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Teaching & Learning: the diplomacy of education

Learning about learning. Assuming goodwill on the part of each constituent, my purpose is to keep the student at the center of a conversation to discuss the puzzles of teaching & learning.

I recently had a conversation with our communications manager.  "What's your angle?" he asked.  I wasn't sure at first how to answer, but he kept talking:  "You seem to have a good sense of what's happening in schools these days and how teachers work to deliver effective curricula."  Yes, I guess I do --  I'm also well aware of the psychological toll struggling students can have on conscientious teachers.  Just as I work from the perspective that "students do well if they can," (Ross Greene) I've known enough teachers professionally to believe that teachers teach well if they can.  And so, I guess, THAT's my angle -- negotiating the expectations and competencies of learners, whether they are teachers or students, so that learning can proceed.  Learning occurs as a direct result of identifying and filling gaps -- of skill, strategy and/or knowledge. Often times acknowledging the gap(s) can be scary, and figuring out how to address them, overwhelming.  BUT this is what I can do!  And, I'm told, I do it very well...

My number one mentor in college, Dr. Gersham Nelson, told me repeatedly that I needed to go into diplomacy.  He spoke about the foreign service and my passion for Latin America, but what I discovered, thanks to my graduate work in educational policy, study in a few Chicago public high schools and classroom work for more than ten years, was that there's plenty of room for diplomacy within our educational institutions. And so, here's my proposal:

 --  Maintain a blog that allows for learning about learning.  Presuming that teachers, parents, students and administrators alike are willing to learn, you are my audience.  As I assume goodwill on the part of each constituent, my purpose is to keep the student at the center of the conversation and to engage in and respond to the puzzles of teaching and learning. I invite you to ask questions, pose problems and/or share ideas that promote perspective-taking and knowledge building.

 Please let me know what you'd like to talk about.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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