Bird Droppings September 1, 2016
What about routines?
We are all creatures of habit and routines. It has been quite a few years ago that my wife called to me in the wee hours of the morning as I was starting to write, our youngest son was sick. A virus had struck hard but none the less he was definitely a sick fellow. I had written about an hour and was near finished when she called. After running her to the clinic for medicines and such and the store for fluids I went back to writing and in between I lost what I had written. However all was not lost I really wasn’t very happy with losing what I had written however in researching I found an interesting author Donald Schon.
“We must, in other words, become adept at learning. We must become able not only to transform our institutions, in response to changing situations and requirements; we must invent and develop institutions which are ‘learning systems’, that is to say, systems capable of bringing about their own continuing transformation.” Donald Schon
It has been nearly eleven years since we were audited and reviewed by SAC’s, the state high school accreditation committee. As I look at schools however I do not see as much perhaps of a change agent as Schon would demand. Yet schools constantly will follow whims and fancies. It might be this reading program or that one, or a new math system or science curriculum and many of us are very tired of “new” math curriculum state mandated. Interestingly enough writers make very large sums of money as do consultants coming up with these programs for schools. But in schools there is a comfort zone and many teachers will fall into that, habit and or routine. It is not about a continuing transformation as Schon outlines.
“A learning system… must be one in which dynamic conservatism operates at such a level and in such a way as to permit change of state without intolerable threat to the essential functions the system fulfills for the self. Our systems need to maintain their identity, and their ability to support the self-identity of those who belong to them, but they must at the same time be capable of transforming themselves.” Donald Scion, 1973
How do we keep a self-identity and still be able to change? How do we make our routines work for us?
“The need for public learning carries with it the need for a second kind of learning. If government is to learn to solve new public problems, it must also learn to create the systems for doing so and discard the structure and mechanisms grown up around old problems.” Donald Schon
I was thinking as I was writing about a former student who had OCD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Every day it would be a challenge to deal with this fellow when he went on a roll in his OCD. One particular morning he started in with, can I hold Stevie? And normally when not a serious matter I would let him ask and I answered, no not just yet. For those of you who do not know Stevie she is the wonder snake. I Had Stevie at school for nearly twelve years till this past summer when I took her home for breeding. Stevie is a ball python about 52 inches long and 22 years old. She had been at the school as long as I had. Anyhow each time he would ask I would answer. Finally a student who was talking with me and not in my class says Mr. Bird that was 50 times he has asked you. Another little girl tapped the young man on the shoulder and said, I loveeeeeeee you. It was as smoochy and little girlish as could possibly be done. My little OCD fellow took off across the room.
In some instances letting an OCD individual run their course is fine and I am in a world of my own on planned ignoring, but in most times with OCD it simply takes a change a sudden change of thought process and OCD stops abruptly. As I was reading Schon this popped in my mind sometimes it is the way the problem and or habit or routine is done is the issue and a new way is needed sometimes abruptly. Often as in this case it happens suddenly but many times we do have time and as I do every day often reflection can be a tool for change.
“In every case of reflective activity, a person finds himself confronted by a given, present situation from which he has arrived at, or conclude to, something which is not present. The process of arriving at an idea of what is absent on the basis of what is at hand is inference. What is present carries or bears the mind over to the idea and ultimately the acceptance of something else.” John Dewey
We can review and reflect on our days and using past and present knowledge build our next day and ideas from that and we can illicit change through careful and calculated refection.
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”Albert Einstein
Every once in a while an Einstein quote really sounds good maybe even great to me. He was a smart man to say the least. Sometimes we need to change our direction our point of view in order to move on. Some might view the young man asking 52 times as stubborn and or myself for not stopping him and letting him go on. But I watch teachers and parents do this day in and day out and they are not being treated for OCD they are just caught in a rut. They continue day by day doing the same thing knowing there are better ideas and directions. Please take a few moments and think are you locked in or if provided with information could you make a change and most of all please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and to always give thanks namaste.
My family and friends I do not say this lightly,
(We are all related)