Use Einstein’s Educational Philosophy to Boost Your Learning
The Mission News: October 25, 2017
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” -Albert Einstein
Last week, we discussed Leonardo da Vinci’s self-education and techniques for subject mastery. This week, we’d like to focus on another impressive innovator: Albert Einstein.
There are many myths about Einstein’s educational background. Although it’s often been claimed that he performed poorly in school (particularly in the areas of mathematics and the sciences), the truth is that he actually did very well and was years ahead of his peers. In fact, by the age of 15, Einstein had already taught himself calculus. Despite early academic successes, he did face trouble in his university years when he consistently sacrificed class time to work in the lab.
Although he overall did well in school, Einstein was skeptical of the schooling system and strongly disliked academia’s restrictions on learning. Here are 10 things we can learn from Albert Einstein about school and education:
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
1. Only unconventional solutions will solve problems created by conventional thinking.
“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”
2. Schooling should provide the means for a child to embrace his natural interests and pursue his chosen passions.
“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.”
3. Einstein skipped class to work in the lab. Don’t let your true interests and desires take a backseat for school work.
“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”
4. Don’t let fear of failing prevent you from trying something new. You will likely make mistakes, but that’s part of the process of learning.
“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
5. Putting yourself in a position where you teach or help others may feel burdensome, but it will help you better your own understanding.
“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”
6. Imagination is creative curiosity. Don’t just seek to understand what currently exists, seek to create what does not.
“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.”
7. Never stop learning.
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”
8. Never stop questioning.
“Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.”
9. Don’t become so concerned with consumption that you forget to create, and if you must consume, then consume with a purpose.
“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”
10. All great innovators, creators, and learners share one unifying trait: curiosity. Embracing your innate curiosity can take you much further than a ‘special talent.’
I'm applying to the University of Colorado. I've been out of practice for a while and would like some feedback on my admissions essay. This is the prompt we were given:
The University of Colorado at Boulder's Flagship 2030 strategic plan promotes exceptional teaching, research, scholarship, creative works, and service distinguishing us as a premier university. We strive to foster a diverse and inclusive community for all that engages each member in opportunities for academic excellence, leadership, and a deeper understanding of the world in which we live.
Given the statement above, how do you think you could enrich our diverse and inclusive community and what are your hopes for your college experience?
I remember sitting in my Freshman French class trying to decipher the quote of the week. Once I had successfully translated the quote, it really stuck with me. My professor had chosen a line from Albert Einstein "Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow." This sentence especially resonates with me now as I believe myself to have learned from poor choices that were made in my youth: not attending college right away and withdrawing from classes I thought didn't suit, I try to live each day in the moment: Revel in the small things that can bring happiness and if the day isn't going as planned, there is always the hope of tomorrow. Tomorrow can hold things only thought of in imagination. My hope for the future is to be the first of my family to graduate from university. I hope to be in the field that I love, Advertising, doing what I have loved ever since I was young: creating ad campaigns for companies that stay with you; jingles and phrases that jog your memory for a certain product. To create unique ideas, to do so with passion and poise is both what I plan to bring to the University of Colorado's campus and what I hope to continue doing with my completed degree.
You do a good stating your intention to overcome difficulties by hoping for a better tomorrow, but perhaps you should elaborate on this a bit more. Maybe you could provide a detailed example to show a time in which you have done this.
Also, you should elaborate more on what makes you unique and what you qualities you will bring to the campus. Since you plan to go into advertising, give them an example of your creativity by bringing up a time in which you were able to use your own original ideas for a similar type of purpose.
A little revision:
My journey begins with a chosen quote from Albert Einstein "Learn from yesterday, live for today, and hope for tomorrow." When I first began taking college classes I remember sitting in class dreaming of what I was going to be when I finally 'grew up'. I would picture myself in an ornate room with a patient on a chaise with myself sitting adjacent in a velvet armchair, pen in hand ready to diagnose. I would picture myself in a paint-splattered menswear shirt with an empty canvas and tubes full of color waiting to be stroked into a masterpiece. With these daydreams also came the trickle of water that eventually worked it's way up to my ears. I was drowning. After a few semesters I learned what worked best to keep myself afloat. Now I'm standing on my own two feet, afloat in my own rite. I now have new dreams, dreams of collaborating with colleagues in board rooms with white boards on easels, a projections screen and a pointer going into detail about our next campaign. I'm an Art Director at a great advertising firm. Creating some of the most well loved and some of the most memorable campaigns of my generation. Of course these are merely my hopes for tomorrow. I finally have my sights set on the shore. With my back to the horizon I can finally dive in to my future.To create unique ideas, to give that 'umph' to an idea, to do so with passion and poise is what I plan to bring to the University of Colorado's campus.
In terms of what I plan to bring to the Boulder area, I would like to talk about the local economy. I think that it is very important to begin the transition into using locally grown foods and goods rather than having them shipped in from a third (or fourth, or fifth) party. I would like to see Boulder become a locally operated city and to use it's own resources. Using my knowledge I will undoubtedly learn from my advertising courses, I would like to see more farmer's markets better advertised so that they can expand and grow along with the community.