What a privilege it was to listen to George Couros speak at the This is IT2 2015 Ed Tech Conference (Instructional and Information Technology Inspiration through Collaboration) held in Pipestone, MN. Mr. Couros employed Aristotle’s three appeals – ethos (credibility), pathos (emotional), and logos (logical) as he addressed his audience, which are the key elements to effective writing and speaking. Sorry for the lesson here, but we are teachers and just can’t help ourselves! 🙂 George connected with his audience by sharing his life story on learning and living. He also shared many great videos and quotes on what it takes to be a great educator. Below are our highlights of his presentation:
Be a Champion for Children: George shared this video, and Rita Pierson hits the nail on the head with her TED presentation on human relationships and making connections. Children will not learn from people they don’t like! Apologize. Students will be shocked. Take a few minutes to watch this. It will be worth your time! http://goo.gl/tFkctv
Engage Learners: We need to run away from constant “mind your own business learning.” Educators must engage learners. The big question George had for his audience was “Would you want to spend the whole day learning in your own classroom?” Boom! Self-reflection at its best! Go on…answer that one very honestly! Whether your environment is a classroom or office setting – consider it and walk a mile in another learner’s shoes. Whatever your answer, just remember to engage your learners – your people!
Disrupt your Routine: What are you changing in your routine to innovate? Just this last week in a Junior Achievement lesson, we discussed innovation with 4th grade students. Innovation is to improve upon something. We aim to do this in our work and play each day. Thinking about our daily routines, what can we do to change it up just a bit? No one wants to be bored in the classroom – teacher or student. Consider integrating technology that will change the teaching and learning process. Innovate to further create and be better than yesterday. We owe our ancestors a great deal for the lives that we have today. Let’s not disrespect them by becoming stagnant. Get out of your comfort zone and try something new or take a different approach today.
Change your Mindset: It’s not about skillset, it is about mindset. Change your thoughts and way of thinking and change the outcome. According to Dr. Carol Dweck, author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, “school cultures often promote, or at least accept, the fixed mindset. They accept that some kids feel superior to others and feel entitled to pick on them. They also consider some kids to be misfits whom they can do little to help” (p.169). Okay – maybe we are getting off topic here – we will revisit bullying another blog, but think about it. Mindsets shape how we think and who we become. Change yours and see the world from a different perspective. It does not have a to be a world where it is you v. technology.
Embrace Technology: We’ve always told our teacher candidates that technology is one instructional tool they can use while teaching. So when George said “technology is more than just a tool” we paid attention. He went on to explain that technology is a way of life for the kids of this generation so we should at least try to understand their world. George’s dad, who could not read or write very well, started to use email. It changed his world. His dad also started to Skype. This dad wanted to be part of the technology world because that is where his son was. Shouldn’t we do that for our students too?
Stay Calm & Lead On!