A Lens on Learning Group Guide

Volume IV, Number III

Artwork by Sharon Lin

Our educational experiences are critical in our daily lives as students and, not surprisingly, they continue to reverberate throughout our lives. KidSpirit writers explore the learning process from many angles in an issue all kids can relate to.

1. In the Big Question, writer Vidushi Sharma attempts to answer the question “What Is the Most Important Quality of Education?” She says that creating a love of learning in students is critical because it makes students curious both inside and outside of the classroom. What do you think? How do you learn best? What environment encourages you to soak up new information and inspires you to be creative with your newfound knowledge?

2. In “Victory,” Akash Mehta profiles a young girl in Afghanistan who fights for an education in the United States. Her case is sadly not uncommon in that country, where it is often difficult for girls to get an education. It is easy to take our education for granted, but all countries have their own values and educate their children in myriad ways. Pick a country and research its educational system. What are the similarities and differences between that country’s system and our own? How are various countries’ educational systems influenced by their cultural values?

3. Arthur Zajonc is a professor who incorporates mindfulness into his teaching practices. He encourages students to quiet their minds by reading a passage of Thoreau, in order to help students become more “awake” to intellectual creativity. Take Dr. Zajonc’s challenge and read Thoreau’s words two or three times, slowly. Let yourself relax into the ideas Thoreau presents and allow his words to take your mind in new directions as you concentrate simply on the passage and what it signifies. Can this meditative process prepare you for other ways you use your mind — in school or in your favorite activities? What do you observe about your body and mental state after doing this exercise?