Sun Tzu says: Hence a wise general makes a point of foraging on the enemy.
This means that many aspects of the solution you seek lie within the problem itself. Come to the problem unburdened by preconceptions and use the information along the way to guide you. (Lichtman, 96 p.)
If we lead learning by following the learners’ questions, won’t we be coming to the problem relatively unburdened? Through history and experience, I might assume that the learners in my care will struggle with the approaching concept. What if I facilitate a question-generating session and see where the questions lead?
The provenance of authentic questions doesn’t rest solely with the teacher, however. When students ask authentic questions, we know they are focused on the learning and not just completion of assignments. Students’ authentic questions are a good measure of their intellectual engagement. (Ritchhart, Church, and Morrison, p. 32)
What if we collect multiple questions – authentic questions – from our learners? Will the collection of questions lead to the same product or outcome with increased interest and engagement?
The act of prioritization – the ability to assign importance properly is an intellectual task involving a wide range of skills, including comparison, categorization, analysis, assessment, and synthesis. (Rothstein and Santana, 88 p.)
Are we able to teach more because we follow their thinking paths? In addition to teaching content, will we teach comparison, categorization, analysis, assessment, and synthesis?
Great teachers create opportunities for students to ask questions that excite them to self-discovery. Great leaders, in business, politics, sports, or families, create opportunities for others to be self-successful. Many of our heroes are heroes because they find a way for us to find something within ourselves – courage, kindness, leadership, charity, vision – that we might not have found without their help. They prepare us to be prepared to take advantages of opportunities. (Lichtman, p. 33)
I aspire to find solutions that may be within the problem. I argue that it takes collaboration, communication, and empathy to find the myriad of perspectives in any complex problem. I agree that great teachers help uncover critical human-centered qualities that need to be offered to the world. I aspire to be a teacher that prepares learners to be prepared.
I aspire to listen more, question more, and learn more.
I aspire to become a falconer.
Lichtman, Grant, and Sunzi. The Falconer: What We Wish We Had Learned in School. New York: IUniverse, 2008. Print.
Ritchhart, Ron, Mark Church, and Karin Morrison. Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2011. Print.
Rothstein, Dan, and Luz Santana. Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education, 2011. Print.
[Cross posted on Experiments in Learning by Doing.]