I have a love/hate relationship with my brain. I’m rarely ever clear on an issue as context always messes up what exists. Something can be useful in one context, and completely useless in another. An idea can make sense in one discussion and yet be confusing in another. For example, I work in a formal higher education environment. I see the value that a structured course has for newcomers to a field. A course provides a scaffolded encounter with new concepts and ideas. Yet, I read articles like this that state:
This process of ‘informal science education’ is patchy, ad hoc and at the mercy of individual whim, all of which makes it much more difficult to measure than formal instruction. But it is also pervasive, cumulative and often much more effective at getting people excited about science — and an individual’s realization that he or she can work things out unaided promotes a profoundly motivating sense of empowerment.
…and I am struck with the inefficiencies of direct instruction and formal education (and training). I see the value of higher education…but increasingly, I see what formal education takes from students, not only what it gives. What does it take? Inquisitiveness, tolerance of ambiguity (there is a right answer), serendipity, social sensemaking, and curiosity.