De-centering Faith in Education

Our education system is currently built on a faith-based model. Students who are successful learn to efficiently memorize facts but not to question what they are told. My own school experience almost always valued memorization over higher-order thinking. In the process, teachers neglect many other cognitive skills and habits.

Faith

accepting something at face value, as true, unchanging, and unquestionable, with minimal engagement

Go deeper: Obtain deeper understanding through questioning and theorizing. Comprehension without questioning can lead to, for one, authoritarianism.

Questioning

reflective thinking, reflecting on your thoughts and actions, observing your gut reactions without letting them control you, reflecting on why you reacted that way, viewing yourself- your identity, dispositions, thoughts, and behaviors- as changeable, as works in progress, not viewing your perspective as the only possible truth, being open to the insights of other perspectives that initially strike you as wrong, generating questions from multiple perspectives, reflecting on your world or environment, wondering how things work or why they are the way they are, viewing the world and our understanding of it as works in progress, as changing, as fallible

Go deeper: Question your questioning. What things are you more and less likely to question? What biases can you uncover? A lifelong process of questioning and reflecting on what you accept and what you question will lead you closer to the true nature of things.

Theorizing

brainstorming possible answers to questions, generating additional possibilities beyond your first reaction, using your reaction as stimuli for new reactions, putting things in your own words, coming up with analogies, thinking of other things to connect it to, building ideas on top of each other, if this is true, what else is?, seeking out stimuli for the purpose of generating additional ideas, being open to being wrong, to changing your mind, being open to seeing the world from new perspectives, accepting that no one perspective can fully describe anything, that each sheds light on the truth from its own angle, seeking out new perspectives

Go deeper: How could you test these theories by interacting with the physical world? What additional questions and theories does this generate?

Teachers should guide students to shift their natural reactions from acceptance to questioning and theorizing. This will lead to not only deeper understanding but also a more functional Democracy.


Thanks for reading! If you found this article worth reading, you can thank me by sharing it with someone.