701-Plutarch on Education Today

Episode: 701

Episode Title: Plutarch on Education Today


Our educational system has focused on just one imperative for far too long. Here’s what it is and why it needs to change, next on The Perna Syndicate.


Ep 701 show:

This is the Perna Syndicate and I’m your host, Mark Perna. Thanks for tuning in! Way back in the first century, a Greek philosopher named Plutarch made an interesting observation about how people learn. So interesting, in fact, that it’s still resonating today. In his view, “The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.” 


People haven’t changed all that much in the past two thousand years. If students’ minds aren’t just passive vessels to be pumped full of information, but rather fires that need to be kindled—well, how are we doing? 


Are we inspiring the kind of voracious appetite for learning that, like a fire, is never satisfied? Are we fanning the flames of curiosity? Are our classrooms and labs places where creativity thrives?


Unfortunately, I believe we’ve inherited a model of education that is predicated on vessel-filling rather than flame-kindling. Our testing-driven educational culture is one symptom of this underlying view. Cram the kids with data, hone their test-taking skills, push them through to get a decent score, and our job is done—right?


While high test scores are nice to see, they should never displace the value of experiential, passion-driven, hands-on learning where students can actively engage with the content and skills being presented. 


And you know what’s really sad? If we try to replace flame-kindling with vessel-filling, neither will take place. 


So, it’s important to kindle the flame for students to really learn. Does that mean there’s no place for vessel-filling at all? We’ll talk about that next time on The Perna Syndicate. Stay tuned and we’ll see you then! 

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