I have been honored to work with Lithuanian teachers over the last two weeks as we explore Web technologies alongside exemplary instructional pedagogies. Although the traveler’s spirit of wanderlust propelled my preparations for a journey abroad, the enthusiastic nature of the educators I have met tempered that curiosity and refocused my thinking not on the world at large but the challenges and joys of teaching and learning.
Although I am at the front of the class, our practice of exploring digital applications within instructional frameworks has become the teacher. In the position of learner and teacher, I feel heightened sensitivity to the clock’s ticking challenge–so much to do and yet so little time. As one of my educator/students pointed out today, students in the classroom need to learn to extract the essence of thought, ideas, times, places, and people–to take the breadth of what they know and have learned, synthesizing that into a new or creative expression of understanding. And all within the constraints of time’s allotment. Well, maybe not his exact words, but a second translation of his thinking through my lens.
Teachers as much as students need to better hone their skills of extracting the essence. Of course, at times the minutia has value but in the scheme of our vast world, the ability consider with critical reasoning the power of the moment in light of its very context and relationship to the future may be our greatest hope for sustainability. We need model for students the types of thinking and acting our cultures value; we need to build a spirit of wanderlust that support growth in our teaching, in our learning, in our sharing and therefore giving to one another. Thank you, my new friends, for sharing that vision with me.