Pass me my shield please.

“We can rebuild the entire system around passion instead of fear.” ~ Seth Godin

Because if we want a better education system that doesn’t dictate from atop an ivory tower, we must build it ourselves, we must be ready for battle, we must be revolutionary.

The research is there, we’ve seen that carrots and sticks don’t work. So why do we keep relying on rote memorization and obedience as markers of learning? How do we speak truth to power? Or perhaps more importantly, how can we encourage students to speak truth to power, when as educators, we are often seen as the power in the room?

Palmer recommends we strive to seek an “academic culture that invites student to find their voices about the program itself”, which in turn creates opportunities for support from faculty and staff. However, I don’t quite buy in to the call-and-response way of building culture. I strive to understand and recognize ways we are interconnected.  We must work together to create the kind of world we know is possible. We can stand up and with one another even in battles that are not our own; laying a foundation for brave spaces. Demonstrate warriorship and the courage required to speak out against the status quo, to have unpopular views, and to break silence in pursuit of positive cultural transformation. Be willing to engage in uncomfortable conversations and make mistakes with one another, rather than avoid difficult topics.

We need to entrust our students with these messy problems and encourage them to speak about the ways and means learning is a choice and a pursuit to gain greater participation and be a better human in our society.

“Our task is to learn how to build smart rooms—that is, how to build networks that make us smarter” ~ David Weinberger

For myself, smart rooms and networks must remain rooted in empathy and compassion for others. My hope is to plant seeds of leadership and grit in to the classroom so that students will feel empowered through knowledge and training.

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11 Responses to Pass me my shield please.

  1. Dami says:

    Hi Corrie,

    I like the quote from Seth Goodin – “We can rebuild the entire system around passion instead of fear.” I think many teachers would not engage in critical pedagogy because of fear to relinquish power and control in the classroom. I like your call for courage, which I believe we are in dire need of. Great post.

  2. angelicaw says:

    Oh how I would love if the system was rebuilt on passion versus fear. If learners had the opportunity as children to focus more on what they are passionate about, we would have a lot more innovative discoveries. Children are very smart but I feel they hold back because they fear being told they are wrong. Educators should support learning with passion more.

  3. Courageous Corrie!
    Stand and Fight!!
    Shout from Rooftops for Us All!
    A Message Clear, I Hear your Call!
    Stand and Fight!!
    We Rise to Glory!

  4. Rathsara Herath says:

    Great post! I agree with you. Throughout the class, we discussed the importance of learning together. Encouraging students to be active learners rather than be a bunch of memory disks, is really important.

  5. Stephanie Gonzalez Maldonado says:

    Great post! I agree with you on the importance of encouraging our students to speak about the ways they can be active learners to make then more engaged in their own learning. They should feel comfortable enough to voice their opinions/needs freely without fear of reprimand or judgement. Just as you state, it absolutely should come from a place of compassion and empathy. We need more of that, everywhere.

  6. glupton says:

    Great post on having tough conversations and standing up for what’s right. As I was reading and reflecting on your post, it made me realize how important it is to hear the voices of others, even when we don’t like what they are saying. If we silence what others are saying we take away the chance to talk back to bad ideas. That means the bad ideas that are ingrained in a system are never challenged and never improved. Hear people out. Think through it. Talk back. We should be better at that in higher education than any other industry. Unfortunately, I think we are missing the mark. Fight on Corrie!

    • corrie says:

      Thanks Gary! I feel that too often we have gotten into a place of complacency, at least for myself, this was the case. I was in this fog of inaction for a long time with my previous academic position. I slowly, but surely, let my values and beliefs be stripped from me and this semester, especially this course, has helped me feel like I’m getting my voice back.

  7. Cindy Klimaitis says:

    Love the title on this blog – Pass Me My Shield Please. I’ll keep this visual in my mind when I’m faced with a difficult conversation about doing what is right for students.
    I also like Duckworth’s work on grit. One of my cohort members did a paper on it and had considered trying to do a dissertation on high school students’ grit. It can be hard to measure, but for the most part, we can recognize grit when we see it in action.

    • corrie says:

      Thanks Cindy — I too really like Duckworth’s work on grit and the grit scale she developed.
      Often I worry that students expect everything to simply be placed and explained to them, so they are no longer searching for answers. My hope is that if we can teach life-long learning techniques such as perseverance and leadership they will be better off in our rapidly changing society.

  8. robinott says:

    I enjoyed reading your post. My eyes lit up when I saw you use the word “grit”. In some of my other graduate classes (engineering education) I’ve heard some diverse definitions of the term and I’m curious what it means to you, as a seed you want to plan with your students (I also have my own definition). Would you mind elaborating? Thank you in advance.

    • corrie says:

      Thanks Robin! I really like Angela Duckworth’s definition of grit as the passion and perseverance for long-term and meaningful goals. Because we are sometimes only with students for one course, we aren’t able to always assist them for the long-term. Yet, I think we can still foster grit in our students by identifying, discussing, and labeling examples that exist in the real world and presenting activities and lessons related to mindfulness, meditation, and refocusing in order to assist students in times of frustration.
      What definition do find the most helpful to you?

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