Tag Archives: professional organizations

Emotions of Education: A Passion for Reform

Many agree that emotions can rule over all reason and sense. Emotions can also encourage and drive us to achieve enormous feats. They are a power with a wide range of potential. 

Now what if emotions were targeted toward education? I mean, what would be the emotional range that we could learn from?

I can think of three in particular: Pain, Pleasure, and Passion.  These emotions when geared toward education can reveal some surprising insights. For instance: What is it about education that brings us pain? Some are failing grades, tuition, student loans, finding the right schools, filling out entrance applications for our children or ourselves, and so on.   

What about the  pleasures of education? Some can identify with receiving great grades, degrees, diplomas, even ‘aha moments’ from learning something new or seeing someone grow in understanding and perspective.

Lastly,  there is the emotion of passion in education.  This is arguably the most misunderstood.  On one hand, we think about passion as a desire, pursuit, personal calling, or profound interest in an area or discipline.  Along these lines, experiencing passion in education would be a welcomed thing that helps define our purposes and pursuits.

On the other hand, passion relates to endurance. In fact, a Latin version of passion ties to patience and ‘suffering.’  Remember the ole saying: ‘Patience is a Virtue’? Well in this case, patience is having the passion to endure, suffer, and even overcome the circumstances.

Which leads me to a final insight for those who claim to have a passion for education: teachers, school boards, politicians, governments, and learning institutions such as schools, colleges, and universities. 

Can all of them match their desire to pursue education with the suffering and endurance that is necessary  to change it for everyone, especially for those who do not know educational reform and improvement must take place.   

My worry is that many are distracting us with superficial solutions for educational pains, promoting unearned pleasures, while ignoring the most important and emotional impact of advancing a full passion toward a lasting and lifelong education.


What Fantasy-Football and Stock-Investing Have in Common

TouchdownAcross many computers, websites, and smartphones there are millions engaged in last-minute rituals of tweaking fantasy football rosters for gameday. Admittedly, I am one of them.

It is an activity only recently I call a hobby, in small part, due to embarrassment; the other, due to a real passion for winning despite its fanciful ways. Unlike arts and crafts that are relaxing and even therapeutic, the task of managing a fantasy football team can be mentally exhausting, layered with high risks and rewards: From looking at the injury status lists, making game-time decisions, and ‘pooling’ free agents in hopes of getting more points.

I thought about how ‘fantasy skills’ could transfer in ‘real life’ actions.  In truth, I think being a fantasy league player, coach, and owner is quite the same as being a stock investor , securities trader, or portfolio manager. 

For example, researching company’s ‘ticker’ symbols for making profitable returns is similar to a fantasy owner looking at icons for winning games.

So I encourage fellow fantasy players to start stock investing too.
We see commercials from Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade, and TRowePrice and think we need tons of cash to make even more money. Unfortunately, starting with $10,000 accounts simply take some of us “out of the game.”

However, there are a few sites that you can invest as low as $10 a month. I’m not talking specifically about a 401K plan or the IRA (Individual Retirement Account) variety, although these may be helpful as well.

Time for a DISCLAIMER: I’m not an investment consultant or advisor, so you might consider talking to a professional before you act on my advice. But if you are a fantasy league owner, I’m confident you will learn a lot just by checking it out yourself.

These investment sites allow you to forego using a broker and discover how to invest directly:

Computershare:  https://www-us.computershare.com/investor/default.asp?cc=us&lang=en&bhjs=1&fla=1&theme=cpu

BNY Mellon Shareowner: https://m1.melloninvestor.com/mellonone/index.jsp

Some other helpful resources and associations:

Drip Investor:  http://www.dripinvestor.com/index.asp

The American Association of Individual Investors: http://www.aaii.com/

Again, these are opportunities to invest in companies directly and take control of your money as you do your fantasy football team. There are thousands of companies to choose from that ranges from the popular to the less publicized. Of course I wouldn’t tell you which companies to invest, just like I wouldn’t tell you my ‘watch-list’ of fantasy football players.

The point here is that although some may look at fantasy football owners as unproductive, I think you might find stock investing not only as a way to make real money, but also just as rewarding and fun as our Football Sundays.

Looking for a Universal Learning Language

edtechroundup Idea Image

When seriously thinking about Lifelong learning and continuing education, it becomes not an idea just for America, Canada or even Australia, but for the entire world.  But if educators are to consider a global perspective, what is the common language or practice we share? (Especially when we have different cultures, lifestyles, social classes, economics, and all the rest)

What can a professor in Kenya learn from a teacher in America; how can an instructor in Seoul gain anything useful from a trainer in Montreal?

This common language in my view is the very practice of learning and education itself: the activities, lessons, and methods teachers use in education.  We must start to analyze lectures, group discussions, role plays, and demonstrations just like surgical tools in medicine.  All educators as professionals should know in what ways to use a learning method and what level of skill or competence is necessary to perform it. 

This may seem like an easy task, but through my entire experience as a student and an evolving educator, I have yet to see a comprehensive ,well-detailed synopsis of teaching activities and methods with very clear purposes.  Instead what we have seen are professional assessments of teachers’ philosophies, beliefs, and values assuming that once understood, instructors can shape these activities and methods how they see fit….Really?

For example, just because I may know that I subscribe to an educational philosophy, or being a learner-centered teacher with the students’ interest in mind; this does not address my actions. For when I teach, I am no more knowledgeable about what steps to take to ensure my educational philosophy and intentions, or whether they are being met thorough my teaching performance.

Therefore, this blog is to announce my intention to research these activities of learning. Not just as a means of American education, but as a key to establishing a universal language of teaching learning and improving the learning profession.  I know that the major accomplishments of mathematics with its universal symbols will never be challenged, it would be nice to find a way for educators to speak to each other across the world.

Self-Directed Learning in the Sunshine State

Name TagI’m attending the 24th International Self-Directed Learning Symposium in Cocoa Beach, Florida and ON DAY ONE , I wanted to report a few thoughts while it’s fresh.  The symposium is presented by the International Society for Self-Directed Learning www.sdlglobal.com founded by Huey B. Long, who is an author of over 700 articles, books, and book chapters on a variety of topics including self-directed learners. Some other major thinkers in the field who are present: Roger Hiemstra, Ralph Brockett, and Lucy Guglielmino (pronounced goo-yell-me-no, she told me directly!)  

Self-directed learning (SDL) is basically where the learner is “in the driver’s seat” relating to his/her education and exploring options based on personal interests. 

I would argue that self-directed learning is an approach and a subset of the larger field of continuing education. (If you take continuing education to mean both formal and informal learning.)

So, SDL is rooted in a motivation to learn wherever and whenever; at home, school, work, etc.  Today, professional fields such as human resources, business, and even the medical field, are trying to find ways that encourages learners to be more self-directed. These activities go beyond the required instruction directed from a teacher, trainer, and lecturer or mandated by an administration, educational board, or executive leadership. 

One question that interests me: How to promote self-directed learning beyond the individual that is inclusive, interactive, and social in our global and connected world?  Just food for thought…