Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Taking the Journey to endless learning...

“I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance.” –Socrates

Socrates continues to have an enormous impact on my life. He leads the teachers that influenced my thinking and the lenses I use to interpret the world. He’s known as one of the greatest philosophers for human kind, even in his own time. He taught or influenced Plato and Aristotle, both men also arguably great thinkers who transcend their era to ours. Consider Socratic Questioning, a highly respected instructional strategy named after the philosopher. The questioning process proves effective for helping expand student thought process. Socrates thinking, called the Socratic Method, was so phenomenal that his peers feared him for the power of how he influenced others to think for themselves. Yet this man believed that he “knew nothing,” that there was so much more for him to explore. And he did so until his death, orchestrated by those who feared him.

This blog exists for personal and professional reasons. My work as an educator drives me to explore many, many ways of teaching and learning. Blogging serves as an instructional/learning tool and a means for personal reflection. I’m not sure what reflections will have value beyond my desire to examine my thinking and, hopefully, grow my understanding. My interests are in ways of teaching and learning that are effective. I know and teach about many systems and strategies. There is so much more that I understand little or am not aware of. So this blog is a way to mine gems, explore undiscovered territory (at least unexplored by me), and experience many cognitive shifts by maintaining open-mindedness.

If there is vanity in publishing my ideas and belief systems so that others might examine what “wisdom” is contained, my hope is to recognize illuminations for what it is, and in that process grow beyond that naïveté. Learning is everywhere if we keep open-minds, and allow for the possibility that knowledge is malleable.

Socrates is a constant reminder to me of living with humility. The adage applies here in that the more I learn, one truth holds…there is so much more that is unknown. Every open ended question answered uncovers multiple questions. Especially in areas of my expertise, the people I teach benefit my understandings as well as from the leading thinkers in and outside the field of education.

This journey will explore concepts and views on education and life in general. For experience is indeed an effective teacher if we are but open to her lessons. My travels will lead to areas that don’t exist in my understanding, and into examining self-beliefs that I as yet do not hold. Perhaps my path will intersect with others, and for that opportunity, perhaps we’ll both be the richer. Throughout this experience, Socrates’ wisdom is my compass and Experience is the two by four for helping me keep perspective.