In a lot of educational writing, it’s taken as a given that creating an atmosphere of fun in the classroom must inevitably lead to learning. It’s fair to ask what is the relationship between fun and learning, however from an evidential perspective.
This analysis leads you to develop a working definition of fun and what it looks like in the classroom so that we can say if we have more or less of it. This definition and quantification allows us to analyze the relationship between fun and learning as measured by quantitative assessments.
Reread those words and see if you can find any fun in them. Is there anything about that attitude that would make you want to attend the class from someone who thought in that way.
This is not to discount the importance of an objectivist approach to education and looking critically at the outcomes of your educational efforts.
I believe we can proceed with the assumption that people are social animals and that the atmosphere in which they find themselves in the classroom, particularly if this was not a matter of choice but one of policy, can go a long way towards improving the quality of their learning.
Our hypothesis is that of fun atmosphere will improve the probability that they generate the internal desire to learn which most people would agree is the basis for a lifelong love of learning that will sustain them once they leave our classroom area
Making things fun requires you to look at curriculum and the educational space through the eyes of your students and their preferred learning styles. We need variety, experiential learning, connection to the important matters of our times, alignment of the class lessons with the interests of our students to more fully engage their attention.
All of these things lead to fun in the classroom. Perhaps the most important contributor, though, is the personal attitude towards the class as expressed by the teacher and model than his or her behavior. If it’s not fun for the teacher, it it makes it that much harder for it to be fun for the students. If the teacher truly loves the math, then the math class will be fun and we’ll get through it with enjoyment and improve learning.
So, don’t neglect the outcomes-based evaluations of education, but don’t forget that where people and that we need to be engaged in courage and enthusiastic about our time in the classroom too.
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Reflecting on self-directed leadership in a military college environment (an action research approach)
The purpose of this assignment is reflect upon my learning through this course and to describe what I am doing to provide for the development of leadership capabilities in those who look to me for direction and guidance. My professional work centers on preparing Army organizational leaders for a world of complexity and uncertainty, and specifically in designing a teachable curriculum that satisfies both the accreditation system and the needs of individual students and faculty. As a result of many cycles of action research involving a variety of stakeholders, I have been designing curriculum that seeks to maximize the opportunities for student and faculty Voice in all phases of the classroom experience, including: design, preparation, delivery, assessment and follow-through. Because the strategy represents a significant shift from the traditional methodology, I am finding many leadership challenges and opportunities throughout the program. I will explore a number of important themes and strategies in this paper.
Chaos and complexity theory point towards a need for multiple points of view and an accommodating culture and practice in order to account for uncertainty in the world. Leaders set the stage for an organization that seeks to thrive under these conditions and therefore become primary leverage points in setting the conditions for success. Because our students are not objects at a distance, not third-party objects of study but rather thinking, feeling human beings with insights and experiences and discretion, we have shifted our design team composition to include routinely groups of students in the form of focus groups and co-researchers in the action research tradition. Incorporating students in the design of lessons that will be taught that academic year represents a paradigm shift.
I am shifting our feedback system to incorporate more qualitative assessments from both faculty and students. This is a departure from our standard practice of relying exclusively on quantitative instruments. Our new feedback system for programmatic assessment is much more from the mixed methods tradition, which seems to me to be central in going forward in our efforts to understand and appreciate complexity. My intent is that the mixed methods approaches in the classroom will expose students and faculty to this methodology as a way to prepare them with a useful tool beyond the boundaries of the college environment.
I am systematically pursuing outreach and connections with faculty and curriculum designers from other teaching departments in order to establish a network-centric approach to integrated curriculum design. This is taking the form of a leaderless, self-directed workgroup, with group norms and processes emerging to take the place of formal assigned individual hierarchical leadership. This self-directed work group presents recommendations of consensus to the traditional leadership of the College and is proving to be more and more influential with each successful project.
Because collaborative and adaptive leadership represents a shift in the cultural and operational perspective of the college, students and faculty, it is necessary to build up a resource and reference base that can be used to justify and support our inquiries. We are building a set of wiki’s and blogs that are interactive in order to prepare for our new lineup of lessons, to support collaborative learning inside the lessons dynamically, to document the results of our in class inquiry and to expand the knowledge base both for future lessons and for the field force in general. There is evidence to show that our students and faculty are getting the hang of this technique. This is reshaping the way we approach lesson preparation and our resource base and it is carrying over into our distance learning and remote site teaching strategy. Remote site teachers now have access to our growing experience base on the wiki and blog and can use that in their classroom for air where they do not possess personal experience and expertise.
Finally, I am working with interested others in formalizing our new approaches into college policy and SOP in order to lock in our games in the college’s infrastructure. Without these changes, initiatives are only as enduring as the energy of the interested parties. By incorporating them into our explicit rules and policies, we can institutionalize changes and ratchet our way towards success.
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remember that Hunt is writing his synthesis in 1996, and he comes from the leadership discipline, not education or cognitive neuroscience. He is good when it comes to synthesizing existing literature, but his excursions into the future of “what-if” are not very convincing.
There has been a lot of important work done on the very issues of rationality vs intuition, on (control & prediction) vs (emergence & adaptation), but it hasnt come from the land of leadership.
I have been doing a ton of research in this area, and in fact the limitations of rationality, and the implications for leaders, leadership skills, organizations and culture, strategic planning and operational execution are precisely the reason i started this program.
my mission is to figure out what leaders need to know, be, and do to manage problems & opportunities outside of the bounds of rationality and convention, and then design and deliver a teachable curriculum that prepares students and faculty for fuzzy situations and coalitions. where goals, cultures, standards, criteria, resources, time horizons are much closer to chaos than order, and with no interest among the stakeholders to move away from the apparent chaos.
I take Heifetz as representative of the state of leadership which has apparently spent the last 2 decades trying to micro-refine the individual models of leadership, and which in my opinion have been left behind by the nature of the challenges for organizations. Even seen as a consultants handbook, Heifetz is comfortably situated inside conventional, stable organizations trying to tweak their way to success.
Back to your point.
The rationality vs intuition debate is best developed from the world of decision-making and cognition. The essential and representative authors to read are Gerd Gigerenzer & Gary Klein, on intuition and heuristic decisionmaking. William Poundstone’s “Labyrinths of Reason” is an excellent introduction to the limitations of rationality. James March on decision-making systems is foundational. Mintzberg is pretty good on recognizing the implications Tversky & Kahneman’s Nobel prize winning work on cognitive biases and behavioral finance is the top level theory basis (spanning 40 years), and all of these guys connect back to the incomparable Herb Simon’s bounded rationality from the 1940s, and which still is some of the best writing and thinking in this area.
The most promising area of current research is found in the fields of emergence, chaos and complexity theory (including complex adaptive systems) but there are miles to go to connect these ideas to the leadership disciplines
So, i think Hunt was intuiting that something else was needed, but hadn’t connected to that body of work.
There is another whole discipline that’s waiting to be incorporated: education, especially adult education, and that’s where i seem to be centered: in the preparation of leaders for these new demands/considerations, while satisfying the constraints of an accreditation system which values certainty, objectivity and standardization.
it seems to me that education lags about 20-25 years behind the cutting edge, as accreditation’s fascination with certainty, objectivity and standardization reflects what was thought to be essential in business and commerce 2 decades ago. So education is just discovering that which the rest of the world is abandoning (or at least moving well beyond)
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It’s not “survival of the fittest” in the wild, it is extinction of the unfit & toleration of the “good enough” which promotes a broad gene pool. A broad gene pool gives us the adaptive flexibility to adjust to “black swan” events, (Taleb).
well, our educational system should seek to promote that kind of diversity in outreach, methods, programs etc and not just short-sidedly focus on how to efficiently pass the next round of standardized tests which are geared for the immediate environment, but which leave us uneducated for the possibilities of an infinitely rich future
there are many skills, habits, behaviors, attitudes which dont thrive in an individual, cut throat environment, but which may be needed for an environment that favors cooperation: such as living in a nuclear age.
I think it’s important to remember that “the failure” is in the system’s inability to provide a medium for the seed that is the person to flourish.
We know from “The Long Tail” that digitization and globalization allow for the creation of feasible 1:1 relationships. we are less constrained to find “economic” tradeoffs that satisfy the many and underserve the tails of the distribution.
We should, therefore be looking to expand the set of possible methods and resources to serve those further out on the tails of the distribution in order to broaden our “gene pool” of human potential.. See Axelrod on “The Evolution of Cooperation” for example
Good survival strategy for the a species, all species, for life itself, is to maximize biodiversity, because of the possibility of discontinuous “shock” events to the environment, for which prior specialization is unsuited.
The examples of Branson and Gates amply illustrate the rich rewards waiting for us on the untapped wide tails of the human distribution
It is arrogant of education to presume it can forecast the future and determine what can and should be precisely taught for “success”.
If education hasn’t learned that yet, then it should attend some of its classes in the sciences and arts to discover the limits of pure rationality and control
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Erich Fromm is an influential social philosopher and prolific writer, whose life work offers a provocative synthesis of Western capitalism, Marxist humanism and socialist rational planning. He defines two modes of being: “to have” and ” to be”, and examines the characteristics and values of lives led in each mode with respect to materialism, politics, religion, spirituality, knowledge, love, sex, language and economics. He asserts that modern living is dominated by the “to have” mode and generalizes it as a soul-less and thoughtless pursuit of material things that disrespects the human soul, love of nature and fellow humans and leads to unsustainable pursuit of things which can lead to poverty, war and extinction. Fromm discards the idea that either conventional Western capitalism or Soviet-style communism offer a way out of the darkness, since both systems remain entrenched in the “to have” mode of being. He offers an escape from this bleak vision of the future, by suggesting that a shift to the “to be” mode of being will bring a change in perspective and behavior at the individual, family, tribe, state and national levels. He asserts this change can bring lives back into harmony with the needs of the human spirit and permit sustainable societies to emerge.His utopian vision of modern living blends the freedom, liberty and productive power of Western capitalism, the central planning and rationality of Soviet style communism, and the tempered and non-materialistic spiritual centeredness of Buddhism and European- style mystics like Meister Eckhart. A society organized along these lines could manifest as economically linked villages of perhaps 100 families. They would be voluntarily joined in support, satisfying the legitimate needs of healthy living through the free exchange of goods and services produced by craftsmen. As craftsmen, people would take pride in and develop a sense of identity through their careful, mindful work and whose stewardship of precious resources would be reflected in a sustainable, respectful partnership with nature and their fellow man. Appetites are suppressed to just those that are commonly and wisely thought to be legitimate. Common spiritual needs are valued and encouraged at each level of social organization. Language itself is amended to reflect the importance of creating “states of being” that reflect nurturing, loving spiritual lives, families, and communities. You will notice this description is full of passive voice, because it is never quite clear “who” will be taking the lead or being the instrument of action in a transformation on a species level. I will address this later in greater detail.
I admire the scope, depth and breadth of Fromm’s vision, and the passion he brought to his life work, and his commitment to living his principles, as seen through his direct engagement with the dominant issues of his day. He was a social philosopher who lived his words and put himself into the arena of ideas and actions to make a difference. He made a positive difference in the lives of millions and those who worked closely with him testify to his optimism, energy, and basic human goodness. Granting all of that, and acknowledging that I have changed my opinion of Fromm’s work after spending time in background research and reflection, I want to engage his work in two useful ways: through disinterested philosophical discourse, and through an abbreviated dialectical materialism: a method of argumentative inquiry that would have come naturally to a Marxist. I decided on this approach after Dr Armstrong asked what Fromm might have said in response to a couple of extended Moodle discussions that were critical of some of his positions.Constructivism is a world view that asserts we are active participants in the creation of our knowledge of the world, particularly in the human, social areas of our lives. There are two well-known forms of dialogue that have been instrumental in the development of social, political and economic knowledge: the disinterested philosophical discourse of ancient philosophers described so well by Hadot (2002) and the dialectical materialism of Karl Marx, which is a fusion of Hegel’s dialectics and Feuerbach’s materialism with roots that reach back to the ancient Greeks as well. (S.E.P, n.d.) (Mao, 1938)
Hadot’s discussion of discourse is thorough. Discourse obliges you to set aside your own perspective, to accept the other participant’s positions and truths, and to transcend disinterestedly to a new perspective which leads both to increased self knowledge, knowledge of the other, and to a new appreciation of the synthesis that is possible through a fusion of different opinions. There is a sense of philosophical cooperation and wisdom in play for true discourse. (Hadot, 2002)Marx’s dialectical materialism describes a dialogue between opposing views as a struggle between forces, with each committing passion and insight to argue a position. The initial argument is known as the thesis, the opposite view as the antithesis. Out of the tension of the vigorous exchange between thesis and antithesis, a broader, more comprehensive synthesis is created, which contains elements of both previous positions but which can be said to resolve the tension, encapsulate the essence of both, and move on to a new and deeper understanding of the situation. As an example, Marx characterize the struggle between owners (thesis) and workers (antithesis) over the means of production as a dialectic which becomes resolved into a synthesis of communism, after the tension of class warfare has run its course and been resolved.
I experienced both of these modes of dialogue and constructive knowledge in my readings of and reflections on Fromm’s work. The effect of the two different modes on my thinking has been instructive for me and serves to demonstrate the utility of both modes. I like the idea that they contribute both heat (the dialectic) and light (the discourse) to my own understanding of Fromm.
The dialectic generated heat from my emotional reaction to my initial reading of Fromm, as I discovered deep seated and argumentative reactions to his assertions, conclusions, and matters offered in in evidence to support his claims. These responses have roots in my undergraduate days as a student of Asian history and political science in the 1970s when I did a lot of work in the historical events surrounding socialism and communism in Asia and Europe, while simultaneously experiencing and exploring non-Western cultural and religious responses to the challenges of defining and living the good life as seen by Hindus, Buddhists and Taoists.
I read Fromm from that perspective: as a modern who sought to synthesize the ancient and modern thoughts of the good life and human nature with the tidal forces that were defining and shaping human culture through economics and political struggle. I understood his perspective and rationale for opting to follow the path of enlightened Marxism with its foundations in rationality and central planning, its concern for social justice, and his belief that freedom includes the ability to shape our destiny through choice and action, even if it means confronting and opposing what has been thought of as human nature combined with the power of tradition.
The heat came from the difference between his choices and my own, since I have chosen a different approach to understanding, framing and drawing policy conclusions from the same data set. My beliefs and values follow along the lines of valuing individual freedoms in the traditions of Payne and Locke, the political freedoms and limited government of Jefferson, the lack of central planning found in the tenets of laisse-faire capitalism, and the intellectual humility and disbelief in the perfectability of man epitomized by Twain. When the dialectical smoke had cleared though, I found room for Fromm and I to coexist:
Here are three samples of the thesis-antithesis-synthesis threads that I worked through in the dialectical tradition. In each case Fromm plays the role of thesis, as is his right as “first speaker” since we are using his text, not mine. They are representative of the more than 20 different annotated emotionally charged differences I discovered upon my first reading.
a. Tennyson’s poem: Fromm’s thesis is that Tennyson’s speaker tore the flower from the ground to understand it, while the enlightened spirit became one with it as co-members of the scene. My antithesis is that it is a matter of interpretation as to whether Tennyson’s speaker killed the flower, since it could have carefully and mindfully been moved to a new place for examination and understanding without harming it. Indeed, later in the book, Fromm describes the wisdom of a Japanese gardener who transplants plants without harm to create beautiful, spiritual gardens. My synthesis is that while the passive appreciation of the flower in nature is groovy, it is the Western scientists’ inquiry which leads to new knowledge of the world around us, but that a science without humble mindfulness can easily lead to disaster for the race given the reach and consequences of modern technology.
b. Human nature and central planning: Fromm’s thesis is that we can reshape our actions beliefs and destiny through the power of rational thought and disciplined action, and that we can design a universally applicable, better life for everyone. My antithesis is that man is in equal parts, a rational and emotional being; that there are limits to rationality and the persuasiveness of logic and reason; that life is too complex to be reduced to centrally planned, universal designs for the good life; and that the political realities of life do not permit simple transitions due to the nature of power. My synthesis is that we can appeal through dialogue and discourse to the good that is in human nature, and aspire to an improved life for others, and that rugged individualism is not the ideal life for everyone either, despite its personal appeal to me.
c. Black and White classifications: Fromm’s thesis is expressed in absolute terms, making mutually exclusive distinctions in almost every category he considers. Examples include his unqualified support for the success and goodness of the sexual revolution of the 1960s; the characterization of language itself as a conscious means whereby those in power create the meaning of individual words to further their materialistic agenda; that the choice of capitalism must inevitably lead to unbridled appetites for more and more until we exhaust the planet. He takes everything to its logical and often illogical extreme to dramatize the differences in the modes of beings and in the choices presented to people and nations. My antithesis is that there are checks and balances between your values, between members of your family, between friends, interest groups, communities, branches of government, and between nations themselves. Further, these checks and balances are adaptive and dynamic and that it is in the peaceful accommodations and adjustments we make that we have hope for a better future for all; that there are limits to how far a theory or model may be taken to explain phenomena; that there is a limit to the region of fit for any theory. My synthesis is that black and white characterizations can be useful to make dramatic statements that get your attention; that sometimes taking things to the logical extreme is a valuable way to demonstrate the very need for the compromise and discourse that I favor. Discourse:
After declaring a week of truce for reflection and research, I engaged Fromm discursively. I researched his background, his other writings, and the testimony of friends and colleagues concerning his impact on their lives as a scholar and a person. I found that by conducting dispassionate research, I was able to transcend the heat of the dialectic, which actually helped me to complete the synthesis portion of each dialectic thread where I’d experienced an emotional reaction. The syntheses in the three example of dialectic above were only reached after a cooling off period of discourse, research and reflection.
I found that the heat of the dialectic helped me raise the energy to conduct the research. Once engaged in research, my natural curiosity took over and carried me deeper than I would have gone if just motivated by a need to be right in some fanciful, contrived “argument” between Fromm and me. Fromm’s Germanic background reminded me of Hesse’s story of Magister Ludi and the Glass Bead Game, where a traditional game continued to be played long past the time when its origin, relevance and importance had been forgotten.
I grew to respect for Fromm’s independent thinking, even as it caused him to depart over and over again from groups once friendly to his thinking, and where he could have remained and enjoyed the fruits of inclusion. He was a German Jew who left both Germany and the Jewish faith in search of a better life and a deeper spirituality. He was a trained psychologist and psychiatrist who left the confines of the Freudian, Rogerian and Jungian schools of thought to elaborate his own ideas of personality and psychological balance. He was a social philosopher who engaged in the practical worlds of politics and punditry by fighting peacefully against nuclear proliferation and the Vietnam War , and in support of social justice. He was a prolific scholar, yet he wrote many popular books that made his ideas on the good life accessible to the masses. He was a systematic thinker, yet his ideas and concepts evolved through time as he reflected on his experience and the world around him. He was a good friend and a generous humble person by the accounts we have from his friends and co-workers.
And so, I find in Fromm all the elements of the good life defined by Socrates and the ancients. He is a man of passion, intellect, scholarship and good works, who lived an examined life, and who sought to apply his values in daily life. If he and I disagree on certain aspects of how precisely to define the good life and how completely we might propose a design for a good life for all, surely the world is large enough for us to both live in it at the same peacefully and in mutual support.
In the course of thinking about this paper, the design of its concept and flow, the research I conducted, the Moodle discussions where I began to partially explore some of these ideas and in the actual writing this paper, I found the heat of dialectic and the light of discourse to be useful and enlightening. I think that the combination of both perspectives was more important that the exclusive use of either by itself would have been. To have applied just the dialectic would have resulted into an argumentative essay between Fromm and I, whereas a pure discursive paper, with the energy of passion, may have been a theoretical inquiry without the motivation to go beyond my own beliefs.
In conclusion, I have enjoyed and learned from my engagement with the life and works of Erich Fromm.
Currie, N. (2008). To Have or To Be. frieze magazine: a leading magizine of contemporary art and culture.. Retrieved Nov 20, 2009, from http://www.frieze.com/comment/article/to_have_or_to_be/
Daniels, V. (2003). Lecture notes on Erich Fromm. Victor Daniels’ Website in The Psychology Department at Sonoma State University. Retrieved Nov 20, 2009, from http://www.sonoma.edu/users/d/daniels/frommnotes.html
Fromm, E. (1976). Fromm: To have or to be? New York: Continuum.
Hadot, P. (2002). What is Ancient Philosophy. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Infed editors. (n.d.) erich fromm: freedom and alienation, and loving and being, in education. infed: the encyclopedia of informal education. Retrieved Nov 20, 2009, from http://www.infed.org/thinkers/fromm.htm
Maccoby, M. (1994). The Two Voices of Erich Fromm: The Prophetic and the Analytic. The Maccoby Group: Agents of Change. Retrieved Nov 20, 2009, from http://www.maccoby.com/Articles/TwoVoices.shtml
Mao, T. (1938). Dialectical materialism. Marxist Internet Archive. Retrieved Noc 17, 2009, from http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/selected-works/volume-6/mswv6_30.htm
MGM830 Moodle entry authors. (2009). Assorted. MGM830 Moodle discussions. Retrieved Nov 15, 2009, from http://www.instituteforadvancedstudies.net/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=26503
New World Encyclopedia editors. (n.d.) Fromm, Erich. New World Encyclopedia. Retrieved Nov 20, 2009, from http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Erich_Fromm
Pace, G. (1977). Erich Fromm Interview: To Have or To Be. scribd. Retrieved Nov 20, 2009, from http://www.scribd.com/doc/8895007/Erich-Fromm-Interview-To-Have-or-to-Be
Raapana, N, & Friedrich, N. (2005). What is the Hegelian Dialectic?. Crossroads: the Kjol Ministries. Retrieved Vov 15, 2009, from http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/05/dialectic.htm
SparkNotes Editors. (n.d.). SparkNote on The Communist Manifesto. Retrieved November 17, 2009, from http://www.sparknotes.com/philosophy/communist/
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy editors. (2008). Karl Marx: Theses on Feuerbach. The Stanford Encyclopedia on Philosophy (SEP). Retrieved Nov 17, 2009, from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/marx/#2.4
Giving feedback about the paper is a way to show who you are and how much you care about the author.
Suppose, in your opinion, the author has made a glaring error in logic or has not supported the thesis, or mischaracterized an opposing view, and because you are concerned about hurting their feelings, you don’t say anything.
How are you helping them? By letting their paper out into the world?
If you were right about the paper, and didn’t tell them, shame on you.
If you were wrong about the paper, that should emerge in the continued dialogue between professionals and now you have a chance to sharpen your own tool. You miss that chance if you don’t CRITIQUE THE PAPER, NOT THE PERSON.
If you comment on the paper without regard for the human who offered their vulnerability, their knowledge, their insights, THEMSELVES to you, try remembering to walk a mile in their shoes and ask yourself, before sending, have I been fair? have I been constructive? What is the tone of voice I used?
If you would say things anonymously about the paper in a double blind, but not to their face, that says more about you than about the paper you are critiquing.
Envision the paper as it leaves their hand and lands on a community table of knowledge for consideration. Focus on the paper on the table, not the person who offered it. The paper is not the person; restrict yourself to examining what has been offered. Don’t assume you know anything about their feelings or how they might take it. They have offered a piece of academic writing. Your duty is to evaluate it academically, while remembering there is a person on the other end, eventually.
The author has given us all a gift. Respect the gift by giving it your best critique: with support, with care, with your best work. Respect the author for their gift and vulnerability. The critiques we offer are more important than anything we are likely to write on our own, and we will do a lot more of them than our own writing.
If you are an author, recognize the boundary between your Self and your paper. Be clear about what you are asking for when you offer it for review. If you want self-esteem more than honesty, you’ll get both, but not as you might want it.
Consider Socrates’ choice to join the army and constrain himself to the dicispline and regulations of the army in defense of Athens. he made a choice to submit to those constraints because he made a principled value judgment that it was worth giving up some of his freedom and comfort in support of a higher value for him: defense of Athenian democracy.
I dont equate a “philosophical life” with a life of complete autonomy and unlimited choice. The philosophica;l life is worthwhile precisely because it helps us make the tough tradeoffs in a way that are consistent with our values. Your decision to wear the uniform and accept the constraints allows you to support other values you place higher than the freedom to wear PJs.
You probably have decided that a choice to wear PJs might prohibit you from earning a living to supoprt your self and family and achieve other goals you value more than maximum comfort.
To me the philosophical life comes from a desire to live intentionally, to make choice son the basis of your own values, and not simply as an animal life form reacting instinctively and thoughtlessly to random environmental pressures. To live intentionally is to ask of your self, “which intentions?” and “what values?” and “what tradeoffs?” It is then fair to examine our decisions for consistency and integrity.
Principles mantter precisely because of the consequences they lead to. To select principles without consideration of the consequences begs the questions about the values that would allow such a decision.
Living a “full time philosophical life” in this schema, becomes an extraordnary effort: to live intentionally in all things?! and with consistency to set of carefully chosen and prioritized principles?! thats the work of a lifetime for sure, a worthy goal. Its an ideal that led the Stoics and the Buddhists to ask of themselves, each in their own way, what’s the difference between want and need? They came to different conclusions, as did the Epicureans etc but they all shared the goal of living the examined, consistent, intentional life.
Thanks for your patience to let me think out loud
What follows is a 1st person, stream of consciousness reflection written to my mentor & committee chair.
I describe what it was like to record a 10 min video “telling the story” of some preliminary findings emerging from my action research cycles into curriculum and adult learning.
It will be shown at an international conference in Athens, as part of the Collaborative Action Research Network (CARN) annual conference, as part of a bundle of reports from the Future(s) of Education project, an international participatory action research network.
i am just glad to get it out of my head
i had a real out of body experience recording that one;
i am a very effective briefer in person, because i can read the audience pretty well.
i have recorded hundreds of mini lectures etc for my business and for use here at the college on various topics.
i have never, ever needed more than a single take to record, decent and sometimes even inspired voice-overs until last night and that briefing.
I literally needed about 30 takes to get thru it; most i stopped when less than a minute into it because the tone just didn’t feel right
i think it has to do with being a fish out of water, and the difficulty i felt in trying to tune my story for an audience i couldn’t see, but more importantly didn’t have empathy for
because the audience characteristics still feel fuzzy to me, i couldn’t call up the right tone, voice, persona to apply
this caused me to have almost a split personality in the moment, when i am ordinarily dialed in
i had a “talking part” and a “look ahead part” that is concerned with shaping the transition to the next point/slide
but now i had a disconcerting 3rd part that was trying to anticipate the possible reactions of an unfamiliar, and hard to imagine audience
this is what made me feel so out of sorts
until i “wore out” the last, 3d part and was able to trust in just telling the story, and accepting the vulnerability of knowing that i couldn’t know the audience, i found i just couldn’t get thru it.
this is the same phenomenon I spoke with Prof Mike Wesch, the digital anthropologist at Kansas State University, and world thought leader on social dynamics in social media: the camera eye represents the unlimited, unfathomable infinite future of all possible audiences across time and space who can be looking in on the “telling moment”.
in a sense, its like coming face to face with the unblinking eye of God and wondering what she is thinking
it is trust that lets us get thru that moment, the accepting of vulnerability, that creates the empathy that hopefully fills the story, as told, with hope.
that’s a clumsy way of trying to express my meaning of the risk and vulnerability to “telling” and why it can be such a powerful learning moment, and why we need to model it, embrace it, encourage it, and support it.
Your “producer’s draft” was exactly what i needed to be able to get out of my own comfortable fishbowl;
you gave me a bridge to the audience that i could not create on my own.
this has become an interesting reflection to me already
please put the video on the website, and any or all of this reflection as you deem suitable
have a great time at the conference!
Dr John Persyn from the Dean of Academic Operations started up a study group to look at what InstructorNet could/should/might/ought be. He made the mistake of asking me to think out loud. If you don’t disagree with anything that follows, or at least wonder what I am smoking, then I have failed
I take the InstructorNet working group inquiry questions to include:
1. What should InstructorNet be and why should we care?
2. How can we give Voice (and action) to instructors to better align resources with efforts
3. How do we improve the connections among the members (nodes) of an Instructor Net (I am thinking of this as a utility function: bringing electricity/water to rural areas) 3. What technologies will unleash classroom excellence?
4. How do we eliminate the boundaries of walls, bricks, mortar and time to support lifelong learning across the force (for our demographic to begin with)?
5. How do we shift from an Industrial Age frame of education to a Network-centric, connectivist frame?
(a short oversimplification and misstatement of Connectivism: the knowledge resides dynamically in the network, its participants and their connections, and has a shelf-life; the network adapts its tacit knowledge much more quickly than its explicit knowledge in response to an increasingly dynamic environment, and so we need nodes of cognitive excellence creating knowledge artifacts rigorously, but connection modes and tools that facilitate making the tacit knowledge explicit AND the ability to sense educational needs and assemble rapid response teams of connected nodes from across the network, etc) (I’ll develop this definition better later)
1. An “InstructorNet Mall” of available resources in one spot for instructors to meet their needs
2. A Google “Knowledge Map” of available content that’s searchable, zoom-able, and subscribe-able thru RSS so the network alerts you for items meeting your interests instead of waiting for you to craft a search every time you feel a conscious need.
3. The Amazon/EBay “smart network” that automates the search and recommend function based on stated interests AND by remembering searches & paths
4. Customer Service center for instructors seeking help
5. Tour guides/Marketing Aide to demonstrate “How to use these resources”
6. Magazine model of info mgt/distribution: a targeted demographic, whose readers shape the course of the magazine/tools (Dear Readers! We listened to you!) Lean 6 Sigma techniques have a way of accomplishing this, and a partnership with an LSS project seems like a natural one
Other work to be done:
1. Considering how we encourage/reward professional writing like lesson notes, course content, blog/wiki work that contributes to the practice of knowledge, in the same way we have tied promotion and retention to academic writing.
2. An FDP that incorporates more ideas related to “Master Classes in graduate teaching” on a regular basis. Some ideas include:
a. Group learning vs Team-Based learning.
b. RSS in the classroom (and blogs and wikis and podcasts…oh my)
c. Live dialogue mapping skills to frame group discussions better (Google “Compendium” for demonstrations)
d. How about giving Voice to faculty to let them nominate classes they want to receive, or challenges they face, and target the top vote getters?
3. An InstructorNet Mall should have a “store” that has searchable index of available, recorded FDPs with quick summaries of what’s available for the individual instructor looking to sharpen his practice.
4. UCTV (University of California “TV”) is a branded channel on YouTube with thousands of hours of content of their best instructors delivering on their best topics.
a. Why don’t we have Geoff Babb’s China lectures recorded and available in a catalog of Quality? Or Chris Paparone giving his best pitch on technical rationality and ADCON?
b. Why doesn’t the college actively seek and reward these mini-centers of excellence? The Foundation should give cash awards to the mini-lecture each month that has the most (downloads x the highest quality rating) (like Guitar Player of the Year)
c. MIT has put their entire curriculum online. We need to do a better job of finding the tacit expert knowledge and making it explicit. We have replaced the value of SME for an industrial Age approach to standardizing curriculum delivery around uniformity, discipline and control, at the expense of risk, artistry, and informed speculation (some evidence that is loosening up I assert, by looking at Dr Kem’s study group pilots, and Dr Paparone’s innovative use of the Blog of Log to engage student critical thinking and professional writing in the new milieu under control)
d. The students should be able to give cash awards to their picks for instructor of the Section. Or POGs redeemable for valuable cash prizes at the PX. Or student nominations for Excellence in Innovation, or for Trying Really Hard Even Though The Experiment Blew Up In The Lab But Didn’t Hurt Anybody (the TRHETTEBUITLBDHA award)
e. Students should be able to record a 20 second praise for instructors or AAPs, filed by AAP and instructor to guide next cycles towards our real excellence, that is searchable only by students. Need more emphasis on Rate Your Instructor mechanisms
5. I think we need a DDE rep on the team to assist the inquiry
6. I think the instructor needs survey is essential
7. I’d like to see a process map of instructors of all forms for CGSS: an operational graphic, who, where, what, and their AO and AI. We write curriculum for them in a vacuum; they have little to no voice in our design decision-making
8. The instructors need a persistent forum for nominating “the policy that most gets in the way of my effective teaching is…” with room for public, persistent dialogue, instead of periodically asking for feedback snippets that get lost in the OPTEMPO
9. Personal Learning Environments (PLE):
a. Officers and faculty should have a profile page in their Personal Learning Environment that identifies, in one place their research interests and their research offerings.
b. It should have links to their writings on blogs, papers, wiki’s available, with their ability to make their writings public or private from their personal page.
c. It should have an RSS aggregator/reader integrated that automates a wide daily search of the early bird, BCKS AKO, DKO, Joint knowledge online, Small Wars Journal; in fact a listing of highly recommended sources they can check off for inclusion in their search, with the list expanding as a function of the community-wide ratings hit a threshold.
d. It should have a world class search engine that truly gives us ask once, search many capabilities; unlike AKO. All you need to know about AKO search is that when you search for “FM 3.0 download”, the first link is NOT to where you can download the manual. (I have a current screen capture, but don’t make me use evidence, because I will if pushed to the limit)
e. The amount of information being added to the Web each day is so large that we cannot afford bad “Search” AND we cannot afford to wait for people TO SEARCH, especially since we can give them a Voice in creating their default, persistent, context sensitive, active search profile on a Personal Learning Environment
As part of the InstructorNet workgroup, I am focusing my personal efforts on:
1. a short summary of various educational applications of wiki, blog, podcast, RSS with bibliography
2. If I can find some practical details PLE (personal learning environment)info, I’ll do that as well
3. Creating a departmental resource catalog to support the ideas noted above.
4. Encourage the shift from Industrial Age to Network Age education
the faculty i respect the most at our college are the ones who voluntarily take on the challenge of being a faculty advisor and engage the students in one on one educational and career counseling.
there is a move afoot in the Army to formalize and systematize the mentoring “program” across the force, and I hope that it doesn’t take hold though, as a formal process which then will get measured and assessed.
In my judgment what has made mentoring a very high quality experience for me (on both sides of the event) has been the voluntary aspect of it, and the freedom of the junior to seek out a meaningful or respected senior that is outside of the chain of command.
I have always considered it to be a badge of honor to have been selected by juniors, from afar, to help them through career choice points etc. It let me know I must be doing something right.
I have tried to carry on this idea as a faculty advisor on graduate monographs and have been honored by having students that I have taught, and also not taught, to review their work. It’s my highest priority work effort, and the one I am the most diligent with; more so than even my own reseach I think.
I’d be disappointed if we started to measure how many mentor relationships a senior offier had and if we made it a compulsory program. Would send the wrong message entirely.
I was speaking with a trusted and respected friend, an Army Command Sergeant Major serving in the field, and he echoed some of these same concerns. To the extent we formalize it, we begin to lose the real value of it.