Learning requires forgetting.
This very morning I was listening to a 3-part podcast episode about destruction, death, and black holes. One of the themes is that with destruction comes creation. For example, black holes actually create galaxies as they destroy all matter. (although this idea seems under debate)
There’s a destruction that comes with creating, and also with learning. Listening as I rode into work it reminded me of, and helped me to understand better, point 4 on this list I came across last week.
I’m not sure how fine the line is that the podcast episode draws between the ideas of “destroying” and “decision making”, but there’s something to this in educational realms. As a teacher, I help my students practice and create knowledge that bring them closer to their goals, and at the same time destroy that which impairs their progress.
My students and I break apart what they know and bring to class; we look, analyze, add to, and remove from it; then piece it back together. Destroy and create. This is the process of thinking and education.
Human Nature is a good podcast about humans and their relationship with nature. Each episode usually presents the story of someone who has experienced a life change or has gone on a journey or had a thoughtful experience, and nature is involved. The stories aren’t all that ‘magical’ or epiphanic, they’re human.
Hi-Phi Nation is a great podcast and one of their recent episodes was about a debate style ethics competition at a school in the US. I try to post about “ethics” here because it’s an important subject for any number of reasons, dipping deep into education, design, technology, language…basically anything. It is a part of the neglected “what” of education.
Discussions about morality and ethics are also usually pretty interesting.
One of the questions they use in the competition is something like: I have a choice between saving a small amount of people from falling down an elevator shaft to their death, or having a low percentage of saving a large amount of people from falling. I can only save one group. Which is my best moral decision?
For me, the answer is to save the small number of people. It isn’t morally right to “play the odds” with people’s lives. React to a bad situation as best as I can, without creating the possibility of an even worse one.
The question is kind of a stripped down analogy to scaling. When I scale, opt to serve more people than less, I accept that some people will be marginalized.
That’s fine as a business model, I guess. But, in education the decision to scale is a choice that needs strong consideration. Morality comes into play when decisions about access to education are weighed against a percentage of students falling down the elevator shaft as a result of that decision.
Even worse than playing the odds is accepting them. And even worse is ignoring them.