All humans love to learn, at least their brains do. Sometimes we get turned off by ridicule, failure, or boredom. Luckily for me, I had many inspired and inspiring teachers. I’ve come to realize that it is almost impossible to teach what you are not, so inspiration and enthusiasm belong in the process, making learning fun and infectious. Learning to teach oneself is the key to power and joy, freedom and fun. Independent or interdependent learning is a snap with the plethora of information and electronic devices available.
I learned independent study at college and took to it like a fish to water. My brain craves stimulation, new information and patterns, progress, solutions, entertainment including nuances in the arts and conversation. I write for you now with the idea of sharing information I have learned over my more than thirty years as an educator/facilitator. I hope you will be inspired to add to the body of information here and that what we create will help us and others improve the quality of education in our country and world. I have done extensive reading, training, working in the field of education/learning and listened to educators, students and parents, taxpayers, to see what works and what does not work.
In short, I love teaching and learning because they create energy, positive energy. Teaching and learning together create a circuit of energy that is inspiring and fun. The brain loves to learn. It does not need to be reinforced. It is self-congratulatory.
Chris Guillebeau has a website: http://chrisguillebeau.com/
that has helped and inspired me. I want to do something similar for those of us who teach. Each week I will post what I have been thinking about and hope you will comment and let me know what interests you. If we each add value, education will benefit. I am also working on a book about teams in education and beyond. It is one of the most important concepts that can improve a schools’ functioning. I expect to have it available by the end of the year.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said the three tenets of a diseased society are: racism, poverty, and militarism. He said this in the 1960′s and we still have those issues. People in poverty must have good education, there is no other way out.
A.C. Wharton, mayor of Memphis, wrote Stress of poverty is toxic to our children, published in the Commercial Appeal, October 21, 2012:
“The Urban Child Institute and supporting neuroscience reports that a child’s environment from conception to early childhood affects that child’s biology directly — by creating toxic stress that becomes biological memories in a person’s DNA.
It is now known that a phenomenon called epidemics, the study of changes in gene activity that do not involve alterations to the genetic code itself, is a mechanism that can account for how early stress can result in long-term consequences. …
Conversely, positive early childhood experiences can help protect a child from stress-related responses that could have adverse effects.
The good news is that we know what works: interventions …”
I agree with the mayor, except I would include preventions like team inclusion that builds resiliency and skills. Teams at all levels can transform education and make it a dynamic responsive learning organization that serves the needs of its students, teachers, and stakeholders. Uneducated, unskilled, impoverished people cannot create the kind of world we need and want. With our intelligence, experience, and evidence-based educational practices, we will change education.
Enlightened Educator represents us all. All of us can work at the level of solution, with an aerial view grounded by direct experience and make education more viable. There is a picture in my mind of a school system, say, Memphis City Schools, where the funding flows into the central office which has almost no direct experience of its constituency. There resources, financial, human, technological, information and training are decided to address problems out in the schools. School-based people have little input into where these resources flow. They are serving the children and parents assigned to their schools. Difficulties in the human sphere are immediate. If a student is hungry or homeless, learning disabled or abused, the school personnel must find solutions. They are dealing with people, not reports and statistics. The devotion and creativity I have observed in many teachers, administrators and support staff are commendable. Sometimes the problem is as small as the right size furniture for kindergarten students, a pair of panties for a homeless child or as large as children who neglected, who witness violence daily and learn to throw themselves on the floor when they hear gunshots. These children need a routine like team inclusion daily to help them move from the fight, flight or freeze response to the more relaxed state associated with learning. These are problems teams can solve more effectively than a teacher alone and isolated. Lateral support is important for those educators who teach children who live in poverty. It can be emotionally taxing.
It is easy to transform a group into a team by using shared rules of communication and behavior. I will be sharing all this information with you soon in The Power of Teams.
Let me know what you think and keep being awesome!