Another dot in the blogosphere?

Checklist mentality?

Posted on: April 11, 2017

I read this account of a 28-year-old who visited the seven wonders of the world last year in 16 days.

The story is a clear lesson in conquering your fears and pursuing your dreams. It is also an insidious warning about having a checklist mentality.

The traveller described himself as “directionally-challenged and absent-minded”. He was also not born with a silver spoon in his mouth. So his efforts to make his dream come true are admirable.

A flip side of such a story might be travelling so that you can say “been there, done that” and to do this as quickly as possible. All this in name of cost, time, competition, or bragging rights.

I would not rush to see all seven wonders. Instead I would set aside time, effort, and resources see and learn their contexts.

Transferring these principles to teaching and learning, the checklist mentality is one of getting to the destination by passing markers as quickly as possible. It does not matter if people get left behind, are getting sick of the travel, or are simply focused on the destination instead of the journey.

If this sounds unfairly harsh on the traveller in the story, then I should point out that I also recognise that he started his journey before he went on his checklist.

He had to work hard and save money. He had to plan as best he could. These are part of the travel process just like how attitudes and metacognition should be part of the learning process.

Checklists are good reminders, but they should not be the sole driver of travel or learning. Focusing on the destinations and grades ignores critical parts of travelling and learning. One way to refocus on what is important is to recognise that you might be reliant on checklists for the sake of completion.

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