The Value of Taking Things Apart and Putting Them Back Together

Eric Braun Blog, Iterative Creativity, Teaching

When I decided to dive into the world of education several years ago, I spent a lot of time exploring models of great learning. My exploration came through reading articles on pedagogy and research, talking to educators and learners and thinking about my own experiences. Although I had been a very good student in the traditional sense, I realized that what had made the most impact on me was hands-on and experiential learning. For some reason, I was the kind of person who explored tangential curves that veered off the main course and usually returned back through some sort of twisting wormhole. It began with taking apart clocks, radios and other gadgets to fix them and find out how they worked. It continued through music and the arts and into entrepreneurship, which was more about putting things together and creating something new. Taking things apart and then putting them together in a different manner, creating something new from the analysis and understanding that came from deconstruction. Deconstruction and reconstruction can happen in many subject areas. Jazz musicians take apart a song and put the ideas together in a new improvisation of the original. Writers take a well-known story and retell it in a new, fresh way that may not even look like the original. The musical West Side Story was based on the storyline from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and James Joyce’s Ulysses is a modern-day retelling of The Odyssey by Homer. The key learning component in deconstruction is the analysis …