What’s Worth Learning in School?


Last winter Harvard Ed Magazine ran a piece about David Perkins’ new book “Future Wise.” Writer Lory Hough provides a look into the book and the professor.

“We teach a lot that isn’t going to matter, in a significant way, in students’ lives, writes Professor David Perkins in his new book, “Future Wise.” There’s also much we aren’t teaching that would be a better return on investment.

Professor David Perkins likes to tell this story: Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi was getting on a train. One of his sandals slipped off and fell to the ground. The train was moving, and there was no time to go back. Without hesitation, Gandhi took off his second sandal and threw it toward the first. Asked by his colleague why he did that, he said one sandal wouldn’t do him any good, but two would certainly help someone else.

…  By throwing that sandal, Gandhi had two important insights: He knew what people in the world needed, and he knew what to let go of.

Educators, Perkins says, need to embrace these same insights. They need to start asking themselves what he considers to be one of the most important questions in education: What’s worth learning in school?”  Read the entire piece here.

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