Life seems pretty easy sometimes. The fundamentals of it are really straightforward. Life among others is not without its complications though. Working together, coordinating, coexisting isn’t always the simplest thing for us to do.
We know so much more about the complexities of life than we have ever known before while, at the same time, trying to make things ever simpler. Standardized tests are a good example, we’ve given up on finding good ways to assess student performance and make comparisons across the wildly disparate school systems that make up our education system.
The productivity movement in the American workplace is another good example. We have been trying to distill the workplace to its bare essentials through a simplistic understanding of the needs and motivations of workers for the last forty years. There are a host of reasons for how we got there, couldn’t be simple could it?
Some of the same things are happening in education as well as we have de-valued certain experiences like the arts, music, and sports programs that offer developmental benefits that are a bit more difficult to quantify. Some of this is because of the budget constraints most of our school systems are facing but we also do it to try and solve very complex problems with ridiculously simple solutions.
I’ve spent enough time in a classroom teaching developmental psychology while also watching it play out among my students to know that understanding students, that understanding people is a very specific activity. Everyone brings their own unique combination of genetics and experience and motivation to the equation.