Thursday, December 13, 2007

Life Integration

Seventeenth-century English author John Donne is often quoted: No man is an island, entire of itself...any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind...
Several seemingly unrelated events occurred today: our school had a praise n' worship concert led by Wings of the Morning and David Edwards.
A multitude of students signaled their surrendering of their lives' to our Lord.
Then I had the great pleasure of participating in a DEN webinar where I heard Dan Pink. Many of us had heard this presentation before, but he always seems to bring in something new to ponder, or maybe I just listen better on repeated hearings (what a good reason for us to podcast and ask learners to listen repeatedly to crucial classes!)
He spoke of our need to invest more in the arts, not less. We so need to integrate the arts into all we do. Today in fact, I pulled into a 3rd grade lesson on the computer ideas relevant to Advent. We read a Bible verse (older learners are led to biblegateway for all the translations - a great site for our Bible courses), we listened to a audio clip from the Messiah, we played concentration on an electronic Advent calendar. I was integrating the arts without really thinking about it. As I write this I am listening to the Messiah. We must give this gift to all our learners, as our parents gave it to us.
He did say autonomy is so important, a theme you have read here recently. That early gift came back today. I have Open Lab time after school and he had detention. He worked on his movie nonstop, delving into transitions. He saw immediately that he needed to align the transitions with the musical beats without my suggestion. There are some things he will still have to learn that will not be so interesting and that worries me.
Dan Pink advocates focusing on intrinsic motivation. In the Poptech talk I seem to remember he advocated empathy as well. Two skills that I believe we can strengthen and must not ignore just because they are difficult. I'm seeing some amazing work out of learners I never could have predicted but at the same time I see an alarming lack of empathy that is not being addressed by the family unit. These points are what tie the two events together. Those who give their lives are intrinsically motivated to do so and are empathetic to others. The first was also a concert, the second emphasised the arts. Seemingly unrelated or should I say the left brain sees no connection. The right brain sees a clear connection.
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