Monthly Archives: August 2011

“Thought Through” not “Fought Through” Outcomes

Sometimes we think we need to fight through a problem or an issue

Sometimes we are almost compelled to ‘not be swayed’ by the thoughts of others

Sometimes we are not able to see the value of the thinking of others

We need to get good at arriving at ‘thought through’ not ‘fought through’ outcomes

 Adults who think interdependently are willing to connect with others while sorting out and developing their own individual thinking.  They are willing to be effected by the thinking of others as their own thinking takes form.  To think interdependently, one must to engage, directly or indirectly, with others who are sharing and/or developing their thinking while your own thinking is emerging and forming.  Thinking interdependently, at it’s best, is a process and a developmental journey not an event.

Reflecting on a career of formal and informal experiences in working with adults has humbled me.  Thinking interdependently competes with many existing thinking habits that are ingrained in to behavior of adults.  The challenges that adults face in today’s world may benefit from people who are willing to think interdependently in interest of serving the common good. 

Instead of looking for saviors,

we should be calling for leadership that will challenge us

to face problems for which there are no

simple,

painless solutions –

problems that require us to learn new ways.

~ Ronald Heifetz

Change_priorities

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Change is situational. Transition, on the other hand, is psychological.

William Bridges the author of Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes explains in the books preface that “change is situational.   Transition, on the other hand, is psychological.  It is not those events, but rather the inner reorientation and self-redefinition that you have to go through in order to incorporate any of those changes into your life.   Without a transition, a change is just a rearrangement of the furniture.  Unless transition happens, the change won’t work, because it doesn’t take.

Whatever word we use, our society talks a lot about change; but it seldom deals with the transition.  Unfortunately for us, it is the transition that blind-sides us and is often the source of our troubles.” 

A work system may change at your employment but unless you make the transition to it you haven’t really embraced or started to own the change.

When a community closes a school building – that is a change.  But, for those that haven’t gone through the transition of ‘letting go’ of the old school they will find it hard to accept their new or reassigned school.

When families move – that is a change.  The transition into the new community may take time.  Some members of the famliy may feel like they haven’t transitioned into their new community quickly enough while others ‘hit their stride’ and feel like they are connecting more quickly.

Change is one thing and transitionis another.  Bridges presents strategies for coping with difficult, painful, and confusing times in your life. Learning more about transitions my be worth the effort. We all face many transitions in our work life, family life and civic life.  

Bridges has another book. Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change is a wonderful book and recommend it highly.  

Transitions_bridges

If you would like to read another of my posts on this topic, please click here.

 

Teachers Impact Comprehension

Research Findings: Children get more out of a reading assignment when the teacher precedes the lesson with background information and follows it with discussion.

Comment:

Young readers, and poor readers of every age, do not consistently see connections between what they read and what they already know. When they are given background information about the principal ideas or characters in a story before they read it, they are less apt to become sidetracked or confused and are more likely to understand the story fully.

Afterwards, a question-and-answer discussion session clarifies, reinforces, and extends their understanding.

Good teachers begin the day’s reading lesson by preparing children for the story to be read–introducing the new words and concepts they will encounter. Many teachers develop their own introductions or adapt those offered in teachers’ manuals.

Such preparation is like a road map: children need it because they may meet new ideas in the story and because they need to be alerted to look for certain special details. Children who are well prepared remember a story’s ideas better than those who are not.

In the discussion after the reading lesson, good teachers ask questions that probe the major elements of the story’s plot, characters, theme, or moral. (“Why did Pinocchio’s nose grow? Why did he lie? What did his father think about his lying? Did their feelings for each other change?”) Such questions achieve two purposes: they check students’ understanding of what they have just read, and they highlight the kind of meanings and ideas students should look for in future reading selections. These questions also lay the groundwork for later appreciation of the elements of literature such as theme and style. When children take part in a thought-provoking discussion of a story, they understand more clearly that the purpose of reading is to get information and insight, not just to decode the words on a page.

 

Teachlike_achampion

This is Amy Shinn Sayers, a public school teacher.  I love her smile and t-shirt!

Looking beyond the horizon into the future

You may be wondering: Where are the people that will get Michigan through its challenges?  I would suggest that we all have a role to play in embracing our challenges.  It is time to engage and be intentional!

Being intentional means to step forward and challenge the status quo, have the ability to look over the horizon of time into the future, and work with others to achieve the common good.

100_2381

P.S. – Please consider subscribing to this blog: Ideas, Thoughts and Collected Works that Might Inform and Influence Others.  I tend to write about 300 entries per year on many topics. If you enjoy what you read here, I’d be really grateful if you would subscribe by RSS or by email.  See the options to your left. intentional means to step forward and challenge the status quo, have the ability to look over the horizon of time into the future, and work with others to achieve the common good.

 

Working for a brighter future

You and I can make the world a better place.  That is not a throw away statement!

Sometimes it is hard to commit: to become part of the brighter future. I think we want to be sure of ourselves.  We want to avoid the messiness of any change (positive or negative) because there are no guarantees. I am thinking the time is now.  Our kids and grand kids deserve a better world to inherit.

There are many ways to help make that “better world”, we can put our energy into: developing a system of a more equitable distribution of wealth, working toward clean air and water, ensuring a safe and plentiful food supply that can feed the world, creating and supporting an array of wonderful and effective educational opportunities for each and every child, creating good jobs with meaningful work and of course, much more.  We each have something we can do today that can lead to that better tomorrow.

We all need to be players in the important work of building a better tomorrow! If you haven’t yet, get involved.

G_and_r_horizon_lk_mi_clouds

Picture by Kirsten Jennings via flickr.

P.S. – Please consider subscribing to this blog: Ideas, Thoughts and Collected Works that Might Inform and Influence Others.  I tend to write about 300 entries per year on many topics. If you enjoy what you read here, I’d be really grateful if you would subscribe by RSS or by email.  See the options to your left.

Children Need To Be Reading

Research Finding: Children improve their reading ability by reading a lot. Reading achievement is directly related to the amount of reading children do in school and outside.

Comment:

Independent reading increases both vocabulary and reading fluency. Unlike using workbooks and performing computer drills, reading books gives children practice in the “whole act” of reading, that is, both in discovering the meanings of individual words and in grasping the meaning of an entire story. But American children do not spend much time reading independently at school or at home. In the average elementary school, for example, children spend just  minutes a day reading silently.  

Research shows that the amount of leisure time spent reading is directly related to children’s reading comprehension, the size of their vocabularies, and the gains in their reading ability. Clearly, reading at home can be a powerful supplement to classwork. Parents can encourage leisure reading by making books an important part of the home, by giving books or magazines as presents, and by encouraging visits to the local library.

Another key to promoting independent reading is making books easily available to children through classroom libraries. Children in classrooms that have libraries read more, have better attitudes about reading and make greater gains in reading comprehension than children in classrooms without libraries.

Zoe_r_g_max_reading_2011

Reading Aloud . . . It’s Worth Doing by Parents, Grandparents, Neighbors, Friends, Other Kids. Just Do It and Enjoy It!

Research Finding:The best way for parents to help their children become better readers is to read to them–even when they are very young. Children benefit most from reading aloud when they discuss stories, learn to identify letters and words, and talk about the meaning of words.

Comment:

The specific skills required for reading come from direct experience with written language. At home, as in school, the more reading the better.

Parents can encourage their children’s reading in many ways. Some tutor informally by pointing our letters and words on signs and containers. Others use more formal tools, such as workbooks. But children whose parents simply read to them perform as well as those whose parents use workbooks or have had training in teaching.

The conversation that goes with reading aloud to children is as important as the reading itself. When parents ask children only superficial questions about stories, or don’t discuss the stories at all, their children do not achieve as well in reading as the children of parents who ask questions that require thinking and who relate the stories to everyday events. Kindergarten children who know a lot about written language usually have parents who believe that reading is important and who seize every opportunity to act on that conviction by reading to their children.

Reading_aloud

Phote by Kirsten Jennings via flickr By clicking on any of the following hyperlinked four titles you can read more blog posts from me on this topic.  You can read more about reading about “What Reading Is“, or look over a List of Possible Read Alouds which are likely to please a young child.     Also, enjoy a List of Wordless Books – there is nothing like making up the story as you go or encourage the child to make up the story to go with the pictures.  And when you read to a child one of the reactions you hope for is the : Can You Read It Again? reaction. May you enjoy reading aloud to a child or several children real soon!!! P.S. – Please consider subscribing to this blog: Ideas, Thoughts and Collected Works that Might Inform and Influence Others.  I tend to write about 300 entries per year on many topics. If you enjoy what you read here, I’d be really grateful if you would subscribe by RSS or by email.  See the options to your left.