Showing posts from November, 2015

Cool, Sexy & Fun! Time to Re-Brand Our Standards

Lately I’ve been thinking about the great American songbook, that collection of standard-setting tunes that have inspired generations, while setting the bar for newcomers. Then I got to listen to some friends perform a selection of those standards for an audience of hundreds; their masterful playing evoked the cool of Miles, the sexy of Holiday, and the humor of Hank. All this has got me thinking: How in the world have we so botched the marketing of what should be learning’s foundation, our standards? To make my point, take a trip with me back to 1983. I was sixteen and living in Oregon for the summer, when I got a call from my then twenty-one-year-old cousin, who offered me tickets to a rock & roll concert, my first, if I could get to Seattle for the show. Forty-eight hours later I found myself walking toward the stage, ticket in hand, stunned when I sat down in the center aisle, a mere 20 feet from the action. And then the lights dropped, the crowd erup

Personalization Won't Work without Standards: Time to Pause for the Cause?

After a good decade of teaching hard, Epiphany #1 : Learning—the enduring, meaningful kind—almost always gets messy fast, going the way of the unexpected, regardless of how hard I work, how well I prepare, and how many resources my learners and I command.  So I began to plan, and put time aside for, the inevitable: my learners and I needing, from time to time, to slow down and determine where we were and why, before we decided what to do next. We came to depend on these time outs to reconnect with each other and re-orient ourselves to where we were headed. Over time, we referred to these time outs as taking a pause for the cause . When my learners and I first started pausing for the cause, everyone felt relief, but then it wasn’t so clear what it was we should be doing to reconnect and re-orient. Make up missed homework? Revise a paper? Catch up on reading? Time, once again, evaporated, and though it had been nice to slow down for a day, we never made enough progress. Epipha