Posts by Marilyn Cole for ExChange:
If we don't worship through our work we will either worship work itself, the money or status it brings or treat work as a mere means to the end of rest or a hedonistic retirement (Gordon Preece in Martin, 2017, p.xv).
Work in some form, paid or unpaid, is part of adult life. It is a fact of life. Ogden Nash says 'if you don't want to work, you have to work so that you earn enough money so that you don't have to work' (Martin, 2017, p.27).
A worldview is a person’s way of understanding, experiencing and responding to the world. It can be described as a philosophy of life or an approach to life. This includes how a person understands the nature of reality and their own place in the world. A person’s worldview is likely to influence and be influenced by their beliefs, values, behaviours, experiences, identities and commitments (Commission on Religious Education, 2018, p.3).
Every person’s life is a story that is set in the context of family, community, culture and time.
We live in a world that is both wonderfully delightful and frightening in the complexity of its challenges. While we seek fairness, justice, love and fulfillment we are often confronted with injustice, unpredictable natural disasters, suffering, divisions and hatred where the innocent and marginalized suffer disproportionately. When we choose to know what is going on and confront the realities and the messiness of life, it is difficult to see it and still love it.
As schools adjust to the expectations of the twenty-first century, not only has there has been a call for new conceptions of leadership and leadership preparation (Bezzina, 2012; Caldwell & Spinks, 2013; Dempster et al., 2011; Levin, 2013; Macpherson, 2009; Schleicher, 2012 in McCulla & Degenhardt, 2016, p.559) but the expectations for today’s school leaders have never been more ambitious (Robinson, 2011, in McCulla & Degenhardt, 2016, p.558). The call is for leaders who are instructional leaders who can promote better academic outcomes for students, who also have a capacity to build and sustain transformational cultures (Day & Sammons, 2013; Hattie, 2009; Robinson et al., 2009 in McCulla & Degenhardt, 2016, p.559).
When teachers and leaders alike head to work each day, keen to give of their best, few expect they will experience ‘burnout’ as a result of their dedication to their job. However, this is a reality for some of our most dedicated educators who do not recognise the warning signs and do not proactively put in place procedures and processes to guard against this debilitating outcome.
As teachers in the twenty-first century we are confronted by an increasingly complex world. Our students are influenced in many ways by the times in which they live; not the least of this is the pervasive influence of the internet through social media and the prevalence of pornography. Whether we are aware or not, increasingly larger numbers of increasingly younger students are being affected by viewing pornography. Some students are motivated by curiosity, some are introduced to it by peers or siblings, and some unintentionally stumble across it. The way a child is introduced to pornography is of little relevance when we come to an understanding of the way it changes their brain and behaviour, and affects relationships. Many students will testify that once their viewing behaviour becomes entrenched, they experience lack of motivation and other symptoms of anxiety and depression. This is widely documented by the scientific literature.
The power of feedback
Feedback is an action taken by an external agent to provide information regarding some aspect of one's task performance (including attitude or behaviour where they impinge on performance) (Steve Dinham, 2008, p. 21) with the goal of helping the recipient to improve their performance. In the best-case scenario, specific improvement goals may be discussed and actionable steps for reaching the goals jointly agreed on. To be effective feedback needs to be frequent, constructive and instructive; it needs to be focused and practical, and based on what the recipient can do and is capable of achieving. The criteria used needs to be clear and understood by the recipient, and used to frame the feedback (Steve Dinham, 2008).
This article is part of a three-part series on storytelling.
Augustine argued that human beings are story-shaped people, stretched between what ought to be and what will be. What is it about a story that is so powerful?
The aim of this and the future articles is to draw to attention the current research on moral or character development and to suggest that one powerful tool we can use in our classrooms as we seek to help our students develop a moral character based on Biblical truth is story telling. The first article looks at ‘the why’ of storytelling, the second article discusses the research of the social psychologist Jonathan Haidt who looks at where moral responses in a person come from – the head or the heart – and gives some insights into ‘the how’ of developing moral character. The third article outlines the successful use of story in graduate and post-graduate classes to engage students in ethical debate and decision making but to also challenge and change values.
The Big Bang Theory
The Big Bang theory is the cosmological model for the observable universe from the earliest known periods through its subsequent large-scale evolution. The model describes how the universe expanded from a very high-density and high-temperature state, and offers a comprehensive explanation for a broad range of phenomena. If the observed conditions are extrapolated backwards in time using the known laws of physics, the prediction is that just before a period of very high density there was a singularity which is typically associated with the Big Bang. This theory supports the concept that the universe had a beginning.
‘We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.’ - Martin Luther King (Clarke, Malcolm, Brain & Malcolm, p.183)
Most educators today agree that education involves more than just the transmission of knowledge and skills in relevant subject areas. It is a form of preparation for life and citizenship in a particular society. This was similar in early Greek society. Teaching was much broader than content and subjects. It meant simultaneously providing 'schooling', 'culturing' and 'character formation’. It involved a process of leading a student from boyhood into manhood, and helping him to find his true humanity and become a citizen (Cairney, 2011, p.65).