Is there really only one way to do it?
Learning goggles refers to the idea that life offers us a plethora of opportunities in which we can learn something new each and every day by observing the world around us. Whether it be through daily interactions with others, books or articles we are reading, obstacles and challenges we face, or those chance meetings with people on the street, there is always something to be learned if we keep our learning goggles turned on.
Being aware of the world around me and taking it all in has allowed me to open my mind and to learn many new things that are immediately applicable in my teaching and in my personal life. As a lifelong learner myself, I am always inspired to learn as much as I can by those around me. I have been extremely lucky to spend the last week in Scotland, playing golf and enjoying the stunning landscape and interesting culture. I am fortunate to have connected with a local golf legend who has contributed so much to golf in this region of Scotland.
His name is Mike Robson. He holds numerous course records, has played with some of the very best European touring pros, and organizes loads of prestigious golf events for young people who visit Scotland from different places around the world. I have played golf every day with Mike this week and amazingly it was Twitter that brought us together.
Golf is such a tricky and technically demanding game. As technology continues to change everything about the world around us, it has had a huge impact on golf as well. Apps and other forms of technology allows golf swings to be broken down and analyzed in such intricate detail. Many players are so caught up in this technology and are in constant pursuit of the perfect golf swing. When you look at current pros from around the world it is difficult to tell one swing apart from another at times as there seems to be just one technically perfect way to swing the golf club.
I'm not going to go into great detail here about the technically perfect way that experts teach how to swing a club. All you need to know is that Mike doesn't do any of that. From his grip to his stance and follow through, he does it all his own way and has done so for his entire career. And never once has it stopped him from achieving excellence.
When I think of a curriculum and all of its subject areas, I see so many amazing ways to let kids flourish. They certainly need guidance and direction, there is no doubt about this. However, I have personally observed all too many times in the past, actions by teachers that stifle uniqueness and emphasize conformity. Mike Robson, a great man and amazing golfer has reinforced within me a need to write about this topic. We must allow young people to be their unique selves and to flourish in ways that best suit their aptitudes and abilities. We must create as many authentic opportunities as possible that emphasize empathy, compassion, and true ownership of learning.
I want you to think about students you have who are very unique and like to do things their own way. Are they able to get the job done? Are they engaged when doing so? Are you teaching them only one way to get the job done or are you allowing them the freedom to get it done their own way? Easier said than done, yes! However, this blog post is just to get you thinking about this topic and evaluating your own stance on it. Would love to hear your comments.