I like to do yoga. I started it before the internet, learning poses from a book and trying to do things as I read and as technology progressed, so did I. I know a pretty good amount about how to do things so going to a beginner's class with a friend felt like a step down to me. I would do this for a few weeks until she felt comfortable, I thought, then go to a different class - a better one.
I keep my eyes closed during yoga so I can focus on what I'm doing and, during this class, to avoid looking at myself in the mirror! When the teacher named a pose we were going to do, I didn't look or really listen because I knew what I was doing. Easy peasy!
Then I heard her say something that threw me off. I looked up to see what she meant and noticed that everyone else was doing something different from me. Hm. Who knew there could be another way?
I had assumed I was an expert. I had had nothing to learn. And therein lies the lesson.
"There is a danger that comes with expertise. We tend to block the information that disagrees with what we learned previously and yield to the information that confirms our current approach." This idea from Zen Buddhism is called shoshin and it contributes to our tendency of getting stuck in a rut. We seek information to validate rather than challenge us and shy away from (maybe even roll our eyes at!) things that are different from what we know to be true. We are experts!
What's the connection to education? Well, we learned from the way our teachers or mentors presented, right? So, now we teach the way we were taught. It worked for us, right? We know it all now.
Until we find out there may be another way. Maybe even a better way.
Many of us are expert teachers - or at least veterans. We've seen the cycles come and go. We've weathered many storms. We know how this goes and what works. But do we? What would happen if once in a while, I assume I am an idiot? (Stifle your comments people!) Maybe I will see 95% of the same stuff and shake my head, or maybe...I will pick up on the 5% that is new and different and grow a little bit. In the article below, the author advises four steps to get ourselves out of the expert prison:
1. Stop talking and listen more often
2. See comments you disagree with as worthy of study, not combat
3. Ask more questions
4. Assume you are an idiot
Today as I'm researching for a few professional developments that are coming up, I'm going in assuming I'm an idiot and hope to come out with some new views. I wish you happy idiocy as well!
I am a high school teacher in Wheatfield, Indiana, trying to reach out to my kids in a way that works for them.