Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Are you a fundamentalist?

Seth Godin:

Fundamentalist is a person who considers whether a fact is acceptable to their faith before they explore it. As opposed to a curious person who explores first and then considers whether or not they want to accept the ramifications.

Which would we prefer our children to become - fundamentalist or curious?

As their teacher or parent, which are you?


  1. As a teacher and parent, I wholeheartedly believe we must foster curiosity first. I think when a teacher (in a public school) places faith above curiosity they do a great disservice to their students. I moved my daughter in 4th grade because of a teacher's comments to her students that really upset my daughter. I keep my faith private in the classroom.

  2. I'd always want to encourage a student to explore anything before making a judgement on it. I hope that comes through in my teaching - through a willingness to try out different approaches, engage with my students, get their interest.

    Interested to see what others have to say.

    Mike (an ESOL teacher in London)

  3. Curious! I for one have never advocated anything but curiosity in my students or my own kids. The difficulty comes in trying to move students from fundamentalists to curious. Opening their minds is my goal. Sometimes they get there and it is amazing, sometimes they don't. Yet that will never deter me from pushing them to discover and learn.

  4. Alfie Kohn talks about starting with questions rather than looking at facts. I would keep away from facts

    Any thinking person would make meaning of a fact in terms of his faith, past experience , world view and decide whether it was worth further exploration. Because I have faith in constructivist learning I won't explore the facts that test scores are improving in schools that advocate the transmission model of teaching.

    I encourage questions that are asked with respect and a certain amount of humility. Part of life is living with unanswered questions. I would help kids develop their world view and curiosity.

    I would appreciate a good explanation , reasoning to expain certain behavior than to be presented with ' facts or research'


  5. I vote for curiosity over fundamentalism any day! If we don't allow our kids to question everything they hear/read/see then aren't we just brainwashing them??

  6. I don't like extremes and I believe being a fundamentalist is considering extremes without "grey areas." Learning, reading, teaching and socialising widen the mind and encourage curiosity. That's what we, as educators, should foster.


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