Knowledge Is Power
Research is tricky business. Whether we're teaching students, guiding adults, leading local action research, or entertaining personal curiosities, the world of information seems to be overwhelming, yet exciting; complicated, yet attainable. Answers are everywhere and quickly accessible. But, which answer is the most accurate and complete? And, how to develop the patience in today's at-your-fingertips market to drill down—digging broadly enough and deeply enough to develop a truly well-informed answer, decision, or possible solution to a personal or even global problem?
One critical attribute is to develop a questioning culture within the school community and in the hearts and minds of staff and students. As Leslie Maniotes describes in her article, inquiry is at the core of our educational values and every inquiry begins and ends and begins again with curiosity, questioning, and what to do with that question. It requires practice to cultivate a questioning mind. As the mind is cultivated, it develops until questioning becomes instinctual and habitual. It's never too late and never too early.
Nancy Jo Lambert asks us to dig deep within ourselves to recognize our hidden biases. Every one of us has a point of view based on our personal experiences, social interactions, educational influences, and impactful world events during our malleable years of child and young adulthood. A developed understanding of our point of view and how it might unconsciously impact our interactions with people and sources helps to professionally and consciously counteract our hidden biases. Understanding this diversity, with varied points of view, is key to meeting the socio-emotional and informational needs of our students.
Katie McNamara puts the fun into developing research skills in our beginning, emergent, and advanced researchers. No matter their experience or skill level, patrons will be drawn in by the gamification of research through her "Crime Scene Connections." Students will be so entertained and engaged, they won't even realize they're growing higher-level, deep synaptic connections in their developing brains. Students will be highly engaged while learning how to think, wonder, question, draw conclusions, and develop original thought.
In the immortal words of the long-running cult classic from the 1970's Schoolhouse Rock! (which adapted the phrase from Sir Francis Bacon), "knowledge is power." It is impossible to encounter information without bias. The author's choice of words, the reporter's inclusion or exclusion of details, the researcher's desire to affirm a theory. Knowledge is power, but today it is not just knowledge that has power but also the depth and scope of that knowledge, how you actively engage with said knowledge and your willingness to grow and contribute new knowledge for the good of our fellow human.
Entry ID: 2242535