22 March 2011

Essence of Atttiude First Teaching

I believe in the power of the situation and the focus of my work is distinguished by my assumption that in order to teach properly I have to have control of the situation. Not control in the way a marionette pulls the strings of his puppet, but in the way a sailor knows how his boat interacts with the wind and the waves. The sailor does not any hope of taking control of the wind and the waves, but can learn to master his own boat in the context of the wind and waves. The right minded sailor must have profound respect for their power and dances with them to achieve his goals. And to be clear children (and other people, more generally) are the wind and the world in which I meet them is the waves, and the boat is everything I have control over. In this view of teaching gaining control of the situation makes pretending to have control of other people in the situation mostly unnecessary.

The influence I have over the situation is based to a large degree on the depth of my relationships with others who are helping to co-create it. The high art in my teaching practice is not about directly challenging students to attain some standard of mine, but to inspire them to exceed their own standards and expectations. That kind of inspiration arises from having a deep form of intimacy in which we are fully engaged with the world and the challenges it has presented us. It is from the depth of a highly trusting relationship that I am most able to make a difference with my students. And the most reliable way to build trust is to be able to manage the situation for a combination of challenging circumstances and reliable access to whatever tools are needed to meet the challenges.

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