Friday, June 17, 2011

Reflections....Things I Think I Know...But Maybe Didn't?.....

As I approach my 51st birthday, I find myself reflecting more. Here are some of my recent observations (in no particular order).... When you are young and independent and your parents offer advice/suggestions you wonder where did they come up with that idea??? Thinking we know it all, we may not follow their advice. Then, following our own path we sometimes make mistakes and have to "learn the hard way." If we had only listened, things may have been much easier, but then we wouldn't have learned the lesson.
As an educator, I think sometimes we need to remember this with our students. I notice that sometimes teachers feel the need to always be in control, plan the lesson/activities and provide the information. Yet students want to question and "learn the hard way." Which may cause the students to learn and remember these lessons better than if they were passive receivers of information.
Another observation is on the recent incidents with the Ohio State Football Program. It just goes to show how easily life can change. While Buckeye fans and supporters have enjoyed the success of the football team and former Coach Jim Tressell, I learned that when your career is in the hands of 18-22 year old student-athletes, you cannot possibly be aware of everything they are doing. Try as we might, we trust them to make good choices, show good character and be good teammates. Unfortunately these kids choose to not follow good advice and instruction, but they choose to learn some lessons the hard way. (see reference above) While we as fans are disappointed, this situation is just another incident of young people learning valuable lessons. Like I tell students every year, "if you chosse to break the rules then you are also choosing to accept the consequences for your actions." I think the extension of this lesson is can the rest of Buckeye Nation learn from this incident and move forward? Because kids make mistakes and learn from them, can their teammates, coaches and administrators learn too. In my experience, this is one of those times when we can say "we'll evaluate what has occurred and not make that mistake again." While there will be a heavy price to pay for the Buckeyes, I believe they will be back.
I was very impressed by the first press conference by new Buckeyes Coach Luke Fickell. I know he was very well coached and prepared for how to answer the media's questions, I like the "all in" philosophy the was using. If the team can all buy in to this philosopy, and do a little more monitoring of each other and use peer pressure to keep those who may be looking to stray in line, I think the Buckeyes will be just fine.
As our three daughters get older, I have also observed that I continue to use the same statements with them, that my parents used to use with me.... While all three of our girls are doing wonderful things, I still continue to be reminded of the things my parents said to me when I was young, that I am now saying to them :)
Thanks mom and dad for the great advice and also for allowing me to learn the lessons that I needed to "learn the hard way" and not putting me down for it!! I appreciate the things that you have done to help me become the father that I am today. (with Father's Day coming up this Sunday, it's a good time to thank my dad).
Even though This phase of my life is quickly winding down, I find myself continuing to learn and enjoy the new opportunities in education. With advances in technology and social networking, learning opportunities are amazing. While the system of education is very slow to change, we must embrace the opportunities available to us. Having lessons and lectures recorded and available to students either before or after the class period is a new concept, but what can be better for students than having the opportunity to be at home or at school and be able to go online and open this morning's math (or any other subject) class and watch the lesson step by step? Seeing the teacher's examples as they write them on the board, hear the teacher's voice as they expalin the steps, and be able to pause, rewind and review again as necessary.
Wow what a powerful tool that is!
For parents to be able to sit down with their children and see the same information, it will enable the parents to have a "refresher" they may need to remember the things they need to remember to help their child.
I also like the idea of turning the classroom inside-out (or upside-down) and having the lecture/lesson recorded and having the students watch the information prior to coming to class and then using the class time for the teacher to assist the students as they work on problem solving in class. (Just another observation of where we are going in education)
Thanks for reading my ramblings, feel free to comment if this has stimulated any thoughts....constructive criticism is welcome :)
Happy Father's Day to all the dad's out there including my dad Dave Loomis!!