Summer has been more chaotic than expected with two tiny tykes running around, so I am trying something new: I’m setting the timer for 15 minutes, and I’ll write AND post without edits. Apologies for typos!
Recently one of my student’s wrote a blog post about the fact that she doesn’t like researching. She wrote:
Like most people, I loath researching a topic I have no interest in, but I don’t particularly enjoy researching stuff I do like. I don’t like the risk of finding out something I’d rather not know. I don’t like the mystery and magic of the unknown being taken away.
I found this statement puzzling for many reasons. For one, it’s human nature to be curious about something, anything? When you’re curious, don’t you want to know more? And I love mystery and magic, but won’t there always be mystery and magic? We can’t know everything. So there’s still mystery, right? I also thought of those moments in social settings when friends playfully argue over something trivial and eventually smartphones are the only way to settle the score. Isn’t that research? I also began to think, is this something we’re doing as educators to our students? Are we assigning research in ways that aren’t meaningful? Aren’t important? Aren’t relevant? Aren’t tapping into the natural curiosities of our students? My three year old researches when she asks me questions like “Mommy, who made my playroom?” or “Did the workerman use a hammer on some wood to make the walls?” My answers are fulfilling her research, right? When will she start to hate asking those questions and researching answers? When will she stop wanting to know more?
I don’t ever feel satisfied with what I know. In fact, I’m constantly oversaturating myself with new knowledge because I can’t get enough. I read blogs, lurk on twitter, devour books, ask questions, and listen intently. My problem is I don’t always participate in the conversation. I don’t take enough time to let everything I’ve researched marinate, so that I can respond. What if we’re doing that to our students? What if we’re not giving them enough time to let it sink in, so that they can be part of the conversation, part of the “research”? How can I better model being a contributor and not just a consumer of information?
*Note that this is the first blog post I’ve written in a while, and it’s because of something a student wrote #inspiration #grateful