30 Day Question Challenge – Day 26 – Going Beneath the Surface

There is a Bible verse that says something like: “there is no new thing under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). It sounds like a person who has given up looking, which may have been the author’s case. To what extent do we, as instructors, think of students and of content this way? I don’t know. I only have my personal experiences, relationships and observations to call on. In any case, the attitude embodied in this quote (or my reading of it today) is the opposite of how I want to view life and learning. Where can we go to explore teaching and learning any more?

So my Day 26 question is: How often do we journey into the unknown?

I really like taking adventures. A couple years ago I had the opportunity to go caving (spelunking) in Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee. I got the idea from a National Geographic magazine. My friend and I repelled into pits, crawled through small tunnels, squeezed our bodies through plates of limestone all for the purpose of exploring how deep we could go. In the process, we saw things that most people will never get to see. The best part of it is that these caves never seemed to end. There was always more, which left us (to this day) wanting to go back.

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(Look closely and you can see me)

When I think about teaching and learning, I have to ask: do we carve out places (a lot of them) to explore beneath the surface of things? I’d rather not carve out those places. I’d rather my course be that place. I’d rather exploration define the learning.

Assumptions are a always a good place to start, which prompts yet another question: How can we dig deeper into our assumptions about teaching and learning? “How” directs our thinking to look for methods, practices and tools. Who is going to help me identify and question those assumptions? Now I’m looking for resources and community.

The right frame of mind, the right network, the right resources, and the right tools (even if we have to make them) can help us do amazing things. The below video went viral for a short while, but I think it symbolically represents the spirit of what I’m trying to communicate here.

[vimeo 89059231 w=500 h=281]

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