Irrigating Deserts

“The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.”

C.S. Lewis

I was just talking with a friend about this quote; he’s a teacher in another country and he’s not a big fan.  I don’t know if he’s not a big fan of Lewis or the irrigation metaphor.  Either way, his reaction got me thinking…

I think I like this C.S. Lewis quote because it seems to fit what I experience–it’s not that the kids don’t have imagination or creativity.  It’s that it is hidden (and dehydrating!) under rote memorization, 90-minute lectures, and “do this at home” as homework. This age of technology isn’t helping; every kid I know owns at least one cellphone and they’re not happy with it.  They want something bigger, something better… and they want it along with other technological gadgets.  None of which they really use to help them read, write, or compute.  With literacy apparently decreasing – both at home and at school – it’s no wonder that teachers have to drag tons of metaphorical water around… it’s no longer true that we “led them to water;” now we must physically bring the water to them.


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