Saturday, May 4, 2013

education: gaining approval

Wisdom of Hands just wrote the post below. I can't really sum up what he wrote so I've quoted a large portion of his text below. I was just talking to one of the younger faculty here at UWM about this very thing. Over the years of  attending school, I have experienced many different teaching methods; some great and many not so great (to the point of the not so great methods being "damaging").  I have had a few colleagues over the years that felt that it is was necessary to intimidate, scare, or get students to "compete" with each other. I wish those individuals would take a note of two from the Wisdom of Hands reading below. I think the desire to please is the strongest teaching tool there is. Of course this also requires that the teacher be a true and honest advocate of what the student is doing/creating/learning. This takes genuine investment in what each students is working towards in their work, education, and life. It also requires that the teacher be invested in creating a positive community among all students in the classroom. I'm not sure when exactly I discovered this fact; I think I just stumbled upon on it when I was teaching in graduate school and I became so involved in what my students were creating. Teaching to achieve test results, grades, or build the legacy of a school, program, or teacher can create the ultimate damage. If the teacher is invested in the students learning by creating a community in the classroom, and by setting up learning experiences that build the students skills and gives them a sense of accomplishment, then "the rest" of the things will fall into place. Wisdom of Hands gets this and sites the readings to back it up. Good stuff...

"I have written before in the blog about maximizing the use of our best resources in the education of our children and one of the things inherent in the nature of the child is that of wanting to gain the approval of his or her family, and community. When my mother was a kindergarten teacher, one of the things she knew and used to be more effective as a teacher was that the children really wanted her approval and recognition. Children want to please. It is not because they are innately wired to be competitive, but because they are wired by genetics to be cooperative. Can you see that that is different from the assumption that too many make concerning the education of our children?

Lothar Schäfer, in his book Infinite Potential which takes the lessons of quantum physics and applies them to material and emotional human life noted the following: 

... the discovery, in physics, of a transcendent cosmic order is of the utmost significance: It offers a way out of a "robber's life" as Plato called it. In his book For a Civil Society, Hans-Peter Dürr describes how the awareness of quantum reality can help us build a kinder world and a society whose order is based on community, not adversity; on cooperation, not competition. "We are not 'stuck' with an innate viciously competitive nature," writes Bruce Lipton in his book The Biology of Belief. Instead, "survival of the most loving is the only ethic that will ensure not only a healthy personal life but also a healthy planet."
So how do we make schools so that they foster the most loving? You can see that our schools have gotten off track. Educational Sloyd recognized the child's inclination to gain the respect of his or her family, community and peers through the making of beautiful and useful things. That is an adult craftsman's inclination to make something beautiful for his or her own home. To know that this inclination arises from our own quantum nature may help us to understand the importance of encouraging our children to understand the relationship between  craftsmanship and community."

-  Doug Stowe; Wisdom of Hands

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