Thursday, April 25, 2013

Having a WOW! Experience in Education

I recently read the book Platform by Michael Hyatt. I took down some key notes and I want to spend time converting the ideas in the book to education.

In the first chapter he talks about WOW! moments and goes into creating this WOW! experience. The list contained 10 ideas. I have condensed the ideas down to one phrase and in my own words.

1. Surprise - exceeding expectations
2. Anticipation - waiting for it and just creating a buzz
3. Resonance - hit home and touch the heart
4. Transcendence - feel connected to a purpose or calling
5. Clarity - you have that vision and things fall into place
6. Presence - in the moment and not worried about past or future
7.Universality - many people experience the moment in the same manner
8. Evangelism - share it with others
9. Longevity - it endures and never grows stale
10. Privilege - feel good about it in a positive way. Feel lucky to be part of the moment

I think about key moments in my life that will stick with me forever. They almost all contain these elements or close to them all. I can still think back to my wedding day and go into detail on all 10 of these items.

I think about creating these WOW! moments in education. How can we do this? I know we cannot do it every single day in our class or else they would not be WOW! moments. Perhaps it is more important to create a WOW! class instead of moments? I don't know.

When I think of breaking these 10 ideas down to educational perspectives here is what I think. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Let start off with the element of surprise. Many students come to school with such low expectations of being excited about learning. There are exceptions. There are those teachers and classes that everyone speaks about. The grass roots publicity of peer evaluations is key! Just like the flipside of having students speak poorly about a class and it can take a negative vibe very quickly. Our jobs as educators is to surprise them and blow them out of the water by surpassing their expectations. Mix it up! Don't sit in rows. Don't lecture all day. Don't read directly from a textbook. Don't give a packet of worksheets. Do something different. There is a time and place for the items above, but what if we just flipped our teaching over on its head? Kids would be so surprised they would not know how to react. This would lead to anticipation of what is going to happen next? They would want to come to class to experience the next new thing. The way we do that is to make the teaching real to them. We have to connect it home and let it resonate. Hard to do at times and not always possible, but when we have a chance to strike home and impact them emotionally with our learning we have to run with it. When it comes to transcendence I think in more of terms of showcasing that education and teaching is our calling. We need to bleed our love for learning and teaching. By giving off these vibes we can impact our classroom. No matter what we teach students must have the clarity to understand that what we are sharing with them in this educational system is important. We want them to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. They need to know that we care about their futures and who they are to become. When we achieve this level of clarity, then the presence of learning takes place. Teachers have to be a model learner along with many other titles in order for presence of mind to take place. Turning your content into a story or journey creates this universality where they are connected with one another on this voyage of discovery and problem solving. During this journey if we cover these six prior steps, then there is only more option for students and that is evangelism where they want to share their learning. They love to share and if you go online you will see the networks are massive and large. Those words don't leave the cyberspace and future students hear about the amazing culture created within your classroom and the longevity of what you do is sustained. In the end don't we all strive to be that teacher where kids talk about your classroom with privilege? We should all want to be that teacher that kids come back and visit. We should all want to be that teacher where they feel like they are part of an elite group for having had you as a teacher. That is how the WOW! is built in an education system. It is s self sustaining cycle of excellence if you want it to be.

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