I am so lucky to be attending the Games+Learning+Society Conference in Madison, Wisconsin. But before flying to the city between the lakes, I was at the Vermont LEADIT institute, where Judy Harris, Jim Moulton, and I provided staff development and facilitated conversations, around Alan November’s opening workshop and Tuesday evening keynote. It was interesting, to be as non-descript as possible, to watch Alan stir things up, and then the three of us help the participants to crystalize things in his wake. The conversations were quite rewarding for me, and I hope for the participants as November “took them places they had not been before,” to quote a phrase I heard yesterday.
One thing crystalized for me, during those two days, that explains a lot of the turmoil that seems to arrise in my professional life from time to time. It is that we, as educators, and as passionate people, tend to come at this from various valid and crucial perspectives. Three come to mind at this writing that I’ll just list briefly. You can care on the conversation if you like.
- The What: This is the educator who cares most about content. Typically he is the teacher that I was, and in other ways, still am. I loved history. I loved reading about it, thinking about it, and I loved fashioning it into stories to tell my students.
- The How: This is the educator who comes at the process from the perspective of process. This is the pedagogiest. He or she cares about the children and things more about the method of teaching/learning that respects the child and the child’s style of learning.
- The Why: Finally, it’s the visionary. I guess I’d fall into this category now, though I’ve spent time in all camps. But, at present, I suspect I’m more focused on the why — “The future demands this, that, and the other, and so we need to reform education to…”
Unfortunately the three can clash — not because, as a purpose, they counter each other on their own, but because perspective and passion can make them appear at odds with each other. It’s unfortunate, but probably not a bad thing. It’s one way to sharpen our saws.
Yesterday and today, I’m being a conference attendee, learning about Games, Learning, and society. More to come, I’m sure.