The marvel of instruction

Back in high school, I did not appreciate my school curriculum. As a mere teenager, little did I realize that I was learning, in a span of a few years, what geniuses and stalwarts had invested lifetimes to find out.

Consider the standard high school curriculum that instructs pupils in the principles of Newtonian dynamics, Euclidean Geometry and Panini’s principles of Sanskrit Grammar. Each of those topics represents several centuries worth of learning packaged into a textbook or two. With effective instruction and enough dedication, a pupil can turn herself into a scholar in more than one of those fields within a mere decade.

Instruction is the knowledge that an expert in a field imparts top-down to a student. Our education system is often blamed for beating the curiosity out of students. But an innate sense of discovery and curiosity can go hand-in-hand with effective instruction. If a sound understanding of the first principles forms the foundation, this advanced knowledge serves as the building blocks.

To borrow a Newtonian sentiment, instruction hoists a student upwards, enabling her to stand on the shoulders of giants.

Recommended reading: A meta-analysis on the effectiveness of instruction

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