|The educators who inspire us are all about cultivating the oddballs.|
Bob just alerted me the the latest entry of NPR's Monkey See--it quotes Rian Johnson 's tweet "...the great hope is one day some little fat girl in Ohio is going to make a summer movie where skyscrapers don't fall over like dominoes." The blogger Linda Holmes responds, 'eventually i understood...[that] when i am drowning in the familiar, I am comforted in the belief that somewhere there is a kid who will someday do something different.'
So: break out of the routines that define your comfort zone. As Bob pointed out, this applies to educators too--we're drowning in the familiar: think of the powerpoint slide with too many bullets, the speaker who says, oh i'm going to skip this one. Ugh!
Here's what we believe: learners & teachers alike are aching for something better. The usual advice for this, unfortunately, isn't all that helpful (be learner-centered blah blah blah). Here's some real advice: pay attention to what's criticism and what's feedback. The quotes are from Holmes; the square brackets are mine.
She's brilliant on the difference between feedback and criticism. "Feedback is primarily for you; criticism (in the sense of "a movie critic" or "an arts critic" [or substitute: many medical reviewers]) is primarily not. Criticism is part of an ongoing cultural conversation that's designed to make everybody smarter and better and more thoughtful and to advance the art form itself; it's done even when the creator of a piece is long dead. It's not really for you. Feedback, on the other hand, is aimed at you to make you better, and that's the only kind of feedback worth paying attention to. If you can't listen to it and take it in without your hackles rising, you will never become good. Period, boom, g'bye." [Ok: we are working on this...]
"But! Only listen to it if it's supposed to make you better, not if it's supposed to make you stop. And remember: much of what is presented as criticism or feedback is not about you at all. Some people are just walking around with a mouthful of acid, and they spit it at you because you're there. You will know them by their tendency to spit acid at everyone indiscriminately and by their inability to love anything as much as they hate everything."
What we think: cultivate your feedback people; they''ll help you push out of your comfort zone to where the magic happens.