“Education is only a true education if we’re developing both the left and right brain of the student,” Mr. Huckabee told scores of bloggers listening in person and on the phone. “The left brain is great for math and science and all the logical forms of education, but knowing what to do with what a student has learned is as important as what they’ve learned. Music and art, teaching the stimulation of the creative side, is absolutely critical to a total well-rounded education.”
Finally, here is a discussion of substance about education. I was wondering how long we had to go during this election cycle before we heard something more than “We need to fund our education system better” (like we have not heard that before and are still in need of it). While I may or may not agree with everything this candidate is saying during the campaign, he at least is saying the right thing here. And the media needs to listen and promote this. The rest of society needs to understand why their kids “have no common sense” or know the true answer to “What were you thinking?” (when no thinking was really going on during the bad decision). Our students are left with little or no opportunity to explore their creative side once the standardized tests kick in. It’s not fair to them, and it actually takes away a lot of the fun of teaching (remember I went from teaching primary to middle school). So you can imagine how it takes away a lot of the fun of learning.
Then that leads to the entire conversation Dan Pink started with his book A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers will Rule the Future. Even the 2.oh students are talking about it on their blogs. Anthony Chivetta wrote a post about “Teaching the Process of Design” to students. Funny thing is, design is dependent on design:
I would argue that the reason watching student videos can at times be excruciatingly painful is that they lack a cohesive design. Often, they represent a hodgepodge of ideas strewn together with very little thought to creating a unified whole. However, when students begin with picking a thesis, and then work from that thesis, a pattern, a design, begins to emerge. When the question for every single decision is “what supports my thesis?” those awkward transitions, strange cuts, and random transitions begin to make sense.
I have to say I agree here. Much of what is needed to be true designers comes from the ability to organize the design ahead of time. That come in so many fashions from basically every core subject taught in school. Papers make no sense without organization. Math results are wrong with corrupt organization. Science experiments go awry with disjointed organization. History makes no sense with a disorganized presentation of the facts.
Proper design forces abstract thinking. Abstract thinking engages the right brain. Engagement of the right brain generates new ideas, products, manipulation and processing of data, and visions.
If we just model correct design through curricular creation and delivery, expect the same high levels of design quality from our students through problem based learning, and showcase the products with exemplary design, then maybe, just maybe, others will notice the importance. It may be just a detail in learning. But as they say, the devil is in the details. It separates the winners form the losers. In our students’ futures, it will separate the have’s from the have not’s.
So to go full circle with this somewhat rambling post…..pay attention to the presidential candidates. While we all know Congress holds the real power, we must recognize a true visionary in the White House can lead to a more innovative (some will call it catch-up) vision for education. It is about time.