Power of Authenticity – I

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Nature is quite staggering and some of its creatures can dumbfound you. I recently returned home from South Africa where I spent eight very interesting and thought-provoking days with my family on a safari at Manyeleti Game Reserve. This was truly a unique experience for me and I’d like to share three of my favorite moments from that trip with you.

One day we were at the right place at the right time. We got to watch a cheetah very close by for some ten minutes marking his territory with excrement and other bodily odors. On another day on our way to a nearby village we stopped on a gas station. There I gazed on a tree that was full of lesser masked weavers in action knitting nests out of dry straws. The nest needs to be just the right shape and size to attract females. If it’s not, the male will not fulfill the main purpose in his life, reproduction. Then he will dismantle the nest and try again. But my absolute favorite was the dung beetle. This little fellow is probably the most unyielding creature I know. The male compiles a big ball out of dung. Again the shape and size is the key in attracting females. When the choice is made, the female hops on the ball and the male rolls it to a soft spot. After that they bury the ball together, mate underground and lay eggs in it making it a brooding ball.

In today’s academic discussion there is a lot of talk about the importance of authenticity of the learning experiences that we provide our students at schools. It’s been widely argued that this is something we really need to work on. The rhetoric we use supports this claim; we often make comparisons between “school and the real world” as if these two exist somehow in separation.

By Petteri Elo, Principal Consultant

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