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Joel Zehring
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I was just thinking about prophecy today... Perhaps God is prophesying though you. It strikes me that a big part of harvesting is asking for the fruit, rather than trying to make a harvest happen with my own effort.
I'm not sure the two options you offer in your question are at odds with each other. I think there may be stages of discipleship like childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. A child disciple might benefit from a spiritual father/mother/brother/sister giving some very explicit direction on hearing and obeying Christ. An adolescent disciple might benefit from a mentor that serves as a sounding board as the disciple tries to discern Jesus's leading and express Jesus's heart. An adult disciple might benefit from a co-worker who approaches Jesus's work and leading from a different perspective. The recent conversation between Neil Cole and Frank Viola comes to mind. At each stage, the disciple is forming and maturing. I don't think there's a point where a disciple receives the stamp of "mature." Also, at each stage, the disciple is fully equipped to obey Jesus's commands and follow Jesus's real-time leading. No pre-obedience training is necessary. At no stage should any mentor presume to take the place of Jesus as Lord in the disciple's life.
Thanks for writing this review. It really got me thinking, and your ideas resonate with some other books I've been reading lately. I'm about six years late to this conversation, but I've just finished Revolution, and posted my own review: http://joelzehring.posterous.com/revolution-book-review Here's my question in response to your post: How should Christians respond to the trend that Barna's research exposes? Of course, I'm assuming that this trend is real and persistent. Is the disease in Western institutional churches so pervasive that the only way to stage a recovery is to significantly diminish the financial, cultural, and spiritual potency of these organizations? Perhaps God is moving in some alternate way to advance his kingdom through less program-dependent means.
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I taught Science for two years, and the experience tilted me toward the discipline for the rest of my time in the classroom. If you do it right, it practically teaches itself. Now that I have a son, I can see the scientific process play out every day as he experiments with his world. I know you'll have a ton of fun. Watch out, though. Arizona tests science in two grades, with more on the way, possibly. Who knows how long it will take to spread to other states.
I agree whole-heartedly, Curmudgeon Bill. Sarah's and Karen's comments also resonate. I set up a DIY interactive whiteboard with a Nintendo Wiimote. The whole set up costs about $100, but I don't use it much. The wiimotes are better used as game pads for internet games.
I would add to any list describing the internet that it's not done yet. It is not a perfectly cooked casserole sitting on the window sill to cool. The internet is a half-baked mish-mash of servers, fiber, copper, radio waves, protocols, services, content, and users. Before we fashion our schools in the image of the almighty internet, let's remember which institution was in existence first. It's not hard to determine the chicken and the egg in this scenario, and the egg may not even be hatched yet. Perhaps the internet as we know it today is just a small stepping stone toward something that we can't even fathom. If this is the case, then we should be growing students and institutions who can act from deep purpose and exercise wisdom, discernment, disciplined thought, and disciplined action, no matter the medium.
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I don't hear much about loving people in education, even on the blogosphere. Lisa Johnson talks about a "paycheck of the heart," as a marketing strategy to reward customers, and I think the principle is applicable to the education system as well. Besides "meaning, increased skill development, and personal satisfaction," I would add that teachers should be rewarded with increased influence over the decisions and direction of the organization. Teachers might not want to be completely in charge, but they might like to contribute to decision-making, and even take on some responsibility for the improvement of the school and even the district. I don't see why admins couldn't pay these teachers a little bit more for their added responsibility, as well. The increased pay could be linked to specific responsibilities and outcomes, rather than vague labels and shifting test scores.
Your question and slide make me think of one of the core challenges of a general education teacher: How can I weave all the random skills and facts from the standards and the curricula into something cohesive and purposeful for students? Can students really aim for the expected outcome of one lesson if they don't know the expected outcome of their entire school experience? At the very least, teachers must cast an integrated vision of who their students might like to become as they learn and grow in class. I'm always working to boil down the philosophies of Math, Science, and Social Studies so that students can imagine how mastering these subjects might promote personal and community success. I also try to model these skills by abstracting them from their subjects and applying them to my daily life. In reality, I'm trying to lead students to learn, rather than just teaching them lessons and moving on.
I wish I had taken more statistics in high school and college. Calculus has proved virtually useless for me in my sixth grade classroom. Arthur Benjamin agrees: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhMKmovNjvc The word "data" has been dragged through the mud recently. It's been politicized to mean multiple choice test scores. I'm really fortunate to work for a principal who recognizes the importance of quantitative and qualitative data. He encourages us to leverage multiple choice test scores, and he also encourages us to share our observations made "in the trenches". He encourages teachers to observe each other and students in other classrooms to find objective evidence that will lead to student achievement.
This VoiceThread conversation has rocked my professional learning world! Bill, your questions and comments have been so interesting and encouraging. Would you consider allowing me to be your padawan learner? The force is strong with you. Also, I am completely humbled by the very thoughtful, individual responses from the DuFours. I'm sure they have about a million other opportunities to promote their books and train educators, yet they have taken the time to consider my questions and answer with tons of insight and references. I pooh-poohed VoiceThread on my blog, but it has been an excellent and compelling platform for this conversation. Despite it's (minor) shortcomings, I find myself planning out the next time I'll be able to check back for new comments and responses. Great work, Bill.
I'm reminded of the post "School of One" on the Teaching Matters blog. Maybe you linked to it here? Anyway, one key insight is this: "Teachers will change practice for each other. In fact, the end of teacher isolation is one of the best promises of the model. Imagine the naturally occurring modeling and mentoring opportunities that could occur when new and experienced teachers work together in these classrooms that offer varied roles for teachers. " The post isn't about PLCs specifically, but the ideas resonate. http://www.teachingmatters.org/blog/school-one