Earl A. Jones, Ed.D.

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Earlism #70 Smarten Up?


“… Why do people …

… Dumb Things Down…

… As Opposed to …

… Smarten Things Up …” 


I Can See Clearly Now … The Rain Is Gone

This topic reminds me of the song “I can see Clearly now … the Rain is Gone” … Who sang it? … I never know with the Oldies! … Or the ‘Newies’ for that matter, lol! …

One of my former adult students in one of the classes I taught for a University at their local church said, “you put things on the ‘lower shelf’ in class so we can understand them.” It was the only feedback as an Instructor that made sense to me, although I do not know how I do it. Meaning, IDK how students hear what I say … but obviously it works because they keep coming back!

However, I know that I do not do it by ‘Dumbing Things Down’ for them. I am often explaining complex ideas … in order to ‘Smarten Them Up.’

So why use or try to explain a simpler model assuming that is all they can understand?

When your job is to try to elevate them beyond their current level of understanding … or your job is to ‘Smarten Them Up’ …

… And according to at least one former student I am able to ‘make the complex, simple’ …  

Again, I do not know how I do it … 

I guess because I am not Dumbing Down the material … 

… Particularly not if I am trying to get my students to Smarten Up

My goal is to introduce them to new material and ideas. But others seem to want people to gravitate toward a simpler model or idea. Even if that idea obfuscates or ‘grays out’ a lot of material in order to ‘simplify’ things. 

I believe that if you are a good Teacher … you can and must Teach them, in a way that they can understand, new material, ideas, and concepts so they can use those things when they leave your class. 

It is only difficult because the ‘Teacher’ does not like to think …

Or they do not know how to use or Teach the more complex idea themselves!


Photo Bombs

In my book A Personality Portrait, I described my preferred Personality Typology Model, MBTI, as a sixteen megapixel picture. That means that my preferred model has sixteen million points of refinement when you develop, print, reproduce, and look at a photograph of yourself.

Other models associated with Personality Typology try to shove those sixteen million points of refinement into for example 

One of four oversimplified points of refinement 

… In short, it gives you a blurry picture that is not very clear when you look at it 

… Even though it might be easier to use a camera with only four megapixels 

But when you look at yourself in a picture … 

You want to see yourself as clearly as possible 

 It may take more time to learn to use a sixteen megapixel camera …

… But in the end …

… It is more than worth it …  

… Because … 

… You get the best pictures …


The Task of the Modern Educator

“The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.”


― C.S. Lewis

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