Spring Forward

Posted by Jonathon Wetherington on 3/8/2020 6:00:00 PM

Happy Monday!

Spring Forward! As a way to save energy during World War I, Germany, England, and almost every other country that fought in World War I adopted Daylight Savings Time. The United States followed suit: On March 9, 1918, Congress enacted its first daylight saving law—and it was a two-fer: In addition to saving daylight, the Standard Time Act defined time zones in the U.S. In those days, coal power was king, so people really did save energy
(and thus contribute to the war effort) by changing their clocks. Through common sense innovation, a solution was created and lives on today.

Spring Forward is a strong symbol of innovation and optimism. Every year, we give up an hour of sleep for a daily benefit: more afternoon daylight. Yet, innovation is not always easy. In fact, it rarely is as easy as we hoped. When we jump into new situations and innovations, we enter into something known as the Dunning-Kruger Effect (See figure below). This journey of innovation, adoption, learning, and growth leads us through the ups and downs where we grow in our wisdom and confidence. However, it is not easy to journey from Mt. Stupid to sustainability.

Think about any student or teacher and project-based learning. For this case, the Dunning-Kruger effect indicates how the individual’s knowledge of that pedagogy will evolve over time, and there is the reality that the school, classroom, and pedagogy itself evolves over time. Hence, early in that evolution it is really difficult to have realistic expectations of what PBL might mean for a teacher. It is easy early on to underestimate what PBL really is, which of course adds to the height of Mt. Stupid.

Our journey…..your journey with PBL and interdisciplinary instructional models is no different, and our journeys are following the Dunning-Kruger model, which is no surprise. However, despite what thousands of psychologists know, the journey of wisdom acquisition is not always fun and challenges us as professionals as we grapple with the realities of what innovative teaching and learning can be. As we continue to “STEMIfy” our instructional practices, I knew most of us had little experience with STEM pedagogies, such as problem-based, project-based, case study-based, and inquiry learning, but I hired good teachers that could grow into great STEMmy teachers. As we close out this school year and prepare for next year, I am committed to continue to support the development of our teachers implementation of problem-based and project-based learning because I know that deep learning takes time. Sometimes, it takes an extra two hours of daylight to help us change our ways, so I hope that Spring Forward can remind us that enlightenment and sustainability are right on the other side of the valley of despair.

March on!

Dunning-Kruger Effect