Static Information versus Dynamic Lessons
In high school, I hated my history courses. Getting a study guide with a list of names and events was as exciting as getting a physical. This is because we were always taught static information and rarely if ever, engaged in dynamic lessons.
My view towards learning history changed once I started studying it on my own. Rather than being forced into learning static information, I was able to make my own connections that are relevant to my unique situation. I started learning dynamic lessons.
As long as our education teaches static information and ignores teaching dynamic lessons, our youth will be set up for failure.
To demonstrate this concept, I will be ranting about a historical figure that I find particularly inspiring (spoiler: it isn’t Alexander Hamilton, I’ve already written about the impact he has on me when it comes to goal setting).
Character of the individual
Picture a man living with his father well into his 40’s, short and pale in appearances, a soft voice, and facing frequent illnesses. What would be your prediction for the kind of legacy he would have? Our gut instinct says that he will have no legacy.
Well, that man was James Madison.
James Madison, Static Information
James Madison is used as an example. The idea communicated here can apply to almost any topic we are taught in school.
Consider how we are taught about James Madison. We presumably learn several static facts:
- He is the author of the Constitution.
- He co-authored the Federalist Papers with John Jay and Alexander Hamilton.
- He was the 4th President of the United States.
The world collectively yawned reading that list. Now try to remember how excited you were while learning it in school. If you were anything like me, you probably needed a nap.
James Madison, Dynamic Lessons
He was respected in discussions not because he was charismatic, but because he commanded the information. He thought his ideas through and communicated them clearly.
In fact, he was so soft-spoken that his peers would comment on how the entire room would be silent when he spoke just so they could hear him.
Static information misses a huge opportunity to give kids a role model and help them learn about themselves. Here are three dynamic lessons that could be taught alongside James Madison:
- You don’t need to be the most charismatic individual to leave an impact.
- You don’t need to be a great orator like Alexander Hamilton to be successful.
- Your circumstances and shortcomings don’t have to result in failure.
These are important lessons for any growing individual. They are especially important to kids who may be insecure in their self-image. Rather than coddling them and saying it doesn’t matter or that the problem is everyone else, we are showing them that they are in control.
Using dynamic information and educating character over names benefits every individual. It will benefit us no matter what age we are. It benefits us whether we are introverted, extroverted, full of self-confidence or full of self-doubt (Abraham Lincoln would be a good model by discussing his frequent melancholy).
As long as educational standards are measured by standardized tests, we are forced to teach static information. Once we start teaching dynamic information, we start creating individuals who all have access to a bright future. They will better understand themselves and reach their full potential at a rapid pace.