New Year, New Adventures

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HAPPY NEW YEARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Today was quite an adventure for me. I was traveling to New York, but first I had a layover in Charlotte. This blog post comes in multiple parts due to this layover.

Part 1: The Hypothetical Conversation 

So on my first flight I debated reading, but it was such a short flight, I didn’t want to deal with it. Instead, I revisited some of my thoughts about things that I’ve already blogged about with the first few chapters of The Falconer. To do this, I had a conversation with my self imagining what it would be like if I was reading and the person next to me started asking questions. This was my conversation:

What are you reading?

It’s called “The Falconer” by Grant Lichtman. It’s about everything you wish you would have learned in school. I really strongly believe that school should be about more than answering questions on test and quizzes that any one could easily answer by looking it up online or in a textbook. I know there is more out there in what we call the “real world” and I want to do that meaningful work now.

That sounds interesting. What have you learned so far?

Well the book is about what skills you need for life, skills that you typically wouldn’t learn while in school. The redesign in education is something I’m really passionate about so I’ve grown accustom to some of these skills, but I enjoy new perspectives that make me think about the skills in different ways.

One skill that I think is the most important is the art of asking a good question.

What does that mean?

Well, you could ask me, “How does an airplane fly?” And I would answer to the best of my knowledge, that it has something to do with the shape of the wings on an airplane that allow for the greatest amount of air to be pushed under the wings allowing it to take flight and flow with the wind. While you may think that this a good open ended question, this questions just makes me try to recall information I have heard or read before. You could just as easily have looked it up once you got off of the plane, correct?

Yes, I suppose I could look up a question like this.

Exactly, you may still look it up just because you want to have a more in-depth answer. And what you’ll be doing is looking up the answer to a question someone else has already asked and solved.

In school we tend learn that questions often start with “what, where, when, why, or how”. We later learn that it is best to ask “why” questions because they lead to a more detailed answer. But all of these question starters, even “why”, will still give us questions that could be  answered as easily as our airplane question.

Now not to discourage these other question starters, because we still need them to gain information, but my favorite question starter is “what if”.

When you start a question with “what if” it makes a person actually think rather than just recall. For example, take our airplane question, now if you would have asked me “what if people could fly?” I could say a lot of different things.

I might say that people would have to be shaped differently and our arms would be more like wings, or maybe we just have wings to and our arms would have to stay by our side or out in front when we fly. I could also say that man may have not invented airplanes at all because there wasn’t a need for them, so birds would have less air traffic and there would be less air battles with big machinery because people would have to carry the weapons themselves.

I would still have to know about how an airplane flies to be able to answer your question, but I would also need to know and think more.

How does changing the shape of an airplane change its flight? How do birds fly differently than planes? Do birds actually have a problem with airplanes flying around? Has there been any change in the population of birds since the invention of the airplane? When did air battles really become such a big thing? How much weight can humans hold at one time? How heavy are weapons of war?

This one “what if” question lead to a myriad of other questions, and if you take the time to learn more about each of these you will end knowing much more than you would have learned if you were only asked “how does a airplane fly?” And you would have gotten the opportunity to use your creative mind.

Wow that’s really interesting.

(Then my plane landed and I got off in Charlotte. This is when chaos started…)

Part 2: The Chaos and The  Realization 

My flight to New York was canceled, and I was traveling alone so I had to go walking around in circles, calling back and forth between my parents and grandma, and talking to a bunch of different air port people. It was stressful.

Finally I was able to get on a flight to JFK (which was a different airport which was about 45 minutes further away from my grandma’s house), and I finally got confirmation that my bag would be switched so that it would arrive at JFK when I did.

By the time I was actually on the next flight, I also had a thought about things school doesn’t prepare us for.

We always talk about how we need to actually talk to people in the “real world” (usually meaning adults). But when we do talk to adults outside of school, or even in school I guess, we are always agreeing with them. We talk to people asking about their opinions or asking for feedback on our stuff.

What we don’t learn is what do with adults that don’t agree with us. Half of the time they don’t even take us seriously. We may debate in school some times, but I want to learn win debates with adults that aren’t arguing because of a predesigned packet they have to go through and follow steps out of.

I was just thinking about how my mom kept saying I should try and get something compensated. But truthfully, I was more concentrated on trying to get on a flight and making sure my bag was going to get to me somehow. So I accomplished my initial goal, but I wasn’t really able to argue my way into getting anything comped.

As my coach Lih-Sia says with acro, “the first time is to make sure you don’t die, then you can go all out on the next try”.

And when I thought more about it, I realized that I haven’t ever argued against an adult (furthermore a stranger) before and I didn’t feel like he took me seriously anyway, but now that I have, I’m annoyed and want to do a better job next time.

So that’s now what I want to learn: how to win an argument with an adult I don’t know. Some of its natural talent with persuasion, but some of it’s practice. So I want to practice.

Anyway, I finally arrived safely in NYC and got to eat chinese food at one of my favorite restaurants before watching the ball drop, so alls well that ends well!

Happy New Years again and may 2015 bring you new exciting adventures full of fun discoveries!

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2 thoughts on “New Year, New Adventures

  1. I utterly cannot WAIT for your thinking and comments on later chapters, particularly Redemption! Happy New Year and hopes we have plenty of time to chat, think, and plan just how the heck you are going to leverage your insight and understandings!

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