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Stay curious, tackle projects, and learn by doing

A colleague of mine* teaches entrepreneurship at John Carroll University in Cleveland Heights OH USA and in a recent FaceBook post he said, "Our entire approach to education – `stocking up' students with knowledge for them to use later – isn’t supported by the science about how humans learn. Science we’ve known for decades, but that the current education system has ignored."

Further, he proffers "It isn't that hard to change. It just takes a little courage to take that first step."

This is what we are all about at SIMIODE and we are very pleased you have considered this approach in your teaching. We offer to help you with first steps, e.g., our Starter Kit, and additional steps and much material to help you realize a successful pedagogy. 

Colleagues around the academic world believe in inductive methods that are in touch with the real world and are using this approach. In a paper for teachers of American history, Lendol Calder forcefully supports our approach, by quoting the distinguished professor of history, Charles G.~Sellers (UC Berkeley) which we offer here from Calder's article in 2006, Uncoverage: Toward a Signature Pedagogy for the History Survey in The Journal of American History, 92(4): 1358-1370.

"The notion that students must first be given facts and then at some distant time in the future will `think' about them is both a cover-up and a perversion of pedagogy. . . . One does not collect facts he does not need, hang on to them, and then stumble across the propitious moments to use them. One is first perplexed by a problem and then makes use of the facts to achieve a solution."

My young colleague, Doan, points this out by referring to the fine piece, "It’s Not What We Teach. It’s What They Learn,"  by Doris Korda which appeared on the ReDesigning High School web site posted on 21 February 2020. The article illustrates the difference between community-based problem solving as the motivation for learning and compares it to a piling up of facts approach. This problem solving approach is the method being offered in the new Mastery School of Hawken School in Cleveland OH USA which will open its doors this fall with an incoming student body which will include another emerging colleague**.

So change is all around us to support the idea that we can motivate learning by solving problems, seeing where the facts can play a role and can be used, and doing exciting and engaging activities to sustain our students' curiosity. For social psychologist P. J. Silva says in his 2008 article from Current Directions in Psychological Science entitled, Interest - the curious emotion, that, "Modeling stimulates interest and interest can sustain a student through much. . . . When interested, students persist longer at learning tasks, spend more time studying, read more deeply, remember more of what they read, and get better grades in their classes.'' Furthermore, "In the case of interest, people are `dealing with' an unexpected and complex event -- they are trying to understand it. In short, if people appraise an event as new and as comprehensible, then they will find it interesting.'' Finally, ". . . finding something understandable is the hinge between interest and confusion . . . ."

So stay curious, tackle projects, and learn by doing!

* Disclaimer: This particular colleague is my son, Doan Winkel, The John J. Kahl, Sr. Chair in Entrepreneurship /Director, Muldoon Center for Entrepreneurship, John Carroll University, Cleveland Heights OH USA and President-Elect of USASBE - United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

** Second Disclaimer:  The second emerging colleague is my grandson.

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