Bird Droppings June 28, 2021
In a world of data can we still use intuition?
I spent the better part of today either sitting on or walking on the beach at Pawleys Island South Carolina. When ever my wife and I come we tend to make sure we see the sunrise every morning. It was supposed to be raining but we got a great two mile walk in this morning. In all honesty that was the longest walk I have gone in two years with stopping to sit down. I was told by my cardiologist that a pacemaker would change the quality of my life and he was not kidding. When I am sitting listening to the wind and waves, I tend to drift off into philosophical wonderland.
I had a thought this morning and it is kind of depressing when I think about it. We are basically training our new teachers in all the things that we as older teachers find wrong in education. (pre NCLB) It hit me as we are teaching all these new teachers how to take tests the “right” way. We are teaching all these new teachers that standardized testing is good and essential. We are teaching all these new teachers to skip the critical thinking parts of life in order to adhere to mandated standards. We are skipping the pieces that teach about imagination. Sadly, we teach we need to skip all these things because we need to concentrate on testing. I see far to often their courses are now being focused around how to take tests, how to teach kids to take tests, and how to talk to kids about testing. We are losing imagination and we are losing critical thinking skills in our new teachers. A piece I find disheartening is we too are losing all the stories. We are losing all the creativity and losing the individuality of the students by taking it away from the teachers.
It is the inherent skill sets that often make a great teacher. I am speaking of those almost instinctual attributes. Granted in a scientific study more than likely these are learned skills but there is an aspect that is still not with all teachers. I mentioned to a fellow teacher I can tell when a child has emotional issues after observing a few minutes and listening. Granted observations are part of most evaluations but I was referring to an intuitive aspect of observation. Something we learn perhaps as we experience and live life. Over the years several children I have worked with I have recommended additional involvement and unfortunately also got to say I told you so in future although I have refrained from actually saying that.
“Every action of our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity.” Edwin Hubbel Chapin
As I was discussing the final class debriefing as it is called in a teacher training program. I recall a thought hit me as to why some teachers can do more than others. Why some teachers succeed where others flounder, it is intuition, a simple thought and a difficult concept to teach to another. This is an area most education classes forget. I have for many years considered teaching an art form. There is an aspect of teaching that separates great teachers from poor teachers.
“I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit.” John Steinbeck
“Good instincts usually tell you what to do long before your head has figured it out.” Michael Burke
Knowing what to do at a specific moment intuitively is not easily taught in a classroom it has to be experienced and understood at a deeper level.
“Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.” Dr. Benjamin Spock
“Instinct is untaught ability.” Bain
In a teacher training session on grading one time, I listened to seasoned teachers discuss how they would do this or that. One teacher said do you have that written down, what is your starting point? How much planning time do you allow? I watched and heard in disbelief in this situation that was one of a teachable moment go by the way side. The person speaking turned around stunned as I was and said I really do not plan it takes ten minutes to jot down a daily note to my students and each day they experience new things and we build on that.
“Instinct is intelligence incapable of self-consciousness.” John Sterling
I began thinking of key words in teaching, intuition being a good starting point. Always when teaching anachronisms help and I found, IESP, Intuition, Empathy, Sympathy and Perception. These are all aspects of a good teacher and a good parent and a good person as well.
“Trust your hunches. They’re usually based on facts filed away just below the conscious level.” Dr. Joyce Brothers
In doing research on intuition in years gone by, many psychologists believe we have stored experiences and concepts that we do not even recall that are the basis for intuition.
“Intuition is a spiritual faculty and does not explain, but simply points the way.” Florence Scovel Shinn
There are other researchers who consider aspects yet undiscovered as a basis for intuitiveness and intuition.
“A leader or a man of action in a crisis almost always acts subconsciously and then thinks of the reasons for his action.” Jawaharlal Nehru
So many years ago, Nehru was the first Prime Minister of an independent India and as well a disciple of Mahatma Gandhi.
“Instinct is the nose of the mind.” Madame De Girardin
I saw this note and it intrigued me. Instinct being a door opener and perhaps starting point, a beginning it could be possibly even one of our senses.
“I would rather trust a woman’s instinct than a man’s reason.” Stanley Baldwin
I do not know exactly what this entity is we call intuition. I have observed many teachers and parents, workers and managers. Some know answers and others have to understand and solve the issues. As I was thinking and pondering the past few days I always seem to come back to a favorite quote.
“Life is about the journey not the destination” Steven Tyler, Aerosmith
One of my red neck buddies responded, “what the h— does that have to do with intuition”? Some of us have a goal a destination but the journey the getting there is as critical and crucial as the end result. Each aspect of the pathway is essential rather than simply the end of the trip. When you are looking as you go you see so much more. I recall a long trip as a child and we would play games looking for animals. If you choose to look only for red tailed hawks, it would be miles and even hours between birds. If you choose birds and how many different ones you can see we up the chances of every few seconds or minutes seeing something. Open that to all animals and now every few seconds and you are looking for details in the road side and trees and grass. Life is so similar some people are looking for specifics so minute they seldom find what they are looking for. Others see every nook and cranny. Intuition is in the crannies I think.
“The really happy man is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.“ Anonymous
I wish I had said that. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and always give thanks namaste.
My family and friends I do not say this lightly,
(We are all related)