When I look back, one assignment crystalized what he achieved with me. He presented us with an assignment that were inherently intriguing: "what do people in another place live like?". The hand out he gave us was a single page covered from top to bottom with questions. "What do they eat?" "Where do they work?" "What's the weather like?" etc. He talked to us about this until, I at least, was *extremely* curious. Then *never asked us to hand the assignment in* or followed up in any authoritative way. He checked in after weeks or months, personally, "so how do people live in that place?" I wouldn't know. "I thought you were really into that?" (I had been). The upshot: I learned *I* was ultametely responsible for my own learning - it was up to me.
He did a very similar thing with science expiriments. I remember I cut up slices of apple and put different things on them: lemon juice, sugar water, salt, etc. I was going to see which solutions kept the apple slices from turning brown the longest. I got it all set up, put it on the counter in the classroom then promptly forgot all about it - except to feel vaguely guilty each time I glanced at it, because I wasn't following through. After a while passed, Mr. Harvey asked me "so what keeps apple slices freshest the longest?" I didn't know. We both looked at my abendoned project. He didn't frown or say anything more. He let *me* make *myself* feel regret - regret for what I could have learned and didn't because I didn't pursue what I'd started.
He showed me I could use the focusing abilities I had for *longer term*
prey - an adaptation of my *strengths*. A root he restored me to
that state of wonder in the world around me that I'd had as small child
but had been driven out of me with my (then) 5 years of exposure
to "traditional" educational systems. If we can bring that sense of wonder
- that sense of the great adventure that life on this planet trully is
- back to "education" then all of human society will benefit..
© 1997 Robin A. NíDána
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