i was talking to a colleague this morning and in the course of our discussion of differentiation/secondary teachers i found myself pondering the following question…should i be in the business of changing peoples’ minds? i suppose that question has 2 layers. the first is a supposition that professional development is a business that changes minds, which the question would be merely do i belong in such a profession. i think the question is larger, meaning that it doesn’t presuppose anything about professional development, rather it questions to function of someone who makes their living providing professional learning opportunities.
*sidenote: perhaps a post for another time, but how different are professional learning and continuing education college courses? what should the difference be.
back on track: i don’t want to change anyone’s mind. if the discourse we engage in happens to trigger a shift in the way they think, wonderful. if a teacher arrives at some sort of truth alternate to the way they had been functioning as a result of a session, super. either way, i’m not making it my goal to change a person’s mind even if i know that they are not using best practices in the work they are doing. i do like the idea of recognition. it’s kind of like the way we eat. most of us can recognize what is good to put in your body and what is not, regardless of what we choose to eat. we are able to recognize a healthy lifestyle even if we choose not to live one. i remember a few very sad times when i was in the classroom and was talking with a fellow teacher about what i am doing and they admit they ‘used’ to be like that but they have gotten too old, or offered some other reason as to why they don’t do what they know is probably a more effective way to teach. it really is sad, but if i stick to my previous statement then the recognition i seek is present in that individual.
perhaps recognition is a curse then? is it a greater crime for someone to knowingly employ practices they they know to be inferior in terms of effectiveness than to not know that at all? in my example of good eating i don’t think we would agree to that. i think we would all prefer someone know what they are doing to themselves, but in teaching we would probably prefer the converse and maybe that is because in that case they are not doing to themselves, they are doing to others.