Tag Archives: education

Meditation Insight

A short note here (possibly related to the previous post): Something happened to me this morning during meditation….

For the past 3 Sundays, I’ve been gathering at the dharma center in my neighborhood for meditation. As a 9-year practitioner of yoga, I’ve always been drawn to meditation, and there have been stretches of time where I’ve had a consistent practice. As part of my New Year’s resolution to “PLAY,” I’m trying to get back into the groove–the ever playful groove–of a consistent meditation practice. So, I’ve been going to the dharma center on Sunday mornings.

This morning I did not feel well. I felt groggy, tired, sad, and my eyeballs literally ached. Meditation was my salve and I comfortably slipped into contemplation, probing my sadness and my crankiness. And then something happened: I got an idea.

This idea crept up my spine and made the hairs on my neck stand at attention. Then idea seized my whole body, inside and out. Write a book about education, it said. Take everything you know, every experience you’ve had and pull them together. Take the knowledge from your M.A.T. program. Take your 5 years in the technology industry. Take the books you’ve read–Punished by Rewards, Me 2.0, The World is Flat, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, etc. Take your experiences teaching–teaching theater to children in hospitals, teaching yoga to teens and adults, teaching literature and writing at the high school and college levels. Take your experiences in nature. Take what you know and what the world needs and write about about how education, at every level, needs to change to meet the urgent global demands of the 21st century.

This insight lightened my heart. I savored this insight. Then meditation ended, and I went home.

And then the doubt sunk in.

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My Brand of Education

I’ve been thinking deeply about my teaching, which isn’t unusual, but I’ve come to the point where I think I need to write about my teaching. Namely, I need to write about my vision for my teaching. In doing so, I will also be writing about my “brand.” Or niche. Or pedagogical oeuvre (comme vous voulez).

(This quarter, I’m teaching a class on “personal branding”; hence, all the references to my “brand.” I’m sure I’ll explore the idea of “branding” in more detail in subsequent posts.)

I believe that education is a consciousness-raising experience. Education enlightens us. (Yes, education, as in “school,” also socializes and indoctrinates us–in ways good and bad). At its core, education, or learning something, changes who we are as human beings. When I learn a new skill or a new way of thinking, I am forever changed by that learning. Education asks us to look at who we are and move beyond that; in other words, we have to be self-aware in order to learn. To put it yet another way, education necessitates that we change the way we do something and everything. To make that change, you have to be aware of how you currently do things. Enter self-awareness or consciousness.

Writing demands awareness. In the idea-generating, note-taking, brainstorming, and drafting stage, we need to silence our inner critic, but this doesn’t mean we are not aware. As writers, we do need to notice our thoughts; otherwise, those thoughts might not ever make it down on paper. Once we get the fresh skeleton of our ideas down, we can go back through to chop and tighten. This process likewise requires awareness; we need to honor and attend to the words and be mindful of what fits and what doesn’t. Easier said than done. I try to introduce these ideas to my students. Easier said than done.

I still haven’t found a way to teach the way I want to. Part of my frustration stems from institutional constraints and from setting. I don’t know that an academic environment is best fit for me and my teaching. In a nutshell, I’m interested in combining my passions for nature and writing with my interest in consciousness-raising education. Again, not sure what this looks like, but I’ll keep you posted.

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