Inspiring Students: Bringing Awe Back to Learning

Eric Sheninger, Jun 27, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

In his monumental work The Idea of the Holy Rudolf Otto wrote of the 'numinous' as mysterious, (mysterium) terrifying (tremendum) and fascinating (fascinans). This post seems to want to do the same thing for education. The key of the tremendous and fascinating is that it holds us in awe. "Awe is a driving force for learning that will not just benefit our students now, but also well into their future. However, traditional views and functions of school deprive many students from experiencing the joy and power of awe as a catalyst for meaningful learning." I am not troubled by a sense of awe - I get it every time I stare into the night sky or look at a butterfly, which is often - but I'm not sure it should be an objective of learning.

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