Wednesday, December 22, 2010

...Wonderful Time

"It's the most wonderful time of the year." No matter how you celebrate in December--the lights and tinsel, the gifting and partying, the beauty of new fallen snow and joy of time spent with old friends and family--it is delightful. Whether your holiday journeys have you walkin' in a winter wonderland or wondering as you wander, only the Scroogiest among us remain non-wonder-filled. And even Ebenezer was won over.

Have you ever wondered what wonder is? Some say it is a kind of awe, but that makes for strange translations: "It's the most awful time of the year" doesn't have quite the same jingle. Aristotle said that wonder, the desire to know, is what makes us uniquely human. Anyone who has seen a dog tilt its head knows that animals must wonder, too, but do they take the same delight in wonder that we do? Wonder is inquiry that we delight in. When we are wondering, we are meaningfully engaged in a curiously human experience. And as human, we have an unlimited and insatiable desire to understand and know. Our capacity for wonder has no upper limit. Wonder is curiosity at its hap-happiest.

One curiosity I have, is whether wonder is invited into the school day and year in the same way it is welcomed into this holiday season. Given that it is the force behind engaged understanding, knowing, and deciding, it should be the first guest to arrive at the party and the last to leave. If what passes for wonder in a classroom is questions that have students trying to guess the answer a teacher has in her head, bah! If the only things students are wondering is what questions will be on the test, then it's a humbug (<--haven't you ever wondered?). QISA's Condition of Curiosity & Creativity welcomes neither. Imagine students singing of September to June, "It's the most wonder-filled time of the year!"

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