The Building Blocks of Learning

Sixteen hundred years ago, Augustine argued that the essence of a good life is choosing the right things to love and loving them well.

But over the past several centuries our models of human behavior have amputated love. Hobbes and other philosophers argued that society is a machine driven by selfishness. Enlightenment philosophers emphasized reason over emotion. Contemporary social science was built on the idea that we’re self-interested, calculating creatures.

This philosophical shift has caused unimaginable harm, especially in the sphere of education.

.. Basically what’s happened over the past generation is that we’ve put enormous effort into improving the academic piece of schooling, but progress has been nil because the students’ emotional foundation has been collapsing under our feet.

.. while some teachers are good at raising their students’ test scores, other teachers are really good at improving their students’ school engagement. Teachers in the first group are amply rewarded these days, but teachers who motivate their students to show up every day and throw themselves into school life may not even realize how good they are, because emotional engagement is not something we measure and stress.