, 41(1–2), 275–288. https://doi.org/10.1080/0030923042000335583

Nuremberg Funnel. (2017, January 6). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Nuremberg_Funnel&oldid=758530021

Watters, A. (2016, March 2) The allure of ‘Matrix-Style Learning.’ Retrieved from http://hackeducation.com/2016/03/02/matrix

Watters, A. (2016) History of teaching Machines. Retrieved from http://teachingmachin.es/timeline.html

In the Curiosity is the Cat post, Will Richardson makes the argument that curiosity is the only “C” that truly matters. Richardson alludes to the variety of authors who have pointed to 4, 7, or more Cs of 21st Century learning and suggests that without curiosity you wouldn’t have critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration. He also points to the reality that our children are filled with curiosity prior to going to school and by the time they are in their teens they have little curiosity for anything to do with the curriculum. There appears to be a correlation between the ages that children lose their curiosity and a number of questions that they ask.

Santana & Rothstein of the Right Question Institute have compiled a graphic from NCES data that shows children’s peak questioning happens at age 4 and then significantly declines as they progress through school.

Warren Berger confirms this correlation in his book A More Beautiful Question and points to our education systems that reward rote answers over challenging inquiry as one of the primary causes of this decline. Our educational system focuses on giving the right answers as opposed to starting with the right questions. And yet the most innovative organizations in the world like Google, Netflix and IDEO and most innovative artists, teachers, and entrepreneurs look to change the world by starting with a “beautiful question.” Innovation requires starting with questions and our current educational system is not preparing learners who are equipped to ask questions and innovate.

When we focus on the right answers instead of starting with questions we not only extinguish our learner’s ability to question, inquire and innovate we create an environment of rewards and punishment that fosters fear in the learner when they aren’t able to regurgitate the right answer. In my research into how to get adults more comfortable with using technology, I learned that in order to stimulate the natural curiosity that is extinguished by our educational system I had to first help the adult learner get over their fear of doing something wrong or the fear of not knowing the right answer. Once steps were taken to help adult learners deal with this fear then we could start working on rebuilding that inquisitiveness that would help them to explore and see “what would this button do” as they learned how to use technology. While my approach to adult learning called Inquisuitivism proved to be effective, I couldn’t help wonder why we had to reactively help people rebuild a natural disposition or mindset that we all have as children.

Instead of attempting to reignite our learner’s inquisitiveness wouldn’t it be much more effective to nurture that natural ability they have in abundance before they start school? When we ask this question we need to be prepared to do something about what our inquiry reveals. There is no doubt that if we continue to do what we have always done in school our passive educational environment of main lecture points, content delivery, step by step rubrics, individual competition and standardized testing will continue to efficiently extinguish our children’s natural inquisitiveness.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Like Santana & Rothstein, Richardson, Burger, I also believe that we can help develop connected curious learners who will become the innovators of the future. While reigniting the questioning spark is extremely important this is only one part of a bigger process. If we focus on just this part of the problem we can easily fall into a quick fix mentality which is another perennial problem that we face in education. There are no quick fixes; we have to purposefully design our learning environments. We have to stop doing what we have always done and start creating significant learning environments by giving our learners choice, ownership, and voice through authentic learning opportunities (CSLE+COVA).

References
Berger, W. (2014). A more beautiful question: The power of inquiry to spark breakthrough ideas. New York, NY: Bloomsbury USA.
Richardson, W. (2017, February 11). Curiosity is the cat. Retrieved from https://willrichardson.com/curiosity-is-the-cat/
Santana, L., & Rothstein, D. (n.d.). Percentage of children asking questions. Retrieved from http://rightquestion.org/percentage-children-asking-questions/

Mindset Definition
When my boys were quite young I started to encourage them to continually and perpetually look for a better way to do anything and everything. I used to joke around with them saying: “your dad is the laziest guy they will ever meet because I am always looking for a better or easier way to do things so that I can finish up the stuff I don’t like doing and get onto the stuff like do like doing like riding our bikes, or playing games or just hanging out”. I also gave my boys permission to stop me when we were working on anything to offer a suggestion on how they thought we could do the task in a better or easier way.

Over the years there have been countless times that my boys have offered suggestions or walked me through their ideas on doing some task that ended up in a me saying, “Yes, your right this is a better way, thanks let’s do it your way”. Many years of working with my boys have also helped me to realize that the better way isn’t aways the easier or faster way. We also learned that there are times the easier way may initially seem faster, but if you weren’t able to do things well enough and had to do something over again the better way could actually be the easier and faster way.

My boys aren’t really boys anymore; they are young men. The other day we were exploring how to design a braking and cornering drill that they could use in their Down Hill mountain bike training. They both want to move up the professional ranks in their sport and realize that they need to go faster which means that they have to learn to brake less or at the optimum moment and to corner better, so setting up drills that they can practice on a daily basis is really important. They use a variety of tools like GoPro cameras and Freelap timing equipment for feedback on their training so they are always discussing the best way to use the technology to enhance the learning or training environment.

My younger son Caleb is a stickler for doing things better so he was suggesting that he and his brother need to use two Freelap timing stations. One timing station at the beginning of the turn where you would start braking and one a few metres past the exit of the turn so that you can use a timing split to accurately gauge the improvement of braking at different times and places. Using a split would also control the differences in how fast one peddled up to the brake point and would give you are more accurate representation of the difference in breaking would make on your exit speed on the turn. You have to understand that the professional level of their sport the difference between 1st, 2nd or 3rd place in a race can be the difference of a few hundreds of second so gaining a half seconds on a few turns on a race course can make the difference between being on the podium or finishing out of the top 10.

His older brother Levi suggested that using one timing station would be good enough to give you an idea of where to brake and how much of a difference it would make so we all had a good discussion exploring if the level of accuracy the two timing stations and the timing split would be necessary. We came to the conclusion that it probably would be better to have the accuracy the two timing stations and the split would offer but we were not sure it would it be necessary. Since we have access to the equipment my boys are going to test it out.

If you don’t know, give it a go — is the approach my boys have always followed even before Ken Robinson referred to this idea in his Schools Kill Creativity TED Talk. I have always been careful to nurture and help them maintain that natural or intrinsic inquisitiveness all young children have and that they seem to lose within a few years entering into our formal education system. I have also looked for ways to help all learners, I am responsible for, regain or stimulate that natural inquisitiveness that is so important for learning.

It is exciting to think that the desire for, or the pursuit of, the better way may of had it roots in those early years when I encouraged my boys to maintain their natural inquisitiveness and to always look for a better way to do anything and everything. This attitude, or perhaps mindset, will enable them to improve their training and help them with their racing careers. I also think it will help them in many other aspects of life. By constantly looking for the better way they will constantly be asking question and looking for options that will help them solve life’s challenges. Hopefully they will never be satisfied with doing things the way they have always been done but will continually look for a better way.

The pursuit of the better way is what I like to refer to as the learner’s mindset and is something that I believe is central to our human nature. It is more foundational than Carol Dweck’s growth mindset in which people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. Dweck argues that the growth mindset will stimulate a love of learning and foster a resilience necessary for great accomplishment and can simply be adopted by adding the notion of “not yet” to a negative belief about one’s ability or talent. The learner’s mindset is even more foundational to George Couros’ innovator’s mindset considering his assertion that the innovator’s mindset takes the growth mindset a step further by focusing on using one’s ability to learn and to create or the belief that our abilities, intelligence, and talents are developed so that they lead to the creation of new and better ideas.

The growth mindset is crucial to opening one up to learning and the innovators mindset is crucial to motivating one to create new and better ideas, but both require that natural or intrinsic inquisitiveness that we see in infants, toddlers and young children who haven’t yet had this spark of curiosity and creativity quenched by our educational systems. I am not alone in this assertion – that schools kill the natural desire to learn or as Ken Robinson states Schools Kill Creativity. We also see a similar fundamental belief that children are pre-adapted to learning and have a natural curiosity from learning theorists like Jerome Bruner. Carol Dweck’s lament of her elementary school teacher labeling her and starting her down the spiral of the fixed mindset is not an isolated story and it doesn’t take much for each of us to think back to a time when we were labeled or categorized and put into a position of believing that we just didn’t have what it takes.

Perhaps if we focused on nurturing and supporting this natural inquisitiveness and predisposition toward learning we would be much further ahead and wouldn’t then have to attempt to restore or rebuild what we have torn down in the first place. Fortunately, the human being is the most amazing and resilient learning entity on our planet so even if our schools do kill creativity and standards based assessment systems quench the natural natural or intrinsic inquisitiveness of the learners mindset it only takes a little bit of choice, ownership, and voice given through an authentic learning opportunities to kindle that spark of the learners mindset.

This is why Dweck’s notion of “yet” is so powerful. Not yet sparks our intrinsic inquisitiveness, flames the fires of our intrinsic desire to learn and stokes our learners mindset.

References

Bruner, J. S. (1960). The process of education. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
Bruner, J. S. (1966). Toward a theory of instruction. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
Couros, G. (2015). The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity. San Diego, CA: Dave Burgess Consulting Inc.
Dweck, C. (2006). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Random House Publishing Group.
Robinson, K. (2016). Ken Robinson: Do Schools Kill Creativity? Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity?utm_source=tedcomshare&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=tedspread