Sunday, February 1, 2009

What Matters? Part 1: Reflection

Background info: I write blog posts in my mind all the time. I'm a much better thinker-writer than a real, sit down and type on the keys writer. One of my recent "mind posts" has been about what really matters in education. Typical of these free-flowing thought-posts (they are QUITE brilliant by the way), the ideas follow a winding path with many tangents and dead-ends. 
Funny that as I was reading some blogs tonight, also a long and winding road what with all the hyperlinks to click, I stumbled upon David Warlick's recent posts "Should it Matter?" and "More on What Matters," reflections of his after Educon2.1

I also recently read Clay Burell's spot-on post on, "Reading Despite Teaching or How the Hulk led me to Hamlet."  Reading is high on my list of what matters, and Clay has a way of sharing his stories that helps you see clearly the silliness of schooliness.                                                   
Both of these pieces intersected in many places with the thoughts I've been thinking. 
I  feel compelled to add a disclaimer here lest you imagine that I am comparing myself as a writer or thinker to the likes of Warlick or Burell. No, I'm most certainly not. 

But isn't that the beauty of asking what matters? Isn't what matters to me, an ordinary teacher, as important as what matters to those who have risen to the ranks of leaders in education? Isn't that the very essence of web2.0? 
I start with my thoughts about education, based largely on my own experience. I explore my thoughts as I attempt to write a coherent post. As I try to communicate, I find myself in a different place. I never know, when I start writing, where the path will lead. Others can read and respond, draw me out, question me, challenge me, help me along.... I can read the blogs of others, too. It's a different type of experience than reading a book. It's immediate, accessible. I can leave a comment!
These early-stage thoughts that I refer to as my mind-blog-post can be compared to a spring that is hidden underground. As the spring bubbles to the surface, it meets with greater bodies of water, at which point it becomes visible, yet changed as it merges with the river. 
That, to me, is the learning process that I find taking place through this process of writing, reading and interacting through blogs and other networks. 

Now I'm nowhere near where I thought I'd be when I started this post. What do I do? Do I leave it here and write part 2 later? Do I keep going, trying to get back to what I thought I wanted to say about what matters? 
I think I'll opt for Part 2. In the meantime, I want to ask you to think about what matters. What really, truly matters about learning, going to school, educating kids, even being human? There are, of course, no right or wrong answers- just the conversation.

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