Not long ago, a friend of mine said that he was more interested in discovering the truth than he is in changing minds.
In my opinion, it is the quest for truth that is the essence of an inquiry-based learning experience and central to the personalization of learning. Students who are deeply engaged in meaningful exploration of topics and issues, who are fully immersed in discovery, develop a passion for learning and for contributing their knowledge in a variety of ways.
When I reflect on my own learning experiences as a young student, it seems that people spent a lot of time “telling” me things and asking me to memorize the information they gave me. What I lacked in earlier years, were opportunities to examine issues and events in a manner that encouraged me to ask questions and discover “truth.” Frankly, I want better than this for our students – and I know that we expect better than this in our School District.
As I prepared for this Blog, I came across the following quotes from Paul Johnson, who authored “Enemies of Society.”
“…truth is much more than a means to expose the malevolent. It is the great creative force of civilization. For truth is knowledge; and a civilized man is one who, in Hobbes’ words, has a “perseverance of delight in the continual and indefatigable generation of knowledge.” Hobbes also writes: “Joy, arising from imagination of a man’s own power and ability, is that exaltation of mind called glorying.” And so it is; for the pursuit of truth is our civilization’s glory, and the joy we obtain from it is the nearest we shall approach to happiness, at least on this side of the grave. If we are steadfast in this aim, we need not fear the enemies of society.”
“Civilization… is the rational pursuit of truth within a framework of order. The discovery of truth, of course, is part of this ordering process, the way by which man located himself in the universe. This is a very long, complicated and cumulative process. Man needs to orientate himself in time, by discovering and perfecting chronology; in space, by acquiring geographical and astronomical knowledge; in nature, by discovering its laws and using them to master his environment. He is also engaged in a continuous effort of moral and social orientation, reflected in his attempts to improve his designs for civil government, for legal and ethical codes, and his image of what a just society should be. There is, likewise, a process of moral ordering, in which man seeks to discover his worth in relation to other men, and to the potentialities of his surroundings. Human beings need to know where they stand in all these matters, for such knowledge is an essential element in their security, and… their happiness…”
I wonder how our community will change as we focus on being truth seekers – rather than mind changers?