Sunday, May 27, 2012

Week 4 Leadership Post: Role model reflection

Jonathan Bergmann's Blog
As a high school teacher working at my own alma mater, I’m in the fairly unique position of having many of my previous teachers as my current colleagues. My situation means that I am constantly in contact with role models for my own personal and professional development. Not to discount the important roles that colleagues play in my life now, I want to step outside my job and point to a role model whom I’ve never met as I respond to this blog prompt. This role model is a man I’d never heard of before starting the EMDT program at Full Sail, but he’s become an important part of my work here. I’m referring to Jonathan Bergmann, one of the co-developers of the increasingly popular flipped classroom model.

Bergmann was not the first teacher to use video lectures to replace in-class lecture presentations, but he and his colleague, Aaron Sams, are largely responsible for sharing their success with the flipped classroom model, and for the model’s growing popularity. Through his blog, Twitter feeds, and conferences, Bergmann has been extremely influential and reached an incredible number of educators. I can only hope that, given my education and learning at Full Sail, I will be as confident and prolific in sharing my ideas and helping other teachers.

Week 4 Comment on Katie Ross’s Art of Possibility chapters 9-12 post


Your post based on this past week’s reading really resonated with me. I, too, have been considering all the things that I can do with the free time I’ll have after graduating from Full Sail. (Planning the time is great, but I fear sometimes I’ll have so much fun planning, I’ll forget to DO!) One of the things I’m most looking forward to is having time to dedicate to some local organizations, including Habitat for Humanity and my local LGBT center, where I can volunteer tutoring services for kids who are looking for safe space after school.  

We’ve all had our lights sparked at Full Sail—by our professors and by each other. Now, it’s our turn to pass on the light. Your blog post was a great reminder of that. Thanks! -Kim

Katie’s post

Excuse me, does anyone have a lighter because I have a light that needs to be sparked!

Over the past 11 months I’ve put a lot of things to the side to focus on school so that I could get the most out of it. I can now say, since I can see the end so close  ( No worries Professor Joe, I’m not taking a break yet)I”ve been thinking what I’m I going to do with all of my free time.  The answer finally came to me over a short vacation last week and it’s, volunteer for the Big Brother Big Sister organization here in Orlando. I want to spread my spark out to children who are just looking for a spark to follow. Who are looking for assistance lighting their own spark. As a small speck on this big universe I always try to give back. However the time has come for me to give back to another person.  The ending of the EMDT program is a great time for me to pick up another life changing torch.

Sometimes in life it’s important to just let things go.  When you can’t change the situation and you can’t make someone see your point of view, and you have done all you can do….you just have to let it go and move on. You can’t life let you pass it by like it did for the husband whose wife had cheated on him.  It’s ok to let things go it brings so much peace to the situation. It also allows for growth to take place, which may even let you see a different point of view.

The framework of possibility is being YOU! When we stand up to right is right and we stand up to people who are doing wrong we are creating the framework. Sometimes that means doing something that you don’t want to do to create a better situation, and other times it’s just speaking the truth.

I believe I have had the pleasure to lift people up to help them do and be more. At times I’ve been lifted up.  One thing that I love is that my husband and I both lift each other up and we also always help push each other towards the next best thing.  This chapter is one reason why I think it’s very important to surround oneself with good people.  It’s important to be around people who you can help make better and who can help make yourself better.

Week 4 Comment on Shrav Krishna’s Art of Possibility chapters 9-12 post


Benajmic Zander’s story about flying cross-country just for a brief meeting with Mstislav Rostropovich. As you put it, Zander clearly knows the powers of persuasion and how to “light a spark” under other people. This anecdote was one of many that made me consider how much like a teacher Zander the conductor must be. He inspires others to do their best, to step out of their comfort zones (remember that he was asking Rostropovich to play a heretofore unseen piece!) and really excel.  

Your post was a great reminder of what I found most meaningful in Art of Possibility. Thanks! -Kim

Shrav’s post

Good evening fellow EMDT cohort and staff,

First and foremost, I'd like to congratulate each and every one of you all that shared your Leadership Document drafts during Wimba on Tuesday night and Wednesday night. I thought you all did a fantastic job, and I am super stoked of the great possibilities in hearing several success stories down the road!

Now onto this week's Art of Possibility blog post. Chapter's 9-12 were simply incredible. I'm going to chime in on a particular passage that I felt was truly profound and was just the type of motivation I needed to hear should I get selected to present my Leadership Project at The Illinois Education and Technology Conference.

Zander is by far the most resilient, confident, gregarious, and focused human being that I have ever in my entire life come to discover. Flying out from Boston to Washington at 8am, JUST for an UNEXPECTED 20 minute meeting to entice the LEGENDARY Rostropovich to play in his orchestra, and fly back to Boston at 12pm with successfully getting the guy to agree??? The man truly knows how to enroll others and light a spark. If that were me, I'd be too busy preparing myself on that flight on how to come across to him. However, I shouldn't need to allow my fear and nerves to beat myself over -- Our universe is ALIVE with sparks and the capacity to make the impossible, possible, so long as we bare passion! First, I wholeheartedly agree with Ben Zander's dad, Walter Zander, that "certain things in life are better done in person". My cohort and I are enormously lucky and grateful to have the opportunity of a lifetime to engage our passions and action research with a receptive audience of likeminded visionaries. To enroll them into adopting our passion, we need to approach them with the confidence that they are willing to get swept off their feet and inspired. We need to speak with the premise of that which would make US be swept away with inspiration. We need to have NO doubt whatsoever that others will love our pioneering ideas. Only then, can we reap the given benefits that were already promised to us from the get-go. Showing up is half the work, if you have the passion for success and change.

Here's an inspirational story I'd like to share. Last night, I was watching Conan O'Brien's talk showConan and we were all pleasantly delighted to engage in a comedic standup routine by up-and-coming comedian, Brody Stevens. It was clear in my eyes that he hadn't had too much experience performing before a huge publicized live audience. However, the man did exceptionally well simply by periodically saying out loud "Yes! Positive ENERGY!". It was an addicting mantra that helped him remain on top of his game. In one of his bits, Brody said that he wanted to get laid -- fair enough. However, he said he'd have a BETTER chance of getting laid after making people laugh through his live standup routine, rather than call up his lady friends via telephone.

MAC Wimba week 4

First off, I really enjoyed the Van Halen video linked to this week’s Wimba session. There were some great reminders in there of our own mortality, and our place in the universe.

This week’s Wimba discussion of Art of Possibility was enlightening. I’ll admit that I was a bit skeptical about the book’s merit at the beginning of the course; it DID feel a bit like all the other self-help books, or “the secret” advice. It did, of course, turn out to be a very pleasant surprise! The Zanders are great writers, and for their book they drew from an incredible breadth of experience and wisdom. Their words made for a wonderful conclusion to all the material we’ve learned over the past year.

Thanks to Mr. Bustillos for the look ahead to month 12!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Week 4 reading post: Art of Possibility chapters 9-12

From this week’s reading assignment, chapter 12 really stood out to me. My first reaction to the chapter was jealousy—I was so envious of those few, fortunate music students of Zander’s who had the opportunity to study under so many scholars in England! After some reflection, I became even more jealous of the scholars themselves, who had the opportunity to meet with students in an informal, ungraded setting, to share their knowledge and insights with an eager audience of pupils. (I realize that Zander’s point in relating this anecdote is not to emphasize the nature of the learning environment; however, as I have recently been asked to consider my ideal learning environment—both for the sake of this MAC course and at the school where I teach, my mind focused on this aspect of Zander’s story.)

I consider myself very lucky to work in the school where I do, where students take their college plans for granted and pursue academic success. Still, I yearn for an educational setting that is somehow apart from the constant struggle over grades, and that allows teachers to define their own standards for student success. Zander’s model sounds like one I’d like to follow!

Zander, R. S., & Zander, B. (2000). The art of possibility [Electronic]. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Week 3 Comment on Kristen McKernin’s Art of Possibility chapters 5-9 post


I agree with your opening point…this is a terrific book to read as we near the end of our program at Full Sail. I was recently talking to a colleague about our teaching schedules for next year. I told her that there was a chance I might only have to teach two preps. (This would be a first for me. Every year since I started teaching, I’ve not only had three preps each year, but every year one of those preps has been a class I’ve never taught before. In five years of teaching, I’ve taught more than eight different courses.) I’m thrilled by the chance to teach only two preps and actually take some time to reflect on those courses and improve them. But my colleague said, “Wow, Kim, so you’ll be done with grad school and only teaching two preps. What will you do with yourself all day?!”

I know that she meant it lightheartedly, but it raised for me the same issue you discuss in your post—what WILL we do with all that newfound time? My hope for both of us is that we move more towards our central selves, and away from the col calculating selves that too often get in the way. Thanks! -Kim

Kristen’s post

This book is really moving me.  I think this book was the EXACT fit to have to read nearing the end of this long journey.  It is really helping me examine my own life and I find myself relating to it almost every page.  I have kept a Word document of my favorite quotes.  I have been so incredibly busy this past year, I have bought my first house and I will have completed graduate school all in the same year.  Both of these have taken up all of my time after work, that I have seemed to "loose myself" in the process.  I have been thinking for weeks what I am going to do next, since I feel like I am not going to know what to do with my time.  I think the next step will be to "find and improve" myself.  I am not unhappy in any way, but I know I can do and be better.  This book is so motivating and is just the right thing to start me on that path!  I especially need to learn to remember the Rule Number 6.  I think that I am going to pass on this chapter to my administration and see what they think about implementing it in our environment.  I think that it would be a great thing to remember throughout our very hectic days.  I have also realized that I need to find my central self because I almost always react with my calculating self.  I over analyze almost everything in my life and go back and forth questioning a decision a million times.  I always try have other people make decisions because I am always afraid I will choose the one that will make someone or others unhappy.  But I guess that leads to learning that you cannot please everyone.

I hope others are finding this book as moving as I am....

Regardless of the changes I would like to incorporate in my life, here are some of my favorite lines that I feel will help me become an even better person:
“Humor and laughter are perhaps the best way we can ‘get over ourselves.’  Humor can bring us together around our inescapable foibles, confusions, and miscommunications, and especially over the ways in which we find ourselves acting entitles and demanding, or putting other people down, or flying at each other’s throats.”  (80)

“When we practice Rule Number 6, we coax this calculating self to lighten up, and by doing so we break its hold on us.”  (81)

“When one person peels away layers of opinion, entitlement, pride, and inflated self-description, others instantly feel the connection.  As one person has the grace to practice the secret Rule Number 6, others often follow.”  (89)

“Mistakes can be like ice.  If we resist them, we may keep on slipping into a posture of defeat.  If we include mistakes in our definition of performance, we are likely to glide through them and appreciate the beauty of the longer run.”  (102)

“Abstractions that we unwittingly treat as physical reality tend to block us from seeing the way things are, and therefore reduce our power to accomplish what we say we want.”  (108)

Downward spiral talk is based on the fear that we will be stopped in our tracks and fall short in the race, and it is wholly reactive to circumstances, circumstances that appear to be wrong, problematic, and in need of fixing. 

“Focusing on the abstraction of scarcity, downward spiral talk creates an unassaible story about the limits to what is possible, and tells us compellingly how things are going from bad to worse.” (108)

“The more attention you shine on a particular subject, the more evidence of it will grow.   Attention is like light and air and water.  Shine attention on obstacles and problems and they multiply lavishly.”  (108)

“Speaking in possibility springs from the appreciation that what we say creates a reality; how we define things sets a framework for life to unfold.”  (110)

“We start from what is, not from what should be; we encompass contradictions, painful feelings, fears, and imaginings, and- without fleeing, blaming, or attempting correction- we learn to soar, like the far-seeking hawk, over the whole landscape.”  (111)

Week 3 Comment on Tricia Slechta’s Art of Possibility chapters 5-9 post


I took away a lot of the same points that you did from this week’s reading!

The story about the cellist who learned to play with passion, enabling him to find a job worthy of his talents, didn’t really stand out for me until the explication of the Beyond the Fuck It rule—after that it stuck! There are so many times when I am tempted to finish something halfway, or leave a task completed with half the effort. I will have to remember that I should move beyond that state of mind and hold myself to a higher standard.

I was surprised when Benjamin Zander wrote that he had mentioned the rule when he visited an all-girls Catholic school and repeated the rule there. I wonder if that was the school where I work; I can definitely see the nun who used to be the head of school adopting that as her motto!

The video that you posted at the end of your comments was really interesting. (You’re definitely a glass-half-full type!) Thanks! -Kim

Tricia’s post

The reading for this week was very profound!  Rule #6 is a story that I would like to share with so many co-workers!  In fact I did.  I went to work the next day after reading the story and a co-worker had to deal with a very uncomfortable situation so I told her the story about rule #6 she loved it!  It made her day much better; she made me a sticky note with Rule # 6 on it and stuck it on my file cabinet and she made one for herself.  My superintendent also enjoyed the story and returned my email stating that he had been sharing a similar story to others earlier in the week.  Rule #6 is a great diffuser. 
The second profound statement is “beyond the fuck it” now that is a little trickier to share.  I appreciate the meaning behind the statement but I just do not feel comfortable sharing that with high school students and my co-workers I am afraid that on Fridays a few of my co-workers may change the sequence of some of those words J Love the idea! We all need to live our life, “beyond the **** it” (sorry couldn’t type it again) Which leads me to my next favorite section of this weeks read the glass half full and half empty.
I feel that I am a person who always views the glass half full so I felt completely validated when the reading said that half full is the physical reality.  I then enjoyed reading about the downward spiral and conversations for the possibility.  I wish teachers would step back and evaluate their conversation style, is it the downward spiral style or where do I go from here.  I think if more educators really looked deep inside and reflected the reason why change is slow in coming is because many have the tendency to be conversing and acting in the downward spiral mode rather than where do we go from here mode.  I know several educators that stay out of the teacher’s lounge because they do not want to be trapped in a downward spiral   conversation and I suppose instead of avoidance they should be the one to go in and turn that downward spiral into an anything is possible.  Maybe it would be easier to just buy multiple copies of this book and highlight certain passages and hand them out as needed!