Liberty and structure

January 28, 2010

My experience shows that, given autonomy and projects that interest them, my students are motivated and work hard. Never the less our society and technology encourages diversion rather than concentration and students can become lost in the sheer quantity of information. They can lack focus, “surf” without getting anywhere. There are things to learn that they do not find by themselves. I talk of Futurism, the effect of technology on perception and our lives in 1910 and 2010. Left to themselves they do not engage a discourse: imposed upon, they switch off and go to sleep if they have no culture or reference to attach my ideas to theirs.

I believe that the answer to my question is in creating scenarios, stages to “walk through” so that they really see the possibilities and the interest. This however takes a great deal of time, creativity and energy.

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Excellence

January 27, 2010

Excellence in any field requires concentration, discipline, rigor, clarity of thought and a lot of practice. It also requires the capacity to be in the present.

The modern world does not encourage such an engagement; it offers snippets of temporary diversion: a momentary buzz, constantly renewed: a fragmentation of information. Consumption rather than contemplation. Industrialized, standardized, automated products replace craftsmanship and quality. Ideas of advertising replace real experience.

Excellence requires the openness of acceptance rather than the restriction of judgment: being here and now and aware rather than the distraction of multi-tasking.

Our minds are so bombarded with information and stimuli that we are caught in the instant of evaluation, unable to sink into the moment.

Our children are born into this world of overload: it is their reality. How do we bring them back to a slower, more considered reflection without seeming old and boring?