Thursday, December 18, 2008

Inspiration Redux: Some Things are Worth Repeating

I've recently been asked to do fund raising for the CAGSE Foundation, and I'm finding that speaking to people about learning is challenging when they have never taught -- or at least, have never felt comfortable teaching.

When I worked in Silicon Alley, we always said that all clients think they can write and design a logo for effective branding. Generally, when left to their own devices, clients give you muddled visual concepts and run-on sentences instead.

Talking to non-educators about learning has led to something a little different from this -- although the reaction is similar to that of the people for whom I consulted for PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The standard line: learning is an intellectual exercise.

This Time, With Feeling

Many blog posts ago, I defined inspiration as the meeting point of intellectual and emotional insight. You can't innovate without engagement. You can't learn without it, either. Engagement is as much emotional as intellectual.

The trick to great teaching is to bring your students to an understanding of the beauty, passion, extraordinary nature of what it is you see in what you're teaching.

And students define great teachers with feeling as well. They remember the great teachers they've had by the passion the teachers inspired. The feeling lasts much longer than any particular piece of information relayed.

Do you remember much of what your favorite teacher told you? Or are there one or two "aha" moments that generated the passionate gratitude you feel today?

How much more emotional could a process be? And why do we continue to insist on denying it?

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