A profound answer from an Educator

This is an email that I got from my Brother-in-Law.

The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life.

One man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem with education. He argued,  “What’s a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?”

To stress his point he said to another guest; “You’re a teacher, Bonnie. Be honest. What do you make?”

Bonnie, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness replied, “You want to know what I make? (She paused for a second, then began…)

“Well, I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.

I make a C+ feel like the Congressional Medal of Honor winner.

I make kids sit through 40 minutes of class time when their parents can’t make them sit for 5 without an I Pod, Game Cube or movie rental.

You want to know what I make? (She paused again and looked at each and every person at the table)

I make kids wonder.

I make them question.

I make them apologize and mean it.

I make them have respect and take responsibility for their actions.

I teach them to write and then I make them write.. Keyboarding isn’t everything.

I make them read, read, read.

I make them show all their work in math. They use their God given brain, not the man-made calculator.

I make my students from other countries learn everything they need to know about English while preserving their unique cultural identity.

I make my classroom a place where all my students feel safe.

Finally, I make them understand that if they use the gifts they were given, work hard, and follow their hearts, they can succeed in life.   (Bonnie paused one last time and then continued.)

Then, when people try to judge me by what I make, with me knowing money isn’t everything, I can hold my head up high and pay no attention because they are ignorant. You want to know what I make? I MAKE A DIFFERENCE.  What do you make Mr. CEO?

His jaw dropped, he went silent.

THIS IS WORTH SENDING TO EVERY TEACHER, EVERY CEO, EVERY PERSON YOU KNOW.

Even all your personal teachers like mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, coaches and your spiritual leaders/teachers.

A truly profound answer!!!

Teaching is…the profession that makes all other professions possible!

Photo: From Flickr
Postscript: Here is a more dramatic video

Our authentic self or an avatar?

Should we present our authentic self or should we hide behind our “avatars” in social media and network spaces?
That is a challenging one, especially for many networkers who are representing themselves as avatars, in the immersive learning environment like SecondLife, or as bloggers, visitors to blogs, or as educators in the web etc.
Are you interested in posting your comments with payment only?  Here it is.  Why paying?  Some medias are trying to see if such pay for comments service would influence the way readers would voice their views, and prevent or reduce spams and inflammatory comments be included in the discussion forum.
Why would one need to use avatar(s) to represent themselves in social media or networked learning?This could be a challenging and private question, isn’t it?
Ken has got good points here in his response comment: “Another reason was professional; sometimes it is difficult to offer opinions that might be construed to run against the grain of the organization that one is employed by, and I was overly-cautious about this and hiding behind anonymity made me feel better. Now I don’t worry so much about these things, so anonymity has helped my growth in this area.” That’s a concern not only for professionals, but educators, students as they may still have a long journey in their career paths, and don’t want their private and professional views be “mixed” and be exposed to their employer or potential employer for scrutiny.  This is both a rational and wise decision. Most of us would still need to have a “bright future”, but would like to establish our unique voice in the media, and may worry about how we present ourselves now may impact on our future career, study or learning with others.  This also explains why some educators or “networkers” would prefer to be the “visitors” (masked with fake name or an avatar) leaving with little or no trace in the digital and social media. This is a personal choice…
Ken continues: “We all wear different masks for different social settings.”  However, whether at work or in a personal setting, would this create a dilemma in ones persona, especially in the digital, social and virtual media?  Are our digital persona reflective of our authentic self? Why would we need to disclose ourselves in open space where we could easily be “exploited” by others?  How would we be able to “protect ourselves” without being accused of being untrue to what we say or do?  Can we undo some of the voices we raised in the digital, social or virtual space?  Would avatar save us? Would this be the reason why many educators are not willing to have their social media presence?  The reason for not having their own blogs, or their own voices heard….
For me, as a Catholic, I have nothing to fear, as mentioned in my previous blog post. I have nothing to hide, nothing that prevents me from expressing my true voices, and sayings… May be I am lucky, or may be I am overly confident. Am I wearing my own mask? No!  I am looking for a better future, in everything, by contributing, participating and engaging with social media and networks with my true self.
Here is my previous post on social media and its impact on organisation.
John
Photo: Flickr Trust me
How about your digital footprint?
In social media, it’s data about us..
How unique are our avatars?
How have we represented in avatars? What are your purposes of using an avatar?  Does it allow you to voice your authentic self in those spaces? Are avatars real?  Can we fully express ourselves with avatars – including your voices and emotions, feelings?
Is it also an important literacy for us – to learn how to identify an avatar that one would use to represent the persona, and understand what’s behind an avatar? Without avatars, or made up names, I wonder how many networkers would like to leave their digital persona or traces on the web.  Or may be most educators won’t be deterred to present their true self.  What do you think?
Just wonder!
Postscript: Enjoy this Welcome to Web 3.0.  Comments?

Emotions and their impact on adult learning

In this article on Emotions and their effect on Adult Learning or http://www.scribd.com/doc/35059133/Emotions-and-their-effect-on-Adult-Learning-a-Constructivist-perspective.
– Emotions are important in adult learning because they can either impede or motivate learning (Dirkx, 2001. p63)
– Entering the cognitive system, emotions are recognized and as a result alter thought patterns, affecting the experiences of how adults learn (Opengart, 2005).
– Learning becomes of value in relation to a student’s experiences and construction of reality, underscoring the adaptive behaviors of learning.
– If people are anxious, uncomfortable, or fearful, they do not learn.
A useful summary paper on emotions in adult learning.
The above article refers to the impact of emotions on teaching and learning in the classroom environment.
How about the impact of emotions on adult learning under an online or digital learning environment? How about learning in a complex social media ecology? Or a blended learning environment.
So, I have been wondering how emotions would impact on learning (social networking and networked learning, in particular) since I attended the CCK08. What would you think about emotions and learning from a connectivist point of view? What were your experiences (emotions and feelings) when involved in online courses/networks (e.g. CCK08, CCK09, CritLit 2010, or any other COPs, or Ning Networks etc.)? What are the connectivist principles relating to emotions and learning? How do these impact on adult learning?


John

Enculturation

After reading Stephen’s post here on More German and Learning Atoms (in response to Heli’s post on interesting learning in the course), I am reflecting on this enculturation

Conrad Phillip Kottak (in Window on Humanity ) writes:

Enculturation is the process where the culture that is currently established teaches an individual the accepted norms and values of the culture or society in which the individual lives. The individual can become an accepted member and fulfill the needed functions and roles of the group. Most importantly the individual knows and establishes a context of boundaries and accepted behavior that dictates what is acceptable and not acceptable within the framework of that society. It teaches the individual their role within society as well as what is accepted behavior within that society and lifestyle”

Enculturation can be conscious or unconscious, therefore can support both the Marxist and the hegemonic arguments. There are three ways a person learns a culture. Direct teaching of a culture is done, this is what happens when you don’t pay attention, mostly by the parents , when a person is told to do something because it is right and to not do something because it is bad. For example, when children ask for something, they are constantly asked “What do you say?” and the child is expected to remember to say “please.” The second conscious way a person learns a culture is to watch others around them and to emulate their behavior. An example would be using different slang with different cliques in school. Enculturation also happens unconsciously, through events and behaviors that prevail in their culture. All three kinds of culturation happen simultaneously and all the time.

I am trying to understand what it means when Stephen says:

At best, we can ask only whether a person is more of a certain sort of person – are they ‘more German’ for having stayed in Germany for a month, are they ‘more of a physicist’ for having stayed in the community of physicists for a month. Knowing that there are no necessary or sufficient conditions for being ‘more’ of any of these, knowing that there is no gauge that measures being ‘more German’ or ‘more of a Physicist’.

I sense that there are certain common concepts between enculturation and the learning based on connectivist principles: where one could benefit and learn through the immersion in the networks as cited in Jenny’s  post: some notes on connectivism:

  • ‘Knowledge is distributed across a network of connections’
  • ”To learn is acquire certain patterns’
  • ‘Learning is the ability to construct and traverse connections’

So, would such ability to construct and traverse connections in a network be associated with one’s experience, confidence, and passion with the “connections”?   Is enculturation part of the learning that arises from social networking? “Enculturation also happens unconsciously, through events and behaviors that prevail in their culture.”  So would that be the type of learning that we are mostly unconscious of in social networking or community work?

I could only keep up with certain “optimum” number of “human” connections, whom I could engage with a deeper conversation and interaction.  I could hardly be able to focus when my human connections are too diverse, as this would lead to distractions of thinking about the thoughts behind those human minds. However, I could be connected to many more connections on data and information sources which appear in forms of artifacts or blog posts, ideas and media, where I would use my cognitive strategies to think and reflect first.  I could then summarise what I have “learnt” by expressing such thoughts in signs, pictures, videos, or writings, etc in blog posts, tweets etc.  So, I seem to come up with many connections to ideas (the conceptual connections), but few connections to people sort of networking practice.  Am I alone in such experience?

To me, such learning in social networking are often non-linear, likely as a result of serendipity whilst surfing the network or reading through the Twitters, Facebook, RSS, slideshare, flickr, Youtube videos, Amplify or blog posts.  So the connections with the ideas, concepts, or people in the network are quite often through the weak to strong ties, “from the unplanned to the planned” connections.   I would then check on the resonance of those connections (ideas, feelings, emotions from people or artifacts etc.) with my experience, and/or check if there are any discovery of new ideas, especially when I am cross referencing to different hyperlinks, data sources and artifacts.  I could then mix and re-purpose such ideas, concepts or content to generate a new and emergent “form” of signs, language and thoughts that make sense to me, where I could sense it from different perspectives.  That’s how these blog posts are composed.

That’s the “new” learning to me.

Is that my reason and intuition in networked learning?

Photo: Reason and Intuition

My New Learning in Connectivism – Conversation Part 1

Many thanks for Ulop’s stimulating and interesting questions posted in his My theory.
My explanation herehttps://suifaijohnmak.wordpress.com/2010/06/26/critlit2010-on-conversation/may help in clarifying my points.
Am I happier in sharing? Yes. I think I have been looking for sharing, based on my posting of my views and perspectives.
So “Relating to inadequacies in the theory of connectivism, I have been demonstrating that for a long time with my questions and probing of the proponents and self-professed creators? promoters? of connectivism.” Have you considered what those inadequacies are? Why would they be directed “only” to the creators? Or promoters of Connectivism?
“Connectivism is inadequate as it no more explains learning than behaviourism does.” How and why did you arrive to this conclusion?
“So connectivism, in using a different language, provides a different perspective.” Did you come to this conclusion base on evidence, claim or belief? What are the different language used? If connectivism provides a different perspective, what does it mean to you? I have explained what is new in my blog post, and it provides just my perspective. So you may consider your perspective, and if you think that is providing you with a new level of understanding of “learning in the networks, especially at this digital age”, what does it mean?
“So connectivism, in using a different language, provides a different perspective.” Would different language give rise or shape a different culture? Why would you think it is just a different language? Have you considered the differences between how and what you learnt and compared to those with how and what others (like me) learnt? Do these make sense when learning “together” through interaction and connection in this digital or virtual network, with space and media as affordance, rather than that in the classroom?

What would you suggest to develop Connectivism further?

Why would you think that Connectivism is not helping you to learn?  Are you (we) learning through this conversation?  If not, how would you (we) learn instead?  Have we understood about each other through such conversation?  Are there any changes in perspectives?  May be it depend on you and me…on Our reasons


John

Postscript: In this http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/papers/Review_Complexity.pdf

In spite of these difficulties, some of the results are truly impressive, and there is enough similarity in the different conceptual frameworks to express the hope that cross-fertilization may lead to an integrated theory in a not too far-away future.
A first step towards constructing such a theory might be for the different researchers in this domain to simply study each others’ work, instead of continuing to work in virtual isolation.
What could we learnt from this paper on Complexity Theory? Could we apply similar concepts – by studying each others’ research on Connectivism?