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!

Friday, May 18, 2012

MAC Wimba week 3

As usual, I was unable to attend this week’s Wimba session due to work commitments. My wonderful cohort members Shrav Krishna and Tricia Slechta kindly agreed to meet with me in a Google+ hangout for our own mini Wimba share session. A screencast of the event can be found below.

I really enjoyed having the chance to hear about Shrav and Tricia’s projects; I remember when we were all in the planning stages of AR, and it’s fun to see how far we’ve all come. Shrav and Tricia offered some invaluable feedback on my leadership document about my experiences flipping my physics classroom. I took Shrav’s suggestion that I refer back to Salmon Khan’s “humanizing the classroom” comment in my conclusion to the document, and Tricia and I discussed some of things that I would do differently, given the chance to implement a flipped classroom all over again. Thanks to Tricia and Shrav for their insights!

Week 3 Leadership project hub

Now that my implementation of the flipped classroom model is complete, I’m anxious to share my findings with the world! I plan to submit my leadership document to The Science Teacher, a peer-reviewed journal by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), and Research in Science Education, an international journal featuring scholarly science education research. Both publications feature informational articles aimed at science teachers who are attempting to improve their practice. This is exactly the sort of audience I hope to reach.

Reaching this point in my leadership project has not been trivial! In my week one leadership post, I explained my thought process in deciding to write a journal article instead of planning a presentation. In my week two post, I considered in which journals I would attempt to publish.

My leadership project document summarizes the literature review, implementation process and findings based on my implementation of the flipped classroom. 

Please note: Neither this blog nor the author is in any way affiliated with NSTA or Springer, the publisher of Research in Science Education

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Week 3 reading post: Art of Possibility chapters 5 to 9

Image from Clipart Mojo
I was very happy to find that Benjamin Zander revisits his notion of the “silent conductor” in the earlier part of this reading. (I say revisits because we were first exposed to this idea during his TED Talk on music and passion.) During the TED Talk, I was struck by his comment that a powerful conductor is one who can inspire greatness in his musicians; that the conductor’s success is not so much measure by what he does, but by what others do under his leadership. This idea extends easily to the profession of teaching. The most successful teacher is the one who inspires the greatest work from his students. And, I see the connection between conducting and teaching even more prominently, in fact, in my action research project that focuses on the flipped classroom. The overarching goal of flipping is to make the classroom more student-centered than teacher-centered. Zander describes how implementing small changes like allowing the orchestra members to contribute their insights to his musical interpretations made them feel empowered and valued. In the same way, I hope that flipping my classroom will enable me to work with and hear from more of my students, so that they see the material as more approachable and relatable than they might otherwise feel in a lecture-based class.

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

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Week 2 Comment on Bill Harris’s The Art of Possibility chapters 1-4 post


I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post this week on the opening chapters of The Art of Possibility. I think that your observation that the book is really more about shaping the world to your vision than it is about bending reality is right on point.

I suspect that the feelings aroused in your former student are, unfortunately, quite common among new college graduates. I consider myself very lucky that I found teaching—a career that I find very gratifying—early in life. Many friends my age feel lost in the jobs that they do every day, feeling that they are somehow missing out on something greater. While some of their discontent might genuinely come from dissatisfaction, I imagine that much of it originates with a sense of insecurity, a sense that they have failed according to some standard that they, ironically, had no part in creating. It sounds as though you and your former student had a really productive conversation; I hope that it reached her.


Bill’s post

I do not think the book addresses how to bend the world to your will or even about what to do when the world around you opposes your vision of what could be. I think it’s about how to take control of your life and shape (not bend) the world to your vision of what could be within the realm of your influence. So far, I’m enjoying the book and will more than likely read it again at a more leisurely pace.

Amazingly enough I encountered a situation on the day of this entry in which I was able to share the Zanders’ enlightened wisdom by consulting a former student. I had responded to a phone message in my office to return a call to one of the school districts I served. The voice on the other end answered with the standard polite greeting of the office title, her name, and “may I help you”. I thought I recognized the secretary’s name but thought to myself, “Nah! This couldn’t be one of my former students who I taught in middle school and now working at a district office. I’m not that old!” Well, it was and she recognized my name and voice. After addressing the business of the call, she politely asked me if I minded if she asked me some questions about career, being successful, and the disillusion of education as a means to “get ahead”. She expressed how disappointed she was that after receiving her bachelor’s degree, her masters, work experience in many human-service related areas, and a minimum wage salary, she has nothing to show for it. She did not feel successful. Having read the first few chapters of The Art of Possibility, I asked her by whose standards did she feel unsuccessful? I explained to her as Zander puts it, that her thoughts and actions…where reflections of the measurement world. I explained to her that that meant she was living up to the standards of the world and not hers.

In the “Giving an A” chapter Zander gives account of his use of the giving an “A” to a group of music students at the beginning of the course and tells them to earn it they must explain in writing how they earned the “A” as if they were telling it in the future. The simple psychology of that says that by imagining, seeing, or projecting yourself into success will cause you to establish a focused goal in which to work toward. Using Zanders section titled “The Practice”, I asked the young lady the questions more or less and she came up with her own conclusions. She was not focused, she had not really set goals for herself, and no one ever told her that she could set her own level of success. In other words she had no one to give her an “A” so she could move to the next level. She did tell me that it was because of my influence in teaching computers that she went on to get her B.A. in Computer Science. If I remember I did her an “A”.

I could go on about that conversation with my former student but then this entry would be so long my readers might not come back. By the way, I’m passing her off to be mentored by some successful women I know and I recommended “The Art of Possibility” for her to read.

Week 2 Comment on Dara Easterling’s Art of Possibility chapters 1-4 post


I enjoyed reading your interpretation of the Zanders’ “world of measurement.” To the reading from The Art of Possibility, you added the notion that we live our lives as though under microscopes, like we are constantly being inspected. What I found most interesting in your analysis was that you pointed out that the microscopes are not always imposed on us by the outside world. You describe “our own personal microscopes” as those which we impose on ourselves—by our constant comparisons of ourselves to other people, and of our accomplishments to other people’s successes and failures. It’s an astute observation, and it made for interesting reading. Thanks! -Kim

 Dara's post

The "world of measurement" on page 15 is a term in the Zander text that has many elements.  From the time we are born till we move on to the next life we are under a microscope.  We are under our own personal microscopes as well as those of others.  When we are young we are trying to figure out what clique we fit with or why we like this person or that person without actually looking deeper at the 'why or how.'  As we get older, we are being evaluated on educational merit for the most part and that determines, in some instances, the professional path that we will take.  They are in the form of standardized tests, college applications, and other quizzes, surveys, and the like.  Then, when we have gotten through all of that we are both looking through and back at that microscope.  We focus on the needs of our families as we perceive them and we are thinking back to previously made decisions that may have been made on impulse and affect us further down the line.  This all is what make life an evaluative process and changes us as people.

Benjamin Zander in his 2008 video used "measurement."  It is not like the measurement I described above but his perception of how the event or presentation was going.  It was just one event in his long line as he described it.  He constantly was making eye contact and going out and mingling with the audience to see if they were focused on what he had to share.  But that doesn't mean that the audience, internally, made connections or build knowledge bridges based on the music and the content.  He also discussed passion, which in my interpretation is a map of what we are, what we like, and where we are going.  That is the road map to possibilities, both seen and unseen.

I think that in bringing in the topics of measurement and possibilities that something new is gained.  We now have yet another dot on our map to try and understand and make meaning out of the long line that we call life.

image-  microscope and people. Retrieved from
Zander, R. S., & Zander, B. (2000). The art of possibility. Boston, Mass: Harvard Business School Press.

Week 2 Leadership post

For my leadership project, I have already decided to write an article for publication in a journal. After an exhaustive look at all the publications in Dr. Bedard’s list, I’ve narrowed down my publication options to The Science Teacher, a peer-reviewed journal by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), and Research in Science Education, an international journal featuring scholarly science education research.

I am a long-time member of NSTA, and I frequently read the articles in The Science Teacher. I would be thrilled to see my description of my experiences in the flipped classroom appear in that publication. The Science Teacher is just one of several of NSTA’s peer-reviewed journals, but it is most relevant to my research because its target audience is high school science teachers.

Before researching possibilities for publication of my leadership project, I had never heard of Research in Science Education. I am intrigued by the idea of reaching an international audience, and I was really interested as I perused the list of articles in its most recent issue. Many of them sounded like articles I would want to read (if I had the necessary subscription!), and so I’ve opted to make Research in Science Education my backup for submission.

Please note: Neither this blog nor the author is in any way affiliated with NSTA or Springer, the publisher of Research in Science Education.

MAC Wimba week 2

The archive for MAC’s week two Wimba session provided a great summary of our previous readings on copyright and fair use, as well as a helpful look ahead at our leadership projects. Although I was not able to participate in the live polls this past week, I found them to be a useful review of copyright. I especially appreciated the fill-in-the-blank summary of fair use. The “Fair(y) Use” video was entertaining and cleverly constructed, but it was a bit difficult to follow for content the first time I watched it for the week one readings; so, the Wimba review was great.

The clarification on the leadership project was also very helpful in Wimba this week. I’ve chosen to write a journal article about my experiment with a flipped classroom model, and listening to the Wimba archive helped me to settle on two potential journals for submission.