Inquisitive in Life

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“There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.” ~Jiddu Krishnamurti

This quote highlights the spirit of EAB’s educational philosophy and mission statement:

Learners inspiring learners to be inquisitive in life, principled in character, and bold in vision.

The Inquisitive in Life focus of the mission statement speaks to the ideal of supporting students to develop a lifelong love of learning. It also emphasizes the important role adults play in the lives of students in terms of modeling this lifelong focus on learning, a process that wonderfully embodies an infinity of possibilities.

The old adage “the more I learn, the less I know” articulates how many of us feel as we continue to learn about the world within and around us. It is tantamount to accepting the premise of another adage: “I often don’t even know what I don’t know.” In an essay entitled, The Big Test, David Brooks coins a term that highlights these adages and may capture the the spirit associated with an “inquisitive in life” approach to our learning: epistemological modesty. Brooks uses the term in reference to the writings associated with important historical philosophers and their own sense of epistemological modesty:

“They knew how little we can know. They understood that we are strangers to ourselves and society is an immeasurably complex organism.”

This concept can naturally be extended beyond ourselves and our society to the world and universe beyond us. It therefore seems appropriate for an individual to approach this branch of philosophy called epistemology – the theory of knowing that investigates the origins, nature, and limits of human knowledge – with at least some degree of modesty.

While the “immeasurable complexity” associated with everything to learn can feel overwhelming, this is not the point. When considering our own learning and the role of schools, what is important is the degree to which a lifelong love of learning is instilled in students and modeled in our communities. Through an “inquisitive in life” approach to learning, it is hoped that our students will learn enough about the world around them to be in a position to identify their individual passions, which will further focus their lifelong learning.

There is indeed no end to education and the process of learning and it is this process that can enrich our lives in immeasurable ways.


 

Featured image: cc licensed (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) flickr photo by Raymond Bryson https://www.flickr.com/photos/f-oxymoron/9647972522

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3 Comments

  1. caio prado:

    Barry,
    I would like to add a thought; Inquisitive in life is a process to know ourselves better and discover our skills and weaknesses to improve as an human being and to contribute with our community..

    • Barry Dequanne:

      Caio, thanks for sharing your thought! I could not agree more with your comment. Perhaps the process of “knowing ourselves” is at the heart of “inquisitive in life”. Your comment is also a terrific segue to next week’s blog posting and the focus on “principled in character.”

  2. Curtis Tipton:

    Mr. Dequanne,

    I am a new respondent to your blog. I actually left a comment on your Book page last week. I enjoyed reading your essay Inquistive in Life. I especially liked the quote from David Brooks as I am a huge fan of his. I have heard teachers say that curiosity is an inborn trait. You either have it or not. I am not so sure that I agree. I read a book by Paul Tough entitled How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character earlier this year. Part of his message is that many noncognitive skills including grit, optimism, and curiosity can be taught. It seems that EAB is ahead of the curve by your inclusion of many of these skills in your mission statement. Tough’s book is a good read that I recommend. I look forward to reading some of the books on your list. I would love to stay connected with you and your blog.

    Curtis Tipton

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