My school district brought in Alan November a couple years ago, and I’ll never forget him sharing the book Three Cups of Tea. This Ted Talk is equally memorable.
John Dewey begins Democracy and Education most obviously with a defense for education. As with the pearl, the butterfly, the diamond, and every other metaphor on metamorphosis under pressure, we as educators must not be resistant to change. We must also be the force of change.
“The most notable distinction between living and inanimate things is that the former maintain themselves by renewal. A stone when struck resists. If its resistance is greater than the force of the blow struck, it remains outwardly unchanged. Otherwise, it is shattered into smaller bits. Never does the stone attempt to react in such a way that it may maintain itself against the blow, much less so as to render the blow a contributing factor to its own continued action. While the living thing may easily be crushed by superior force, it nonetheless tries to turn the energies which act upon it into means of its own further existence.
As living things encountering a superior force in the face of this course, we have not been crushed!
As long as it endures, it struggles to use surrounding energies in its own behalf. … As long as it is growing, the energy it expends in thus turning the environment to account is more than compensated for by the return it gets: IT GROWS.”
We have turned the energies of this program into a means of furthering our own existence as learners and educators. The ADL program has contributed to our identity as educators. This course, as our significant learning environment (CSLE), has created opportunities for us to have choice in how we learn, how we analyse and synthesize what we learn, has provided us with authentic opportunities to own that learning, and to realize that we have a voice worth being heard (COVA).
The energy we are expending in turning this digital learning environment to account will be more than compensated by the return we get: we will grow! And take what we’ve learned and become a superior force for our learners.
Dewey, J. (1916). Democracy & education. New York, NY: Kappa Delta Pi.
When we stopped going to the gym in March of 2020, I decided to buy a bike. It wasn’t fancy-I saw it at Bed Bath & Beyond and noticed it was the last one. I was just starting to settle in to that feeling of hibernation, and preservation. Hunkering down. Looking at that bike, I knew it was some kind of answer.
I used it aimlessly for about a week, until I heard about the Peleton app. I heard that with the app, you have access to all Peloton classes, and you could take them live even, without an actual Peloton. Technology helps us do things we could not previously do.
I was hooked immediately. I took all the “Intro” and “Welcome” and “Beginner” classes. I played around with the strength and stretching classes, as well as the hundreds of cycling options. I was a sucker for the badges. Yes, badges. I needed all the stinking badges!
Trust the process. ~Dennis Morton
Several months went by, and I was on my bike every day. I passed 100 rides and they sent me a Century t-shirt! Movement inside my house became more important than ever. Daily encouragement from the Peloton instructors became necessary. Jenn was my age, and someone I swear I met once. Dennis, also mid 40s, I could have run it to at a show (his taste and knowledge of music mirrors mine). And Sam Yo never ceases to inspire me.
The instructors filmed in their own homes for a few weeks. All of us cycling separately, but feeling so together-that was a very very good thing to have during a pandemic.
Around month seven on my bike, I started stacking rides. I would complete a warm-up and cool-down ride before and after my main workout. It occured to me that if I could do that every day, and add one more on weekends, I could reach 500 rides in 52 weeks. This goal became wildly important to me. I went to bed at night excited to wake up at 5am and hop on my bike.
Fix your wig and get your life together! ~Cody Rigsby
Having an extremely challenging (but achievable) goal pushed me like never before! I knew what I could influence and leverage every day were the amount of times I took a class. I needed to take at least 3 rides a day, every day, increasing to 4 rides a day on holidays and weekends. My 3 week Christmas break was a little bit grueling, but also completely invigorating. (On days that were stacked high, or on “rest” days, I stacked multiple warm up or short rides. Balance is still important, even when pursuing challenging goals.)
It doesn’t matter where you are on the leaderboard. What matters is that you are on the leaderboard. ~Christine D’ercole
I really felt like the instructors were part of my team. Their encouragement, humor, and music helped keep my spirits up and my goal clear. The virtual high-fives offered and received from other riders around the world were surprisingly effective and added a layer of authenticity.
I made daily tallies on a calendar next to my bike, and kept earning monthly badges. One thing I loved about the calendar I was keeping was that it indicated where I should be each day. Every day after I documented my classes, I could easily see that I was winning. If I fell behind one day, I could see how I needed to spread out one more class across several days of that week. I kept track of where I was, compared to where I should be. It was easy, and fun!
On the last day of the 52nd week, I earned the 500.
Simultaneously, I began reading a book called The 4 Disciplines of Execution. This book models how to effectively execute a plan focusing on small factors that lead to success in any organization. I didn’t know I was implementing the disciplines, but I was successful in reaching 500 rides because these are the steps I took:
- Focus on a Wildly Important Goal (WIG). Reach 500 rides in 52 weeks.
- Act on lead measures; what you can control that will give you results. Take at least 3 rides a day, every day, increasing to 4 rides a day on holidays and weekends.
- Keep a compelling scoreboard. Daily tallies on calendar next to bike.
- Create a cadence of accountability. Periodic badges and virtual high-fives on app.
My accountability on Peloton was all virtual, but the cadence never slowed. In this way, The 4 Disciplines of Execution proved effective and technology helped me to achieve something I never could have done on my own. I’m CSHARP75. Ride with me!
How you do anything is how you do everything. ~Emma Lovewell
Most can agree that Jesus was one of the greatest teachers of all time. He started with 12 pupils, and his words are to this day still quoted in red.
But Jesus didn’t live in fanfare. He didn’t walk around telling people what to do, or announcing himself at the door. He was all about invitation, and collaboration, and telling stories.
I’m attempting to read the Bible in one year (because let’s just do all the things this year), and today’s reading in the book of Mark is a peek at yet another challenge Jesus received from some priests who felt their power structure was being threatened. They want to know by WHOSE authority Jesus was healing people and issuing forgiveness and other such radical proclamations.
Why didn’t Jesus just tell them who he was? He never comes out and says “I AM THE SON OF THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE YOU NINCOMPOOP.” He was never the sage on a stage.
In this portion of Mark, he answers the priests’ challenges by telling them a story about the owner of the vineyard sending a servant to the farmers of his vineyard. The farmers kill the servant. And the next servant. So the owner of the vineyard sent his own son.
Jesus was into creating significant learning environments from The Beginning. He knew then that we all need to make a choice. We can’t own what we are learning without speaking it. Maybe that’s why he kept asking “Who do you say that I am?” He wanted us to have a voice.
Who do you say that I am?
And who is more authentic than Christ?