If you are on social media this week, you have likely stumbled across the hashtag #OneWord2017. Jon Gordon (@), Dan Britton (@), and Jimmy Page (@) wrote the book One Word That Will Change Your Life to inspire us to simplify and focus on just one word for the year for clarity, power, passion, and life-change.
Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m all for simplifying things when I can.
So, I am accepting the one word challenge and encouraging you to do the same. After much thought, deliberation, discussions with my spouse, deciding and then changing my mind, I ultimately came back to one of the first words that came to mind.
I am a faculty trainer and educator. My job is to teach information and skills with the initial goal of improving teaching and the ultimate goal of improving our students’ learning.
But, I must do more than teach. I must model!
In addition, I truly feel that it is my job to move beyond the information and skills to inspire the affective domain of teaching and learning! But, the affective concepts are often abstract and messy. All the more reason to model!
So the question is this: am I modeling what I am hoping my learners, and ultimately their learners, will embrace?
Our learners are watching us — zooming in on our actions! They will believe our actions over our words. What we do is more convincing and even more powerful than what we say. We must not only talk the talk — but we must walk the walk!
This year, my goal is to model in several areas.
Throughout my own educational coursework, there was nothing more frustrating than a teacher who did not model the skills being taught. I can clearly remember sitting in an educational theory classroom in college while my teacher discussed how to respond to learners who answered questions incorrectly during classroom discussions. He stressed the importance of not negatively dismissing an incorrect answer and moving on quickly to the next learner, and then he asked a question of us. (I cannot recall the question he asked, and it really doesn’t matter at this point.) I confidently raised my hand to answer his follow-up question, which I apparently answered incorrectly, only to have him curtly respond, “Not right. Anyone else?” Grrr!! During my workshops this year I will work to model the skills I am teaching so that the learners in the room can see the skills in action. I hope that my learners will appreciate this and do the same in their own classrooms.
Sitting in many classrooms over the years, I often learned more from a teacher who thought-aloud in order to model her own thought processes, trouble shooting, discovery, and learning. I also learned much from my teachers’ curiosity. When teachers position themselves as one who still has things to learn, as one who is curious beyond the course materials and selected authors’ opinions, this can encourage our learners to also be curious, to think beyond what is presented, to take those extra steps to dig deeper. This, my friends, is when true learning takes place, and it is exciting! This year I will not stand before my learners as an all-knowing expert in the room but will model curiosity beyond what we collectively do know. I hope that this will encourage my learners to also be curious enough to dig deeper.
In my opinion, teachers should care for their learners; but, what does that look like? I must model caring and even empathy for the learners sitting in my workshops and learning communities. I must get to know them, understand their needs, focus on their strengths while helping them improve. I must care why they are attending my events and ask what they hope to gain. I can often get so geeked up about a topic I have spent countless hours researching and preparing for that I lose sight of the learners who are there! This year, I will slow down and take time to model caring for my learners. I hope that they will appreciate what they gain and want to do the same for their own learners.
Enthusiastic teachers encourage enthusiasm within their learners. I love all aspects of education. It is my passion. It is what I wake up at night thinking about. It is what drives me to learn more. I am naturally enthusiastic (and admittedly a bit geeky) when it comes to learning more about education and helping other educators learn more about education. This year I will continue to model this enthusiasm. My hope it that others will see this and want to be involved in what I am offering.
Model is my #ONEWORD2017. I encourage you to choose and share your one word – and I encourage you to model this process with others!
What is your word?