Wonderful reactions to our show on the meaning of intelligence with Mike Rose. Here’s a line from his book Why School?, which didn’t make it into my interview or the script, but that I love:

We are driven — as surely as we are driven to survive — to find meaning in our lives, to interpret what befalls us, the events that swirl around us, the people who cross our paths, the objects and rhythms of the natural world. We do this instinctively; it is essential to being human. So we do it with or without education. But we are getting educated all the time, of course: by family, community, teachers, pals, bullies, and saints.

I’ve been on a bit of a trajectory of realization about that process — of being educated in not-so-obvious places — through my conversation this past fall with Adele Diamond, and now Mike Rose. They’ve given me a whole new appreciation for aspects of my experience that I had always characterized as on the sidelines of my education — debate teams and theater productions and choirs that kept me thinking and creative even as I was woefully under-challenged by schools in a small town in Oklahoma where advanced classes in everything were cut to keep up the football budget.

I’ve told myself that I had a failed primary and secondary educational experience. Now I can glorify joyful and energizing possibilities that did come my way with the word “education.” Adele Diamond even gives me scientific language to explain the fact that debate and drama quite legitimately gave me the tools to “learn how to learn” and to use what I learn into the present.

I’m also watching my children’s education with new eyes in ways that surprise me. I’m grasping why my daughter’s two years in a Waldorf School were so fundamentally transformative. Waldorf’s focus on storytelling, drama, handiwork, and music could come prescribed from the new science that Adele is part of. But I’m even appreciating my son’s touch football games where so much negotiation and strategizing goes on alongside the physical.

And so life, and education, come full circle.


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3Reflections

Reflections

I enjoyed this discussion immensely.

My husband is in a course on proposal writing. One would think, how dry that must be; however, one of the course leaders is a former actor. My husband (probably others in the class, too) was a bit surprised to learn this; after the first day, however, he remarked how the leader's experience of acting informed the teaching and the learning.

I wish more educators were exposed to Adele Diamond's and her colleagues work.

Thank you.

Thus the rich education of my Father who had to stop being schooled after eight years in the great depression but was educated in a myriad of ways as he grew in "wisdom."

This has to be one of my favorite interviews (and a favorite topic). I just wanted to add a reference as an aside, that some of you might find interesting. It occurred to me while reading so many comments about how not necessarily intellectual learning tasks, but other types of task learning contribute to personal happiness. Some time ago I'd picked up a copy of "Scientific American Mind" magazine (August/Sept 2008 edition), with an article (see http://www.scientificamerican.... ) describing how the brain lights up in so many depression breaking places when the hands are used to carry out goal oriented activities, like gardening or cooking or the kind of day to day work you find in Amish places, elaborating on why that might explain the sizable increased incidence of depression in the latter half of the twentieth century as compared to the first, with so many life conveniences replacing the kinds of goal directed hand task activities that in the early part of the century everyone was steeped in.

It's an excellent article. It makes me think of my Grandfather and Grandmother, both of whom were so involved in craft related activities, from painting, to gardening, to cooking, to woodworking. They were two of the happiest people I've ever known in my life.