What is Well Roundedness?

The goal of a general education program should be to take students from “I can’t” and “I don’t like” to “Wow! I can!” and “Wow! This is so cool!”  in each of seven joys:  music, art, athletics, numbers, words, experiments, and collaboration.

Well-roundedness is measured by proximity to that goal.

Specifically, I think the ideal K-12 program should result in every student having had the joy of composing and performing a 12 bar blues or the equivalent, the joy of composing a self-portrait in perspective, the joy of playing a three set tennis match or the equivalent, the joy of working through a proof of the Pythagorean Theorem, the joy of re-doing step by step Galileo’s inclined plane experiment or the equivalent, and the joy of working on a team on a joint project whether musical, artistic, athletic, scientific, or humanistic.

A great teacher can take a student to joy within a matter of weeks. A poor teacher given years will fail.

School principals and college Deans should identify the teaching methods of the greatest teachers and hire those capable of implementing them.

This is not rocket science.

Examples of such master teachers are:

  • Betty Edwards and Brian Bomeisler  in drawing and painting,
  • Scott Houston in music,
  • Tim Galwey in athletics,
  • Stephen Fry in poetry,
  • Alex Filipenko in Astronomy,
  • Michael Starbird in statistics.