Quick hits-- Friedman in the Times; On Being Certain
Check out Thomas Friedman in the Times today; the primary focus of education in the 21st century, says the author of The World is Flat, should be innovation. He also recommends a new book, Closing the Innovation Gap, which I am ordering promptly. Let's add that to the focus: what are we doing in good high schools to teach students to innovate?
Read yesterday a book suggested by my friend Kent Grelling, Ph.D., (school psychologist at Bentley school): Robert Burton's On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right even When You're Not. A quick read, and bit too weighted at times with what seems a personal agenda, but a really good book. Simply put, the feeling of certainty is a feeling, a mental impulse, entirely separate in the brain from actually being certain. We cannot be certain of anything, and that we might feel it sometimes isn't evidence at all. I like Burton's criticisms of Gladwell's Blink: I like Gladwell, but I think this book has some very profound errors about whether and how we can "trust our gut." And I really like Burton's expression of concern that by our emphasis on standardized, multiple choice testing (a much heavier emphasis than that of any other country, according to Wagner), we are instilling in kids a notion that there is a single correct answer to any question. Let's teach via open-ended questioning, let's teach students there is never a single, certainly correct answer; let us help students learn that our work of understanding is the work of questioning, arguing, and evidence providing.