Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Share Understanding and Spare Pain

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Like many of you, I've had so much on my mind lately. I have several blog posts upcoming that will express more of what I'm feeling. But I wanted to share this quick bit with you. 

If we only read and share things that confirm our current thoughts, feelings, and beliefs...

If we only pursue our own certainty and confirmation of our current way...

If we only listen to the stories of people who are like us...

If we only seek to debate "the others" and don't really listen to them...

If we gather in our tribes and seek opponents instead of allies...

If we dismiss, diminish, deny, or invalidate the pain of others...

If we avoid the things that make us uncomfortable or that are painful...

If we don't question ourselves deeply, our motives, our hearts, our privileged lives...

Then we will never grow, and we will never love more deeply, and we will spread even more pain in this pain stricken world.

How can we develop a spirit of curiosity and empathy for others? Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter. I would love to hear from you.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Combine Your Skills With Technology

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The best advantage is the ability to combine your human abilities with the best tools available.

In the world of chess, the best players in the world can no longer beat the best machines in the world.

However, a combination of top players with machines can nearly always defeat a machine-only opponent.

Even more impressive, a slightly above average chess player teamed with a machine can defeat the top computer chess algorithms in the world.

Some people push for technology like it's the answer. But technology doesn't usually solve problems alone. 

Although technology is getting smarter every day, it's most effective when people leverage the technology to solve problems.

It's the combination of well-developed human skills and the effective use of technology advancements that will lead to the best opportunities.

What does this mean for modern learning? How are you taking into consideration the tools your students have at their fingertips?

If students don't learn to leverage their skills with technology, they will always be at a disadvantage.

Learning must consider the world our students live in, and we mustn't cling to the world we grew up in.

If you’re teaching just as you were taught, you’re basically teaching in a time capsule. 

And as a result, your students will be precisely prepared for a world that no longer exists.

How are you teaching your students to leverage technology? How have modern tools changed what is taught or how it is taught in your discipline? Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Doing Your Best Work

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No one does their best work out of compliance or out of obligation. 

No one does their best work expecting a reward. 

We do our best work when we see it as a privilege, a contribution, and an enjoyable experience. We do our best work because we want to, not because we have to.

Can you do quality work out of obligation or compliance? Probably so. But you won't do your best work.

Can you do quality work to earn a reward? Probably so. Many people will work very hard for rewards. But again, I don't believe you do your best work for rewards.

I'm not suggesting you won't try hard even if it's out of compliance or even to seek a reward.

But your passion, your purpose, your gifts are greater than transactions. 

This for that. 

Give to get. 

Rewards and punishments.

You'll do your best work when you care about the work. When you care about the people who benefit from your work.

The reward is in the work itself and the opportunity to contribute to something larger than yourself. It's the opportunity to make a difference. It's the opportunity to do something of significance. It's the opportunity to use your unique gifts and strengths in meaningful ways.

Your best work comes from your desire to add value to others. It's from a desire to contribute, not from a desire to be highly esteemed or to avoid punishment.

It's not that we "have to," it's that we "get to" contribute from our very best selves.

Teachers and leaders must create conditions where students/others can do their best work. That means they need a measure of autonomy to use their gifts. They need a purpose larger than themselves. And they need the opportunity to take risks, be creative, and make choices about their learning and the direction of their efforts.

If we're creating an environment driven by compliance or by rewards and punishments, we may get more work out of people, but we won't enjoy the best work from people.