Friday, October 3, 2014

Dr. Faulkner on Innovation

We live in a rapidly changing world and educational institutions are often on the leading edge or as a friend is want to say, the bleeding edge.  We are challenged to consider new ways of teaching, new equipment, and new technology.  Often new things are met with resistance because of perceived problems or detrimental influences.  Sometimes our resistance is just based on the discomfort of moving beyond the status quo.

I recently came across this quote from a legendary educator.

“…this discovery of yours will create forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external . . . . .  and not remember of themselves. The specific which you have discovered is an aid not to memory, but to reminiscence, and you give your disciples not truth, but only the semblance of truth; they will be hearers of many things and will have learned nothing; they will appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing; they will be tiresome company, having the show of wisdom without the reality.”

Words similar to this have probably been said about the calculator, the computer, the Internet, and most recently about mobile devices.  But this quote comes from Socrates (469 – 399 B.C.) and it is about “written characters.”  In other words, he was worried about the effect of people learning to write.

So the challenge we then face is to embrace new things.  We should try them and test them until we know clearly their worth and not reject them initially just because they are new.

-Dr. Jerry Faulkner

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