Truth in our history books!
Michael Morton
11

We educators MUST facilitate our students’ efforts to consider the full, multiple-point, often contradictory mix of any issue or situation. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the past (history) or very current, whether it’s a STEM dominated item or an arts / social dominated item, a local item or a global item, or any other characteristic …

The issues we all face will never be addressed in a manner that leads to what the late Stephen Covey called the ‘Third Alternative’ if we simply defend our favorite version / position. AND it is irrelevant whether that version / position is pure fantasy or mostly ‘fact’-based…

All ‘nonfiction’ books purport to represent facts or at least well-considered positions. Even if we accept this as the goal (and I expect or hope we can agree that’s not necessarily true), no publisher will typically agree to produce such a huge project.

But that’s ok!!! We shouldn’t base our efforts with students to understand any topic or situation on a single approach… So, how about the obvious to me at least: WE DO AWAY WITH THE TEXTBOOKS. We gather the information from the readily available digital archive!!!

Will there be contradictory information? Of course there will be! Will there be ONE source that provides the entire picture? Of course there will not be? By asking students (I’d advocate strongly for them to work mostly in small groups) to work toward deep understanding of any topic or situation, we are facilitating their skills necessary for the lifelong and effective learning so important to improving / optimizing our family situations, our community, our country, indeed our world!

But even a small group can get to that outcome… There needs to be an ongoing dialogue among interested people in the mix; educator facilitation will help these habits develop as well!

OK, now you’re thinking “Mr. Knowitall, you can’t believe you have the process for getting to the truth, ‘the solution,’ using this approach.” Of course not! Believing that is akin to believing there’s a Fountain of Youth or a Yellow Brick Road…

No one or no group or no community of dedicated people can ever get to the truth, to the ‘correct’ answer!!! We never will have enough time or resources to do so. Even if we stumbled onto the truth, we’ll never know it is so.

What we certainly can expect is Covey’s Third (I prefer Better since there usually are more than two promoted options) Alternative. AND, with regular assessment and reflection, we can expect continuous improvement!

Far better that adopting the position from one source… Can you imagine how much better our government would be if they sought the Better Alternative? Can you imagine how much better our education would be if educators, students, parents, citizens, and politicians sought Better Alternatives? Can you imagine a much better approach to water management (or any other world issue) if all interested parties were to seek a Better Alternative?

It can happen IF we seek to facilitate effective learning and associated skills development for all students. AND many more students will be excited to engage!!!

I responded to a tweet yesterday regarding the open School Superintendent position in Los Angeles, saying I and others could make improvements if change were enabled. THIS rambling piece represents most of my thinking…