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Posts Tagged ‘oversimplification

I look forward to every podcast episode of Pessimists Archive, rare and irregular as it is. I wish the latest episode came out before my course finale.

The latest podcast started with a “heroic” dog and ended with the war between natural ice and artificial refrigeration. Yes, the episodes are weird but connected like that. But they all share a common theme.

Take this quote from the 23min 47sec mark:

When people face new technologies… they end up wanting… a simple heuristic to cut through complexity and allow them to make decisions that would otherwise be ambiguous or overwhelming.

Technology represents change and some people react with fear. To manage that change and fear, these people seek simple heuristics e.g., tell me what to do, what is a formula I can follow, how might I dumb it down and essentially do the same thing.

But such short-term thinking does us no good. Shortcuts avoid the critical and creative thinking that is necessary for problem-solving and embracing nuance. Given that my course was about new educational technologies, the quote and the thinking behind it would have made a timely and wise course conclusion.

Ah, well. This is something else to add to the 30-plus reminders I already have in my Notes app…

I get what this tweet is trying to say: Do not let someone else’s non-constructive negativity get to you.

However, the illustration about losing $10 or 10 seconds is an illogical comparison. The issue is not the number, it is the value of what is lost.

The $10 might be the cost of a sentimental item, e.g., a cheap bracelet charm that is the only reminder of a lost loved one. The 10 seconds might have been a short tirade against your ability, race, or value system.

So try as you may, you might not be able to compartmentalise your emotions from your logic.

Many in the realm of schooling and education like to talk about holistic approaches, and yet they are guilty of separating feelings from fact.

We learn only what is meaningful or what we hold dear. These are often tied to emotions like great joy or sadness. Do not take my word: Read up on socio-emotional learning.

We should not muddle with numbers or create unnecessary silos. These oversimplify to the extent that they are not just unhelpful. They are harmful if we take them at face value, internalise them as values, and exhibit them as unquestioned behaviours. We owe it to our learners to be better than that.


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