Learning Measured by Coloring Inside the Lines

“There’s a time for everything young man

And a way it should be done

You’ve got to show concern for everyone else

For you’re not the only one”

Says the teacher in Harry Chapin’s song “Flowers Are Red”. The boy in his first day at school put colors all over the paper because colors are what he saw. He was told that it was time for art and that flowers are red and leaves are green. There is no need to see flowers any other way.

May be the boy’s mom and dad encouraged him to color when and how he wanted. That worked at home but it doesn’t work when you have to fit into the school schedule and the rules of the teacher and the rings of the bell.

The boy started out as a question mark full wow and wonder. Then, the teacher molded him into a period with only way to see and color flowers. The teacher at the new school encouraged the boy to use all the colors of the rainbow. The boy no longer saw them or cared.

One person dulled and damaged from the joy of learning How many more lose the sense of wow and wonder due to the numbing and squelching due to classrooms?

This reminds me of a college classmate who always got straight A’s in all her classes. A month before graduation she shared her fear of taking the CPA exam. She already had a job upon graduation at a major CPA firm. “I am nervous about taking the CPA exam.” I reminded her of her 4.0 GPA. “Oh, I only studied to pass the tests,” she responded.

I was shocked. Her mindset was to do what was expected and that was how to succeed. I don’t know if she passed the exam. I am sure she did. Is she only studying to pass tests?

Did you have someone or something stepped on your joy of learning? If you survived it, who and how helped you keep the wow and wonder alive? Please share…

Let’s help each other keep the joy alive. Together, we are changing the conversation and the yardstick of learning.

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