September 28, 2010

Application and Integration of Havel’s Perspectives.

Thomas More paper returned…sigh. It was apparently, “too cold”; my Socrates paper had been “too hot”….toooo many examples in practice, not enough on Socrates. next week paper on Ivan Ilych is due….need to work on the balance of the two.

As for Havel (–pp.127) What is my “so what”?? … for educational settings???

Last week, I really felt a personalized connection to More. My own experience have taught me that the principal does not always have “principles”…I realized that I have experienced the personal sense of outrage over these behaviors from superiors that Havel writes about. I agree that each of us in the “system” (the teacher, the administrator, school board member or priest (parochial settings)) as well as the parents and the students themselves if able, must take responsibility for the condition of the “system”. If it is a working system, with few flaws, then “yea!” …a bit more tinkering, stay the course, and get the wrinkles ironed out…we’re good.

However, if the system doesn’t work, as is evidenced by a failed purpose (i.e. the students are not learning) then it will require that each part mentioned earlier steps in as a ‘cog with conscience” (Havel) to hold each of the other parts accountable for student learning and success in the “system.”

Havel describes impatience as a sort of disconnect from what “the world has set for itself”. He speaks to the fact that there are many different timetables , that OURS is not more important than those of the “natural, historical and human actions” He says that rushing and impatiently “forcing” a solution can cause additional problems!

–ah! the unintended consequence…..

Reminds me of that old saying:

“Life’s a bitch, and then, you die.”

Havel speaks to a pragmatic (More-like) sensibility that one cannot treat the world as it’s a machine. That the nuances of the many variables must be respected, to do otherwise can cause a disengagement or a greater suffering than was attempted to ease first! Havel’s state of mind is obvious that the always had a “plan”. He continues to speak to a collective oneness. not in the sense of a communistic,  or a socialist “One” but a simple dependent “one”. Dependent upon the inner workings and other results of all the “other” ones in the world…..butterfly effect?

The teacher alone is not the “school”, nor is the administrator, or the school board. The parents, the general community at large, the student himself, each of these has a specific role to play. The curriculum, or lack of it, as well make up “the school”. Each part cannot exist without the other parts. And, specifically, each cannot have any effect upon each other, without affecting one’s own self.

Educational leadership takes many forms and levels as well. The obvious higher levels of administration can lead so too can a student take a role as leader. Specifically, a student who speaks up for another student. This might take the form of one child defending another child in class verbally if the teacher had wrongly accused the first child of some misdeed. The form might take a more formal feeling if the student writes a letter to school board, defending a student against the wrongful accusations of an administrator. A student may also take the role of leader, as might a concerned community member or parent, who chooses to write a letter to the editor of the local newspaper, which defends a particular program, or addresses concerns over using attrition to save money in the district, by not replacing retirees.

Havel would support the notion of personal responsibility of all persons in the school community for the learning successes of its students. Therefore, education of a community’s students foreshadows the success of that community. If the students are succeeding in school, learning and thriving, the same community could also predict, that, barring drastic consequence or condition in the future, they ALSO will thrive and adapt. As the student blooms, so bloom the community and the school.

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