Yesterday at the dinner table my Year 10 daughter asked, ‘Why does hair turn grey?’ This question had come up in her science class and my daughter felt it was wrong that her teacher hadn’t known the answer.
This provoked an interesting discussion on what teachers should know, what pupils needed to learn and what the purpose of education was. Given that the world is changing so rapidly, what is fact today, might not be fact in 20 years time. Therefore teaching just facts doesn’t prepare you for the future.
While pupils do need to learn some facts, it is equally important for them to learn to think and to find out for themselves – so that they want to become lifelong learners. My father was particularly good at modelling this skill when I was a child. We had a full set of the Encyclopedia Britannica sitting on the sideboard in the dining room, and it was a rare dinner table conversation when we didn’t pull at least one volume off the shelf.
So, how can we encourage pupils to learn to think creatively? As this is a pet subject of mine, Brilliant Publications has published lots of books on this subject. As an experiment, I tried typing ‘creative’ into the search book on our website (www.brilliantpublications.co.uk). I was pleased to see that 44 books came up. I then tried ‘thinking’ and got 30 titles. Why don’t you have a go typing in your own keywords and see what you come up with!
A few of my particular favourites are: Stimulate Creative Thinking, CRAMES – Creative Games to Help Children Learn to Think and Creative Homework Tasks.
Incidently, the reason hair turns grey is, as we get older, the pigment cells in our hair follicles gradually die. When there are fewer pigment cells in a hair follicle, that strand of hair will no longer contain as much melanin and will become a more transparent color — like grey, silver, or white — as it grows.