Saturday, October 8, 2011

Wk2 Comment #1 - Fari Lopez

You are so right in pointing out how some teachers get comfortable in their routine and/or are afraid to try new things. I would say that is human nature in general, but educators especially seem guilty of being reluctant to grow and expand their repertoire. I think a lot of it has to due with (especially nowadays) that they are constantly being watched and scrutinized, and a student's failure is automatically their fault. So if something's working, why rock the boat and put things at risk to try something new, even if in the long run it improves things.
I would love to hear your experiences with the system of giving all the students an A from the get go. I kept thinking about how this would work in a more traditional school setting, because the example that was given in the book was a music class at a private music school, which means they were probably already capable students with a desire to be in that class. So I'm interested in seeing how that works with students who aren't necessarily excited to be there, and don't already have prior knowledge of the subject. If you do see this through, please keep me informed of how it goes.

Original Post:
Reading the first four chapters of "The Art of Possibility" made me reflect a lot and relate to my personal and professional experience. These are some of my thoughts:
1. It's all invented: This chapter talks about people's perceptions of things and frames or structures most of us use to face situations in life. The authors advice is essentially:  "to think outside the box" or "to reinvent the wheel". As teachers sometimes is hard to accept there are other ways to do things. I've seen some colleagues relunctant to make changes in their teaching style just because they feel the way the have been delivering their content is the only one possible. In other words they are afraid of new changes, and they get just comfortable with their old repertoire...
2. Stepping into a universe of possibility: We live in a world ruled my measures. In order to get to know others or understand things and situations better we are led to comparing or contrasting everything. We believe that all in this world is arranged in hierachies, and unfortunately the roles of success or failure also fall into this categories. Fortunately, we are the one in control, the ones that can set up our minds for high achievements. There is a better world, one that stretches beyond the world of measurement: the world of possibilities where we can create a new life, one where we are open to changes and willing to take risks in order to reach our own joy and excitement. A world that provides an array of possibilities that will provide the tools to find the joyous life you deserve and not one where you simply learn to survive.
3. Giving an A: This was my favorite chapter. Grading has always been an issue for me. I hate having to use a number or letter to measure my students' performance, especially becasue I teach another language, and it is so easy to discourage students interested in other cultures by having to give them a grade. If I want to leave the world of measurement, and join the world of possibilities,  I need to find other ways or "possibilities" to assess my students' performance througout the school year. The authors suggestions regarding this matter and giving an A sounded very interesting. Now I need to fit them into my content...
4. Being a contribution: Thinking that we are a contribution to this world is a very smart way to help our students with their self-esteem. I have taught kids that seem to be so discouraged  or neglected at home that their progress in school is greatly affected. Each individual in this world was provided with a treasure to enlighten their own life as well as someone's else's. We need to trust in our gifts, we need to learn to know when to take out that treasure and share it when it's needed... 

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