Congratulations! You made it through module 4.
Reflection Question: What is one of your key takeaways from this module (a quote, insight, skill, resource, or perspective)? How does or will this takeaway impact your thinking or teaching?
“First, every time your brain has a success, you just changed the goalpost of what success looked like. You got good grades, now you have to get better grades, you got into a good school and after you get into a better school, you got a good job, now you have to get a better job, you hit your sales target, we’re going to change your sales target. And if happiness is on the opposite side of success, your brain never gets there. What we’ve done is we’ve pushed happiness over the cognitive horizon as a society. And that’s because we think we have to be successful, then we’ll be happier.”
I picked this quote from Shawn Achor’s TED talk because I think it captures EXACTLY what is going on in todays society and why so many people are unhappy. We continually rewrite what success is, making is impossible to attain. I’m all about continual development, and you should never stop pushing yourself. But at the same time, don’t forget to enjoy your accomplishments and be proud of the fact that you got where you are.
I really appreciate the TED talk on framing perceptions. I am a strong believer that framing perceptions and how we understand the world can assist in more positive outcomes and a better reality. I also think this is an easy mindset to adopt and pass on to others. Acknowledging that not everyone in every situation can keep their mind positive, it does provide a worldview that can inform how we act toward others and interpret actions toward us. Finally, I think it is a really great way that teachers and facilitators can have an impact on events and mindsets of students/participants outside of the classroom/learning environment.
“The habitual stifling of emotional expression is about control
and domination. Those who enforce suppression tell us they are
teaching us to be “appropriate.” The habit of suppression is not,
however, about appropriateness; parts of our population are taught
from childhood that it is never appropriate for an adult man to cry or
for an adult woman to express anger. It’s exactly that rigidity which
makes this issue huge for classroom teachers and for workshop
facilitators. Rigidly holding back emotional expression prevents
authenticity. And authenticity is essential for deep learning”
This quote really hit home and challenges me to be more of an emotional leader. Facilitating these types of environments is not necessarily difficult, but is something that I am a bit unfamiliar with. Thus, I hope to learn and growth by eventually being able to implement these types of environments.
There are many points I took away from this particular learning module. The Kohn article was filled with many key points in my educational philosophy, but the Lakey chapter said it best. “The question is not ‘can we show emotion’ but ‘can we show authentic emotion?'” (p. 84)
“Keepin’ it Real” is something that we have to do as teachers. There is always a student who wants to give you answers to questions in order to fill in a blank and be told what to think. The real world is more complicated than this. Complicate things. Don’t accept the easy answers. Always ask “why?” It is not until a student starts struggles with a concept that they can truly take ownership of his or her answer.
I will remember the line from The Empathic Civilization video in 4.6 most distinctly – that empathy is based in “rooting for each other to flourish and be.” That should be such an easy thing to do! I think reminding oneself of simple ideas like that can be equally as helpful as a complicated theory or process. We need to encourage each other to just be – be the “best” we can, but not in a competitive or result-based way. Related to that was the next line in the video – “we show solidarity through our compassion.” Call it expanding empathy or teach it in a school of love, but solidarity between individuals and groups will come from a genuine compassion for their being.
I enjoyed “How Not to Teach Values” by Alfie Kohn. The quote is:
“Character education, or any kind of education, would look very different if we began with other objectives – if for example, we were primarily concerned with helping children become active participants in a democratic society (or agents for transforming a society into one that is authentically democratic). It would look different if our priority were to help students developed into principled and caring members of a community or advocates of social justice”.
This takeaway has already made an impact on my thinking, and always being clear about the main objectives of teaching – helping students develop into principled and caring members of a community – will influence my teaching.
“its not necessarily the reality that shapes us, but the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality. If we can change the lens we can not only change your happiness, we can change every single educational and business outcome at the same time (TED Talk).”
When I heard this quote in the TED Talk I paused the video instantly in order to write down what I had just heard. After I finished the video and scrolled up the page, I realized this quote was already written in the box as part of the module…I guess I wasn’t the only one that thought this was a homerun idea!
This was a key takeway for me because it instills the idea that the external world is NOT predictive of our happiness levels. Therefore I can take ownership of my happiness, or lack thereof, because I own the lens through which I see the world. I see the quote as a challenge to not blame others or the situation when I feel negative, and to not allow myself to play the victim role. During those times I need to cleanse my lens, adjust my sights, or just throw that lens away and find a more positive one to replace the old.
I still like the idea that it’s not only parents and teachers that should be committed to and have an opinion on education but that it is something that everyone should be concerned with for their own communities. I think that education has many goals, but a big one is in fostering all of the ideas we’ve studied so far such as critical thinking, empathy, skepticism, emotional intelligence etc etc in order to build stronger communities beyond the classroom. Education is something that everyone should be concerned with not only within their own communities but in other communities, other countries and continents as part of the inter-connectedness of us as human beings and global citizens.
“In this sense, reinvention is necessary if we want to help children become moral people, as opposed to people who merely do what they are told — or reflexively rebel against what they are told.” – Alfie Kohn
Someone mentioned in a previous module that they like the rule “do what you know is right.” I love this idea as well. It puts the responsibility of *knowing* on the individual. Each person must then consider and reflect, “what do I believe is right in this situation.” This is the biggest exercise of life. I’m constantly asking myself that question, sometimes it’s a wrestle, sometimes it’s a walk in the park. The point is – I’m thinking about it, I’m actively participating in my own moral education. Giving students the rules to follow is not enough. They need to know why and then ultimately, develop and extrapolate those rules for themselves. They will be our future one day. For real.