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Humility (Part 5 of 10)

Updated: Jan 24, 2022

“Your ideas are important and I don’t have answers to everything.” -Lindsay Lichty

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” -C.S. Lewis

Throughout this project, I’ve come to learn just how important humility is when it comes to wonder. In life, it seems that we have been trained to find answers as quickly and efficiently as possible. Have a question? Just type it into Google and you’ll find your answer. The problem with this method, however, is that a quick search online rarely gives you the full picture. What a tragedy to infer to students that objects can be fully known in a matter of minutes. When reflecting on this issue, Piersol writes: “We have been trained to seek out quick explanations to our wonders and then, upon hearing an answer, assume that we have nothing left to learn. Not surprisingly, learning has become boring for many students because we present the world as almost fully known; we have removed the mystery and turned the puzzles into simple ones that can be solved in a few neat steps” (2013, p. 28). We need to re-introduce the weird, the wacky and the wonder-full parts of our world to students. To show them that the world is full of surprises and mysteries. Sometimes we will find answers and other times we won’t.

A problem that may arise when we do this is discouragement. Students might ask: “If the world is so complex and complicated, what’s the point in trying to learn anything about it? I may as well give up.” It is my hope that this doesn’t happen. Instead, we should try to instill courage in our students. Piersol explains that we “need to continue to look to Plato’s example of combining such wonder with courage, otherwise students could end up feeling defeated by how little they can and do actually know. Instead, when situated within courage such humility regarding the vast unknown turns inspiring— there is so much to learn and so much is possible! (2013, p. 29). As an educator, I am learning how important it is to pair humility with courage. To show students that they can learn about themselves and topics that interest them.

The last part of humility that I would like to discuss is setting an example for our students. If we want our students to embody humility, we need to display this quality as well. Piersol explains, “This is no easy task for most adults. To get to this place, we have to learn to admit that we do not and cannot know it all” (2013, p. 30). As educators, it’s our responsibility to let students know that we have much to learn as we journey throughout life. Hopefully students don’t view the teacher as a bottomless pit of knowledge at the front of the classroom. Instead, it is my hope that we can join our students in this adventure we call life and discover new things together!

What is this? I’m not sure. Let’s go figure it out together!

Egan, K., Cant, A., & Gudson, J. (2013). Wonder-Full Education: The Centrality of Wonder in

Teaching and Learning Across the Curriculum. New York, NY: Routledge.

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