The Untainted Mind Theory
In life, you learn new things all the time. The main method of teaching in schools, is by instruction of a teacher. In some cases, students are asked to read reference materials BEFORE the class and come prepared…
I think that we are missing a great opportunity by using this method.
Imagine you walked into a classroom and the teacher says: “Today, we will learn about the Pythagorean Theorem”
All the kids will have a puzzled look on their faces, wondering to themselves what is this all about, what use will there be to this new knowledge, and what’s for lunch today?
Most schools, will begin explaining what Pythagoras’ great discovery was, how he discovered it, why it works and where to use it in life etc. Some schools would ask the students to read about the subject before class…
I believe that by showing the kids the solution we have just “tainted” their minds.
You cannot unlearn something, or restore your memory to what it was before you learned something. Thus, by first showing the kids how Pythagoras solved the problem of calculating the length of the hypotenuse, we PREVENT them from ever thinking about it.
I suggest that ANYTHING we want to teach should be taught in this order:
Teacher: “Kids, today we will solve another one of the world’s great problems… the length of the hypotenuse of a right-angle triangle.
Now kids, thank goodness, someone already solved it, so in case you do not come up with the solution, do not worry.
However, if I showed you the solution, I would taint you mind… you would already see the solution and not be able to easily think about a different solution.
Moreover, if one of you kids is as smart as the person who discovered this solution, how will we know this if we showed you the solution? I will rob you from the opportunity to discover on your OWN one of the greatest solutions. I will rob you from feeling like Pythagoras felt when he solved it. I will rob you from the praise of solving it on your own and being a “young Pythagoras.”
Yet, there is one more thing, far more important that I will rob you from… the opportunity to discover a NEW solution… one that is as good as the one we already know, or perhaps better?
So, take an hour, try to solve it on your own, and then as a team if you wish. If you do not solve it, in our NEXT class, we will reveal the answer.”
You may think that if the kids know there is an answer they will not bother with finding a solution… that may be the case. However, by not giving the greatest minds the opportunity to solve it without tainting their minds from the get go – we are missing an opportunity.
Lastly, in real life, to solve the NEXT big problem, there is no solution that is found in a book. No classroom teacher can help… you need to discover it on your own, the hard way.
Do you think years of solving problems on you own will train you to find a solution, or years of always being told what the solution is right upfront from a book?
References and Quotes:
“Minds are like parachutes – they only function when open.”
-Edward de Bono