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Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Intersection of Experiences and Ideas: Gruber's Learning Memoir

I zipped through Gary Gruber's book, Seven Decades: A Learning Memoir. Similar to when I read Vilson's book, This is Not a Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, I found both similarities and differences to my own journey as an educator. I enjoyed reading about Gruber's many influences and experiences throughout his life, and was inspired by the words at both the start and finish of the book, word's that capsulate his beliefs.

Gruber encourages us to seek "common vision, common values, and common purpose." He goes on to say that "If we are to succeed in our schools, and elsewhere in our country, we must learn how to build collaborative energy, listen carefully to what is and what is not being said, ask questions that are penetrating and honest, discern the real from the superficial, and help a group move forward with a purposeful, shared vision." These are powerful words that fit well with my educational journey now.

"Common Vision, Common Values, Common Purpose"
Our shared teaching model at fifth grade exemplifies this aim. This effort is energizing and elevating what we are able to do with and for children.

"Build Collaborative Energy"
Our model needs to continue to develop this energy in important ways to further our efforts and depth.

"Ask Questions That Are Penetrating and Honest" and 
"Help A Group Move Forward with a Purposeful, Shared Vision"
This illustrates the center of my work as a writer, thinker, researcher, and educator.

Similar to Vilson, I came to know Gruber and his memoir through many interchanges via Twitter which, for me, is a modern day idea exchange.

His book has given me a narrative to return to as I continue my journey as an educator and my work as a teacher and parent who consults and encourages the journeys of my students, colleagues, and children.

I think it's important for young people to read stories like Gruber's as they consider their own paths in life. Life holds tremendous potential for meaningful journey, and the ability to know and consider multiple paths helps us to find the roads that match who we are and what we want to be.