To Coddiwomple is Classy

Education is an experience; This is our purpose.

The vision is coming into focus, while it is getting hazier and more illusive.

21st century teaching should less resemble the space race of the 1960’s than take on the attitude of video game designers from the 80’s & 90’s. The space race was meant to show up Russia. Who could touch the moon and return to Earth first? Whomever could cover the distance of the playground, tag the wall, and return to the starting point first, wins. Wins what? Wins the race. For what? Why?

Granted, we learned lots of things through the process of racing to get to the moon. Sometimes it is necessary to have goals. Shooting for the stars will get you off the ground… sometimes. But, what if your goal was to find out what else was out there, other than stars and what we already know? What if your goal was just to explore, in general? There is the whole funding issue.

A friend of mine (Thank you Kate Lindquist@heARTISTatWORK 9h9 hours ago) introduced an incredible vocabulary word to me just yesterday. I was of course flattered that she thought of me, especially in connection with such an interesting locution. A Google search, blog read, and some introspection lead to some seriously fun philosophy gymnastics.

Screen Shot 2019-04-04 at 4.39.15 AMThe word was coddiwomple. It means to “travel with purpose to an as-of-yet unknown destination”. If you were to boil Western Civilization down to just a handful of concepts, one of the most poignant, I believe, would be “goals”. We are obsessed with them. There have been countless coaches and seminars selling the necessity of setting good ones. A contemporary wave of self-help is focused on washing away the stress of not meeting them; failure.

A recently published blog by  Mar 28 about hiking presented a paradigm-shift away from being goal-oriented. It provided the etymology of the word saunter; coming from the word saint. A portion of text from John Muir explains the origin coming from people pilgrimaging to the Holy Land. Now, these travelers had destination goals, but clearly they understood the importance of the process as an experience. Touching down in the center of a holy place in a helicopter so that you can check it off of a list of todos, hardly seems like the end of a pilgrimage. And yet, this is exactly what some educators are teaching their students to do.

 

“Your mission is to figure out a way to get the robot to deliver something to the cup,” is not an awful way to get kids thinking, tinkering, toying, and trying. What if you said, “Others have gotten this robot to place this ball inside of this cup. What can you have it do?” Now the student will be coddiwomple-ing.

This term takes the goal and shifts it forward. So many times we keep pushing ahead. We have reached the moon. What’s next? Explorers kept pushing on until every square foot of planet Earth had been touched by human toes. I propose playing on the plains, rather than hurrying over hills.

As I prepared to deliver the definition of coddiwomple I was tempted to write some of my own words: I came up with this fun prose, “Meander with meaning.” I erased it, though, because it is inaccurate. To coddiwomple does not mean mess around. There definitely is a purpose to the play. We should teach students to love the wrestling of ideas in addition to showing them how to pin down a problem.

Sources:

The Adventure Diary. (2016, November 4). Why You Should Coddiwomple Your Way Through Life…. Retrieved April 3, 2019, from https://adventurediary.co/coddiwomple-definition/

Mountain Buddha. (2019, March 28). The Simple Joy of Walking in the Woods. Retrieved March 29, 2019, from https://journeyofathousandmiles.blog/2019/03/28/the-simple-joy-of-walking-in-the-woods/

Published by

Matt Weimann

Classy to the core, I teach the whole #3rdGrade child @EPSDWillowLane. I have eclectic tastes with interests in chess, cuisine, art, good literature, strong coffee and other drinks, jazz, and fashion... Mostly bowties;)

4 thoughts on “To Coddiwomple is Classy”

  1. There was an article, I think, in the Chronicle that covered what teachers from some European countries thought about the American education system after experiencing it as observers. One thing they all had in common? Shock at the lack of unstructured free play. As you can tell, they were observing elementary school children. I feel that sauntering, coddiwompling, and free play have a lot in common. We need more of that. Thanks for the mention!! Always a pleasure to read the blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting. I wonder if America is caught up in trying to play catch up. When one feels behind, he is apt to disregard the things that would take extra time. I think of the person chopping down trees with a dull ax, instead of stopping to sharpen the blade every now and then.
      Early in my primary education career, I felt compelled to get to specials on time. I would line the students up and rush out the door, without making sure the line was appropriate. I learned the value of taking a couple extra minutes in the room as opposed to wasting many more in the hallway and still not having a peaceful walk to special!
      We could all benefit from a “purposeful saunter.”
      Thanks for the insight and comment!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s