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Learning at its Best, Philosophical Meanderings

Real education is transformative

I couldn’t really capture this moment in words, but it transformed how I approach my work.

Real education is transformative

Real education is transformative

My student had already learned that he didn’t need to follow any commands. I hadn’t realized before that I didn’t need to give any – or that I couldn’t command anything anyway. I don’t think the game really mattered. What mattered is that my student deprogrammed me from believing that a foot in a drawer was anything more than that – and that he deprogrammed me from believing I was anything more than him.

About Chad Sansing

I teach for the users. Opinions are mine; content is ours.


10 thoughts on “Real education is transformative

  1. Chad,

    Was this an “Aha” moment about power?


    Posted by Brent Snavely | November 4, 2011, 8:27 am
  2. Without dismissing the importance of analyzing how society views and exercises power, I think this was a moment when I realized that competing power hurts, rather than helps, relationships and classrooms. This was a moment when it became clearer to me that sharing authority gives power to the teaching and learning in a community.


    Posted by Chad Sansing | November 4, 2011, 8:35 am
  3. Good for you, Chad.

    Posted by Nance Confer | November 4, 2011, 10:11 am
    • It was indeed a good thing to have happen and experience and learn from – thanks for the read and comment, Nance –

      Stopping something that isn’t right, even in the middle of it, is something we have to build the capacity to do in public education.


      Posted by Chad Sansing | November 4, 2011, 3:35 pm
  4. So how has this affected your practice as a teacher and an administrator and parent, Chad?

    Posted by Kirsten Olson | November 5, 2011, 1:31 pm
    • I breathe more as a parent.

      Though not in the office right now, from this relationship I began to intuit how much care must be taken to kindly, but inexorably, shift schools away from punishment.

      As a teacher, the moment has taught me to check myself frequently, to negotiate solutions and work with students, and to focus on relationships first.

      Sorry for the terse replies, but I just finished report cards. I’ll come back to this, but I didn’t want to leave your comment unanswered for too long.


      Posted by Chad Sansing | November 7, 2011, 5:12 pm
  5. Hey Chad,

    Love this vignette. Thanks for your honesty and humility here. It eerily reminds me of a very similar encounter I had this week with a six-yr old. This boy, born six years ago to a meth-addicted teen mom, adopted by parents, who subsequently divorced, often presents challenges to those with whom he is in relationship. Be they young or old. At this moment he was refusing to engage with an assignment and it felt like he was increasingly bating me and his peers into a range of struggles from which there would be much pain and little gain. Maybe wasn’t quite as clear as the “no. No. NO!” of your scene, but that was the gist. Even knowing this in the moment, it was so hard not to react emotionally, to refrain from exercising “power-over.” I too was ultimately able to disentangle from the power struggle, but am still puzzling out what his behavior was about, and how else I might have handled it. How to transform a negative struggle-against into a collaboration and a deepening of relationship? Seems like there might be some Eastern wisdom traditions to draw from on this point.



    Posted by Paul Freedman | November 5, 2011, 5:55 pm


  1. Pingback: Blog for IDEC 2012 Week Roundup: Real Education Is… « Cooperative Catalyst - November 4, 2011

  2. Pingback: Real education is transformative | gpmt | - November 4, 2011

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