You may have enjoyed a series of ads from Farm Bureau Insurance featuring Farmer Charlie, an humble, no-nonsense kind of guy who has all the answers to life’s problems:
While browsing a book that I was considering buying, I came across a quote from another “Charlie,” the late Charles Kettering. Kettering was a prolific inventor and engineer, the holder of 186 patents. He established the Kettering Foundation, and is memorialized in New York’s famous Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. The city of Kettering, Ohio was named for him.
Kettering apparently spent a lot of time thinking about thinking, often expressing those thoughts in a memorable form. A couple of gems:
“There is a great difference in knowing and understanding: you can know a lot about something and not really understand it.”
“Problems are the price of progress. Don’t bring me anything but trouble. Good news weakens me.”
We’re beginning to think a lot about problem-based learning. This technique offers the unique pleasure of meeting an achievable challenge by realizing, as Kettering often noted, that the solutions to problems lie within the problems themselves. Learning acquired through problem solving is more likely to be of the understanding variety, rather than simply knowing.
Practical advice and a love of problems….hats off to both Charlies.