I once had an idea for a garden. I would go and buy the rarest and expensive flowers for my garden. I would pull these flowers from ecosystems around the world and bring them into the same soil. I would monitor their state and make sure they were in an environment that was well lit, with plenty of water and nutrients. Do you think my garden would flourish?
I love the simplicity of this idea and its profound implications for education. Not every educator agrees how important the environment is in human development, and we shouldn’t have to, but it is unhealthy to pretend that the environment plays only a small role.
Trained educators can develop a strong understanding of the environments that students come from and create environments students can thrive in.
There is another parallel between flowers and student learning. Flowers are autotrophs; they make their own food. When it comes to learning, students are autodidactic; they direct their own learning. If we get in the way too much by trying to guide their learning we risk impeding their own processes and robbing them of the ability to learn for themselves.