Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Finding Worlds to Conquer

"Alexander cried when he heard Anaxarchus talk about the infinite number of worlds in the universe. One of Alexander's friends asked him what was the matter, and he replied: "There are so many worlds, and I have not yet conquered even one." - Claudius Aelianus, Historical Miscellany

As we look forward to the New Year, here's some thought-provoking links about motivation and learning. Although I remembered Alexander weeping that there were no more worlds to conquer, a scholarly source suggests that he wept over the opposite. Do our children see the future as opportunity? Can they find whole worlds to pioneer?

One educator defined engagement as being really attracted to a subject or study, persisting despite challenges, and intrinsic delight. One of the greatest challenges for education, then, is help students find areas or activities of learning that they really love.

The first link below talks about ways to foster student
SCORE (scholastic success, curiosity, originality, relationships), while the Sternberg article (Defying the Crowd in Science) comments on the importance of not following the crowd, and the Gee article, on how epistemic or Knowledge Games) may help some students prepare for the flat world of the 21st century.

Finding worlds may mean developing new sciences or technologies, transdisciplinary thinking or creation, or translational and interpretative work that finds new meaning or uses for knowledge. Finding new worlds to conquer doesn't only mean looking forward. I've been enjoying my slight progress in learning Latin and reading ancient writings (in translation) on education.

We hope you all have a very Happy New Year. See you back January 2, 2007!

Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great and Aristotle

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