Our word education comes, originally, from the two Latin words ex + ducere meaning to lead out of. Education has always had this sense that, at its heart, it is about leading the child into adulthood. In the modern world this notion has two elements two it: leading the child out of childhood and leading the child into the adult world.
The English word empathy originally was coined to translate a German word that described the feelings experienced whilst seriously regarding works of art.
Art is art because the artist is not only representing something (and sometimes not even that in non-representational forms of art) but is also communicating, or possibly channeling, some larger truth.When we perceive something, we feel changed in some (good) way.
Changing how we pay attention to the world is one of the key shifts that we need to make. Sustained attention – noticing difference – rather than focused attention, where we notice the familiar, is the form of attention that we need to re-adopt, we used this when we were children but then were encouraged to use focused attention almost exclusively as we grew up. It is time for us to re-balance how we engage with the world and with each other.
Outstanding teachers are exhibiting known and learnable behaviours. It takes time to learn them and model them consistently but the process to get there is reliable and the educators own wellbeing develops in parallel.
Outstanding teachers, those who have a lifelong, positive impact on their students, have been in a small minority for as far back as most educators can remember. Yet what they do is exactly what we are looking for now. They inspire their students to be self-motivated, to be connected and to grow in competence, without applying controlled motivation to achieve this.