“A mind that is stretched by a new experience
— Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
The ABC’s of Professionalism
Describing a teacher as “one who has a teaching certificate and works in a school” is incomplete and a slight against all others who contribute toward the development of people. Teachers are known by many names such as: mentor, tutor, trainer, advisor, counselor, leader, educator, coach, guide, role model, instructor, advisor, demonstrator, therapist, lecturer, rabbi, preacher, Jesus, supervisor, co-worker, friend, parent, relative, neighbor and author.
“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” — Charles W. Eliot
“And they were astonished at His teaching, for His word was with authority.” — Bible, Luke 4:32
In reality, everyone is a teacher and a developer of people in some capacity or another. Teachers are givers. When a teacher shares information with a student who receives and understands its meaning, learning has occurred.
“There are three things to remember when teaching: know your stuff; know whom you are stuffing; and then stuff them elegantly” — Lola May
Development is a special phenomenon of teaching that goes beyond learning. Transition from learning to development occurs when a teacher helps a student cross the threshold between “potential change” and “actual change” or between “knowledge” and “application.”
“Teaching is what you do to people; development happens within the individual. Teaching is an action; development is a process” — Gary Lear
“Education is not filling a pail but the lighting of a fire.” — William Butler Yeats
“The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.” — Mark van Doren
This transformation is made possible through the expertise of caring teachers who share knowledge AND inspire students to creatively integrate it with their beliefs and behaviors.
“Change only occurs when the beliefs are impacted” — Gary Lear
“No man can be a good teacher unless he has feelings of warm affection toward his pupils and a genuine desire to impart to them what he believes to be of value.” — Bertrand Russell
For each of us, as teachers engaged in people-building activities, two questions need to be asked: “What impact can I have?” and “What kind of teacher should I be?”
“Be an opener of doors for such as come after thee.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions.” — Anonymous
Because learning and development beyond learning are critical to personal and societal success, millions of people train for years and make a lifelong commitment to teaching and learning. What about the rest? How can we all become a more effective teachers? What kind of teaching model should be adopted by a professional who is not a career teacher? Three words come to mind: enlighten, engage and empower.
Enlightenment is the intellectual dimension of development that presents new information and processes then challenges the student to consider the relevance of both the old and new information as it relates to experiences and current situations. Some would call this “learning to think outside your box.”
“I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.” — Socrates
“Real education must ultimately be limited to men who insist on knowing, the rest is mere sheep-herding.” — Ezra Pound
“We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself.”— Lloyd Alexander
“The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.”— Kahlil Gibran
This is the action dimension that creates opportunities for experiences to apply the new information, philosophies and processes so as to produce new and improved results. Some would connect this to the enlighten dimension by saying, “This is where the rubber meets the road.”
“Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.”— Chinese Proverbs
“The two most engaging powers of an author are to make new things familiar, familiar things new.”— William Makepeace Thackeray
“We can teach from our experience, but we cannot teach experience.” — Sasha Azevedo
“Play is the beginning of knowledge.” — Anonymous
“Every extension of knowledge arises from making the conscious the unconscious.” — Friedrich Nietzsche
“Not to engage in the pursuit of ideas is to live like ants instead of like men.” — Mortimer Adler
This is the emotional dimension. With help from an inspiring teacher, a learner discovers his desire to continue developing and applying new information and processes until they become a new pattern. In response, confidence builds and momentum increases causing real and lasting change to occur.
“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” — William Arthur Ward
“A master can tell you what he expects of you. A teacher, though, awakens your own expectations.” — Patricia Neal
“The best teacher is the one who suggests rather than dogmatizes, and inspires his listener with the wish to teach himself.” — Edward Bulwer-Lytton
“Every act of conscious learning requires the willingness to suffer an injury to one’s self-esteem. That is why young children, before they are aware of their own self-importance, learn so easily.” — Thomas Szasz
“In motivating people, you’ve got to engage their minds and their hearts. I motivate people, I hope, by example – and perhaps by excitement, by having productive ideas to make others feel involved.” — Rupert Murdoch
Enlighten, engage and empower are interdependent dimensions of a comprehensive personal and professional development approach. Enlightenment points the way, but by itself has no action. Engagement and empowerment without enlightenment produces directionless action. Empowerment breathes the life of momentum into enlightenment and engagement. All three legs are needed for development that goes beyond learning.
Understanding this framework is helpful in selecting an effective teacher. More importantly, adopting them will help you as a professional more effectively fulfill your teaching responsibilities. Take a moment to reflect on the many ways you help teach and develop those who are under your care. Then consider specific ways the Three E’s can help you become a more effective teacher. In closing, here are more thoughts about teaching, learning and development beyond learning.
“You can teach a dog new tricks for rewards, but developing a better-natured dog will require patience and a want on the behalf of the dog to change.” — Gary Lear
“The test of a good teacher is not how many questions he can ask his pupils that they will answer readily, but how many questions he inspires them to ask him which he finds it hard to answer” — Alice Wellington Rollins
“The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.” — Sydney J. Harris
“Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.”— Oliver Wendell Holmes
“The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called ‘truth.’” — Dan Rather
“The best teachers teach from the heart, not from the book.” — Anonymous
“You do not get out of a problem by using the same consciousness that got you into it.” — Attributed to Albert Einstein
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”— Alvin Toffler
© Copyright December 2008, Clancy Cross. All rights reserved.
Read more “Clancy’s Quotes” at: ClancyCross.WordPress.com
“Cherish your visions and your dreams, as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.”
— Napoleon Hill
My friend Bill Taylor writes a newspaper column called, “It Seems to Me” that features his musings on a wide range of subjects. This post about dreams falls into my own “it seems to me” category. Since I have almost no formal training in the field of psychology, I am fully prepared for a professional psychologist to take me behind the woodshed and beat some sense into me.
Dreams are the result of brain activity that we laymen are inclined to call “imagination.” I’ll call it the “creative mind.” Human beings also have a rational mind, where reasoning occurs. When a person is fully conscious, the rational mind tends to put constraints on the creative mind. Its purpose seems to be to keep the creative mind from putting a square peg into a round hole. Some would call this a “reality check” or “keeping things in perspective.”
“Dream big dreams! Imagine that you have no limitations and then decide what’s right before you decide what’s possible.” — Brian Tracy
Another part of the brain is associated with human emotions. The emotional mind has the potential to shift the imagination into turbo speed. It can also break down the constraints presented by the rational mind. In the end, we have a two-front war being waged against the rational mind.
“One of the virtues of being very young is that you don’t let the facts get in the way of your imagination.” — Sam Levenson, humorist
“Knowledge is power, but enthusiasm pulls the switch” — Ivern Ball, Poet
The imagination, like muscles, requires regular exercise if it is to stay in shape and maintain its usefulness. As a whole, I believe our imaginations have become soft and flabby due to neglect.
“If we fail to nourish our souls, they wither, and without soul, life ceases to have meaning. The creative process shrivels in the absence of continual dialogue with the soul. And creativity is what makes life worth living.” — Marion Woodman
“Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Supreme Court justice
Expressions of boredom indicate people are not exercising their imaginations. There are other clues to listen for. How many times have you heard the following in a casual conversation?
- “What’s new? Oh, not much – same old same old.”
- “Another day, another dollar.”
- “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”
- “There’s nothing to do in this town.”
- “I’ve been doing it that way for 40 years, I’m not about to change now.”
- “What are your plans when you graduate? Oh, I don’t know.”
- “I never thought of that.”
Even if these conversational fragments don’t indicate a specific lack of creative exercise, they are, as representatives of modern day vernacular, a reflection of a society that needs to be challenged to think and get outside the box.
“Getting outside of the box can not only be fun, it is sometimes necessary for our survival. That is what survival training is all about. It disrupts our inner programming, the mentality of going through life on ‘auto-pilot’ so that we can readily see bright new possibilities heading our way.” — Gail Pursell Elliott
“Progress is what happens when impossibility yields to necessity.” — Arnold H. Glasgow
I prescribe a solution — set a goal to change the culture one person at a time. The first person is you! Don’t wait for necessity to wake up your creative capacity. Make it a point to feed your mind daily with stories of dreamers. Exercise your imagination by making a date with yourself to dream. Call it your “dream date.” Develop the habit of putting your rational mind in neutral while your imagination explores exciting possibilities. Take notes. When one of your own dreams takes root, tend it like a garden. Then share it with supportive and like-minded people. Your newly found enthusiasm will be contagious. As your dream grows, expose it to the skeptics. Your dream may inspire some of them, too.
“A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn; it can be stabbed to death by a quip and worried to death by a frown on the right man’s brow.” — Charles Browner
“Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the danger of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of ‘crackpot’ than the stigma of conformity.” — Thomas J. Watson, Jr.
Write down your dream in the form of a vision statement. Review it daily. Make a collage or other visual symbolic reminder of your dream. Keep that dream in front of you in some form or your daily cares will trample it to death.
“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” — Zig Ziglar
© Copyright October 2008, Clancy Cross. All rights reserved.
Read more “Clancy’s Quotes” at: ClancyCross.WordPress.com