Teach Me Meaning Making

“We’ve got information in the information age. But do we know what life is outside of our convenient lexus cages?”
-Switchfoot ‘Gone’

All of this is a plea, a desire, a timid question, and confession.

Why has it taken so long for school to teach me meaning making? The how of pulling at information and weaving it together in a deeper understanding.

I have grown up in a world that is over-flowing with information and has taught me few skills on how to filter it all. Maybe I was born at an inconvenient time, a point in history where the world is working out what it means to have almost the whole world at our fingertips.

Post-Katrina School Bus by <a href=Through years of excessive information I’ve grown an intolerance and my palate for the rich taste of knowledge has grown dull. Yes, there can be too much of a “good thing”. Even when information is served in a unique way I’m often too jaded to savor it or care. This is not intended to be an excuse or a whining cry of a “net-gen” student, but an attempt at an honest confession by one 21 year old. I’ll admit to being an under-achieving student, the bane of some professors existence and yes I do regret not working harder in some classes. I’ll also admit I often don’t care when a professor tests me on pure information, on my ability to regurgitate, because those tests are almost always easier than other options and require little engagement from me.

How do I reconcile my belief in education and real school and my praxis that seems to rarely reflect that? Why do I even care when I could slide by? Why do I want to take the “long way around”? It makes no logical sense in the setting of school. I do not play by the rules of the game and suffer for it.

I do not want to conform to the patterns of this world, I want to be transformed through the renewing of my mind through a different model of thinking and learning. Teach me meaning making and I can go forth and do more than just be a passive observer. I can’t do this on my own though, this adventure was never meant to be a solitary journey. I am meant to be a caravanista traveling through time with you, measuring time and being measured by it. I want to do something of value in this short time span we call life. Is that too much to ask for?

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3 Responses to “Teach Me Meaning Making”


  1. 1 bill March 25, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    No, it is not. It is, in fact, a goal of most reasonably intelligent and observant people.

  2. 2 Gardner Campbell March 26, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    The weaving can be modeled and inspired and maybe even cajoled. Perhaps it can be taught, though I’m never quite sure about that. I do know it happens both in solitude and community, and that the caravan must include that entire range of experience.

    I want to be on that caravan with you, Shannon.

    I *am* on that caravan with you. And very grateful for it, too.

    And, paradoxically, I also miss you. Today would be a great day for a Hyperion chat….

    Gardner

    P.S. We were talking about Switchfoot in my New Media Studies class just now. I believe one of my students will do her final project on the band. Stay tuned!

  3. 3 Roger April 16, 2009 at 3:48 am

    Hi your reflection on your own education and its deficiencies has led you to what has been a life-long pre-occupation – developing a form of ed. that is centred in being human.

    You can see how far I’ve got here – http://sunwalked.wordpress.com/new/

    Good luck on your way to the next caravanserai!


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