Archive for June 2006

Knowles, Garcia and Jesus

June 30, 2006

I don’t think its unkind of you and maybe you are tired and grumpy. I am not necessarily an apologist for Knowles, although I have great appreciation for him as one of my early teachers (through his writings). He died about ten years ago and his editors and “co-authors” keep the text in circulation because it is an important contribution. The key to understanding Knowles, I think, is to understand the era in which he inititally proposed his model. He began teaching and writing in the 1930s and at the time he was on the cutting edge.

I suppose many competent and well informed educators of our era would say he is somewhat passe, being surpassed at the present with general constructivist view of learning, which subsumes his work, in my view.

I’m reminded of that classic Grateful Dead tune, Box of Rain (Hunter and Lesh) with the line in the chorus,

Believe it if you need it,
if you don’t just pass it on

Discussion in this forum about the balance of responsibility between the teacher and student for learning is a stimulating one. Each of us will ultimately be “in charge” of our own learning and will choose to accept and grow, believe and learn or pass it on. However, I’d like to think that each of us as part of our local and global learning community has a responsibility to one another to encourage growth and understanding. Obviously, those of us in roles as educators have a duty (imho) to help our charges grow and understand. So, while I know that each of you has a choice in each moment, each session, each course and each degree program you participate in, I also know that I have the responsibility to help you choose.

As a follower of Jesus who happens to be an educator, I believe I have been charged with the task of blessing my students through my choices, actions and commitments. Will I choose to be faithful to that charge? Am I willing to sacrifice my personal agenda, biases and pride to bring the blessings of hope, knowledge, wisdom and encouragement to my students? Am I willing to meet my students where they are at, to learn about who they are, their cultural background, their interests and concerns? Will I push out of my comfort zone of certainty, past accomplishments, title and professional position and admit that my students will teach me far more than I can teach them? Am I willing to humbly admit that I can learn and must learn each day from each one I meet?

I awoke this morning from a dream. In the dream I was in conversation with a man and all I remember was the man saying something about a crucible. I am not entirely sure what a crucible is, but I seemed to remember that is had something to do with processing metal. Then I remembered that there was a proverb about a crucbile. During my morning Bible reading time I tried to locate the verse through the use of an abridged concordance. I gave up and said a prayer, “Lord I would like to know that verse”. I opened to Proverbs 17 and verse three was circled in my bible:

The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold,
but the LORD tests the heart.

After doing a brief review of my current knowledge of processing metals, I realized that the message of this proverb is that in the same way heat is used to process metal for the purpose of purifying and preparing for use, the everyday challenges, conflicts and learning situations of life are used by Jesus, our Present Teacher ( a Quaker descriptor) as opportunities for us to be prepared for life.
Sorry for the rambling lecture, friends, I hope its not overburdensome to you. Keep up the good work. The thoughtful interactions that are occuring in this course space are nourishing, challenging and stimulating.