professornana (professornana) wrote,
professornana
professornana

Tangents

Jillian Heise wrote on her blog recently about how a class can go off on tangents (www.heisereads.com). My brain does this constantly. I sit down in front of the computer thinking I will post about Topic A and somehow my brain heads off on a tangent to Topic B. It happened yesterday. I sat down to write about how the words advent, adventuring, and venture capitalism were swimming together in my head of late. But when I placed fingers on the keyboard, my tangential mind took off in a different direction. But it is good to let my brain go where ir wants to head. Giving myself the freedom to head in new directions means sometimes I discover something I might have missed.

Add to this the fact that I am a bit contrary by nature (you are shocked, I know, to know this about me), and you understand that sometimes the tangential road is a more productive one. What does this have to do with learning? I think the key word here is FREEDOM. My friend and colleague Donalyn Miller often uses the hashtag #letmypeopleread. In tnis age of scripted curriculum brought about by Common Core, teachers and kids are denied the chance to select reading material. If everyone needs to be on the same page at the same time in the same book are we not limiting the tangential thinking that might occur? I know some outside of education will see this as a good thing. But Jillian points out in her blog posting that sometimes these tangents prduce something worth pursuing.

As I was driving down the Pacific Coast Highway this past week, my BH and I shared a discussion about zigzagging our way from Point A to Point B. I made a wrng turn somewhere, and we discovered a lovely off-the-beaten path place to have lunch and watch the skies clear over the ocean. Granted that not all zigzagging or wrong turns are productive. But taking a "mistake" and looking for the silver lining in it might just be the most immportant thing we can do. Sometimes, on the tangents, we will find a place where there is wonder.
Tags: discovery, tangents, thinking
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