It has been a while! Last post – beginning of July. Now, I’m in Egypt and pondering the same questions with new friends!!!
So… How do we bridge the gap between what we know is best and the constraints of the current system that we are in?
A system that is largely dictated by university/college and employer expectations and guidelines as well as parent perspectives on what education/classroom learning SHOULD look like. Is this fair? Can we change this? Is it already changing?
Then, I come across Will Ferriter’s post
on a Will Richardson TEDx Talk
. Both are worthwhile to spend some time digesting and reflecting on! What resonated to me is the idea that, when something happens that makes us want to learn more… we dive in deep for the sake of our own curiosity. How can we, as educators, create those events that make students want to learn more about what we are TRYING to teach?
We have talked long and often about the disconnect between what we know about how learning best occurs and how we ‘do’ learning. So, let’s work on connecting some of these concepts, within the constraints that we face, as we work on eliminating the constraints.
Here are some concepts we can immediately use to engage our students more (many of these can be hit by developing Project-Based Learning activities – see previous posts on PBL
- Make it fun
- Make it with a real world application
- Make it relevant to young lives, now
- Make it social
- Make it for a real audience
- Make it challenging
- Make it from the ideas of our students!
Typically, I don’t write a lot over the summer. I love trying to ‘catch up’ with all the reading I have wanted to do. That said, when I read this #CHARLESTONCHURCHSHOOTING; it resonated so much with me that I had to share it! Seriously!? Bill Ferriter has many great insights. This post, though, really gets to the essence of why I am an educator. Thank you William Ferriter!
Myth-Busting DI, Part 4
Here’s a repost from Edutopia that really captures the student experience for many traditional classrooms. It’s definitely something to think about! Click the link, below…
Teachers Are in Control: Myth-Busting DI, Part 4.
Due to a fortuitous convergence of related articles I have been thinking a lot about Emotional Intelligence, whether we can change it for ourselves and how one’s EQ relates to interpersonal conflicts.
Unless you live in a bubble you’re likely exposed to POTENTIAL interpersonal conflicts on a weekly (if not daily) basis. I say POTENTIAL because we have a fair bit of control over whether these actually develop into conflicts. Having two teenage children, right now, I have been reflecting A LOT on how to reduce interpersonal conflict (that should give you a clue as to how often these potential conflicts develop!). Occasionally, conflicts at work also occur… So, I read a useful article on “Five Secrets for Mastering Conflict” published by the “VitalSmarts” folks who are behind Crucial Conversations and CrucialSkills. Skills for Change. Change for Good.
Essentially, before having a crucial/difficult conversation…
- Be truthful without being brutally honest. I like to call it compassionate honesty.
- Get your facts straight first and link them to your feelings… don’t just share your feelings without facts, it turns people off and causes them to tune you out, fast.
- Don’t listen defensively, listen with true intent to understand the other’s perspective.
- Take honest responsibility for how YOU have contributed to the situation.
- Instead of being afraid of saying something because you fear the costs, if things don’t go well, consider the costs if you don’t say what needs to be said and try to think positive about how the conversation could turn out if it goes well.
The possible problem with all this is that these skills directly relate to one’s Emotional Intelligence. So… if your EQ isn’t great, what do you do? Can an EQ be increased? The good news is, it can! It’s not easy but there are some basic, positives to get us going down the path to improvement. According to Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic in the Harvard Business Review, there are 5 key points to consider:
- We CAN change our EQ but long term improvements require plenty of hard work and guidance/feedback. Luckily, our EQ tends to naturally improve with age.
- Interpersonal Skills is the most coachable characteristic of one’s EQ.
- To improve, we need specific and accurate feedback – like, 360-degree feedback and other specific, accurate coaching processes.
- Since some techniques and processes are better than others, focus on the ones that are in the “cognitive-behavioral therapy” realm NOT the “self-esteem/confidence-building” realm.
- Some people are simply more coachable than others… this is not a reason to give up! This is a reason to do a coachability pre-assessment to help initially map the journey and increase the effectiveness of the coaching.
The bottom line is, if you really want to improve, there are concrete ways to do it that can help you develop better interpersonal communication skills that can help reduce conflict. Here is another resource on improving one’s EQ:
Fleas and Revolutionaries by Michael Josephson
Here’s another great post by Michael Josephson that I want to share… with the caveat that I don’t endorse tying the idea of the glass half-full to political revolutionaries. However, there’s no doubt there’s power in positive thinking… and, positive actions! I would tie this concept to the actions of education revolutionaries!!!
One out of a few useful articles!
Please, please, please… read this, click on the links, soak the ideas in AND USE THEM!
Edutopia News – March 18
Once again, Edutopia scores big, for student learning and teacher support!!!
Thank you George Couros and Sylvia Duckworth for this awesome visual reminder!
Check out George Couros’ blog for more words of ed leadership wisdom and Sylvia Duckworth’s Flickr page for great visuals!