The business world, the world where people work once they move out of schooling, knows the value of “doing”- it’s called “experience”, and there’s no substitute for it. Employers regularly complain about new hires out of school who can’t do anything. They can’t think, they can’t apply a principle if they “didn’t have a case study about that” — in short, they aren’t good at DOING.
In rethinking about what education needs to be about and how we can then go about achieving this two things always come to the surface. One is that education needs to be conceived as more than the transmission of data/facts and second is that the means by which you go about doing it conveys as much as what you are conveying. In other words, how you go about the business of education says a lot about what you are teaching. In fact, the two are inseparable.
Want to teach engagement and creativity/innovation? You have to give students the opportunity to ask their own questions, explore and discover. Stop “telling”. Figuring out what the good questions are will always be more important than finding out the answers to any questions. Yet, schools today still provide the question and send students off to find the answers. “Innovators” in education today think they are making significant strides when they provide iPads as a tool to find the answers. This is what passes for thoughtful and “forward thinking” solutions to the education crisis. Myopic indeed. This is what happens when people who have not truly been “educated” are old enough to be in charge.
Of course, “doing”, if we’re lucky, often leads to failing. More about that in the next post.