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Posts Tagged ‘holistic

I get what this tweet is trying to say: Do not let someone else’s non-constructive negativity get to you.

However, the illustration about losing $10 or 10 seconds is an illogical comparison. The issue is not the number, it is the value of what is lost.

The $10 might be the cost of a sentimental item, e.g., a cheap bracelet charm that is the only reminder of a lost loved one. The 10 seconds might have been a short tirade against your ability, race, or value system.

So try as you may, you might not be able to compartmentalise your emotions from your logic.

Many in the realm of schooling and education like to talk about holistic approaches, and yet they are guilty of separating feelings from fact.

We learn only what is meaningful or what we hold dear. These are often tied to emotions like great joy or sadness. Do not take my word: Read up on socio-emotional learning.

We should not muddle with numbers or create unnecessary silos. These oversimplify to the extent that they are not just unhelpful. They are harmful if we take them at face value, internalise them as values, and exhibit them as unquestioned behaviours. We owe it to our learners to be better than that.

Over the last three days of the June school vacation, my son returned to school for a leadership camp. A vendor conducted the event and gave it a theme: “Eagles leading the way”.

Surely that sounds good and I should have nothing to complain about. If you think that, you do not know me very well.

Eagle species tend to be solitary creatures. You are unlikely to see one eagle leading other eagles in some flight formation. You definitely will not see eagles leading other birds. The only time and place you might see eagles leading might be in a cartoon.

I kid you not; I am taking this seriously. As an analogy, the theme was not just inappropriate, it was inaccurate and irresponsible.

Gimme a V by hjhipster, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License   by  hjhipster 

A more accurate bird example might be geese. But a theme like “Taking turns to lead the way like geese” is not catchy or glamorous.

Nonetheless, that is what all the kids attending the camp were learning to do: To become better leaders by taking turns to lead depending on what they were good at and what their responsibilities were. This was a collaborative form of leadership.

The vendor could have come up with a better theme or analogy. It had the responsibility to do so.

My beef is not just the poorly selected theme. It is the frivolity with which people who think they are educators or para-educators approach their work. They might not realize that if we want want holistically-developed children, we need teachers who teach holistically first.

The eagle analogy reeked of lazy thinking. I would describe that sort of modelling or teaching as hole-istic. It is incomplete and easy to see through.

I am not saying teachers should be perfect in every way. But they must realize that they teach more than content. They also model values and thinking. If they are not sure about a some piece of information, a value, or a way of thinking, they should not fake it. Such weaknesses are more easily caught by their learners than they are taught.

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