Education is important. It is crucial to the development of human intelligence. Nature gives us capabilities but it is up to us to convert those capabilities into competencies that can be leveraged in rewarding (emotional and otherwise) ways.
Raw intelligence is something that needs to be worked on. And formal education plays an important role in that process. The underlying question motivating this book is how good a job formal education is doing at that. It is worth stepping back and considering that question now as we are entering an era where continuous and enhanced learning with become pivotal.
Human beings are like raw diamonds: potential but the inherent beauty and value only emerge with a perfect cut; ie, a cut that recognizes that potential and that brings out the sparkle nature deposited in the stone. How well is formal education, as we know it today, doing in cutting human diamonds? Do we sparkle to our full potential? We should take some time and reflect on these questions. And the time is now as a new and emerging reality raises serious questions about the ability of formal education to instill and encourage a culture of learning. Formal education has become a big machine that marches to its own beat; a system on autopilot in a reality that is changing rapidly and drastically to its own, accelerating beat. Many of the things we do are based on assumptions that were valid in the past; but are they still valid? And are we still on course or have veered off course?
The book is written around me and my experiences. But it is written in a way and format to draw you in. My reflections will trigger reflections in your mind. And you will be able to express and share those. In that sense, this book is also your book. Your own reflections on how we educate future generations.
We are all born rough diamonds, waiting to be discovered, waiting to be studied, and waiting to be cut to reveal the natural sparkle we inherently have. Flaws and imperfections are nearly always there but the focus should never be on these deficiencies but on the potential that nature has endowed each and everyone of us.
Being an avid reader, here are the books I am currently reading. And I truly read them, cover to cover. I usually read 3-4 books at the same time, with a mix of fiction and non-fiction.
Following up on “Children of the Sea”, Joseph Conrad’s famous 1914 novel, I started reading “Typhoon” which he wrote in 1919. The other two books are related to children’s education. One is Holt’s 1989 book on how children learn; it helps me as I try to get my 6-years old daughter up on her math skills. The other book is one that was just published by a former student of mine, Lynne Azarchi. Her book, “The Empathy Advantage”, chronicles her inspiring work at Kidsbridge Tolerance Center (Trenton, New Jersey) coaching children to be kind and respectful.
March 24, 2021