Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Educators: Don’t Assume A Can Opener | Paul Bruno

Educators: Don’t Assume A Can Opener | Paul Bruno:

Educators: Don’t Assume A Can Opener

1282274161_d342cf26f7_nThere is a famous joke about the way economists often undermine the usefulness of their conclusions by making too many simplifying assumptions. Here’s one of the older formulations:
There is a story that has been going around about a physicist, a chemist, and an economist who were stranded on a desert island with no implements and a can of food. The physicist and the chemist each devised an ingenious mechanism for getting the can open; the economist merely said, “Assume we have a can opener”!
It’s probably not fair to pick on economists in this way when then the abuse of simplifying assumptions is at least as widespread in education.
For instance, arguably the trendiest thing going in education today is ‘grit‘: “the tendency to sustain interest in and effort toward very long-term goals”.
We all agree, I suspect, that a tendency to persevere is desirable, and that we