The Architecture of Contemplation
Welcome, fellow architects.
In Conversation With: Dan Willingham
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Dan Willingham is a Professor of cognitive science at the University of Virginia, and the author of Outsmart Your Brain: Why Learning Is Hard and How You Can Make It Easy, his most recent book.
There are several paths that led me to Dan. One is paved with pure serendipity; out in the netherworlds of social media I came across a link to Dan's books, which led me in to a rabbit hole about the science of human learning. The rationalism, and utility, of Dan's missives spoke out clearly, within a subject matter - the administering of education itself - that is too often clouded with deep subjectivity, and emotion.
The other path is my personal interest in autodidactism. I am perennially seeking ways to improve my own mental frameworks, to up-level the quality of my knowledge base, and in turn, my outputs. I was lucky that early on, I found people, both in real time, and in books spanning thousands of years of knowledge and wisdom, that empowered me to feel confident in dabbling in near any field, by teaching me how to think critically. Dan's book is an elegant piece of the puzzle for the self-learner, for modern times.
Dan's book appealed to me for its deep pragmatism in this field of human learning, and it is the word that emerges for me, out of this conversation. Dan's work bridges the learnings of cognitive science with the real world implications, and possibilities, of these findings, and their transformational potential for learning, and teaching.
Topics covered include why the brain is not really built to think, the missing piece in teaching students how to learn, on why eduction elicits so much emotion, and the joy of walking in solitude.
As for rest, respite and contemplation, it's a journey that is unfolding for Dan, and his openness in this conversation, really moved me. We also talk stamp collecting. I'll leave it there for now...
Without further ado I bring you, Dan Willingham, author of Outsmart Your Brain.
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Produced by Annika Sost
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