You know when a blogpost is titled with fragments it’s probably going to be a “deep read”. So, here are some more fragments for you. Best practices. The cutting edge. What’s next? What’s new?
As I read and learn more about learning, one thing remains common among all: INSTINCT. My belief systems about education are actually found in what is INSTINCT. I’m learning to step out of my own way when it comes to teaching and learning. As I consume the mounds of material through Twitter,Podcasts,Voxer, Blab, books, etc. about what’s best in education, I always think of one thing as I filter my way through the new. “Is this naturally good for learners?” If I feel it is, if it’s something I see occurring in the world, whether in education or not and it’s good for learners, then I give a try.
Recently I read, The Book of Learning and Forgetting. Its premise is that all learning is actually quite simple, the things we easily learn, like walking and talking and that which we don’t mean to learn but do anyway, like how somewhere along the way we weren’t “good at math” or art.
There’s a catch here though. Frank Smith, the author of the book, says, “We learn from the company you keep”. We have to join clubs. Clubs where we identify with and relate to others in that same club. If we don’t identify with a “learning club”, then we won’t learn from that club and instead search for another.
In the book, there’s talk about how we moved away from what was “natural” in teaching and learning to meet the demands of an idea of mass education. Smith even talks about the “entry of the testers”, discussing how psychologists and the military led to our current education system, a situation where interdisciplinary studies did not serve as a good mix. The words psychology and military just don’t have the same connotation as learning.
And now, we are trying to unwind what’s been done, unravel all that has been created in an effort to check off a box, when checking off boxes and learning don’t fit neatly together because no one box is the same. No wonder we are sometimes dizzy!
Learning is an art personalized for and by the individual learner. A teacher stands off behind the shoulder of the learner, offers tools, points out white space, suggests colors, and celebrates the end result.
When I think about the instructional coach job I’m about to start, I think the same way. I’ve read books, scoured several blogs, and even talked to some practicing coaches along the way, looking for just the right ideas and inspirations when it comes to coaching. But, I’m going back to what I’ve learned about learning. I’m going to have to be patient and wait, wait for what the teacher learners need. I am so excited to have an opportunity to see what the teacher learners who I am about to work with will create along with their students. I hope to provide them a tool or two along the way, push their thinking, encourage their efforts, and none of this can really be done without knowing that teacher really well. I know I’ll be their biggest fans.
And speaking of fandom, I’m blogging because of the coaching in my thinking by people like Bethany Hill, Connie Hamilton, and George Couros. They reminded me of the importance of blogging, and I thank them for letting me “join” their learning club.
This blog will be a journey where I will be filtering all that comes along the way with the one thought of “is this naturally good for learning?”.