Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A poem to keep things in perspective for teachers

Sometimes we all need a reminder about how tough it can be for a student and what their world looks like outside the classroom. A wonderfully insightful poem by Joshua T. Dickerson.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Importance of Always Learning and Improving Yourself (Basically, Why We Should Be Like Leonardo da Vinci)


“If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.”
Astronomy, world languages, psychology, philosophy, history, and countless masterpieces of fiction, we will never run out of things to learn. Perhaps our only regret is that one life is not enough to learn all of the things we wanted to. With an ability to think about abstract things like love, justice, and beauty. Would we ever want to stop learning?

Leonardo da Vinci (biography linked) is probably the best example of this principle. He is known as the ultimate pinnacle of the Renaissance Man (Someone that wanted to know everything about everything). His natural curiosity of the amazing world around him helped him create and design some of the most beautiful and useful creations in the history of mankind. His insatiable thirst for knowledge was unparalleled and is the reason that he is still regarded as the most widely-talented person that ever lived.

"The natural desire of good men is knowledge."

Leonardo da Vinci

Learning About Something is More Learning About Everything

Again, Leonardo da Vinci was probably one of the most-accomplished autodidact in history. Being an illegitimate son prevented him from receiving formal schooling so he did the next best thing: he taught himself. This was perhaps a setback in some ways but it allowed him to take on a new, fresh perspective on established fields of knowledge. Since he had not been biased or limited with previous preconceptions or schools of thought, he was able to let his imagination go wild and we all know what happened next. ;)

When you are learning something, whether it’s violin, to dance, or a new language. You are not just learning that; you are learning about yourself and your capabilities as well. You are learning that you are able to learn new things. This in turn helps your self-esteem, self-image, and most importantly, your self-efficacy. When you learn new things, you feel more confident and this carries over into more aspects of your life. Some might say that one gets more confidence from having been self-taught. Most, if not all, fields of knowledge overlap and have some common ground and will point you in new directions in your learning. While reading a book on astronomy it talks about the chemical elements and that leads you to a book on chemistry, which then leads you to the biographies of scientists that contributed to that field, and so on. I find that textbooks are an excellent place to get started because they often lay down a general, fundamental understanding on the subject with a broad explanation of the major parts. From there, you are free to choose books and resources that delve more in depth into the areas of your specific interest.

We cannot simply be “good at art”; we must apply ourselves, at least give it an honest try, in as many possible fields of study, hobbies, activities, sports, schools of thought, etc., as possible. Perhaps we are “only good” at certain things because we have closed the mental door to the possibility of being good at other things. Especially those things outside of our comfort zone....

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