READING will be important but BELIEVING will be even more important


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Seems an odd concept to read but not comprehend or even worse not believe. Yet believing is really the key to it all. If you cannot believe what you read, then you will find yourself becoming increasingly negative, pessimistic and ultimately get nowhere.

However, everyone wants to get somewhere, and to get somewhere we need to master the art of believing. This however shouldn’t be confused with the idea of naivety or being gullible. It should be more to do with how we comprehend what we are reading, and when we enter into a reading task, ask  what are we bringing to the table of thought to make this believable?

The difference between logic and belief is ultimately a leap of faith. To logically deduce an answer is definitely a great skill to have, but to make that leap into belief requires a step into the unknown, to be unafraid and be willing to take something on intellectually that may or may not be true but you are willing to ‘believe’ it for now.

The skills of learning how to believe right now are growing at an exponential rate. This is mainly because technology has allowed us to see what was once inconceivable and impossible to be real and within our grasp. So the new generation of thinkers emerging today are far more inclined to believe something is possible without the fear of failure compared to the previous generations.

This is a wonderful thing, however as with anything, there will be a flattening out of belief soon due to the amount that we can digest in one sitting. Our minds can continue to grow but there will come a time when the leaps we need to make will become too vast, and so in turn belief will slow down. Not completely but the rate of belief will lessen. This is a good thing, as everything requires a consolidation time. Then perhaps after that, another new accelerated rate of belief will emerge…

As much as all skills we learn in school could become automated, e.g. mathematics, writing, logical thinking, research, etc, one thing will never be able to be done by a computer. Believing something. That can only come from a human. Belief is a fundamental element of being human. Those who do not believe anything are often considered inhuman or even dead in themselves.

This then moves us to the next level which is the role of the teacher in teaching belief or more precisely the skills required to believe something. Fortunately, children are easily wowed and have a wonderful imagination, but also they are very aware of what is real and what is not – particularly after the age of 7. Therefore, what a teacher develops with the child up to seven years old is crucial. The last thing any teacher wants to do is to destroy this process too young.

However, at the same time the curriculum needs to be further developed to get children over the age of seven to start to realise what believing consists of. Fundamentally people who believe something have trust, confidence and faith that what they are seeing or experiencing is a very real thing. This is the role of the curriculum to ensure that the development of a child’s ‘table of thought’ which is going to be constantly expanded and contracted during the ‘believing process’, is based in something (though at times very nebulous) also very constructive. Once this is nurtured further, so too will the child’s ability to understand what they believe and take further steps to believe even more.

Simply put we must teach ourselves to constantly question and seek answers that make sense to us and are in line with our ‘table of thought’, and as a result we must allow ourselves to take leaps of faith based on confidence that what we are experiencing is a legitimate thing. Once we have this, the learning that can emerge from this belief can accelerate our creativity faster and further than ever before as adults and limit our chances of slipping into the age old cynical thinking patterns of growing older.

Learning to read at school age is simple but getting older children and adults to believe in what they read is another skill again. This could possibly be the cornerstone that teachers need to consider when developing future curriculums for our future great minds.

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