Helping people develop their greatest selves is an art form…

Day after day, for the last 4 years, I have worked both with individuals and small teams of teenagers, endlessly encouraging them to learn as much as they can in high school. The nature of the school I work at requires teachers to forge strong interpersonal relationships as much of the learning is done one on one. Each individual gets personalized attention. Everyone needs something different at different times in their lives. Guiding people to develop their abilities to the highest level is an art form.

Meeting after meeting, all day long. I have had to facilitate learning though a storm of inquiry. Over the last 4 years, I think that I have just about touched on every subject around. I help through not delivering content (although sometimes this is necessary), but rather foster further learning down a path of inquiry. It has been challenging and also very rewarding.

At the school, I have built such close relationships with some students that we are still reading books together 3 years after they graduate. We are still learning together. And that is ultimately what I try to demonstrate. Lead through example. I myself must be the learning machine; the number one, chief learner. How can I possibly tell my students to do that without me doing it too?

Learning can happen from anywhere. The speed of knowledge CREATION is just phenomenal. The potential of our time is absolutely tremendous. Guiding high school kids through this requires a far different approach than what the current model allows. Change is required. As there is access to literally anything via the web, the role of the teacher must change in being able to facilitate where to go and how to develop the resources, and represent the learning done.

The difficulty lies in having enough time. It is very time consuming to give each person one on one time constantly. Working in groups and teams becomes essential. There is no reason why learners cannot have personalized learning experiences within a group exploring themes. To me, this is co-construction of learning, one of the core values that I have helped develop over the last 4 years.

Most importantly, I have had a big impact on people’s lives. As cheesy as it sounds, I have reached into the future — who knows how high those planted seeds will grow. Teachers need to stop lecturing and start facilitating. Recognize individuals and what they need when they need it.