Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Difference Between Good and Bad Ideas

We are familiar with this story.

An average person is put through unusual trials.  Throughout these trials, the person is challenged and triumphs by virtuously employing the talents and gifts provided.  When the person emerges, a transformation has taken place and the person assumes life anew. 

We call these people heroes.

The truly great heroes are those who are repeatedly challenged and yet continue to find a way to triumph without compromising their ethics.

Ideas are similar to these people.  Good ideas survive, and often thrive or get better, by being challenged.  They emerge stronger by being put to the test.  Good ideas are heroic.

Bad ideas do not survive challenges.  They are abandoned.  They fade into oblivion only to be viewed as passing fads.

In schools, we still employ ideas that have well established roots.  They are ideas about learning that have survived the trials and challenges of time and are still considered good ideas (for example, Socratic method).  Other ideas about school may have, at one time, seemed like a good idea, but have not stood up to the test of time (corporal punishment, etc.).

Today, there are new ideas about teaching and learning being offered at an incredible rate.  The level and pace of educational innovation is very exciting.  But how many of these new ideas will pass the test and emerge over time as truly good ideas and which will fade and be looked back upon as passing fads?

Only time may tell, but I suspect that those new ideas that are most closely linked to already well established and successful practices have an advantage.
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