38 Special Pedagogy

…and I obviously mean the song…not the firearm (or arming of teachers!)!

I have always been a fan of 38 Special…and this song played today on my Pandora stream as I was driving across town.

(…and yes, I pulled over to take this picture so as to not violate the law!)

Cool lyrics that have a ton of applicability.

And usually it’s too late when you, realize what you had
And my mind goes back to a girl I left some years ago (Who told me)
Just hold on loosely
But don’t let go
If you cling to tightly
You’re gonna lose control

Almost six years ago, one of my students in my Leadership and Technology course, MG Will Grimsley (USA, Ret.), wrote a blog post for class that used this song to describe his leadership philosophy.  Holding on loosely to him meant empowerment of his people…but also providing clear expectations and definitions of success (i.e.,…but don’t let go).

Great perspective for leaders…and for teachers.

That came to mind today when I downloaded Jane Hart’s new ebook – Modern Workplace Learning 2019.  Jane rightly points out that it is not enough for organizations to verbalize that continuous learning is vital…they must also provide the reflective environment in which employees have a regular habit of learning.

The layout of the book is interesting…and I look forward to diving deeper into it:
Modern Workplace Learning 2019

 A common concern that teachers in my various classes raise is that little time is made for professional development in their school life.  They might have one of two short faculty development sessions each year…but that is never enough to keep up with the rapidly changing environment in which they and their students live and study.  I would submit that schools need to implement 38 Special Pedagogy for their teachers, empowering and supporting them to – as Jane noted – enable learning as part of their daily work.  Jane noted that:

“…for modern professionals the least valued ways to learn at and for work are the traditional workplace learning activities – classroom training and e-learning – whilst the most valued ways to learn for work are the experiences and activities that happen as part of daily work, through interaction with people as well as the use of informal web content.”

Jane uses the definitions from CEDEFOP – the European Centre for Vocation and Training – to differentiate between formal learning, informal learning and non-formal learning.  Formal learning is structured, has learning objectives, and can lead to certification.  Informal learning is non-structured and many times unintentional.  Non-formal learning is not structured, but is embedded in activities…and is more intentional.  As Jane illustrates these:
If school administrators held on loosely..but did not let go, they could weave more intentionality into teacher development…and take advantage of the social learning already taking place in Twitter, Pinterest and other social media platforms.  Teachers also need to empower themselves…building personal learning networks and sharing among themselves…because learning today is a team sport!

Likewise…I could see individual teachers implementing 38 Special Pedagogy in their classes, empowering students to follow their passions, while providing guidance and visions of success.  This might help students prepare for an ever evolving workplace of the future…and push engagement to new levels in our classes.

If you cling too tight babe,
You’re gonna loose control
Yeah, yeah, yeah

Words to live by…and teach by!

And for lovers of 38 Special, here is the song:

{Graphics: Watwood, Jane Hart, TeachersUsingTech}

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