Dean began our last PLP Connected Coaches‘ Elluminate session with this video. It stuck with me. The joy, the wonderment, the uncertainty, the appreciation for something new, the really wanting to test something out is transparent with little ones.
People get bigger and I’m willing to bet that all of that is still there yet— somewhere along the way for some reason, invisible walls were built to hide these feelings. Think middle school and high school students — we label them “reluctant”, “unmotivated”, and “lazy”. A few, (well likely many) conversations, some encouragement, a safe place to risk and share, and some strategies for “fall(ing) down thoughtfully and how to hop” back up”, as Bud the Teacher so eloquently shares:
“If you’re going to do pretty much anything worth doing, you’d darn well better be prepared to fall flat on your face. There’s risk in the places worth working for. And it’s worthwhile to know how to fall, how to land in a way that will minimize the long term harm to yourself.
Just as important, you’ve got to fall with a thought for how you’re going to get back up.
I hope you’re thinking about how to help people fall down thoughtfully. I hope that someone taught you about how to take a fall, and how to hop back up, raring to go. Are you preparing the folks you know and work and learn with to go down hard in ways that’ll lead towards more chances to, well, take chances?
and there’s a shift– little bits at a time– first maybe some wonderment, then perhaps some transparent uncertainty and sharing of testing new waters. It’s there, I know it– we need to dig deep enough to break down those invisible walls, to uncover it. We need to shift from disparaging conversations about students to those in which we share the strategies that will help us help them rediscover the joys, the wonderment that are so compelling in this video.
People become professionals; think educators who have adopted the persona of expert, who fear for their futures, who don’t infuse technology into learning, who also build great invisible walls to protect what they view as vulnerability. We label them “reluctant”, “out-dated” or worse. We adopt a us vs them mentality. A few, (well likely many) conversations, some encouragement, a safe place to risk and share, and some strategies for “fall(ing) down thoughtfully and how to hop” back up”, and there’s a shift– little bits at a time– first maybe some wonderment, then perhaps some transparent uncertainty and sharing of testing new waters. It’s there, I know it– we need to dig deep enough to break down those invisible walls, to uncover it. We need to shift from disaparaging conversations about failure to adopt and infuse technology into learning. We need to remember the uncertainty, the tentativeness of when we started (my first introduction to computers in a workshop in the early 80’s– they told me to key in a basic program and click run and the computer began counting to one million. I jumped back sure that I had broken it) and then we need to help them rediscover the joy, the wonderment in this video.
And as we are sharing strategies that work we need to step back and take time to consider as Paul R. Wood has done and ask ourselves:
“are we taking care to make sure that we are reaching out to those who are just starting to dip their toes in the water or maybe those who are eyeing the kool-aid stand but not sure they really want to buy the drink itself?
We talk about how students learn in different ways and at different times but are we taking the time to make sure those adults who have come to learn are getting the same attention?”
I’d take that one step farther — are we taking the time to make sure that we are inviting in, providing safe spaces and strategies for “fall(ing) down thoughtfully and how to hop” back up” for those may not yet have come to learn, just as we do for our students?
Imagine the possibilities in our classrooms, imagine the possibilities in the professional learning of all educators– Can we touch it?
Lani Ritter Hall
Latest posts by Lani Ritter Hall (see all)
- Through new lenses– - January 5, 2015
- Connected Coaching: Reflections & a new course starting soon! - September 24, 2013
- Virtual Classroom Visit — Sketch Up and Google Hangouts in a 3rd grade classroom - April 15, 2013
What strikes me in the video and the posting is the idea of perspective–point of view. I am fascinated by the child who wants to name the fish, Free and wants to know if the fish likes him. The father understands the moment as the first of a series–your first fish. he is looking away, down a road his son may travel.
To me this is the moment the first boulder for that wall is lifted and set down.
I wonder what awareness is triggered when the father says to his son that he can pet the fish and the son pushes through that fear of touching and touches or perhaps almost touches. Nether matter as the father then announces that they will set the fish back in the water, almost as if he is seeing his son, not the man he will become, in front of him.
It is this moment of grace–when we are aware of other–of student that we need to find. Our walls are nothing more or less than our points of view that at times obscure other realities.