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Teaching the Grasshopper

The sessions today did not disappoint.  I attended several and found each to be relevant and offer perspectives and experiences that we can all relate to.  After the sessions and upon reflection on the themes I listened to today, I was reminded of Aesop and his story about the ant and the grasshopper.  The grasshopper lives in the moment and the ant is hard working for the future, never taking a rest and never having fun.

It seems that our students are grasshoppers, and we want them to be ants.  School is a social experience for students and learning is an emotional process.  Whether on Zoom or in a classroom, it’s fun, noisy, spontaneous and can hop all around a topic – like a grasshopper.  It can take us down many roads (or to many different sites on the web).  When learning is fun for students, it ignites their interest and fuels creativity and imagination.  When our students get to this point, they begin to want to solve problems, and that is when they become the hard-working ants.

Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel-prize winner and author of Thinking, Fast and Slow writes one side of our mind is rational and evaluative (like the ant) and the other side is intuitive and less rational, quicker (like a grasshopper).  We need to teach both the ant and the grasshopper side of the mind if we are truly going to engage students and create spaces in schools where students feel they can be authentic.

Sources: D. Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Aesop, Gallup

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