My teacher-friend bursts into the room with her laptop.
“Hey there, friend! Ya gotta minute? I have to show you this on the computer!”
“What is it?” I ask, excitedly, as I get up from my desk and meet her at the table, anxious about what we are going to see.
“It’s this new app that is out there. It’s called Spritz. They are claiming we’ll be able to speed up our reading and finish a novel in 90 minutes!”, she beams.
“Oh my gosh! I saw that earlier! That’s HORRIBLE!!!! I could never read that way!” I tell her.
“Are you kidding? I WISH I would have had this app when I had to read all those boring psychology books in college!” she argues.
“Well, you wouldn’t be able to remember any of it with all of these words speeding by,” I blurt back.
“I have to disagree with ya there. Your mind isn’t being taxed because you don’t even have to move your eyes. You don’t have to think about visual tracking, going left to right or anything. Only thinking.”
“I think I’d be nauseous.” I tell her.
“Why? You don’t even have to move your eyes?”
“I don’t know – it freaks me out. You would lose the savoring of the book. Rereading to hear a beautiful phrase over, or to capture some words to use for your own writing because you love them.”
“Do you read all your books that way?”
“Well, most of them. I’m a little whacked like that.”
“Well, I think of all the college reading that I just had to get read. There was nothing to savor there. This would’ve saved me boatloads of time,” she tries to convince me.
“How would you use your reading processes? You wouldn’t be able to try to figure words out based upon them looking right, sounding right or making sense in the text because you are only given one word at a time? What about fluency? Without being able to see what’s coming up, you are not sure how to read with your voice?”
“All I know is that I would have loved this in college and I think it is perfect for when you have a ton to read and you have to get it done. It’s a good option.”
“Maybe, but I’m not convinced,” I try to agree, but my gut is telling me, “I don’t think so.”
After thinking about it, maybe it would be a good app to use in some situations. My friend’s ideas about it made me think outside of myself and into a new plane of thinking.
I love to be able to have an intellectual conversation with colleagues, disagreeing on some topic in an attempt to make sense out of something new. There are only a few people I am able to do this with and I am blessed to have them in my life because they push my thinking and force me to reflect on my beliefs and theories of which I rest my entire teaching philosophy on. Emotions do not come into play because we know that there may not be a right answer, but that our own backgrounds and experiences can help us both to synthesize new ideas at a much greater depth than if we were to try to understand it on our own.
My thought to ponder on is, how can we nurture an environment where all groups of teachers are able to do this? Certainly, it’s possible. But, what makes it possible? We’ve all been in settings where it’s happened and you’ve left the group feeling like you’ve been to another planet and back. We’ve been in other settings where it doesn’t happen and you leave feeling frustrated and stuck.
Einstein said, “We have to think with everything we have. We have to think with our muscles. We have to think with feelings in our muscles. Think with everything. And so it is a flowing process which also goes outward and inward and makes communication possible.”
So, do we just have to all be thinking hard?
It’s more than that.
Joseph Jaworski writes in Synchronicity: The Inner Path of Leadership, “When people come together and go beyond their habitual way of being as a group, even more possibilities open up. But somehow a kind of block prevents those extraordinary experiences from happening.” He goes on to quote Bohm, “You’ve GOT to give attention to those blocks. You’ve got to find out where it comes from both in yourself and in anybody.” If you can achieve this, the individuals in the group would be able to operate as if with one mind.
Personally, I thrive on trips to that other planet. I know I have to be conscious of my own blocks that I bring to a group. The key is to help all in a group to clear these blocks as well, to allow for the intellectual ideas flow through us.
“When most oarsmen talked about their perfect moments in a boat, they referred not so much to winning a race, as to the feel of the boat, all eight oars in the water together, the synchronization almost perfect. In moments like these, the boat seemed to lift right out of the water. Oarsmen called that the moment of swing.”
~ David Halberstam
I think that you, pretty much, have to trust the other men in the boat.
Hmmmm. . . . a thought to ponder. . .