“Nostalgia is a real thing. It serves many positive functions, but it also functions as a defense for -at times- things that defy logic.” ~Ira Socol
I love that. It reminds me of something I’ve written about before, the idea that educators now need to “redefine rational behavior in education.” That we can’t keep perpetuating ineffective, irrelevant practice in schools for the sake of staying within the bounds of our own personal educational histories.
But the pull of nostalgia is strong, for both teachers and parents. I know both. Redefining practice in the classroom is inherently risky and difficult without a culture of innovation to support it. Advocating for a different educational experience for your own child requires some courage in a world which appears, at least, to still value traditional pathways and outcomes. It’s easier to couch our actions in what’s familiar, even though we know it may not be what’s best for our students or our kids. In neither case are we prone to experiment or to move down a different path.
How appropriate is it that the two Greek roots of the word are “nostos” and “algos,” as in “return home” and “pain.” Let’s let that just sink in for a moment, ok? Ah…the layers…
And this is about more than our individual histories; this is societal nostalgia that continues to be advanced through policy as well as practice. Even in this tumultuous political season here in the States where everything “normal” and traditional seems to be up for debate, has anyone heard a peep about a bolder, more democratic, more child-centered, more passion-based vision of learning for kids in schools that strays even an inch from our collective nostalgia for the school experience? Something “different” instead of something “better?” The “right thing” instead of the “wrong thing right?”
Not one peep.
As Ira goes on to write: “Our kids deserve better than nostalgia and 180 days in a museum of 1990.“
They do, and we know it.
(Image credit: greg westfall)