The Importance of Getting Lost



wanderIn college I had a jean jacket with a bumper sticker across the back that said that.  (I was that guy.)

Ironically I believe our job, as teachers, has shifted from those that guide students to those that teach students how to be lost effectively.

Getting lost is a huge part of learning. It is an authentic example of the brain struggling to figure out where new information fits into prior knowledge.

That is not news to any of you.

But what I saw this week was vivid reminders that the only way to get lost is to know where you are supposed to be going. I was reminded of this all week as I spent time with Sam Bennett.  Again and again she nailed people for not having a target, or having a target and not addressing them, or having a target that didn’t match the lesson, or targets kids didn’t understand.

I got to watch classes and kids wander through lessons, learning some things a little, others stuff not at all. Few of them felt lost or accountable, or responsible for the learning.

Once those same groups knew the target and were given the responsibility to get there any way they could, the learning took off. Almost all of them got lost and found and sometimes lost again, then the frustration was met with anticipation.

I need to get a new bumper stick, maybe: “Follow me, I know how to get lost.”


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