What do you believe? And does it matter?

If you don’t know who Mary Hynes is and have never listened to (and nodded with, yelled at, cried to, and questioned) Tapestry, CBC’s weekly radio show and podcast on spirituality, myth, faith, our connections then hop to it. It is inspiring and regularly leads me to question my own beliefs.

A recent article by the show’s host, however, reminds me that belief ain’t all that.

How do people know what you believe without action?
Cliché –> Walking the Talk
Theory –> Theory in use and espoused theory (Argyris & Schon, 1974)

I’m going to point fingers at myself for the sake of illustration here. As well to remind me how important it is to act and not merely believe. It’ll be a mix of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I say I believe in relationship-based learning.

It’s on my cv, I recently created and updated some web sites (LinkedIn, about.me, and others) where it was the first thing I wrote down.

A few years ago I used this blog as a venting venue about students and pressed send before thinking about relationship. I did the very opposite of caring for our relationship.

I have been known to end relationships abruptly. I turn silent, I disappear.

I can go for long periods without returning phone calls or contacting people.

I try to listen for/feel the ‘why’ behind a colleague’s or student’s actions and consider my own actions based on that.

I spend my breaks at work with students: talking, listening, and helping.

I get to know my students interests, goals, and abilities before designing learning and evaluation situations.

After uncomfortable, hinky …arguments… with friends or family I don’t talk about it. Time passes, then we drift back to a certain homeostasis.

I feel hurt and angry when I see teachers do things like yell at students, call them out in front of their peers, apply classroom expectations inconsistently, yet I do not know how to approach the subject with them for fear of creating an adversarial relationship.

So. Though I advertise that relationship-based learning is fundamental to who I am and what I do, I do not always take care of relationship the way I would like to. But I do think it needs to be taken care of and I work each day to get better at this. It’s hard work. Which lets me know that it is worth working at, thinking about, improving. But as it stands, some of my actions fall in line with that belief while others very pointedly don’t.

Another So. This morning I wrote a post called ‘I believe..’. Does any of that really matter? They are things that quicken my pulse but unless they are followed through with action, they are merely words. Belief then, is important as much as it provides a context for action but not so much on its own.

Taking Action

I added a new plugin to Leading from the Heart this morning – ‘Possibly Related Classroom Projects’.

This plugin checks out the keywords of a post and matches them with keywords from classroom projects that need your help from donerschoose.org. It then includes links to those projects at the end of the post.

I initially saw this plugin at work on Clay’s blog, Beyond School, and then saw it again on Social Actions, a network I recently joined (It’s founder, Peter Deitz, is a fellow Montrealer – shout OUT!).

Not believing in coincidences, I knew it was time to check it out further. So here you go. Teachers have great ideas to help children learn and a passion for making them come alive – and can always use help with that. No doubt.

So this is my way of spreading the news about teachers who could use a helping hand. Check out the links below my posts. Who knows, maybe you can help out.

I have an idea brewing for my own use of both networks. Jim Murphy of Wounded Knee Skateboards and I have been plotting all summer to join forces in getting my students involved in raising awareness about aboriginal situations. Some of my students are Mohawk and involved in skateboard culture, so it’s my entry point for them to explore personal and community history. Still at the plotting stages, I’ll definitely be keeping you all posted as it unfolds and, if needed, we will be tapping community resources via Social Actions and Doners Choose.

Click on the board to see the board designs at Wounded Knee Skateboards

Keep an eye on us – we intend to be shaking em up, waking em up…

Ethics or (doing what we do)

Up at the top of this blog has appeared a new little grey box. Right there, next to Home. See it? Today I’m going to introduce you to it – readers, meet ‘Ethics’. Mine.

I’ve been thinking about all of these words I’ve put into this blog, into my comments on other people’s blogs, about which blogs I read and return to again, and again, and again.

What inspires all of this? What am I looking for?

Hope for the future. That’s what it is all about for me.
When I meet/see/do/participate/read/write about actions and people who care for each other as people, who help each other be our best selves – who show each other how we can care for each other.

Who don’t put up with the opposite.
Who stand by their beliefs no matter what.
Who write about them, talk about them
live them.
(caring is biological)

It gives me hope for a future with more caring than we have now.
It gives me hope that our children can learn a curriculum of humanity before and behind any other.

Words are powerful things for me. Once said or read they resonate in me. So I prefer to read and say ones that push toward our best selves. Our ever changing best selves.

Where do I look for them?
Everywhere I can. Lately that is

a new place for me, Here.

So I adapted and absorbed and hold before you my statement on ethics. Read my blog, participate, come visit my classroom (for real) to see more. Read the links above and in my blogroll to see even more.

And answer me this question to help me to understand more:

What are you looking for?

morning hug