From where does personal and local change derive? How can we use change to promote deeper learning as individuals and in our local settings?
We all have within ourselves the ability to change ourselves and our environments. Throughout my year in Pepperdine's OMET program, I've been looking at personal change. From where did it derive? It started with my desire for a master's degree. I wasn't looking for personal change--it found me!
Change comes only when there's a desire for change. Personal change requires desire, self-discipline, and a vision of what that change might look like. Spreading personal change to your local environment has the same requirements, but it also requires the ability to communicate your vision and evangelize it. In Selling the Dream, Guy Kawasaki claims that traditional sales focuses on making money while evangelism focuses on making change. Evangelists are passionate about their visions, and they are poweful forces for local change.
How do we use change to promote deeper learning? First and foremost, we need to give students the chance to connect what they learn with what matters most in their own lives. As we see when kids play games, they absorb much more than they ever would sitting at a classroom desk listening to a teacher talk (even if the teacher was talking about games). Csikszentmihalyi's Flow theory reinforces this premise. As individuals, we cannot expect to change NCLB and standardized testing, but we can teach to those standards in more meaningful, lasting ways than by memorization alone. We can incorporate project-based learning wherever possible. We can give learners more choice about how they learn what they need to learn. There's plenty we can do at the local level; it's even possible that some local change might defy gravity and trickle up.