November 2015 Archives

"If I accept the premise that being grateful is good for our health, then shouldn't I be interested in promoting a habit of thankfulness in my students and in the world?"

As I've progressed in the teaching profession I've come to a different understanding of what this night means and how I can leverage it as part of the overall work I'm doing to make students better thinkers and problem solvers. In reflecting on conferences from years past, I realized a problem. There are three phrases I used say which were undermining my larger goals. I'll share them with you alongside my reasoning for striking them from my vocabulary.

I had avoided shipwreck. In the words of educational philosopher Patricia F. Carini, I was "attending to children with care." When in doubt, our first response to our students should be listening and connecting - not pulling harder on the ropes in search of a sense of tight control that leaves the collective boat going nowhere fast.

I teach my students to be "upstanders" when they are witness to violence, and in that spirit I want to express solidarity with those educators and activists speaking out against the assault of a black student at Spring Valley High in South Carolina by school resource officer Ben Fields.


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