Page 13 - production print edition.indd

This is a SEO version of production print edition.indd. Click here to view full version

« Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page »

vii

students, or whoever shows an interest in education. The question I pose is this: If every student memorized every textbook provided in school, would that prepare him or her to be successful in life? The unanimous answer is no. Why isn’t the answer a thundering yes? The no comes from the knowledge that content in textbooks does not necessarily transfer to the skills and clarity of thought students need to navigate successfully through life. What they need is a sound set of skills and the ability to think critically so they can question, analyze, predict, create, and act effectively.

To borrow a term from Web professionals, students need to become “architects of information.” They need to learn to build on knowledge that is relevant to them and that provides them with a solid foundation on which to base the many decisions they will have to make in response to the vicissitudes of life.

The desire of humans to learn is innate; learning is a survival mechanismof the human brain. Our brains do not come replete with knowledge as do the brains of creatures who function instinctively, knowing, for example, how to camouflage themselves as jungle plants or head blindly toward their home in the sea as soon as they are born. We have to learn, and our brains are hardwired to do that.

Our early ancestors were hunters and gatherers who had to develop strategies, use thought processes, and develop language to catch game for food and clothing. Spears, arrows, and clubs were the weapons they used to achieve their goals, which were driven by basic needs. Our predecessors learned to distinguish the habits of the different animals and the hazardous or beneficial impacts of the various plants in their environments. They made these distinctions by recognizingpatterns. Observing, listening, smelling, touching, and tasting afforded them the ability to appraise, develop preferences, and see connections.

In short, early human beings had to learn how to think clearly, correctly, and strategically in order to survive. They had to practice

Introduction

Page 13 - production print edition.indd

This is a SEO version of production print edition.indd. Click here to view full version

« Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page »