Igniting the Hope of Knowing

Randy Wilhelm
Posted on our original Blog site by Randy Wilhelm
How is it that we come to KNOW something? How does that happen? Learning and knowing happens 24/7, whether there is a system of education involved or not. Kids are born with the natural desire to KNOW things, which is fueled principally by curiosity. They are always asking questions, seeking answers to often very vexing questions, especially from their point of view. Do you remember what it feels like to know something new for the first time? Sometimes kids say knowing, really knowing something new can produce a warm feeling in their chest, maybe from excitement, but not likely from pride. The system of education often looks to external solutions for ways to improve learning. Yet we should simply look inside each student, for each is outfitted with a pretty powerful, curiosity-motivated desire to know. Unleash it, and the results will be exponential, not linear. We have to find more ways to ignite the hope of knowing.

  1. Barriers to Learning

    The system of education has become very focused on measuring learners – What is your IQ? How fast do you read? Can you memorize 50 new facts? With the focus on how ‘smart’ a learner is, they system looses the ability to understand where their interests, passions and talent really lie. Unfortunately, learners are aware of this misplaced focus and quickly learn to play the game (system) rather than expanding their own interests. They loose their built in engagement, motivation and love for learning that is almost uniquely their own.


    I wonder…while recognizing the need for data to understand learning and to drive learning, how do we keep that need from becoming the end game of learning?

    See the full TEDxTalk at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5ap9xe8Lrc

  2. Living in the Question

    Children are experts at asking questions – any adult who has spent a long period of time with young children can give a thousand examples of their endless curiosity, variety, randomness and sometimes pure genius of the questions they ask. That natural curiosity and focus on the “why” removes the concept of implausible from their world – they believe anything is possible. Kids are born to live in the question. Educators can leverage their passion and keep them asking questions by asking good questions and not jumping immediately to deliver the answer. The hope we have for the K-12 experience is that the curiosity to know remains alive and well in each student’s soul.

    I wonder how we can work together to create a learning culture designed to encourage the asking of good questions versus force-feeding the answer?

    See the full TEDxTalk at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5ap9xe8Lrc

  3. The Pendulum of Engagement

    Have you ever learned something new that you would have never thought you would be interested in? Many of the skills needed in college and career are ones that you wouldn’t necessarily seek out yourself – they are so engaging because the need is real, immediate and relevant to solving a problem or answering a question. Engagement has the ability to supercharge a learning situation – to move them from inquiry to investigation, from interest to action. Engagement ignites the student’s hope of knowing, and powers the pendulum of their desire to know. Yet in some cases, the lack of engagement in schools has stilled the pendulum of learning in our kids. Our hope is that the stilled pendulum that is within each child is tapped gently and put back into motion through engagement.

    I wonder, what are some methods we could use that would re-start or accelerate that pendulum of engagement?

    See the full TEDxTalk at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5ap9xe8Lrc

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