Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

What role will you play in promoting curiosity and truth? 

This week’s question resonates deeply for a number of reasons. Firstly, I believe strongly that curiosity is one of our greatest core skills and one that we should continue to cultivate throughout schooling and our lives. Through curiosity, we play, create, innovate and experience joy. Ultimately, it is through embracing curiosity that we continue to learn, grow and discover for the whole of our lives. 

Truth is not such an easy concept. My MFA thesis explored truth as perception, and currently, in my PhD program, we are exploring the idea of counter narratives. Each culture, language, even individual, carries a truth that is hers, and yet, that truth may not be the same truth as the person next door. Truth is perception and perception is how we experience the world. 

Having said that, I am still an advocate for truth-seeking. You see, as soon as we recognize the bias of our own truths, we become free to explore the truth of someone else, and this is how we begin to cultivate compassion and empathy. Therefore, the resources for this week help us navigate a world in which, not only do multiple truths exist, but multiple truths get posted in a single moment. 

In 2013, I attended a literacy session with Mary Ehrenworth, Senior Deputy Director of the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. We were discussing the argument component of the Common Core State Standards and she noted that the term argument was deliberate. To argue is to reason, cite evidence and consider. It is not persuasion, as we used to call it, or propaganda. When we argue, we consider multiple perspectives, or as I have defined it above, multiple truths.

I believe the term ‘argue’ in the CCSS was intentional to ensure that we become more able to reason and consider the perspectives of others. However, it is fascinating how often we use the term persuasion and argument interchangeably, when they carry very different connotations and effects. 

What role do we play in promoting curiosity and truth? We must remain curious. We must consider narratives and counter narratives. We must embrace multiple and various perspectives. We must continue to argue and reason, and ensure we T.H.I.N.K.