About Me

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Michigan, United States
a registered yoga teacher, and a Thai/Yoga Bodywork practitioner.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

If you're not failing, there's something wrong

I read Teaching Minds a few weeks ago. Here's how it altered my thinking:

Forcing learning is impossible.We can go through the motions, but if you are teaching something separate from a genuine goal, it's a mimicry of learning.
"It is not possible to teach/train students to do things that are not in line with who they are as people...much of what we try to teach in school and train for in companies is an attempt to alter behavior."

Further, we learn processes, not subjects. We learn how to evaluate, describe, plan, negotiate. Separating history from science from psychology misrepresents the layers within a situation or problem.

Teachers--those bastions of society-- are flawed fact delivery services. We need to rebuild with Mentors: those who encourage and ask questions that are not easily answered (like True/False). Mentors "get students to understand the world better and enhance their capabilities. Neither happens through a teacher telling a student anything."

"If a child grows up in a world where questions are expected and long-held beliefs can be abandoned because of new evidence, he will seek [challenging, new] interactions. But growing up with adults as knowing everything and no one's beliefs are questioned will = mindless, dull behavior" (p. 103).

Rather than tell someone what to do, ask,
 "What do you think happened?"
"What could you do differently?"
My favorite slam against bureaucracy is when the author, Roger Schank, distills a page full of chewy, abstract education goals into bubbly swallow:
An effective education means learning:  1. How to be a critic 2. How to respect some and copy others 3. How to know where you fit 4. How to take action 5. How to think (develop questions, seek answers, don't assume the answers come from where you expect).

Finally -- failure. There must be lots of failure.  Failure is anathema in schools, which is pitiful. The way to change behavior--to learn-- is to find what is not working. "Intelligent people respond, when they are confused or when a long-held belief is challenged, with a request for evidence...allowing for the possibility that they are wrong and wanting to know more."