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Observing the Value of Many Truths

Our minds are filled with complex, diverse ideas and feelings. Sometimes, we know what is the “right” thing to do, or what we “should” do. Sometimes, we know exactly what we think about a subject, we know what our “truth” is. At these times, it may be easier for us to make a decision or to know what we think. At other times, our ideas, feelings, and experiences can be full of contradiction, paradox, dissonance, or tension.

A Continuum of Understanding

As we start the new year, I’ll posit a generally accepted viewpoint—schools are places of learning. However, learning is only the beginning.

Making the Most of Moments

Time has peculiar properties.  It flies when you’re having fun and slows down when you’re yearning for summer vacation.  During this pandemic-year, I have found myself frequently confused by the odd passing of time.  This, in part, is due to the reduction in human-to-human contact many of us have endured.

What do you know?

If the premise is that life holds complicated uncertainty for everyone, what is the recommendation for how we should structure teaching and learning?  I don’t know.  However, I would guide students to understand that, in the ‘real world’, there are some assignments that won’t produce straightforward conclusions or answers.  Instead, after learning something, it may be a good habit to say to one’s self, ‘This is what I believe for now’.  Understanding that you can change your mind when you get new information is a ‘superpower’. 

Questions, Answers, and Community?

Questions can be uncomfortable. Questions imply that you don’t know.  Questions mean that you have a lot of work ahead of you.  Answers feel better, both when you give and receive them. However, if you think about the best learning that can be done — the learning that is productive, meaningful, and engaging — you will find there is a question, problem, or challenge that you simply can’t leave alone.  An answer tends to be a terminus that leaves little room for additional discovery and discussion, while a question invites partnership and portends a learning journey.  Back to Ubuntu — we choose to be at Deerfield because we hope to benefit from being connected to the Academy and to each other. We rely on each other to help us grow into our future selves; furthermore, the school itself cannot be at its best until each individual feels that their voice, perspective, and contribution matter.