Explore Nueroscience in Education with Dr. Lori Desautels

Step inside Where the View is Panoramic

Step inside Where the View is Panoramic

Flying 30,000 feet above the ground offers a perspective of blurred parameters, non-existent or formless boundaries, no distinctions, sizes, differences, and similarities bringing forth a vision of wholeness, a collective pool of colors, textures, and nameless shapes; and although anyone who has flown has the ability to perceive this, it was metaphorically significant this past week as I pondered the complexity of the world in this time of our natural, educational and political “super storms”.
Sitting in an auditorium of 350 people from around the world discussing insights, ideologies, methodologies, questions and transformative insights into the challenges and successes inside our “Learning Environments” ; pre-school through post doctoral to alternative , home schools, private, public , charter schools – transcending business, economics, ecology and the medical and science world, the message was the same… “Self-reflection” is imperative when we delve into any systemic or organizational shift that calls out for movement and collective, creative and operative innovation.
Coming from Indiana where a perspective of charter school movements, turnaround, and national transition to teaching programs are filling the media airwaves with much information, some research, and an outpouring of opinions regarding standardized testing, closing achievement gaps and equality in education for every child; I became awakened and simply amazed at how quickly and deeply we all can sometimes become attached to our beliefs, cultures, and experiences without checking in to the happenings, the questions, and the leadership endeavors from a plethora of regions and belief systems across this world.
Over the last five days, I returned to the power of “questions” as I was asked and guided to rethink the purpose of education and how our schools, homes and communities are “living systems” that require continuous exploration and strategic insight into integrating globalization, engagement, and the power of “ambiguity” in creating lasting and meaningful changes in our schools and classrooms.
Dr. Lyle York, renowned professor, author and researcher from Columbia University’s Teacher College discussed how leaders must develop mindsets that enhance their ability to address challenges characterized by ambiguity and uncertainty! When I inquired about “rubrics” for his strategic insight assignments he gently smiled and said, “Lori, a rubric isn’t always necessary …and especially at this level of learning with the call to be intuitive while increasing capacity inside our higher level thought processes and our ability to listen deeply and dialogue.”
Dr. Richanne Mankey, Vice President of Student Affairs/Dean of Students at Daemen College and Adjunct professor in Executive Leadership and Change masters program, delved into the power of “The Four Agreements” by Ruiz that assist us in observing “how” we relate to one another in the context of observing our interiors and how those self- learned perceptions prohibit or allow sustainable transformative changes successfully affecting one individual at a time.
“Know thyself” seemed to be the theme of conference presenters as these strong minded and creative academicians and community leaders discussed the power of mindful instructional practices, self-care, reflective dialogue alongside integrated paradigms where “enduring changes” begin from the inside out and from within every individual no matter their associations with national programs, schools or directives.
Dr. Rona Zollinger, co-founder and a high school teacher for New Leaf: a sustainable living collaborative public high school in Martinez Unified School District in California has placed these aforementioned ideas, practices and tactical “ways of instruction” into her classrooms. This public high school began 10 years ago as an independent study and now has over 60 students in four grades learning their required state standards deeply but more importantly, taking that learning into the community. Dr. Zollinger has partnered with over 40 community organizations who volunteer their talents, skills, practices with the students so that the academics are met with tangible, compassionate service projects and assignments that have not only raised test scores and achievement levels, but have breathed life into students who did not FEEL purpose, relevancy, and more honestly a will to love or live!
We are truly creatures of habit unless we directly challenge our beliefs and strongly held assumptions about the world around us and what we purportedly stand for in this time of educational and global change… we are very proficient in our abilities to criticize, react and denigrate those ways of education that trigger our hot buttons and aggravations, but what can we learn when powerful emotions are encountered through contrast? How can we continue to shut down schools, create charters and move forward without looking within… holding ourselves , our interiors, accountable when we point fingers and accuse those around us of not understanding… Dr. York from Columbia University reminded me that when fingers point outward, they should immediately shift 180 degrees exploring the questions, fears and concerns those notions and statements raised in dialogue! If the purpose education is to live outside the walls of school while creating a world community where students and educators thrive, we cannot afford to rely on one organization, one belief system or one mindset that calls for one solution. This world is complex and we are all an integral part of transformative learning as we look to creating environments and life experiences that first and foremost fill us up with self-care, while aligning our colleagues, family, and students with ways of feeling worthy, capable and compassionate. After all, we are neurobiologically wired for this extraordinary relational existence! Step away from belief systems, soap boxes and thoughts that imprison our innate abilities to transform the world when we are refreshed , inspired and re-connected to a landscape where diversity in practice, thought, and feelings are respectfully welcomed and examined … from within….

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