Learning Whimsy

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In his New York Times bestseller Love Does, Bob Goff proposes that “the language of love is laced with whimsy. It sometimes borders on the irrational. Like I’ve been saying, though, love is a do thing. It’s an energy that has to be dissipated.” “Whimsical” is not how most of us would think about love, and certainly not learning. After all, learning is logical and measured, the work of the brain and not the expression of the heart.

Or is it?

Perhaps we confuse whimsy and joy with a lack of seriousness, but this is a mistake. There is something deeply serious about whimsical joy—it refuses to let you sit by passively and instead prompts you to grab moments with both hands and ask, “What’s next?” When students are learning in ways that excite them, when they are curious about how a process works or a problem can be solved, they can become a little obsessed. They ask lots of questions. “What’s next?” they want to know, eyes shining. Teachers know that in whimsy, real learning happens.

In six weeks, we welcome our first cohort of students to Waterloo School. Some of them may think of themselves as joyful, whimsical people, while others perhaps do not. We know already that they are. After all, like the original settlers of Waterloo, they are pioneers. They are bold and brave, and they were born with a great deal of energy and joy. We are about to embark on a great adventure together.

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Carol Blosser