Tag: relevant

What might evidence-based approaches be missing?

February 21st, 2011

Last month I launched a new twist on webinars called, Ten-on-Tuesday: A webinar’s worth of important information in ten minutes. Take a walk, relax at your desk, or carve our a corner in your local coffee shop. You can join the call from just about anywhere.

CLICK HERE to listen to the last Ten-on-Tuesday conversation, “What might evidence-based approaches be missing?

Would you like to join our next call? CLICK HERE to receive updates on future Ten-on-Tuesday calls (You’ll also receive 3 free gifts).

Our next call will be next Tuesday, March 1st at 10:00 PST. The theme will be, “Take it personally: The key ingredient for transforming education.”

    Kindling the Curious: Whitey’s Tour of Trees

    November 17th, 2009

    I was running along a trail in the mountains a couple months ago when a woman walking in the opposite direction stopped me. “Have you seen Whitey Lueck?” she asked. “He usually travels up here on Thursdays to walk, but he doesn’t use trails.” She provided a physical description that didn’t resemble anyone I had seen. I pondered how I was supposed to spy him if he didn’t use trails. Cascade forests are dense. I spared her my musings and simply answered, “No, I’ve not seen him. If I do, I’ll say you’re looking for him.” We parted ways.

    A couple weeks ago I received an email about a tree tour at the University of Oregon hosted by none other than Whitey Lueck. What a coincidence! Far from the mythical, hobbit-like person I pictured, Whitey is a well-known, well-respected local naturalist and all around outdoor guru. He knows more about trees than I expect I’ll ever gather about a single subject. I signed my family up.

    Two elements of Whitey’s tour particularly intrigued me. The first was the simplicity of the curriculum: trees. Whitey took us from one tree to the next, gave us a few interesting facts about each, then invited questions. The second striking aspect was his wholesale engagement in his subject matter. Whitey’s interest, passion, and knowledge were unmistakable and inspiring.

    Our tour group comprised a blend of adults and children. Kids are natural learners. Curiosity is in their being. One need not teach them to learn. They want to know and make meaning of what they see and experience. Their questions are often pure, unrefined, and earnest. They want to suck meaning out of things to satisfy their curiosity, an appetite I find contagious.

    I encourage you to take a tour, with children, if possible. Note what made the tour helpful or unhelpful. I’m a believer that the qualities of a good tour guide are the same qualities that are central to good teachers, parents, and managers. You will see this most clearly in how he or she responds to the questions people ask. The best tour guides welcome questions and contributions from the group. Second, notice the children’s questions. How would you describe them? Study their faces and notice what curiosity looks like. This is how we get close to curious and how we rekindle it within ourselves.

      Cello Lesson

      October 26th, 2009

      Even if you don’t play an instrument, Shinichi Suzuki is a name you’ve likely heard. He is father of the so-called Suzuki method of learning to play musical instruments. For the last year my daughter and I have been learning cello via the Suzuki method. I recently reread a portion of his book, Ability Development from Age Zero. Though his book is written for parents of young children, his understanding of learning can speak to all of us in numerous professional and personal contexts.

      Suzuki’s method evolved from a simple observation: “all children in Japan speak Japanese easily” (Ability Development from Age Zero, p. 4). Most people didn’t initially comprehend the significance of Suzuki’s observation. But Suzuki recognized that his observation carried profound implications for how all humans learn. If kids acquired the Japanese language through immersion in the language, could immersion in music also teach students to hear and play a musical instrument? Then, as with a language, they would internalize and know the music in a personal way. This, Suzuki posited, is meaningful learning. This is why we play the Suzuki music in our house each day. Listening to the music trains our ear to recognize and “speak” the language. When we sit down to play “Lightly Row” on the cello, our ear knows what it should sound like. The cello is a tool by which we speak.

      Suzuki’s method applies to settings that have nothing to do with music. Many of us spend at least part of our lives, if not considerable chunks, learning and helping others learn. Note who you will be spending time with this week, and what are you trying to teach. You may be a chef who is trying to teach her staff how to julienne vegetables, or a manager working with one of your staff to help him better organize his time. In each case, Suzuki advises us to create a language into which we can immerse the student. Do those you’re teaching understand the language? With their help create a vernacular that you can agree on.

      Suzuki incorporates two additional elements into his method that can enhance every learning process. The first is to connect what you teach with a desire that exists within your students. People you work with will learn what they want to learn. The second element is to make it fun. Find a way to make learning fun. Even if you’re teaching someone how to create a spreadsheet, with a little creativity, it’s possible to make the learning process something you both enjoy.

        • Page 1 of 2
        • 1
        • 2
        • >