SPARK = S EARCH P ASSIONATELY (AND) A CTIVELY (FOR) R ELEVANT K NOWLEDGE

It has been 2,500 years since Lao Tzu has written in his collected works, (Tao Te Ching – Verse 71 – “Healing of the Mind”) the following: “Academia confuses knowledge with knowing. Most everyone applauds memorization of the 10,000 trivia. Beware! These schooled addictions are not just myths – They are a form of mental illness.”

It has been 2 days since a student in my thinking critically and creatively class has written the following:  “Thinking out of the box or out of my normal areas of thinking excites me, like this class. This class really does make me think ‘outside of the box.’ I am so used to reading a book, studying the key terms and memorizing chapter after chapter just to forget a couple of weeks down the road. This class allows me to step out of my comfort shell and really try to define my thinking skills, and make improvement on the skills I am not yet capable of.”

It has been over 150 years that William Butler Yeats wrote that “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”

It again has been 2 days since another student has written the follow about her desire for knowledge and search for learning: “I’m naturally very curious, so I need to apply this quality to critical thinking by asking more questions to get more information, rather than just accepting explanations. This is one of the reasons that I have returned to school.”

As educators and facilitators of learning, Lao Tzu reminds us —“Let us prepare for the Great Integrity (Tao – that is, the fulfillment of the potential that was given to us at the evolutionary birth of our species) by cleansing ourselves of all these cobwebs of cluttered fragments that paralyze the mind.” (verse 71).

There is a message here for us, that is, do not take Yeats’ pail, which is possibly filled with water, only to douse the sparks that potentially could ignite our students’ search for knowledge and the desire for learning.

Roger J. Vanden Busch

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