Thursday, April 14, 2011

So in this season of FOURS… Thinking about the Seder as good education

Pesah is coming! Pesah is coming! Practice your fours… you know, four questions, four questions, four ways in which G-d worked to help us help ourselves to change our destiny, and so on… so here are A FOURSOME OF “NEW FOURS” for you to consider.

Remember those FOUR SONS and their FOUR WAYS of learning and our FOUR WAYS of bringing them into our conversation. I think about this a lot, after all I AM AN EDUCATOR… would you really expect anything less from me?

How do we teach and how do we learn? How can we make this year’s seder experience even more meaningful as we repeat our annual educational and dramatic simulation of our most critical and central YOU WERE THERE experience… seeing ourselves as we had been the ones that G-d took out of Egypt, because, clearly by association, we ARE included!?

I have a formula I always use when discussing education and its mission. This formula has been coming up a lot these days as I am working with a wonderful group of people to begin a new charter school entity. My magic formula for good and meaningful education is as follows (and of course comes in FOUR STEPS – you weren’t expecting anything else, were you now?)

• Inspire – Our main task when teaching, sharing, learning, handing over some great idea is to inspire those around us about the exciting nature of that idea and the amazing results that can come from its implementation, that is how we can change and improve our world, our existence, our reality in whatever way, big or small;

• Enable – Once those around us are inspired, we should enable them to become actively involved by their own activities of teaching and sharing and learning and handing over this great idea. We are to help them acquire the necessary skills so that they will become meaningful partners in our ongoing mission to better our world. This is insuring their OWNERSHIP and buy-in to what we are trying to excite others to do;

• Inform – Now that we have others excited about what it is that we are sharing, they need to be knowledgeable and have the necessary content and context to be able to use their acquired skills in an appropriate and informed manner to join and be part of a collective effort to change the landscape of our lives; and

• Empower – We must remember that our role as teachers and educators in whatever venue we take on that role is as FACILITATORS, that is to say, that once we hand over ideas, we WANT others to take ownership and feel empowered to actively disseminate and share what they have learned. We are not the owners of these ideas, but their transmitters. Now, the goal is, for those to whom these ideas and this information have been transmitted (by us), to be empowered to become transmitters to others.

This can actually be the way we see the program of our Seders and every other interactive educational dramatic simulation in which we participate. We inspire by the beauty and excitement of the environment. We enable by example and role modeling. We inform by sharing and providing information as appropriate and needed. We empower by insuring that all who sit at our table walk away with something new to share.

Maybe this is just another way to look at our FOUR SONS, our FOUR WAYS OF LEARNING, our FOUR WAYS in which G-d handled us…. By INSPIRING, ENABLING, INFORMING AND EMPOWERING.


1 comment:

  1. This is absolutely beautiful and very useful whether one works with children or just talks to their own regardless of age. Thank you and Hag kasher ve Sameach to you and your family and extended family of students all over the world!