Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The most important sticky note you'll ever read?

I came across this video the other day -  a “feel good” effort with a twist at the end that I won’t spoil - all is revealed in the clip.

Video from KarmaTube

It occurs to me that this clip has implications beyond the relatively narrow focus of the target audience. So what relevance has this video to broader aspects of education?  There are several messages really - one is that  education requires open and genuine communication.  As teachers we need to listen to our students as much as we talk to them - if not more.

Another is that this relationship needed time to develop - the relationship could not blossom until there was a degree of trust.  Again, there is a message there for teachers.

But watching this reminded me of one of my favourite quotations which is attributed to Dr. James Comer;  “There is no significant learning without a significant relationship”.  Put simply, if we want our students to learn from us we need to spend the time to develop genuine relationships with them. How we do this is up to each teacher as an individual - for we too have our own personalities, interests and foibles. However,  unless we take the time to value our students they will not value us - or what we are trying to share with them.

Dr. James Comer is more than a source of an inspirational quotation.  He has developed the Comer School Development program as a vehicle for school reform.  An interview with Dr. Comer can be accessed here.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A modern heresy?

I have a confession to make - one that will label me a heretic in this modern world, or worse, a luddite.

I turned my phone off.

Yes - my wonderful phone, miracle of modern technology, my link to the world and all the people I know - I turned it off.  Not to “in flight” mode.  Not to silent. Off.

I know, I phone is really a powerful computer - I’m told that it has more computing power than NASA could muscle up in  the control room in 1969  used when they first put a man on the moon. It can find any information I think I might want to know  and much that I am sure I don’t. It can play my music or video. It can store and send email. I can read more news and current affairs than anyone outside of national security really wants to know.  I can search the data bases of the world. I can take photos, even video with it and upload it before I even leave the park.  It is my link to the world. And I turned it off.

At the time I committed my act of heresy I was at a family picnic. My loved ones were with me - I could talk to them in person. Work didn’t need to contact me - (and if it did what would that say about training, delegation and leadership density?). I did not need to access any of the social networks to which I belong. I did not need to tell the world I was having a great time.  But I needed to let my family know that they are important - much more important than the electronic distractions that masquerade  as essential elements of daily life. So I turned my phone off and “lived the moment”.

Technology might be important - but people are more so.

How often do you see people having a conversation stopping while one answers a phone? Even worse, to send a text that could be sent later when not talking to someone. Why is a person kilometres away more important than someone right there with you? Chances are they are not - so why put your face to face friend on hold?

Mobile technology is our servant - not our master.

Phone image: