In this week’s Philosophy Friday, EXPLO and MIT Trustee, Brian Hughes discusses the value of dismantling educational silos in favor of liberal arts.
Eliminating educational silos means opening up circles, problem-solving creatively, and finding the resilience to pivot whenever necessary. At EXPLO, we've designed our Exploration program, with this transdisciplinary approach to learning in mind, so that students may thrive in the future world.
At EXPLO, the fact that the mathematician is also teaching you the unicycle — that's where the lesson is: the best minds are the ones that are complete polyglots. They go wherever it’s interesting. Because looking to the future, if you want to be a relevant human, you’ve got to be a phenomenal generalist.
At EXPLO, we encourage the pursuit of lifelong learning — which means we are constantly doing our own studying up, reading on, or relearning the concepts that we teach throughout the summer. Here are some fun links that we've been recently reading on educational silos and the liberal arts.
- TED Talk and EXPLO Speaker, Emilie Wapnick on why some of us don't have one true calling.
- Ikigai—a Japanese concept meaning "a reason for being."
- A tool that can cut through scones, scoop up jam and pick at salads? We present: the ultimate spork (and metaphor).
- Did you know that building a creative and resilient team takes on the same strategy as building a functional ecosystem? A lesson in how biodiversity enhances ecosystem productivity.
- Here's how 10 CEO liberal arts majors beat everyone else to the helms of some of the highest grossing companies.
- Through paleo-archaeology, someone discovered that the emergence of human innovation was driven by a breakdown of our ancestors' cognitive silos. Cool stuff.
- Curious about the future of tech? Hear from from Ursula Franklin, a 92-year-old scientist, philosopher, feminist, survivor, and epitomized transdisciplinarian.
- A horror exploration-themed board game that's different every time you play. (Hint: It's usually the well-rounded characters that make it out alive.)
- Why dance is just as important as math in school, according to Sir Ken Robinson.
The 25 books in every subject imaginable that you should read before you die.
At EXPLO, disciplinary learning across silos takes many shapes, forms, exercises, and events. Just a few EXPLO experiences that students have tried that help break down silos in a summer at EXPLO include:
- Course: Interested in adding a little science to your soufflé? Investigate tasty chemical reactions in Molecular Gastronomy (grades 8+9)
- Weekend Trip: Fenway Park + Museum of Fine Art — where taking a private tour of the oldest ballpark in America before heading to see some of the oldest art in the world is just another Saturday (grades 4-7)
- Course: Strategize economic, social, and legislative tactics for the end of the world in Apocalypse Management (grades 8+9)
- Workshop: Use games to explore logic, strategy, and psychology to apply it to real-life negotiation tactics in Game Theory (grades 8+9, 10-12)
- Club: Spend the first half of the Extension Period making sushi before heading over to the Payne Whitney Gym for a game of 3v3 basketball (grades 10-12)
- Course: Enroll in Artist and the Machine, where you learn how to build complex machines to better express human emotion (grades 4-7)
- Main Event: Confidently step on stage (or sit in the audience) at the Student Talent Show, where you'll showcase all of the hidden interests not yet revealed to your peers (grades 4-7, 8+9, 10-12)
Stephanie LaMont + Adam French