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Habits of Mind

October 26, 2009

Educators are on a constant quest to find the right technique to teach their young learners.  Fortunately, most, if not all season professionals understand that it takes a dash of ingenuity, a dash of patience, will, and inquisitiveness to keep going.

I think curiousity  is what led a couple of colleagues and myself to the International School of the Sacred Heart in Hiroo one fall winter day.  We were going to listen to a workshop conducted by Karen Boyes of Spectrum Education Ltd. Boyes’ mission is to deliver the work of Dr. Arthur Costa to the world.

The most important thing I learned had nothing to do with education or maybe it did!!!!

I’m an avid reader of business guides, investment magazines and Robert Kiyosaki. As a teacher, I’m always wondering, just because I chose a life of service does that mean I have to live in servitude.  Boyes used her time at the pulpit to drop bits of knowledge on us. She referred to her habits of mind in order to gain business acumen and take Spectrum Education Ltd. into the stratosphere.  She talked about what she listens to on her ipod or in the car or while in transit. She said, “If I want to learn about marketing, I listen to tapes on marketing.” I’m sure this goes for many of the ways she’s developed her business strategy and was New Zealand’s Businessperson of the year.

After the seminar I followed up with a brief email to Ms. Boyes:

I enjoyed how you wove in the principles of finance along with teaching. I heard a teacher make a comment, “We are teachers, so we aren’t rich.” I’m roughly paraphrasing her statement, but I enjoyed watching how you incorporated the principles of Kiyosaki, Think and Grow Rich and other financial gurus into your speech. It was very motivating to hear how you used those ideas to further your career.

Boyes’ response:

I’m glad you liked the financial extras, there is so much teachers don’t get exposed to , so I like to add a few bits in 🙂

Brief and to the point!

There is so much that teachers aren’t exposed to and even though Boyes didn’t say this, those business techniques work pretty well in the classroom.  If teachers want to create a new mindful habit, I’d suggest we start developing habits where we read The Economist, Business Weekly, or  The Wall Street Journal along with educational material. This would make us more aware of the world around us and able to adapt to the changes that are happening in the world we are trying to prepare them for.  I’m sure just as I type that there’s someone saying, well, I read those periodicals along with a slew of others, but my question for you is how has it shaped your teaching?

When I was teaching Special Education in New York City, I regularly quoted from business journals. I talked to my students about trust in terms of opening their own businesses. We talked about preparing for our future in a way that would make us successful. I remember one of my students, Glymer, an 11 y.o. boy from Honduras said, “I’m going to own a Wendy’s because my brother works there and we can get free food.” Another student, Emmanuel, 11 y.o., said, “I’m going to own a Foot Locker because I love sneakers and they always have the newest styles.”  Our students understand scales of economy and how they affect their pockets. Let’s start looking at our own habits and see how we can make them ready for the 21st century.

I’m sure if you do a web search you can read a myriad of comments that refer to Boyes’ energetic and engaging workshops.  Yes, she kept me engaged throughout her presentation. But what I really learned is that some of the techniques that she taught would be better if I tried them out first. If  I want to be successful, then I need to do as successful people do.  That’s my new habit and that’s my new mind!

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