May 21, 2009

Hard Work and Imagination Were Partners

A few weeks ago, I finished listening to Walter Issacson's biography, Einstein: His Life and Universe and throughly enjoyed it. Here is the story of a genius who combined hard work and imagination to achieve great things. His story is compelling and the book is very well-written. I enjoyed learning about Einstein's life, but the biggest lessons I pulled from the book relate to the state of education today. Einstein and I have the same opinions ... you know what they say, "Great minds ..."

As we move to the end of the school year, I will write here what I would like to send to the teachers my boys will have next year. The words are Einstein's:

Imagination is more important than knowledge.

Remember this when Boy-oneder wants to tell you about a book he read and how he would have changed the ending to make it better. Remember this when Sonshine writes about his imaginary friend in his journal.
Critical comments by students should be taken in a friendly spirit.

No offense is meant, but he does know more about Greek mythology and animals than you do. Those are his passions. You are a generalist and he is a specialist.
Accumulation of material should not stifle the student's independence. A society's competitive advantage will come not from how well the schools teach the multiplication and periodic tables, but from how well they stimulate imagination and creativity.

No one will care in 15 or 20 years that these kids passed the TAKS test. They will care that they can write a coherent sentence and use their imaginations to solve real-world problems. My kids can read a textbook on their own ... bring creativity into their classrooms. We would not be fixing the Hubble telescope if someone hadn't dreamed we could get to the moon.
An appreciation for the methods of science is a useful asset for a responsible citizenry.

I take my kids to church so that they can develop a deeper understanding of the Bible and God's amazing creation. If you tell my 4th grade student that Darwin was wrong, he will ask you to prove your theory. He understands the scientific process. So do I. Leave matters of Faith to me.

1 comment:

  1. I have this book on the shelf, but haven't read it yet. My mom read it last year and said one of the bits she couldn't ignore was that Einstein wasn't very nice or good to his wife. Still, she found the book interesting and recommended that I read it.

    Thanks for the review!