I found this TED talk while browsing for some resources for my physics unit this morning (okay, I got a little distracted). In his presentation, explorer Ben Saunders discusses the lessons he learned during his 1,800-mile round-trip walk to and from the South Pole. His public speaking style isn’t great – after all, he just spent months walking essentially alone across the most desolate continent on the planet – but I think he’s got a great message, one that I think more teachers, school administrators, and parents should heed. That message is basically, “It’s not the goal that’s important, but the journey undergone in its pursuit.”
At school we get so wrapped up in test results and scores and grades, that many of us in education forget about the joy of discovery in genuine learning. I’m guilty of it myself, I see it all around me at IST, and I’ve seen it at other schools as well. Learning requires the making of mistakes, and it sometimes means getting distracted along the way by something more interesting. We educators and parents need to remember to let our children explore in many directions, to find out that something they thought was right isn’t, and to discover the connections that make sense of the world to them personally. Education may be what happens to you, but learning is what you do yourself.
Here’s the video: