The podcast is a combination of a talk given by Harry Collins at Memorial University in Newfoundland, and a conversation he had with Paul Kennedy.
It raises important questions about the position of science in society. I recommend it to anyone interested in how science is perceived in our society, and particularly for those advocating for science instruction and literacy in our public school system.
One sentence that resonates this morning is, “Would I prefer a society where people expose their ideas to criticism, or where they hide them away so nobody can tell them that they are wrong?“.
In our work with open learning, we often hear that education leaders are afraid to openly share their learning – to be “lead learners” – because it will expose what they don’t know.
Schooling promotes this thinking – that it is better to hide your ignorance. It is very challenging to shift people who excelled in school – many who then entered schooling as a profession – into believing that it is better to share ideas than to hide them.
How do we create the conditions in our public education system that encourage leaders to be learners, and to openly share their learning with others?
If we want “innovation”, we need to embrace ideas.
The only way to have great ideas, is to have a lot of ideas.
If our school culture values ‘being right’ more than it values learning, we can’t be innovative.
She challenges us to think about positive thinking as a number of different activities instead of just one way of being.
Sometimes, we think very positively about an upcoming event because we have had similar success in the past. This type of thinking is based on reality, and it often results in better outcomes because it is a motivating factor.
However, having positive daydreams about upcoming events is linked to poorer outcomes. Positive daydreaming can lead to relaxation. Professor Oettingen suggests that people who frequently use positive daydreaming as a strategy, convince themselves that they are fine, and they don’t take the necessary steps to move forward in achieving their goals.
“Mental contrasting“, however, is a technique that can lead to successfully achieving some goals, while letting go of goals that you will not be able to achieve. The important factor is building close connections between your current reality and your goal as well as your current reality and identified obstacles, and what is needed to overcome the obstacles.
** Update! We now know that Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) watched our video on the ISS! How exciting for our students. Commander Hadfield understands the importance of connections for learning. His song with Ed Robertson is all about how the world is one place, all interconnected, and the video shows how this is so true. Student teachers, learning from classrooms around the globe, sharing and connecting. Chris Hadfield has made powerful connections with students across Canada and his influence is being felt by an entire generation. Thanks Chris!
I am so excited tonight to see the finished collaboration my students were recently involved in.
After spending some time with our student teacher from the University of Regina, ECMP455 students wanted to connect all of the great classrooms they had been learning in around the world with a lipdub project. I sent the idea out and I was thrilled to see two teachers at our school take it on. They did a fabulous job, and we are excited to share the spotlight with “Daniel and the Atkins”, our Saskatchewan pre-service teacher and his beautiful daughters.
A special thanks goes out to Dean Shareski for coordinating the project and including us.
@colleenkr and her students at 3:12
@kimberniprock and her students at 3:55
Our student teacher, “Daniel and the Atkins” at 4:10
In my last posting, I stated a few of the findings in the Hole in the Wall experiments. The last was that schools need to include a rational system to know what to believe in.
Tonight I read a post by Ira Socol called “Question Everything” that really helps me with my thinking on this one.
In particular, I love this section that so clearly demonstrates the cycle of memorizers getting good grades and becoming teachers:
The teachers can almost always rattle off what is wrong with this projection, including the innate cultural bias attached – the diminuation of the southern hemisphere (Greenland, 1/14th the size of Africa, appears larger than that continent), the Americentric splitting of Asia, et al – but if I ask why this map is important, where it would be valuable, those same educators often freeze.
They know what they’ve “learned” (memorized) about the Mercator Projection, but as generations of U.S. educators never questioned the map which unrolled over the chalkboard, our educators today fail to question the shortcomings of the new maps.
So whether it is homework or due dates, school bells or school desks, or any of the “facts” we tend to put before students. You, them, we all, should be doubting everything, questioning everything.
That process not only builds a real kind of learning unavailable through memorization, it will create a next generation unwilling to accept the mistakes of the past and present.
Harassing phone calls, personal threats, intrusions on personal privacy – this is what scientist Michael Mann has endured.
He was interviewed yesterday on The Current, by Anna Maria Tremonti. His new book, “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars”, chronicles his personal journey, attempting to deliver an unpopular message to the American public.
He faces climate change deniers to this day, and the interview highlights the struggle to sell science to a public that does not understand it, a public that will believe what they hear from politicians or talk radio over the results of scientific inquiry, if it suits their purpose or supports their current belief system.
What does it say about our education system when people will so easily believe what they want to believe? When people confuse science and belief?
Science is about inquiry. Science is about questioning. Science is about getting to the truth.
What are we doing wrong in the science classroom?
When politicians can convince the public that they are right and scientists are wrong, the school system has failed.
Have we so conditioned the public to simply listen, memorize and regurgitate that we can tell them anything and they will believe it? If a myth is repeated often enough, the public will see it as truth. Why do so few people even question the validity of what they are told?
Is it because they have spent thousands of hours in classrooms being taught to listen and memorize rather than to question and explore?
Michael Mann has lived the result of this type of indoctrination.
Grant Wiggins* questions the entire idea of a standard curriculum.
Broadfoot**, back in 2000, writes about how our current system of education spread throughout the world and as such, is not questioned, even though it was developed for a world that no longer exists.
Promoting student inquiry*** in our schools will encourage our students learn to examine and investigate rather than to simply believe authority without question.