Sunday, March 27, 2011

MAC Week 4 - Comment 1

Screen capture of Mark Dohn's Blog

Original post by Mark Dohn:


The last month. Wow. In a few short weeks I’ll be a graduate of Full Sail! In a few short weeks I’ll be in Israel! Whoa. What? Yes! Israel! My son is turning 13 next month and we’ll be having his Bar Mitzvah in Israel. There are a lot of reasons that go into a choice like this, but suffice to say everything is worth it.
3 years ago, it was my daughter’s 13th and we were celebrating. EVERYONE decided to come to Israel for the Bat Mitzvah....including my mom.
     Yeah. “Dangerous Jan”. My mom has never travelled really. She had never needed a passport, or flown for more than a few hours from our home in Ohio. Now she was packing up for the 14 hour flight halfway around the world. These two pictures from that trip sum up this month and our reading.
     The picture of my mom was the first time she had seen the Sea of Galilee. She is a very religious and spiritual individual, and I snapped this photo as she stood there ABSORBING her surroundings. This was her field trip of a lifetime. She had waited for so long, and now she was THERE. Living, breathing, feeling every bit of the experience.
     Several days later we were in Jerusalem at the Western Wall. This was my son’s first trip and as we got to the wall, he urgently requested a pen and paper. Using the worn edge of one of those massive stones, he wrote something. It is a tradition to write a prayer and place it in between the stones. I have no idea what he wrote - I wasn’t allowed near him - but the intensity from this 10-year-old boy was incredible. What is in these photos is two very powerful experiences. They are tangible and real. Neither of them has forgotten one moment of what is in these images (and I asked them both). And I ask myself, why we don’t teach like this?
Maybe is time to replace

Reading,
Writing and
Arithmetic

With

Exploration,
Expression and
Relationship

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My Response:

Mark,

These are amazingly powerful memories for you and your family.  I agree that if we could get more experiences like these into education, everyone would benefit.  I want my students to approach school like this. 
My most powerful experience as a teacher happened a month ago when I taught "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" by Dylan Thomas.  The poem was written to the poet's dying father, and it discourages him from giving up.  In the two days we studied the poem, it made 3 people cry, all because the poem expressed the experience they had when family members close to them died.  The combination of their past experience, the expression in the poem, and the relationships made the experience in class those days more powerful.  They understood the poem.  
I felt horrible when it happened, but when I talked to them about it later, they said that they really appreciated reading something that they could relate to in class.  You're right, we need more of this.

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