Tag Archives: growing

real philosophy: takes time to note change

Was recently asked: what is your philosophy on/of Education?  To which I replied:  to bring out the best in others, to encourage others to learn and grow…

And then I sat down to give it some real thought.  We humans learn through trying, putting into practice what earlier generations have shared, absorbing the experiences of others, and yes- attempting to improve upon these experiences.  Slowly each of us evolves, changing into the expected adult behavior or questioning these expectations- but change we do- so as an educator I am always on the lookout for changes- putting into practice a simple beliefthat change is both doable and necessary for all of us.  And it is precisely because I expect change, that I am able to encourage students to move towards goals.  Without spouting pat phrases ( had fun collecting a few and pinning them on various boards- see http://www.pinterest.com/alibayer/ ) the bottom line is: achieving goals spurs success.  It isn’t that failure is good for us, but that resilience is good- and one way to build resilience is to celebrate the daily activities which lead to success.  My recent blog suggested testing in academics has a purpose, which it does- allowing a learner to discover what areas might require extra time, extra practice, extra energy towards deepening skills. Too often though we forget that little changes grow into bigger developments and haven’t shown students that there are multiple ways of achieving goals- rarely is everyone’s path smooth and easy. When tests loom as fearful dates, versus being formal opportunities, fear sets in.  At the same time, it seems that teachers too at times have forgotten that their goals for students need not be linear; teachers who celebrate the small daily changes can look back at a semester of accomplishments-beyond the major exam and the school statistics.  Perhaps if we allow more forums for these mini celebrations, and encourage administrators and teachers, while recognizing all the arguments and offering the sense of “play”, major tests can be put into context- one piece of the big picture; a picture that is meant to help learners learn, and grow.

Do you ever get ” RUSTY? “

If I do, I know its time to change direction-

The rhythm of a school year is quite set- both students and teachers can feel the changes as May arrives- with June, there is a strong sense of completion- down time in the positive sense.  Here, in my place, I have one student graduating High-School, another just returned from studying, 5 months, abroad- and as mom, I love noting how these two young adults continue to challenge each other and themselves.

So…we are celebrating!  

All it takes to feel a little less stiff is a good belly laugh and hugs all around- school systems being what they are- hugs are rarely possible between students and teachers, so we have to hope that our students do indeed recognize the genuine warmth and best wishes that are offered along with the final reports.  Teaching privately to a range of ages gives me the chance to move to a different rhythm, in keeping with a student’s needs, and this in turn keeps me jumping- TRY it! Differentiated direct instruction makes one hyper aware of each student’s challenges and each student brings me a new perspective on what is meant by “learning” objectives.  ‘Cause as they grow- so do I. 

Tutoring also puts into practice the current “new phrase”,  bringing a “flipped” classroom experience to every session.  Students bring their questions, their curiousity and even their irritation to a lesson.  And while I would like them to “nail it” on quizzes and tests and any form of assignments they may have, I’m most impressed when they exhibit “polish” and shine with excitement as they share ideas-

“Polished”, “refined”, “sophisticated”; all antonyms to the original adjective in question; and the changes that I see over the course of months when working with writing skills.  But not at all “done”.  The challenge I give myself? To instill a genuine interest in improving, from an evolutionary perspective- at times. stochastic leaps, at other times, subtle, incremental steps towards a genuine understanding of self; not only how one learns best, but also how to keep learning.   

Tomorow I will be posting links to annotated book lists, by age, and to interactive websites.  So many students bring their cell phones to camp- I wish everyone would bring an empty journal and fill it with …what ever appeals. 

I teach throughout the summer, and bring a little bit of the outdoors inside whenever possible.  I also am known for encouraging my students and my children to recognize the truly symbiotic relationships between science and art; both require: dedication to a craft, working with tools and technology, practice and experimentation. 

Here is a link to an article featuring an artist who is combining the two fields and a potent reminder about the serendipity of innovation.