Think With Your Hands

We’re watching a video of Dr. Tony Wagner on his book, “The Global Achievement Gap”.

He tells people in the first moments of his video that the PowerPoint will be available on the Asia Society website, so his audience doesn’t need to cramp their hands with taking notes. And he cites “The World is Flat”, noticing that jobs that involve repetitive tasks and formulaic actions will either be computerized or sent offshore to a foreign country.

He then says that the American economy is 72%-based on consumer spending. The savings rate is -2%, so Americans are spending money they don’t have on materials and goods made elsewhere that we probably don’t need. Hmm.

He then cites several stories about kids in Chemistry lab who don’t know what to do when their beaker starts smoking over the Bunsen burner; students who learned to love science by looking at water samples through microscopes; students who don’t learn to love science because they’ve been “studying” vocabulary lists rather than the actual scientific method through experimentation.

So he SAYS, “don’t use your hands to think abut what I’m saying”, but the examples he CITES, say, “every student should learn to think by engaging the sensorium and the productive-creative forces.”

(I’ll post the links later to the video and the book).

What I take from this is that I need to make my teaching far more tactile, sensory, social, communicative. The students need to draw, paint, diagram, process data, write, imagine and then build. They need to work in pairs, in teams, and alone. And I need to shut up more.

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