Educate your students to possess the resilience of dandelions.

This is the first of two posts about freedom to grow in education.

I am wrestling with the idea of freedom. There are some questions floating around my mind like dandelion seeds: So in true randomly consistent fashion I go off topic from the start and into the thoughts below.

So I am cutting my lawn the other day. However, at first look, lawn is a generous label. Lawns according to most are explicitly intended to be pristine alignments of grass.

Stripes on the Lawn -EmmanuelMy perception of viewing a lawn much more as something  akin to a dandelion hosting site. And so thoughts about dandelions and education took root and sprouted…

Does the lawn tell the weeds where to grow? After cutting the dandelions this week, I know this is impossible. So why have we historically told students how, where and when to grow? If education is analogous to tending a garden, then our goals to sow, water, tend, prune, feed, nurture, and harvest are all in-line. However, how we deal with the weeds leaves me second guessing the process.

Dandelions possess a beautifully disobedient resilience in their ability to grow when and where scattered. To defy human chemistry, thrive, and stand above a crowd is admirable? They even provide delicious greens for salads. All the while being berated, maligned and removed. And yet, year after year, a new crop stands at the ready to take over despite all best efforts. These are the students who don’t fit the mould. Do we just cut them down? Do we not need variety in the garden even at the risk of losing perfection and conformity? Isn’t this the type of student differentiation and multiple intelligence theory is meant to reach and teach?

Are we altering the nature of our learners by planting them in infertile educational soil, asking them to perform a series of mundane tasks, and expecting unified responses? A recent Twitter post sums this up all too well.


Are we really giving students the freedom in their educations to rise above the system as they learn? Have we offered them a place where they are safe to grow as they are able and equipped to do so? Are we covering them with weed killer and mowing them down? Is there room for something other than grass in our educational landscaping?

Would love to hear your thoughts.


8 thoughts on “Educate your students to possess the resilience of dandelions.

  1. Very interesting thought! I always think it’s cool when students discover something of their own that really interests them. I have one student who loves to make things with clay, so I’ve let him incorporate that into his assessments.
    Another was obsessed with the Nazca Lines when we studied South America, so I let him do a mini project on it.
    There’s the old saying, “Let all your weeds be wildflowers.” Just because you didn’t intend for it to grow there doesn’t mean it’s not beautiful!
    Mind if I blog about this on my site?


    • Hi Garron83, thank you for your comment and encouraging words.
      I appreciate that you see this in the same way. It is exciting in the classroom when learners are able to develop their areas of interest. So much learning happens in this way so naturally. Your wildflowers quote was spot on.
      Please feel free to blog about this and share your link in these comments.
      Would love to read more. Cheers! Will


  2. Pingback: Weeds in the Garden - The Social Studiers

  3. Pingback: Freedom | escheweducationalist

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