Thursday, March 18, 2010

MAC Week #3 Reading – Lighting A Spark

“Education is not the filling of the pail, but the lighting of the fire.”

- W.B. Yeats

I like the imagery of ancient travelers carrying their own spark in a metal box to easily light fires on stops along their journey. Rosamund and Benjamin Zander, authors of the Art of Possibility, used it as a metaphor for enrolling in the lives of those around us. Enrollment, for them, is about generating and lighting your spark, what you are passionate about in others.

Sometimes, to get others to see and share in what we are passionate about requires being involved in what they are passionate about. This time of sharing requires trust. And trust, as in being in a safe physical and emotional environment, is crucial in creating a learning environment.

According to Rafe Esquith, author of Teach Like Your Hair’s On Fire, most classrooms are managed by fear and not trust. Teachers are afraid of looking bad and students are afraid of looking foolish in front of their peers. So teachers seek to maintain control of their classrooms. An approach more conducive to creating a learning environment is to replace the fear with trust. Perhaps we should re-examine the classroom through the eyes of our students. May be then we can find good educational uses for the students’ iPods and cell phones.

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