Maybe it’s just me but I find it easy to get caught up in the busyness of every day life. I also have a terrible tendency to reflect and focus on what to change, do better, what didn’t work. It’s sometimes can feel like you are stuck in a grey cloud.
So as I was scrolling through posts on Facebook this weekend stumbled on Courtney’s post.
What was I happy for?
- warm temperatures
- a breezy walk
- quiet time with my ‘nephew’ dog
- catching a glimpse of an authentic laugh from my two tween nephews
- a cold cane of coca cola
- and so much more
There is a science to happiness! If you don’t believe me, watch the Soulpancake special.
So what makes you happy? Or as my MEd instructor would say What makes your soul sing?
It was a very grey January here in Ontario. It seemed like a continuous month of overcast grey skies. You know you have seen a lot of grey skies when you get as excited about sunshine as I did this weekend. Even though I know it won’t stay and we probably will get a big dump of snow soon enough, the sunshine, warm temperatures, and blue skies gave me hope that spring is around the corner.
As I was thinking of the hope I was reminded of some of the examples of positive viral videos we shared at the #peelpowerup with kids on Thursday. As we were looking at the images & video we realized how simple they were sometimes.
- a young man tying a shoe for an elderly man he didn’t know
- another holding the hand of a stranger with special needs to help them through their anxiety
As I was walking it hit me. Perhaps we love those random acts of kindness because they provide us hope just like a warm sunny day does in winter. As small as the act may be, it reminds us humans aren’t all so bad. There is hope that we can be better, that we are better.
As I continued my walk I wondered what the role of hope is in education. Education can feel like those overcast grey skies sometimes. Two steps back for every step forward. I find that no matter how grey, there are gentle reminders like a warm sunny day.
On Thursday night as I was following along with the Game Changer 2.0 kick off with Sir Ken Robinson, I perked up as I heard him mention the idea of defining education. So much comes back to our definition of education. As he shared his description below it was amazing how it captured both understanding the world and it’s knowledge as well as knowing themselves all in the hopes to contribute to a better society.
Then Friday morning someone posed a different question:
Education certainly is not limited to the four walls of a school, but should our definition of schooling and education differ? Do they serve a common purpose? Can the same definition guide our learning in many different settings; from the home, to the art gallery, to the soccer field and classroom?
I may be left with more questions than answers but of one thing I am certain. I would love to see the above definition of education guide my daily work.
How would you define education?
During our monthly #peel21st Twitter chat we started discussing the elements of our Modern Learning Vision for our district. I’d like to think there was more sense to our planning, but most likely we landed on Learning Culture because it was the first box. As we got to chatting, it kept popping up how the 6 elements we had highlighted all overlap. I could see how the nice tidy boxes should have been more like an abstract watercolour painting with blended edges, an experiment in colour combination.
At around the same time I was reading through Will Richardson and Brian Dixon’s white paper on 10 Principles for Schools of Modern Learning and this quote caught my eye.
I kept coming back to the idea that maybe learning culture was at the core of it all.
What is the purpose of inquiry without a learner with a questioning disposition, global citizenship without student agency, transparent assessment without student voice?
Maybe the hallmark of a modern school is a passion for learning, a willingness to innovate, take risks and grow together.
If we can pick only one to focus on maybe it should be learning culture .
You might have seen the below clip making the rounds on social media.
As I watched the clip the first time, I flash backed to one of the first classes of Curriculum Foundations in my MEd when we started talking about boxes after an activity similar to the clip. My idealist self just wanted to do away with all boxes but as we got to discussing we talked about our brain’s tendency to sort in that linear format. To my dismay there was no way to avoid them. I had to accept that boxes will always exist.
As I watched Hidden Figures this week I was reminded of the impact our ‘boxes’ can have. It’s aggravating at times to think how narrowly we categorized individuals. How could such small details as the colour of someone’s skin justify the actions of the time? Then, as I often do, I catch myself. How often had I judged someone by what I could see alone? What other boxes were holding me back? What boxes was I bringing to my practice?
Boxes may always exist but perhaps it is our role in education to help learners see how they do not define us. How for each of our differences there are just as many if not more similarities.
How do you address the boxes in education?