Stories in the Website

This page contains:  four stories from my life;  the joy of science, from science history;  three illustrative examples;  a set of four fictional dramas about creation, evolution, and design.

Below are four true stories from my own experience:

      Understanding and Respect
      Students in my high school learned valuable lessons about understanding and attitudes from one of our favorite teachers, who sometimes held debates in his civics class.  On Monday he convinced us that "his side of the issue" was correct, but on Tuesday he made the other side look just as good.  After awhile we learned that, in order to get accurate understanding, we should get the best information and arguments that all sides of an issue can claim as support.  After we did this and we understood more accurately and thoroughly, we usually recognized that even when we have valid reasons for preferring one position, people on other sides of an issue may also have good reasons, both intellectual and ethical, for believing as they do, so we learned respectful attitudes.
      But respect does not require agreement.  You can respect someone and their views, yet criticize their views, which you have evaluated based on evidence, logic, and values.  The intention of our teacher, and the conclusion of his students, was not a postmodern relativism.  The goal was a rational exploration and evaluation of ideas in a search for truth.   the page continues by explaining how these principles are used in the website }

      A "Cliffs Notes" Approach
      This section explains how — in three decisions and a library — I recognized the similarity between Cliffs Notes and the introductory level of the ASA Science Ed website.
      The first two decisions were easy.  Yes, I would watch the movies.  No, I would not read the books.  In either form, in movies or books, Lord of the Rings is a classic.  Although I would enjoy reading the trilogy by Tolkien, "time is the stuff life is made of" and I decided that reading three large books would not be a good use of my time.  But reading one small book would be quick and useful, so I decided to read the summary/analysis written by Gene Hardy for Cliffs Notes.  And having an introductory overview of "the big picture" — provided by Hardy's summary of the three books — helped me understand and enjoy the three movies.
      In the two weeks between seeing the first movie (on DVD) and second movie (in theater) I attended the Following Christ conference.  It was organized by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, and included a temporary library of books by InterVarsity Press.  While browsing the tables filled with high-quality books, reading the back covers, table of contents, and occasional pages, I thought about the many fascinating ideas I would miss because I wouldn't be able to invest the time needed to read these books.  I was also thinking about Lord of the Rings and the practical educational value of reading one small book instead of three large books, and I made the connection between booktable and website.  It would be useful for me to have a condensation containing the distilled essence of important ideas from books on the table, and giving you "a condensation containing the distilled essence of important ideas" is the goal of the introductory pages in this website.  { from A Quick Education }

      Learning from Experience (how to excel at welding or...)
      One of the most powerful master skills is knowing how to learn.  The ability to learn can itself be learned, as illustrated by a friend who, in his younger days, had an interesting strategy for work and play.  He worked for awhile at a high-paying job and saved money, then took a vacation.  He was free to wake when he wanted, read a book, hang out at a coffee shop, go for a walk, or travel to faraway places by hopping on a plane or driving away in his car.
      Usually, employers want workers committed to long-term stability, so why did they tolerate his unusual behavior?  He was reliable, always showed up on time, and gave them a week's notice before departing.  But the main reason for their acceptance was the quality of his work.  He was one of the best welders in the city, performing a valuable service that was in high demand and doing it well.  He could audition for a job, saying "give me a really tough welding challenge and I'll show you how good I am."  They did, he did, and they hired him.

      How did he become such a good welder?  He had "learned how to learn" by following the wise advice of his teacher:  Every time you do a welding job, do it better than the time before (by learning from the past and concentrating in the present) and always be alertly aware of what you're doing now (and how this is affecting the quality of welding) so you can do it better the next time (intentionally learn from the present to prepare for the future).  This is a good way to improve the quality of whatever you do.  Always ask, "What have I learned in the past that will help me now, and what can I learn now that will help me in the future?", while concentrating on quality of thinking-and-action in the present.

This is from the same page (about Motivations & Strategies for Learning) as this:

      How I Didn't Learn to Ski  (by Learning from Mistakes)
    My first day of skiing!  I'm excited, but the rental skis worry me.  They look much too long, maybe uncontrollable?  On the slope, fears come true quickly and I've lost control, roaring down the slope yelling "Get out of my way!  I can't stop!"  But soon I do stop — flying through the air sideways, a floundering spin, a mighty bellyflop in icy snow.  My boot bindings grip like claws that won't release their captive, and the impact twists my body into a painful pretzel.  Several zoom-and-crash cycles later I'm dazed, in a motionless heap at the foot of the mountain, wondering what I'm doing, why, and if I dare to try again.

      Even the ropetow brings disaster.  I fall down and wallow in the snow, pinned in place by my huge skis, and the embarrassing dogpile begins, as skiers coming up the ropetow are, like dominoes in a line, toppled by my sprawling carcass.  Gosh, it sure is fun to ski.
      With time, some things improve.  After the first humorous (for onlookers) and terrifying (for me) trip down the mountain, my bindings are adjusted so I can bellyflop safely.  And I develop a strategy of "leap and hit the ground rolling" to minimize ropetow humiliation.  But my skiing doesn't get much better so — wet and cold, tired and discouraged — I retreat to the safety of the lodge.

      How I Did Learn to Ski  (Insight and Practice, Perseverance and Flexibility)
      The lodge break is wonderful, just what I need for recovery.  An hour later, after a nutritious lunch topped off with delicious hot chocolate, I'm sitting near the fireplace in warm dry clothes, feeling happy and adventurous again.  A friend tells me about another slope, one that can be reached by chairlift, and I decide to "go for it."
      This time the ride up the mountain is exhilarating.  Instead of causing a ropetow domino dogpile, the lift carries me high above the earth like a great soaring bird.  Soon, racing down the hill, I dare to experiment — and the new experience inspires an insight!  If I press my ski edges against the snow a certain way, they "dig in."  This, combined with unweighting (a jump-a-little and swing-the-skis-around foot movement) produces a crude parallel turn that lets me zig-zag down the slope in control, without runaway speed, and suddenly I can ski!
      Continuing practice now brings rapidly improving skill, and by day's end I'm feeling great.  I still fall down occasionally, but not often, and I'm learning from everything that happens, both good and bad.  And I have the confident hope that even better downhill runs await me in the future.  Skiing has become fun!    { In the full page this experience is used to illustrate two principles for learning: Insight and Quality Practice, Perseverance and Flexibility. }  {cartoon by Frank Clark, 1982}

The welder and skier stories (above) are in my "Motivations and Strategies" page, and between them is this true story from the history of science, about the joy of science:

      It's fun!
    Personal goals for learning can include improving skills (like welding or thinking) and exploring ideas.  One powerful motivating force is a curiosity about "how things work."  We like to solve mysteries.
      The joyful appreciation of a challenging mystery and a clever solution is expressed in the following excerpts from letters between two scientists who were intimately involved in the development of quantum mechanics: Max Planck (who in 1900 opened the quantum era with his mathematical description of blackbody radiation) and Erwin Schrödinger (who in 1926 wrote and solved a "wave equation" to explain quantum phenomena).  Planck, writing to Schrödinger, says "I am reading your paper in the way a curious child eagerly listens to the solution of a riddle with which he has struggled for a long time, and I rejoice over the beauties that my eye discovers."  Schrödinger replies by agreeing that "Everything resolves itself with unbelievable simplicity and unbelievable beauty, everything turns out exactly as one would wish, in a perfectly straightforward manner, all by itself and without forcing."  They struggled with a problem, solved it, and were thrilled.  It's fun to think and learn!   { You can learn more about the joy of science and "waves that are particles and particles that are waves" and how Planck and Schrödinger (and Einstein and others) solved the mystery. }

Here is a metaphor and two illustrative examples, which are similar to stories:

      Goal-Directed Education
    Aesop's Fables are designed to achieve a goal, to teach lessons about life.  By analogy, goal-directed Aesop's Activities can help students learn ideas and thinking skills.  In a goal-directed approach to improving education, the basic themes are simple:  a teacher should provide opportunities for educationally useful experience, and help students learn more from their experience.

      Is methodological naturalism required by The Rules?
      A theory of intelligent design acknowledges the possibility of divine action, so it violates a rigid methodological naturalism (MN) and thus, according to some people, it violates "the rules of science."
      Is science a game with rules?  This is an interesting perspective.  In terms of sociology, regarding interpersonal dynamics and institutional structures, it is an idea with merit.  But it seems less impressive and less appealing when we think about functional logic and the cognitive goals of science.  It seems more logical to view science as an activity with goals (which include searching for truth) rather than a game with rules (which include the restrictions imposed by rigid-MN).
      Let's compare "cheating" in sports, business, and science.  In a Strong Man Contest, if other contestants carry a refrigerator on their backs, one man should not be allowed to move it using a two-wheel cart because this is not useful for achieving the goal of the game, for determining who is the strongest man.  But if the goal of a business is to move refrigerators quickly, many times during the day, a two-wheeler is useful.
      Although it isn't the only goal, for most scientists the main goal of science is finding truth about nature.  But a rigid-MN might lead to unavoidable false conclusions.  When some scientists recognize this and decide to reject rigid-MN, is it cheating or wisdom?  Is adopting a rigid-MN, rather than a testable-MN, always useful in our search for truth?   { Among scholars who carefully study MN, most agree that we should ask "Is it scientifically useful?" instead of relying on dogmatic rules. }   {note: In a longer version, before condensing, the Strong Man Contest is introduced as a story about a competition I saw on ESPN. }

      Will it be scientifically productive?  ( Is it a science-stopper? )
    Perhaps the search by Closed Science (restricted by a rigid methodological naturalism) is occasionally futile, like trying to explain how the faces on Mt Rushmore were produced by undirected natural processes such as erosion.  If scientists are restricted by an assumption that is wrong (that does not correspond with historical reality) the finest creativity and logic will fail to find the true origin of the faces.
      Occasionally, perhaps MN is forcing scientists into a futile search, like a man who is diligently looking for missing keys in the kitchen when the keys are sitting on a table on the front porch.  No matter how hard he searches the kitchen, he won't find the keys because they aren't there!  On the other hand, if the keys really are in the kitchen, they probably will be found by someone who believes "the keys are in the kitchen" and is diligently searching there, not by a skeptic.
      Perseverance and Flexibility:  How is scientific productivity affected by attitude?  In the complex blend that generates productive thinking, "There can be a tension between contrasting virtues, such as persevering by tenacious hard work, or flexibly deciding to explore new theories that may be more productive in a search for truth.  A problem solver may need to dig deeper, so perseverance is needed;  but sometimes the key to a solution is to dig in a new location, and flexibility will pay off."  {from Productive Thinking: Creative and Critical}
      Should scientists dig deeper in the same location, or dig in a new location?  Should they search the kitchen or porch?  The answer is YES if we notice that one word is wrong, if we replace "or" with "and" because we refuse to remain trapped in narrow thinking.  Instead of thinking that we must make an either-or choice, we should search both kitchen and porch, we should dig deeper and in new locations, and this is allowed in open science.  We can adopt a humble attitude "by refusing to decide that we already know with certainty... what kind of world we live in."
      One night you find a man searching under a streetlight.  You ask why, and he says "I'm looking for my keys."  You ask, "Did they fall out of your pocket?"  "Yes, I was riding my bike when I heard them hit the ground a half-block up the street."  "Then why are you searching here?"  "It's easier to search here because there is more light."  /  Here are two questions to consider:  Why is this a joke? (is he behaving rationally?)  If he rigidly continues his limited search, will he find the lost keys?

note:  In a page asking "Can a design theory be scientific?", this section continues by asking "Is a claim for design a science-stopper?"

Here are some drama-stories I invented in 2006 (along with introductions, etc, to provide a context) that are in a "read me first" introduction-page for an FAQ about Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design:

      A Drama about People and Their Ideas
      This website for Whole-Person Education is "a resource for self-education, for busy people with ‘too much to do and not enough time.’  We know you don't want to waste valuable time — because as Ben Franklin said, "it's the stuff life is made of" — so our goal is to help you learn a lot in a little time. (from the website-homepage)"  The website includes this FAQ — with responses to Frequently Asked Questions about Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design — that is a condensed summary of important ideas, designed to help you quickly get a "big picture" overview of the ideas and their relationships.
      In three decisions and a library I recognized that this educational approach — giving you a quick overview in a condensed summary — is analogous to Cliffs Notes that summarize and analyze a fictional drama.  In this FAQ you'll see the raw material for an exciting non-fiction drama of real people and their ideas.  The drama is produced by encounters between people with contrasting ideas.  These ideas are often held with a confident passion by individuals and groups who often behave as if they think people with other views are enemies who must be fought and conquered.  And the ideas have important implications and applications, especially in education.
      The summaries in this FAQ will help you quickly learn the ideas in the drama.  There is a sprinkling of illustrative examples (especially in the eight full-length pages) plus conflict in four dramatic contexts (in this page) but these are just "extra spice" to supplement the main goal, which is to help you understand the real-life drama of people and their ideas.


      2A.  Warfare between science and religion!  This colorful portrait of history — with inherent conflict causing rational science to be opposed by ignorant religion — is dramatic (with heroes and villains clearly defined) and entertaining.  It is useful for anti-Christian rhetoric, and this was the main motive of its most prominent popularizers.  Even though a "conflict" perspective is oversimplistic, inaccurate, and is rejected by modern historians, it has exerted a powerful influence on popular views, and many people mistakenly think irreconcilable conflict cannot be avoided.
      Why?  Some atheists (and rigid agnostics) want to believe in "conflict" to support their personal rejection of Christian faith;  some Christians think statements in the Bible cannot be reconciled with conclusions in science;  and some people are confused by a scientism that goes far beyond science, as in thinking that science shows miracles in the Bible couldn't occur, or that when science explains how "it happened by natural process" this shows "it happened without God."

      2A is a pivotal section, since the next 16 sections (from 2B through 5G) are a response to show why science and Christian religion can peacefully coexist, despite the claims for "conflict" made by some atheists (against Christianity) and some Christians (against science).

      Drama you can Imagine
      Earlier, I describe the "exciting drama of real people and their ideas."  You can get a feeling for this drama by using your imagination to visualize the conflicts in four situations where we often see drama;  one is below, and three are later, when we look at evolution & design and education.   These stories illustrate conflicts — internal and external, within people and between people — that commonly occur in real life.  Imagine that:
      • your pastor confidently declares, "the Bible says the earth is young, so you should believe it."  But your teacher for Sunday School, who is a close friend and expert geologist, explains why science shows the earth is old, and Genesis does not teach a young earth.  You're not a scientist and neither is your pastor, but when you ask him about this he loans you a book by young-earth scientists, and their arguments seem to make sense.  Your pastor wonders if he should let your friend teach in his church, and you have questions.

      We'll look at these questions in Sections 2, 3, and 4.

AND STILL LATER, as an introduction for Sections 5, 6, and 7:

      Our focus now shifts from WHEN to HOW.  You can get a feeling for the drama of "people and their ideas (in Sections 5-7)" by imagining that:
      • you're a flexible agnostic, uncertain about God but willing to search for truth.  You hear Richard Dawkins declare that evolution did happen, so God isn't necessary, and smart people don't believe in God.  But another respected scientist explains why evolution (astronomical and biological) is possible only because the universe was intelligently designed with the detailed fine-tuning that is necessary for life.  And another explains how evidence for "intelligent design" is evidence against a totally natural evolution.  You're confused, wondering whether Intelligent Design claims that evolution did or didn't occur.  And is design scientific?  Some scientists claim that design (but which one?) is scientific, while others claim it's religious and it has no basis in science.  These scientists disagree, but all of their arguments seem logical, so you're baffled, wondering "what is science" and "what is (probably) true" and "what should we teach" and you have questions.

AND FINALLY, for Section 8:

      Applications in Education
      The questions in Sections 1-7 often produce uncertainties and conflicts within a person.  But when we make decisions about education, internal personal questions can become external interpersonal tensions, and conflicts become visible and vocal.  To get a feeling for the drama of people and their ideas, imagine that:
      • you're a science teacher in a private Christian school, and last year several parents didn't like what you said about the "when and how" of creation, about the evidence for an old earth with an evolutionary history.  They removed their children from your school and began a campaign in local churches, encouraging other parents to also boycott your school.  Now your principal is blaming you for the school's damaged reputation and financial problems, and is saying "if you want to keep your job, you will change the way you teach science."
      • you're a public school teacher who is wondering what to teach about origins:  Is there any scientifically justifiable controversy about the "how" of origins?  If you think "maybe there is" and you explain why in class, will you get in trouble with school administrators who fear the threat of an expensive lawsuit?  But if you don't, will you get in trouble with parents?  What is the best way to survive and thrive in the current climate of controversy?
      • you are the friend of a student who is a Christian, who has been taught by her parents (and by her pastor and the teachers in his church-run school, which is the only school she ever attended) that the earth is 6000 years old, and that evolution is scientifically proposterous and is an evil idea invented by atheists who hate God.  She is very smart, has excelled in learning science and is enthusiastic about it, and will soon enter college.   /   How do you think she will respond — and what will happen with her interest in science, her views about creation, and the quality of her faith — in each of these situations:  A) she attends a private college that teaches the same ideas as in her K-12 school, but then she leaves this safe haven for a graduate school (or medical school) where conventional old-earth science is assumed;  B) she goes to a public college where her first science teacher is an aggressive atheist who ridicules Christians and tries to destroy their faith;  C) in her public college most of the science teachers (for conventional astronomy, geology, and biology, plus chemistry and physics) just "teach the science" with no apparent worldview bias;  D) same as C, but her geology teacher is a devout Christian who hosts a Bible study in his home for college students, and is a respected elder at her new church in the college town;  E) she attends a private college where the teachers, who are all devout Christians, think there is no conflict between their faith and the old-earth science they teach, and are sensitive and thoughtful in their interactions with students who have other views.

The homepage for Origins Questions begins with the first four stories (but not the student) followed by this:

      We'll help you explore your questions.
      Yes, this is a fascinating area, with hot debates about tough questions in science and theology.  We want to help you explore and learn.  We'll begin with simple explanations, and then if you want more depth we'll help you dig more deeply. ...   { In the whole page this is followed by a description of the area for Origins Questions. }

The excerpts below (from Christian Education for Science & Faith) do have some "story feeling" but they're not really stories, so they're in this special appendix.

      Learning by Exploring
      One way to learn about God's creation is to explore it yourself.  You can do this in many ways, using all of your senses.  You can explore near and far, by studying plants in your yard, birds in the park, and clouds in the sky, by looking out your car window and letting what you see inspire questions about the geology and biology, about the land and what's growing on it.  Exploring is fun at any age.  It is interesting and motivating for children, and also for adults who (as amateur scientists or professional scientists) are continuing their explorations of nature.

      Learning from Others
      When you explore, you learn from your own experience.  But you can also learn from the experience of others, by letting them help you learn.  This happens when you read, listen, or watch what they have written, spoken, or filmed.  Learning from others is an easy way to learn a lot in a little time.

      Learning is an Active Process
      Learning is an active process that requires thinking.  When you learn by reading, for example, your thinking converts symbols on the page into ideas in your mind.  Every time you learn a new idea, you are actively constructing your own mental representations of the idea in a personally meaningful form.  And your new idea interacts with your old ideas, as you try to combine the new and old into a coherent system of ideas.
      The process of active reading is the theme when Virginia Voeks, in her book On Becoming an Educated Person, explains how to learn more and enjoy more while reading: "Start with an intent to make the very most you can from whatever you read.  Treat the author as you do your friends.  When talking with a friend, you listen attentively and eagerly.  You watch for contributions of value and are sensitive to them.  You actively respond to his ideas with ones of your own.  Together you build new syntheses."  When you're an active reader, eagerly searching for new ideas, you will find them, and reading becomes a stimulating adventure.
      You can read passively or you can make it an active adventure.  Some of the most effective teaching methods are designed to stimulate thinking, to replace boring passivity with exciting activity.  For example, members of a class can have a pro-and-con debate about the ideas in a book they are reading.  This activity encourages the mentally active reading that is recommended by Voeks.  But if you "internalize the action" you can always read with an active mind, whether or not your reading will be followed by a debate.  You control the quality of your learning.

<... several sections omitted ...>

      Immediate Motivation: Make it Fun
      One of the most important things a teacher can do is to motivate students so they want to learn, so they think learning is fun and useful.  Usually, it's best to begin with fun.
      For children, a good way to have fun while learning about nature is to explore.  And it's easy.  You can find things to explore by just looking around your house and yard, on walks in your neighborhood, or in local parks.  Be aware of what's happening in nature — blooming plants, interesting clouds, beautiful sunset, awesome thunderstorm, mysterious fog, moon eclipse, meteor shower,... — and take advantage of natural opportunities.  Wake up early, watch the world turn from dark to light, and visit a place where birds are singing.  Take time to notice trees budding in spring, thriving in summer, turning colors in autumn, gleaming with snow in winter.  During a trip, you can watch the constantly changing land shapes and plant life, you can look for places to stop and explore, and maybe you can escape the glow of city lights and see the Milky Way plus millions of other stars.  Find ways to use all your senses, to see, hear, touch, smell, and taste.
      When two or more explore together, part of the fun is relational.  To help a child develop a love for learning, you don't have to be an expert who is providing technical information.  Just be there to share the experience and encourage, and occasionally call attention to interesting details.  Rachel Carson, in The Sense of Wonder, explains that the main goal is motivation, not information: "A sharing of adventures in the world of nature... is based on having fun together rather than teaching,... just going through the woods in the spirit of two friends on an expedition of exciting discovery."  The beneficial results of enthusiastically sharing adventure and conversation can last a lifetime.  "A child's world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. ... If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder... he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in." (quotes are from The Sense of Wonder (1956) by Rachel Carson, pages 10, 18, 42, 45)   And the wonder is enhanced for a Judeo-Christian believer because of our love for God, who created the world we are joyfully exploring.

      We can also explore using second-hand experience, by letting others help us learn from what they have learned.  Children of all ages can do this alone or with you.  Share an adventure in the world of ideas.  Read a book together, listen to a tape, or watch an educational film, and then talk about it.
      If explorations have stimulated interest in a topic, a curious child will want to learn more about it.  If watching clouds and thunderstorms leads to questions, learn more about weather in a book, film, or website.  Maybe reading a small book about nutrition, about what we eat and how it helps our bodies work, will inspire a desire to learn more by reading more.  Getting a Roadside Geology book for a state you'll be driving through will make your exploring of "the land and its history" more educational and enjoyable.  If a child is fascinated by gadgets and asks "How does it work?", find out in or in a book.
      How can you pick a topic?  Usually, just be aware of what a child finds interesting, and go with the flow.  Occasionally, provide guidance by encouraging exploration of a topic that you think will be interesting or will be useful in life.
      How can you find books and decide which ones to read?  Visit a library and explore it by yourself, then ask for help.  Librarians love books and learning.  They want to help you and will eagerly share what they know, along with their enthusiasm.  A wide variety of resources for all ages, including books and much more, is available in your public library, the library of a church or school, a bookstore (new or used), and on the internet.  This website provides high-quality information about all aspects of education in the home, church, and school.  { It contains some resources now, and its usefulness will continue to improve as it is more fully developed. }  It includes ideas for exploration activities, resources (books and magazines, tapes and films, websites and programs) for second-hand exploring, tips for teaching and learning and thinking, ideas about design method and scientific method and careers in design and science, ideas for learning and using mathematics, plus discussions of frequently asked questions about Christian perspectives on nature and science.

      Exploring ideas is especially interesting when, in an effort to get accurate understanding, you get the best information and arguments that all sides of an issue can claim as support.  A conflict of ideas is inherently dramatic, and the evaluative thinking it stimulates is an opportunity to learn valuable skills for life.  { a personal example of a high school teacher who changed the way I think }   In contrast with protective isolation (by trying to avoid contact with all non-approved ideas), supported exploration will help children learn the skills they need for intellectual self-defense.  They will be confronted with many challenging ideas from peers, authorities, and media, while living in the modern world.  Although you cannot protect children from exposure to ideas, you can protect them against indoctrination if you help them develop skill in evaluating the merits of different ideas.  Compared with protective isolation, supported exploration is more educational because there is more learning and thinking.  But exploring ideas is educationally useful and spiritually edifying only when it is done wisely and well, in a secure environment with adequate support.  The level of exploration should be adjusted for a child's maturity, since topics and resources that are useful and edifying for an older child might not be appropriate for younger children.  You should provide emotional and spiritual support through love and prayer, and intellectual support by showing that Christian perspectives are rational and are useful for improving quality of life.
      Many exciting "adventures in thinking" are possible in design.  You can help a child find problems to solve and projects to pursue in all areas of life, in all school subjects and in everyday living.  Daily decisions become a "designing of strategies for living" when you ask "what are your goals" and "based on your observations and predictions, which strategy-options will produce a closer match with your goals?"  By practicing and reviewing the principles of design, you can stimulate creative, disciplined thinking in design and also in science.  How?  Logical "reality checks" are used in both science and design, so you can build an educational bridge from design to science and then, by using this bridge, learning design method will help a child learn scientific method.
      In all activities of learning and thinking, while exploring the fascinating world of nature and ideas, you can help a child develop motivation, and maintain it for the long term, by enthusiastically sharing, consistently encouraging, and occasionally guiding.

      Long-Term Motivation: Make it Useful
      Why should you, or those you are teaching, want to learn?  Early in the process of education, it's best to focus on the intrinsic motivation of having fun now.  Later, after a child has experienced the joys of learning-and-thinking in a variety of contexts, you can look for opportunities to explain how — in addition to being fun — learning can also be useful.  The ideal motivational situation is when a student thinks educational activities are fun and useful, immediately enjoyable and eventually practical.
      We all know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  And utility is in the mind of the beholder, so the personal goals of an individual student should be the focus of long-term motivation.  Will your education be personally useful in the future?  If you can say "yes" and you have a forward-looking expectation that what you're learning now will improve your life, you have a reason to learn.  When you view learning as an opportunity for self-improvement — so you can become the person God created you to be, so you can fulfill God's wonderful plan for your life — you'll want to learn.  In this goal-directed intentional learning, you want to achieve personal goals by transforming your current state of knowledge (which includes all you know and all you can do) into a future state of knowledge that is improved.  For long-term motivation, a good question to ask is, "What can I learn now that will help me in the future?"
      As a teacher, your question is "What can I help them learn now that will be useful for them in the future?"  With your adult perspective, you see further down the road of life, and this lets you provide valuable guidance.  Your guidance can be personalized, because you have seen the many ways in which abilities and personal goals vary from one student to another.  This understanding can help you motivate a wider range of students with whole-person education for multiple intelligences — linguistic, logical-mathematical, visual-spatial, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, intrapersonal, and interpersonal — along with spiritual development.
      What about science?  You can begin by...

I.O.U. — People like stories, so I want to include more in the website, written by me and also by other writers.   { And there should be more things performing similar functions, such as other types of appealing writing, plus cartoons, more graphics, better page design,... }

ABOVE, links open a new page in a new window.  BELOW, a new page opens in this window.

homepage for a website about Whole-Person Education

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