Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Inspired Teaching Institute Day 7: Leaving the door ajar

“Scientists are used to dealing with doubt and
uncertainty. I believe that to solve any problem
that has never been solved before, you have to
leave the door to the unknown ajar.”
Richard Feynman, Theoretical Physicist

Learning, like life, can become a habit. We start to only bring as much excitement as the day before or as the people around us. We develop hang-ups and complexes. You may believe that understanding physics is something other people do. Or maybe you have convinced yourself that you’re incapable of learning how to yo-yo.

Each day at the Institute has reinforced for me the idea that being out of one’s comfort zone, of relinquishing control can open* the “door to the unknown.” And just look at what’s sneaking in! Creativity, deeper motivation, renewed curiosity—what’s coming through it for you?

There seems to be an unstated alternative step in the Inspired Teaching Five-Step Process: letting one’s old philosophy unravel.

Let it fall or disappear along with any complexes, right along with any labels—whether chosen or assigned—that limit you from discovering how you can be the teacher and person that you want to be. The new philosophy that you find for yourself just might make you the teacher you dream of being.

This afternoon we discussed possible explicit and implicit meanings in posters. From our conversation, I gather that a statement like “You have two ears and one mouth for a reason” might take on a more moving meaning (less authoritative too) if it were borne out of a collaborative effort to guide a classroom or school as a community, than manufactured by some pereson or business that has never known your learning community. Likewise, the new philosophy of teaching that one grows after letting the old one unravel can have a greater impact in the classroom.

Let it.

*In this era of the linguistic blend, I think the word that I first typed—“hopen”—could be an apropos new term that also just happened to be a Freudian typo.

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