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How are you?
Good, Good.
Okay, I have a question for you.
What is education?
I think about it, this question all the time.
But in order to come to an answer, I have to back up to this.
This is me.
A few years ago, right after I jumped out of an airplane.
Actually, that's not entirely true.
There was a man who has jumped out of the airplane and I was strapped to him.
This is called tandem skydiving.
Although I'm sure for my tandem partner, it felt a lot more like trying to shove a cat into bathwater.
Now, questions about education do not spontaneously occur to you.
When you're plummeting towards the earth at the speed of gravity, you're far more likely to ask something like why is everything on the ground so pointy?
In my case, I had no questions whatsoever for the simple reason that I was terrified beyond the capacity for speech.
And I can pinpoint the exact moment when all my learned coping systems just went offline.
It was when one of the solo sky divers will call him Jim, gave me a moustachioed grin, waved and rolled out the door of the plane.
One second there was Jim, the next second there was no gym and my brain just started buffering.
Now I do know that as we were inching toward that door and all that empty space on the other side of it, I turned to my tandem partner Sig and said, I've grown very attached to you and because he like you, was very kind.
He actually laughed at that terrible, terrible joke.
I don't have a picture of Sig because, honestly, how could I possibly represent in stick figure form someone who is literally the only thing between me and absolute certain death?
Now, in addition to ensuring my bodily safety, Sig was the one who helped me through what was probably the purest experience I've ever had in the space between Goodbye Jim and the ground.
There was, for the first time in my conscious life, no secondary narration in my head.
No bloggers hot take no metaphors, no analogies, no means.
There was just me and cig and the speed and the space and the terror and the fully present joy that scoured me of everything I brought with me.
I was falling through wonder.
And when I got to the ground, I was not the person who had climbed onto the plane.
I was someone who had jumped out of the plane.
I will always be someone who has jumped out of a plane, and that brings me back to my question.
What is education?
And I think about tandem skydiving, and I find myself pointing to that past version of me falling through wonder and saying that that's education.
It's about Wonder.
Education is a wonder engine, so let's talk about wonder for a minute.
Wonder is basically the space between the plane and the ground.
It's the distance you'll travel between who you are now and who you will become, and we can map the contours of wonder by thinking about its effects on us.
It suspends us.
It d centers us, and it asks us to reconfigure our understanding.
So you encounter something new.
It could be anything, a mathematical formula or a work of art or a supernova or a bacterium.
Whatever it is, that encounter strikes you.
We often an experience an encounter with the radically new as a kind of physical and psychic blow, and we can see this in the language that we use to describe these encounters were struck by an idea or were struck dumb or were thunderstruck, sometimes were even heart stricken.
And as these phrases suggests, part of that experience is about being knocked outside of language, as I was when the terror of falling from a plane scoured all the words from my mind.
What do you do when you encounter something stunning?
You put your hands on your mouth.
We're on the top of your head as if you're trying to catch words that won't come or that have already fled.
Wonder suspends our habitual ways of seeing and describing the world.
So imagine, for example, the Renaissance Explorer serve.
France is a drake.
Upon encountering for the first time the duck billed platypus.
Now the planet was represented an interesting challenge to a particular European way of making sense of the world, the great chain of being in which all creatures are arranged in a hierarchy from people at the top all the way down to so called lowly creatures like reptiles or bugs.
But where do we put the platypus, this creature?
That's kind of a bear and a bird and a lizard in the end.
In his diary, Drake just kind of throws up his arms and calls it a most paradoxical animal.
So the suspension of our habitual ways of seeing and describing the world brings us to the next part of Wonder D centering.
Now the platypus isn't that scary a creature to look at?
I mean, he has a bow tie.
So how terrible could it be?
But for Drake, he might have been conceptually scary, because his existence suggests that the tried and true way of making sense of the world in this case the great chain of being might not be the only way to see and make sense of the world.
Wonder knocks a sideways out of our habitual frame and the new flows into the space left by the old.
And this is actually an interesting step in the development of empathy, empathy, the capacity to see the world from a perspective other than our own brings us to the next part of wonder reconfiguration, in which we incorporate the new into an expanded understanding of what we brought with us.
Looking back at ourselves from a de centered perspective, we see ourselves anew.
So when Drake is describing, the platypus is bare like her duck issue reptile ask.
He's trying to cram his paradoxical animal into the conceptual box that he brought with him.
But ultimately that box had to change shape to accommodate the platypus.
Just a CZ European understanding of the world changed when he got back from circumnavigating the globe.
And just as I ceased to be someone who had never jumped out of an airplane and became someone who had so wonder, first suspends our way of thinking and then opens up into that newly evacuated space the idea that there are other ways of thinking and finally asked us to incorporate the new by changing the shape of who we are and what we know.
Wonder transforms us.
Education is a space where the transformations of wonder can be harnessed.
An education that doesn't change you isn't an education, so these transformations of wonder can come at us in unexpected ways.
When I was a young teacher introducing students to a platypus of a course called literary Theory, 101 that challenged all kinds of comfortable truths about language in the world a student stopped me at the end of class and asked me, How do you get out of bed every day, knowing what you know now?
The student wasn't struggling with the content of the course or with the skill sets, which she had well in hand.
What she was struggling with was the idea that the world she was encountering in her education was so different than what she expected.
I know now that this student was in the freefall of transformation and that in asking me this question, she was looking for a parachute at the time I was thunderstruck, and then I was struck dumb.
And then I was heart stricken because I realized something in that moment that I had never fully understood before.
The tremendous courage it takes to be a learner, how brave our students are to come to our classrooms and say, by their very presence there, I'm willing to be different in an hour or a semester or in four years than I am right now.
Students put themselves on the line, and that could be a profoundly unsettling experience.
This conversation with my student knocked me sideways and I had to reconfigure my understanding of both of our rules in the educational space.
Never again could I look out at the classroom solely from my own perspective as a teacher, I had to try and see it from the perspective of the students who are knocked sideways by.
The challenge is made by their education to their very sense of self.
I was never the same after this moment, and my answer to the student reflected some of that transformation that I myself was undergoing in my own identity as a teacher.
I'm here, I told her, because you're here.
When I was falling from the playing, Sig showed me howto spread my arms to slow our tumble and where to grip my harness to make sure that my hands were out of the way when he pulled the ripcord to deploy the parachute.
And then as we were falling through this sudden and miraculous silence, he said, In my ear, look a glory.
And he pointed to this unusual phenomenon are shadows on a cloud surrounded by the perfect circle of a rainbow.
Wonder knocks a sideways, but it doesn't have to knock us down.
We can help students to make that leap, but just as importantly, to see a name, the glory on the way I bring to my classroom, my disciplinary framework, technical vocabulary, a suite of skills and a tradition of scholarship.
But I have to offer my students something more than just content and skill sets.
If Francis Drake had encountered the platypus with on Li, the great chain of being in his pocket, he would have had to deny the existence of the platypus.
But he didn't because he was a resilient thinker.
He had a wonder mindset.
We need to equip our students with a wonder mindset.
Now, at the end of my skydive, we actually missed the landing zone and came down instead on the landing strip where the plane was at that time, quite predictably, landing and I learned that it is really hard to run when you're strapped to a full grown man.
I also realized how ironic it would be to survive the leap from an airplane on Lee to be run over on the ground by that very same plane.
Irony is a gap between what circumstances lead you to expect and what you actually get.
Sometimes I think our institutions reproduce just this kind of ironic relationship between our expectations and our practices.
We provide the means for students to take the leap into wonder and then tie them down or run them over with all kinds of policies and practices that impede their full transformation.
For example, we ask our teachers to cram our beautiful platypus students into the inflexible boxes of a grading system that was initially designed to grade livestock and that as decades of research has shown rewards, conformity actively discourages intellectual risk and makes the new invisible by coating it as failure.
We asked students to transform themselves, but often on Lee, into versions of ourselves, and we do this not because we're terrible people, but because this is the way that education has been done and because institutions change slowly.
And we feel this irony is a kind of vertigo because our aspirations have outstripped our design, so any educational experience will change you.
You will be changed by falling from an airplane.
Whether it goes well or not, we need to make sure that when students take that leap, we don't run them over on the ground when they get there.
So how do we do that?
What would it look like if we were to design for wonder?
Well, we could involve students in the design of the courses and the assessment models.
We could create assignments that help them to make visible their transformation and track the distance that they've traveled.
We could incorporate into the curriculum time for free fall and disorientation and value that as part of the process, not as a sign of failure.
We could reconsider our practices of ranking students of encouraging competition over collaboration and of valuing grades as the only currency of success.
Education is a wonder engine.
It introduces us to ideas that knock us sideways and gives us the tools that we need to incorporate that newness into our lives.
At its best, at its heart, it equips us with a sense of our own agency, our capacity to reshape reality, to look back at who we were, so we could imagine who we might become.
It helps us to see the glory that is a reflection of ourselves in our moments of wonder.
And if education is a wonder engine, I'm one of the ones with the parachute who gets to go along with each student on this amazing journey, and that is humbling.
And it's a privilege, and it's a daunting responsibility, and it's the most hopeful thing I can do with my life.
So, students, if you feel like you're in free fall sometimes that's okay.
It probably means you're doing education well, but it can be scary.
Turn to the people with the parachutes, your teachers, your counselors, your friends use what they bring with them.
But remember, this is your leap.
There is no template for who you will become.
And I want to thank you for your courage.
Educators, educational leaders.
We have a tremendous privilege and a responsibility.
But if we're not willing to be transformed, how can we expect our students to be?
We need to honor their courage with our own.
So I've been talking a lot about education.
But these ideas apply broadly to anyone who is a member of a business or an institution whose a planner or a designer or a thinker or a learner, in other words, to everyone.
We can all try to imagine what it would be like if we made a world with more space in it for wonder.
We can ask how we could help ourselves and others take the leap, stick the landing and better yet, learned to fly.
So I am going to leave you with a gift one that was given to me by a student.
A statement that I come back to all the time when I need to be brave.
At first, it felt like you were kicking us out of the nest.
But then I realized that by some miracle we have wings.
Thank you.


Education: the Wonder Engine | Lisa Dickson | TEDxUNBC

林宜悉 2020 年 3 月 29 日 に公開
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