Solvitur Ambulando

by Adam Dubé, Head of School

“It is solved by walking.”

There is an ancient paradox credited to the philosopher Zeno called the “Paradox of Place.” One way to illustrate this paradox is to think about taking a trip. You could measure when you were halfway to your destination, and halfway again, and again, and again. We could say there is an infinite number of halfway points, leaving you stuck traveling to your destination, never to arrive. The answer: Solvitur ambulando. “It is solved by walking.” (there are, of course, more scientific answers).

I’ve always enjoyed this paradox and it’s solution, because it illustrates the importance of observation and doing as a part of learning. It helps us avoid accumulating what Alfred North Whitehead referred to as “inert knowledge”, that is, learning that lies dormant in our memories or fails to transfer to novel contexts.

Our recent strategic plan outlines four major areas of focus: academic programs, school community, teaching and learning, and upper school program. One of the objectives for our academic programs states:

“Create engaging learning environments that result in lifelong learners. Engaging learning environments spark curiosity and provide the necessary tools to pursue knowledge beyond the formal education system.”

At CIS, we aspire to educate students who know not only how to answer difficult questions, but also how to formulate those questions. Research shows that possessing the quality of curiosity is a success factor in education, along with grit, a growth mindset, and self-control. With class sizes that naturally lend themselves to the individual development of these success skills, our teachers strive to create learning environments that engage, and cultivate, a student’s natural curiosity. Observing and doing.