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broad brush to education and learning

updated mon 6 sep 04


mel jacobson on sat 4 sep 04

here is my most important broad brush.

i am convinced after years of teaching that one
element alone will lead us all to learning and good teaching.


when you trust someone, you learn from them.
break the trust and whatever is presented from
then questioned.

same for family
same for math
same for pots
same for friendship
same for politics.
but, really the same for schools and education.

think of your own educational experience.
what teacher did you really like best?

`the one you trusted most`.

that teacher could be stern, that teacher could be
unattractive, nice, cute, aggressive or dramatic, have
a ph.d, or be the neighbor carpenter, but
the thing that attracted you was truthfulness.

to me, it is the only key to being a teacher.
i always told the truth. bitter as it was at times,
it was the truth. i did everything in my power to never
break trust with my students. and they understood that.
once that bond is made, learning starts, and then follows the
`love of learning`.

just think of the great teachers in your life. not just school.
the ones that formed you. you blended with them, trusted them
and they never failed you.

delivery of information means little....schools talk about it all the time.
what is taught and when is not very important, schools talk about
it all the time. trust means everything. schools and most teachers
never talk about it...they don't understand it. and, many rarely use it.
and, then they have a conference about `what is wrong with education`.

for almost 50 years i have started every new class, workshop, demonstration,
public presentation with the words....`i will try and give you the
best information that i believe to be the truth, and you can trust me`.
you can see the heads pop up/the eyes hit you. they understand.
`my god, what a concept`.
Minnetonka, Minnesota, U.S.A.
web site:
or try:

Wes Rolley on sun 5 sep 04

At 12:00 AM 9/5/04 -0400, you wrote:
>here is my most important broad brush.
>i am convinced after years of teaching that one
>element alone will lead us all to learning and good teaching.
> trust

A good point at a good time for me. I recently wrote a column for our
local newspaper in which I suggested that the proper role for school
administration was to help the teachers help the students to learn. I
remember this attitude from our dear Joyce's commentary.

I might add one additional point to what our Mayor said above. Every
teacher that I clearly remember was positively enthralled by the subject
that they were teaching. My high school Plane Geometry teacher had
Parkinson's to the point that he had a hard time making the chalk touch the
blackboard to begin writing. But, he was positively excited by every
nuance of elegant proofs and the possibilities of finding new ways to use
what we had proven. By the end of a semester he had a group of students
who prided themselves by being able to write a proof without opening their
text. My college German professor was excited about the language itself,
how the words derived from ancient meanings, how Goethe, Schiller, Mann,
Gunther Grass, Bertolt Brecht had enriched the language.

On the other hand, even those who seemed interested in students but not
necessarily in the subject were eminently forgettable.

So, having said one thing, I get a chance to say another. The local
superintendent of schools has invited a group of "key communicators" to
help fashion a set of goals for the next two years. The district is under
the challenge of growth. It has just opened a second high school and will
be asked to absorb a "new town" of approximately 80,000 residents planned
for the edge of San Jose.

I wonder what I will be able to contribute.