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Man They

Man They

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Published by: api-3750208 on Oct 18, 2008
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03/18/2014

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L e a rn in g a n dte a c h in g
W here does E instein's concept of learning about "service of our
fe llo w m a n " e n te r in to o u r d is c u s s io n s a b o u t s tu d e n t a c h ie v e m e n t?
B y G e o rg e M a n th e y
M
y w ork
as an instructional leader w as trans-
fo rm ed
by an "A ha!" that sprang to m y con-
sciousness w hilea student in C arolyn D ow ney's
w a lk th ro u g h
w orkshop. W hen
I a tte m p t to e x p la in
th is
tran sfo rm atio n
I 'm
em barrassed, because it seem s now
s o
p a te n tly o b v io u s . It w a s sim p ly , a n d p ro fo u n d ly , th is : c o n -

c e n tra te o n th e s tu d e n ts , n o t th e te a c h e r, w hen observing in classroom s. W hich, w ith m y a p o lo g ie s to th e e d ito r, is w h y I m u s t o p in e th a t th e th e m e o f th is m o n th 's

L e a d e r s h ip is backw ards. W e should stop

using the phrase "T eaching and learning" and start using the phrase "L earning and te a c h in g ."

H aving confessed that I used to put the
te a c h e r's a c tio n s a h e a d

o f th e s tu d e n ts ' le a rn in g s , I m ig h t as w e ll re v e a l a n o th e r personal lack of insight. In O ctober or N o v e m b e r o f m y first y e a r o f te a c h in g ,

I s u m m o n e d th e c o u ra g e to ask a c o lle a g u e , " W h a t s h o u ld th e s tu d e n ts b e le a r n in g ? " I re a lly h a d v e ry little id e a , e v e n though I'd been teaching away and everything, basically, seem ed to be going pretty w ell.

In 2005, of course, there's a pretty easy answ er to that question, "W hat should students be learning?" W e can ju s t p o in t to th e sta te c o n te n t s ta n d a rd s , n e a tly a rra n g e d b y c o n te n t a n d g ra d e le v e l: th o s e a re w h a t s tu d e n ts s h o u ld b e le a rn in g ! A n d , th e y a re , b u t a re th e s ta n d a rd s w h a t o u g h t to com e first?

A lbert E instein w rote in 1954 of w hat he considered an
e v il o f m o d e r n life \u2014

th a t th e " in d iv id u a l feels m o re th a n e v e r d e p e n d e n t o n s o c ie ty , b u t it is n o t fe lt in th e p o s itiv e sense, as an organic connectivity or a sense of security, but

A lth o u g h it m a y b e c o n s id e r e d a r a d ic a i th o u g h t in th is a g e o f a c c o u n ta b ility , it o n ly ta k e s

a c u rs o ry g la n c e a t h is to ry
to s e e h o w th e o r ig in s o f
A m e r ic a n e d u c a tio n c e n te r
o n th e c o n c e p t o f s e r v ic e .
ra th e r m o re as a ty p e o f e n d a n g e rm e n t to h is n a tu ra l rig h ts ,
o r e v e n h is e c o n o m ic e x is te n c e ."
A nd he suggested an antidote: nam ely, an
" e d u c a tio n
g e a r e d
to w ard
s o c ia l g o a ls . A lo n g s id e th e

d e v e lo p m e n t o f in d iv id u a l a b ilitie s , th e e d u c a tio n o f th e in d iv id u a l a s - p ire s to re v iv e a n id e a l th a t is g e a re d to w a rd th e s e rv ic e

o f o u r fe llo w

m a n , a n d th a t n e e d s to ta k e th e p la c e o f th e g lo rific a tio n o f p o w e r a n d outer success."

W here
does learning
about "service
o f o u r fe llo w

m a n " e n te r in to o u r d is c u s - s io n s a b o u t le a r n in g a n d te a c h in g ? Is it a topic discussed at collaborative curricular m eetings or in our discussions of test score results \u2014

I m e a n , s tu d e n t a c h ie v e m e n t? A lthough it m ay be considered a radical th o u g h t in th is a g e o f a c c o u n ta b ility , it only takes a cursory glance at history to see h o w

th e o rig in s o f A m e ric a n
e d u c a -
tio n c e n te r o n th e c o n c e p t o f s e rv ic e .

" T h e h ig h e s t p rin c ip le s fo r o u r a s p ira tio n s a n d j u d g - m e n ts a re ... a v e ry h ig h g o a l: fre e a n d re s p o n s ib le d e v e l- o p m e n t o f th e in d iv id u a l, so th a t h e m a y p la c e h is p o w e rs freely and gladly in the service of all m ankind" (E instein, 1 9 5 4 ). Such an idea provides an expanded context to the

p h r a s e , n oc h ild le ftb e h in d .
A ha!
\u2022
E in s te in
q u o te sfro m :
E in s te in ,
A lb e r t,
1 9 5 4 ,
"A n Ideal of
S e rv ic e to M a n k in d ,"
r e tr ie v e d fr o m
th e " T h is
I B e lie v e "
W eb
s ite m a in ta in e d b y N a tio n a l P u b lic R a d io .
G e o r g e M a n th e y is a p r o fe s s io n a l le a r n in g e x e c u tiv e fo rA C S A .
N ovem ber/D ecem ber 2005
2 3

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