I realized the other day that I live in an almost constant state of discomfort.
Not a physical or mental discomfort; my life humbles me.
It’s an intellectual discomfort that just won’t go away. It’s a discomfort driven by questions that I struggle to answer. It’s a state of constant not knowing that I can’t seem to shake.
Honestly, I don’t think I want to shake it. In fact, I kind of like it.
It’s that discomfort that drives me to read and write and think and reflect every day. It’s what keeps me curious.
It’s what keeps me learning.
This is a moment that probably should cause all of us some discomfort, some healthy sense of not knowing. So many questions seem almost unanswerable today. So many feel huge and existential.
And that’s true as well for schools and education.
The difference in schools is that our student’s discomfort comes from not knowing the known, from not knowing the “right” answer or the “right” process. It comes from the evaluation and the judgement that follows.
What if instead of making students focus on what’s known, we helped them thrive in the unknown? What if we supported them in finding their own healthy discomfort, their own questions that matter? Wouldn’t that keep them more curious? More engaged?
Wouldn’t that keep them learning?
Jody Barr says
Isn’t this what we call the zone of proximal development as it relates to our purpose? Might want to focus on hepling students find their purpose, and giving them tools to fulfill it.