07 July 2013

Is laziness good for learning?

Make Cycle 3 Reflection (Map)

Witnessing the creativity and originality of the maps my peers in the Making Learning Connected MOOC had submitted, I was overwhelmed by my own laziness. I didn't feel like being 'hands on'. Didn't want to tinker. Wouldn't go outside. I wasn't even inspired by the thoughtful prompts or useful tools which had been shared. I was just too lazy.

Was it because this is the first week of my summer break? Was it because the weather in Tokyo is becoming hotter and muggier? Am I naturally lazy?

From an evolutionary perspective, isn't being lazy very important? Wasted energy and effort don't support survival, and nobody likes a busybody out on the Serengeti. Lions are lazy, sleeping most of their lives, and bears hibernate for a few months every year! Bears and lions are awesome, so why is laziness such a taboo?!

As I wallowed in my laziness, it dawned on me that I could make a map to help solve my problem, both to understand my laziness and finish my assignment, and viola!, my Laziness Map.


Click to view in google drive.


Working on it was metacognitively enlightening. I managed to achieve precisely one of the subconscious goals of Independent Inquiry, which is to have fun learning without realizing the seriousness of the learning occurring. This is a major breakthrough, as I often struggle to motivate or encourage students who "can't think of anything" to inquire into or try. Knowing that whatever they do will be exercising their learning, I might suggest that they do nothing. Just go for a stroll or make a list of words beginning with 'D'.

I should encourage students to seek creative strategies that work for them and present models in the form of famous artists, scientists, entrepreneurs, etc, to help guide and inspire them.

'I choose a lazy person to do a hard job because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.' Bill Gates

In terms of creativity and innovation, laziness is not necessarily negative. My laziness led to a fun and creative solution to the problem of making a map. Perhaps makers should embrace laziness when it overtakes them in order to stimulate untapped creativity. When in doubt, take a nap.

While I'm not planning to encourage laziness in my class, I do think that authentic autonomy in learning must provide the opportunity for inactivity as well as activity. I look forward to exploring these notions further.

Naps will remain encouraged, of course.