unpacking a quiet revolution – 4 of 5
facilitators of curiosity
video talking through this be you web above.
We’re calling this mentoring alongside, deliberately not teaching.
Sensitivity can never be awakened through compulsion. One may compel a child to be outwardly quiet, but one has not come face to face with that which is making him obstinate, imprudent, and so on. Compulsion breeds antagonism and fear. Reward and punishment in any form only make the mind subservient and dull; and if this is what we desire, then education through compulsion is an excellent way to proceed. Partial Freedom is no freedom. – Krishnamurti, The Significance of Life
Knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind. – Plato
If you are lucky enough to be connected to someone per passion, or be known by some youth, one key element toward facilitating self-directed learning, is to deliberately not teach. We live in a world that is
so used to directions, so used to being told how and what to do, it’s hard for many of us to function on our own. In most learning situations and opportunities, we seek out the perceived expert, sit in their path, and wait to be filled. This mindset disables and disengages the indispensable person from within. This pattern, tradition, training, encourages mindlessness.
If the goal is self-directed learning, if the desire is youth who know what to do when they don’t know what to do, if the aim is for youth to fall in love with learning, then the mentor, needs to be positioned, physically and mentally, alongside. Alongside, doing their own thing, modeling what it is to learn, what it is to be.
The word assessment is derived from the Latin verb, assidere, which means, quite literally, -to sit beside.
Useful ignorance, then, becomes a space of pedagogical possibility rather than a base that needs to be covered. ‘Not knowing’ needs to be put to work without shame or bluster. – Erica McWilliams
Mentors available to the youth, and ready to learn from the youth are most beneficial. The mentor’s mindset should be that of keen interest and inquiry into what is going on in the youth’s head, not the mentor’s.
As good mentors, we will listen without an agenda, demonstrating and communicating genuine patience and caring. We will encourage the expression of ideas, even (and especially) if they are different than our own. We will not be alarmed by anything said, but try to honestly understand the underlying sentiment, in order to more fully understand.
For an effective mentor, “I don’t know” is always an okay answer. “I don’t know” is an opportunity to access and use resources together. When we don’t know, we brainstorm together with youth. We write down our shared ideas and reflect upon them.
We do not develop an inflated view of our roles; there are mentors all around us. The key element is to deliberately not teach, as constant instruction encourages mindlessness. Do not do activities for the youth; encourage independence. Youth need time for self-discovery. Time to be. We must trust that learning will happen. No, we must know that learning is happening.
As good mentors, we are available to youth, modeling what it is to learn, what it is to be, doing our own thing, exploring our passion, discovering ourselves. We need to forget the old adage “Do as I say, not as I do!” We simply support, compliment and model positive behavior. And sometimes that means saying no.
As mentors, we should underscore the importance of learning and working for oneself and one’s own self-improvement. The youth should understand that they alone assess their progress, without outside influence.
We also need to recognize the effect of inappropriate praise. Praise shackles youth to a course of pleasing others, rather than themselves. – Amy Lewark, unschooling mom
It is impossible to change others.…harvest invisible intelligence. – Meg Wheatley
What an incredible resource for facilitating curiosities and visualizing Howard’s networked individualism: Kirill Kireyev’s instagrok and Jerry Michalski’s Jerry’s Brain.
We’re also see a huge resonance with Doc Searl’s The Intention Economy, starting with ch. 21.