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Sunday, December 11, 2016

Teaching/Learning Well: Advice?

Over the years, I have received advice about countless situations and actions. Sometimes I'm able to take the advice right away, and sometimes that advice sits in the mind's waiting room until the time and inclination arrives when I am able to really hear and act on the advice.

Years ago as I walked the schoolhouse halls, an administrator gave me a piece of advice. I knew it was good advice, but there was no way that I could act on it at that time due to a large number of factors. Therefore that advice sat in the mind's waiting room for a couple of decades Only this week was I able to truly embrace the advice and begin to embed that advice into my practice.

Why the wait?

Would I have profited if I had taken the advice earlier?

The truth is that the advice had to sit in the mind's waiting room because there were too many other events and actions that took precedence, events and actions that significantly and positively affected my life and the lives around me. Essentially the advice given related to an area of life that fell into the extra or enrichment area whereas the efforts at hand at that time fell into the basic needs area--the events and actions I had to complete in order to take care of myself and those I love.

As I think about this situation, I'm called to think about my students. How often do we offer advice to a student who doesn't take that advice? Do we make the extra time to help the child take the advice and embed that advice in his/her actions? Do we offer advice to students' parents too, and do we find that they don't take the advice. I remember that teachers offered me advice for one of my children once, and I simply could not take the advice due to time and money--I didn't have enough of either to meet the recommendations of the teachers, and because the advice lie outside of basic needs and essential acts/efforts, I had to let it go.

Way back when that administrator offered me the advice, the administrator could have helped me make the time to take the advice. That administrator could have sat down with me, taken an interest, and worked with me to get better. Yet, I was an adult and fully able to take the advice myself, but similar to the situation with my child, time, basic needs' efforts/action, and money obstructed my ability to do that.

Now I can act on that good advice of many years ago. In fact, I'm excited about traveling down a new learning road, one that will support good living, loving, and teaching. I know this path will benefit the work I can do with and for others. I look forward to sharing my learning with others too as I believe it will support their good efforts and work too.

Further, this lesson has taught me about the advice we give. If we really care, it's not good enough to simply give advice. Instead we have to coach and mentor our students along with the advice by being there to help those students embed the advice in their learning and efforts. It's not enough to simply tell a student what to do, instead we have to use a multimodal approach so that child learns how to turn that advice into advantageous action and effort to make positive differences in his/her life.