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Best Possible Selves 16

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

For many years I've been interested in the relationship between knowledge, understanding, and empathy. Both in this blog and elsewhere I've tried to highlight the importance of caring about things as opposed to merely knowing something. Accordingly, as I've started to focus on the connection between striving for excellence and being our best possible selves, I realize that the standard of care metaphor is more helpful than the attainment of knowledge metaphor. Of course educators and parents are mutually interested in a school experience that leads to the attainment of knowledge, and there are many valid measures by which such results can be evaluated. However, the highest test of an educational experience points more toward personal excellence than toward the isolated accumulation of knowledge. It is precisely for this reason that I embrace the standard of care metaphor. If we want our students to care equally about personal conduct and academic achievement, naturally we want their teachers to care equally about the quality of curriculum and the quality of personal connection. To me, this is a tentative probe into the idea of best possible teaching and learning. The greatest challenge for educators is to exercise the highest standard of care in everything we do: conversation, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking.