Why ‘And’ Is Such An Important Word In Learning


Do you ever feel that it is sometimes challenging to gain real perspective on important issues? I was remarking the other day how challenging it can be to sort the wheat from the chaff in the bombardment of messaging we receive on a daily basis. How do we sort the truth from ‘fake news’? How do we assess what is fact and what is truth and are they even the same thing anymore? 


Truth takes into consideration feelings and beliefs, whereas they have no place in fact. A fact is something that is true everywhere and for everyone. However, something that is true for one person may not be true for everyone. It’s an increasingly complex issue for adults and just imagine how perplexing it can be for children. 

Social media seems to exacerbate this issue. We become comfortable in our echo chambers where the only voices we hear or allow in are those in concert with our thinking. We very much move into a world where decision making becomes a question only of ‘or’. Do I support this point of view or another? Can I find truth in this report or only in this one?

You see where the danger comes from? By polarizing perspectives with or we miss the potential that comes from and!

A Process of Discovery

It’s our job as teachers to help students understand that there are many ways of thinking and problem solving. We have to encourage and lead them in a process of discovery that includes points of view that may appear diametrically opposed. Much of the learning process (adults included) should include the active pursuit of knowledge that is based on many inputs. This requires us to approach our analysis by exploring information from this source and another source and yet another in order to arrive at a fully-informed outcome. And, then we ask some more questions!

Perhaps, not surprisingly, kids are pretty good at this. They have yet to form hardened points of view and their curiosity compels them to wander about in the world of knowledge happily soaking up all sorts of information. 

They ask all kinds of questions. Why is the sky blue? Why does a caterpillar have fur? Why do wasps even exist? How do germs make us sick? What’s the whole point of trigonometry? 

The Indian author Shakuntal Devi wrote, “Education is not just about going to school and getting a degree. It's about widening your knowledge and absorbing the truth about life.”

If we remain in our comfortable silos there’s a good chance we won’t widen our knowledge. We stop asking questions and become resolved in thinking that if all of these people agree with us we must be right. 

Walden International School students are curious and we love it. If you’re curious too about how we do things here, why not stop by for a visit. We’d love you to look around and ask all the questions you might have.

Daphne PeruginiComment