I have biases. I can easily identify many of them. Still, I OFTEN let them interfere with my ability to keep an open mind and learn.
Today I needed to take a break from the physical work I was doing. I received an email inviting me to check into EdmodoCon 2018. I started watching a presentation on Project Based Learning. Right off the bat, I need to admit, when it comes to PD, I have this voice in my head that goes like this: "if the presenter has spent less than a decade in the classroom, their opinions and knowledge are...less than." I won't name this presenter but I'll tell you that she was young-ish. Maybe she was about my age. She briefly highlighted a little time spent in the classroom and went on to explain how she then worked as a principal. She lost me. How can you have spent little time in the classroom and then become an administrator? There is my bias. You need to do your time in the trenches before telling others how it is done.
One the one hand, you might agree with me. Seems logical. You shouldn't be guiding teachers and managing their evaluations when you haven't really spent a ton of time doing the work masterfully yourself. But, here is the problem....because I have this bias, I sometimes (often) disadvantage myself by tuning educators like today's speaker right out. (Even though she is REALLY acclaimed.) Once I judge them as too inexperienced, I close the door on the possibility that I can learn from them. This is my loss.
Another bias I have: Innovation, although creative and exciting, can't sound too "other world". There has to be a structured approach with a foundation set firmly in the standards. When today's speaker started talking about design process I gave her another chance. I have some background knowledge here. Maybe she would have something meaningful to share with me after all. Then she started talking about design squiggles. And I was gone again. Squiggles? Really? I am so Type A and I couldn't move beyond the squiggle. I shut the video down. I chose weeding in 90 degree humid weather over learning.
When reading a book or watching movie, I can suspend my disbelief. I can check that voice in my head that wants to start every sentence with the word "but". I need to be able to do this when I'm learning new things and when new ideas are presented to me. It is hard. I just know I need to do it.
So, tonight I watched the video. I watched the whole video. And I got a lot out of it. I really did. In the end, the presenter closed with this quotation:
"For me, and I am sure, for most of you, to be human is to be always in the process of becoming,
to be in quest of openings, of possibilities, always" -Maxine Greene
It was perfect. It resonated.
I am in the process of becoming:
aware of my biases
receptive to "other world" ideas
forgiving of myself when I don't have it all figured out
less judgmental of myself when stuff gets hard
more open to possibilities