Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A gentler picture of human nature

 Eighth grade had a great week in Philadelphia as culmination of their study of American history.

David Brooks wrote in his latest NY Times Op-Ed piece Nice Guys Finish First that:

In pursuing our self-interested goals, we often have an incentive to repay kindness with kindness, so others will do us favors when we’re in need. We have an incentive to establish a reputation for niceness, so people will want to work with us. We have an incentive to work in teams, even against our short-term self-interest because cohesive groups thrive. Cooperation is as central to evolution as mutation and selection... 

He argues that if cooperation permeates our nature, then so does morality, "and there is no escaping ethics, emotion and religion in our quest to understand who we are and how we got this way."  That sounds a lot like our school mission  - and a wonderful foundation for a 21st Century curriculum.

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