‘Just take this step … the horizon will look after itself’—Charlie Mackesy (2019) The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse.
‘Love well, seek the good in all things, harm no others, think for yourself, take responsibility, respect nature, do your utmost, be informed, be kind, be courageous: at least sincerely try’—AC Grayling (2011) The Good Book: A Secular Bible. Bloomsbury (pg. 597)
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning is a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of it furniture,
still treat each guest honourably,
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
—Rumi, quoted in Intrator, S. and Scribner, M. (2014). The Guest House. Teaching with Heart – Poetry that Speaks with the Courage to Teach.
‘Reflection gives us access to deep listening. The practice of taking a few breaths before responding to a situation, question, or comment gives time for your true wisdom to reveal itself. It’s a slowing down, waiting, practicing patience.’—Kay Lindahl (2002, 11). The Sacred Art of Listening.
‘Moral evolution, I think is understanding how we should behave, how we should treat others, understanding justice, understanding the need for a more equitable society. Spiritual evolution is more about meditating on the mystery of creation and the Creator, asking who we are and why we are here and understanding how we are part of the amazing natural world—again Shakespeare says it beautifully when he talks of seeing “books in running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything”.’—Jane Goodall and Douglas Abrams with Gail Hudson (2021, 211), The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times, Penguin.
‘We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection.’—Brene Brown. Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience: Vermilion (2021:185)
‘… hope not hopeless but unhopeful!’—quoted by Stan Grant.
‘… bravery requires us to get out there and do the things brave people do!’—Aristotle. Virtues of Character.
‘The challenge of writing
Is to see your horribleness on page
To see your terribleness
And then go to bed.
And wake up the next day,
And take that horribleness and that terribleness,
And refine it,
And make it not so terrible and not so horrible.
And then to go to bed again.
And come the next day,
And refine it a little bit more,
And make it not so bad.
And then to go to bed the next day.
And then do it again.
And make it maybe average.
And then one more time,
If you’re lucky,
Maybe you get to good.
And if you’ve done that,
That’s a success.’— Angela Duckworth, Grit: Why Passion and Resilience are the Secrets to Success (2017, 334) quoting Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me.
‘… if you define genius as working toward excellence, ceaselessly, with every element of your being – then, in fact, I am a genius and if you’re willing, so are you.’—Angela Duckworth. Grit: Why Passion and Resilience are the Secrets to Success (pg. 335).
‘Sometimes I wish I could photosynthesize so that just by being, just by shimmering at the meadow’s edge or floating lazily on the pond I could be doing the work of the world while standing silent in the sun.’—Robin Kimmerer. Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants (Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions).
‘A world where everything is moored to logic, to power, to syntax and plot and scheme and expectation and meaning, leaves no place for magic, for the inextricability and beauty of a glimpsed sunset.’—Bayo Akomolafe. These Wilds Beyond Our Fences: Letters to My Daughter on Humanity’s Search for Home (Berkeley: North Atlantic).
‘Dear friends, much pain has been endured in the past, and that pain is no longer designated to hopelessness. It’s time to move the process of reconciliation forward with a little more speed. That is the task. If not now, when? If not us, who?’—Faith Bandler.
‘Make it obvious, Make it attractive. Make it easy (to understand). Make it satisfying.’—James Clear. Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Bad Ones (2018).
‘We are here to become community. We are on an odyssey with potentiality, to make humanity more humane!’—Joan Chittister, Benedictine and public intellectual.
‘Creativity without criticality is rudderless and criticality without creativity is stagnant.’—Berry, A. et al. 2021. Education in the 21st Century, Springer.
‘Don’t be a ghost. Leave some track for others to follow.’—The Dreaming Path: Indigenous Thinking to Change Your Life. Paul Callaghan and Uncle Paul Gordon (2022).
‘Those who can, do. Those who understand, teach!’—Lee Shulman (1986). Educational Researcher: Those who understand: Knowledge Growth in Teaching.
‘A person who works with their hands is a labourer. A person who works with their hands and their brain is a craftsman. A person who works with their hands, their brains, and their heart is an artist.’—Marco Pierre White
‘Ordinary acts, when extraordinarily practiced, break open, transforming human conventions and revealing what is most deeply desirable and most fully human’— Ronald Grimes, Deeply into the Bone: Reinventing Rites of Passage (2000).
‘…. populism shows that the ship of democracy can indeed be sunk by mutinous sailors. With the practical help of a plethora of power-humbling mechanisms, democracy nevertheless supposes that a more equal world of well-being, openness, and diversity is possible. It champions these ideals not because all women and men are ‘naturally’ equal, or because they are anointed by God or the deities or ‘modernisation’ or History. Instead, democracy shows us that no man or woman is perfect enough to rule over their fellows or the fragile lands and seas in which they dwell. Is that wisdom not of global value?’—Keane, J. (2022). The Shortest History of Democracy, Black Inc.
‘How we choose to spend time is how we choose to live our lives’— Cornford, J. (2019). Coming Home: Ecology and Everyday Economics. Morning Star Publications.
‘Can each Australian teacher know themselves intimately, believe in themselves implicitly, and see clear links between their personal gifts, the sagacity of their professional calling and achieving the hopes and dreams of their society?’—Crowther F et al. (2021). Personal Pedagogical Gifts in a World of Standards, Hawker Brownlow.
‘Integrity largely has to do with purifying our intentions and a growing honesty about our actual motives.’—Richard Rohr (2012). Falling Upward. John Wiley and Sons. Pg XV.
‘When you’re being creative there is no such thing as a mistake’—John Cleese (2020), Creativity: A Short and Cheerful Guide. (pg 48)
‘Without mind wandering, we find it harder to make sense of the world – and in the jammed-up state of confusion that creates, we become even more vulnerable to the next source of distraction that comes along.’—Johann Hari (2022) Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention. (pg. 94).
‘Today on many levels, we are witnessing an immense longing for the mature feminine at every level of our society—from our politics to our economics, in our psyche, our cultures, our patterns of leadership, and much of which we hold dear, all of which have become far too warlike, competitive, mechanistic and non-contemplative. We are terribly imbalanced.’—Richard Rohr (2022).
The Rainbow Connection (Jim Henson, 1979)
Why are there so many
Songs about rainbows
And what’s on the other side
Rainbows are visions
They’re only illusions
And rainbows have nothing to hide
So we’ve been told and some chose to
But I know they’re wrong wait and see
Someday we’ll find it
The Rainbow Connection
The lovers, the dreamers and me
Who said that every wish
Would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that
And someone believed it
And look what it’s done so far
What’s so amazing
That keeps us star gazing
What so we think we might see
Someday we’ll find it
That Rainbow Connection
The lovers the dreamers and me
Have you been fast asleep
And have you heard voices,
I’ve heard them calling my name
Is this the sweet sound that calls
The young sailors
The voice might be one and the same
I’ve heard it too many times to ignore it
It’s something that I’m supposed to be
Someday we’ll find it
The rainbow connection
The lovers, the dreamers and me
‘There is no escape from yesterday. Yesterday is in us. We are part of it.
The present is linked with the past and the future with both.’— Reverend Clem Hawke quoted in Troy Bramston’s (2022) Bob Hawke: Demons and Destiny, Viking.
‘Ubuntu encompasses all our aspirations about how to live life well, together. We feel it when we connect with other people and share a sense of humanity; when we listen deeply and experience an emotional bond; when we treat ourselves and other people with the dignity they deserve …’—Bishop Desmond Tutu, The Quest for Peace address, Johannesburg, August 1986, quoted in Michael Battle, Ubuntu: I in You and You in Me: New York: Seabury Books, pg. 83.
‘Not every student comes with prior knowledge of the content, but every student comes with knowledge prior to the content’— ASCD Educational Leadership. Chad Prather, The Code for Student Engagement (p.55).
‘One person can spark hope … but a community can turn hope into progress.’—Emily Ehlers (2021). Hope is a Verb: Six Steps to Radical Optimism When the World Seems Broken.
The Swahili word ‘sikia’ refers to integrated sensing in which one simultaneously sees and hears, pays attention to, notices, understands and perceives’—Jon Roar Bjorkvold (1992). The Muse Within: Creativity and Communication, Song and Play from Childhood through Maturity. Harper Collins: New York.
‘Teaching and learning require a higher degree of awareness than we ordinarily possess—and awareness is always heightened when we are caught in a creative tension. Not all good teachers use the same technique, but whatever technique they use, good teachers always find ways to induce this creative tension.’—Parker Palmer, The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscapes of a Teacher’s Life (1998).
‘Happiness and silence belong together just as do profit and noise’—Robert Sardello, Silence: The Mystery of Wholeness (2006).
‘We are all addicted to our own habitual
way of doing anything, our own
defenses, and, most especially, our
patterned way of thinking, or how we
process reality.’— Richard Rohr, Breathing Underwater.
‘A culture is people thinking together.’
—Art Costa, The School as a Home for the Mind (2008) pg. 153.
‘She who knows only her own side of the case, knows little of that!’
—John Stuart Mill, nineteenth-century philosopher and political economist.
‘… I have learnt how to learn. I have learnt that curiosity, examination, attention, honesty and process are the utensils for our lives. And with them, we can learn anything.’
—Ed Ayers. Whole Notes: Life Lessons Through Music (pg. 89).
‘This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than before.’—Leonard Bernstein quoted in Ed Ayers (2021). Whole Notes: Life Lessons Through Music. Page 6.
‘Why do you see the speck in your neighbour’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?’—Matthew 7:3
‘When I, a decent, smart person make a mistake, I remain a decent, smart person and the mistake remains a mistake. Now how do I remedy what I did?’—Tavris & Aronson’s (2008) Mistakes Were Made (but not by me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts.
‘Compassion changes everything.
Compassion mends the broken and restores what has been lost.
Compassion draws together those who have been estranged or never even dreamed they were connected.
Compassion pulls us out of ourselves and into the heart of another.
Compassion springs out of vulnerability and triumphs in unity.’—Judy Connato, Field of Compassion (2010).
‘The charm of fishing is that it is a pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope’–Sir John Buchan, ‘Lost Monsters,’ in Great Hours in Sport, ed. John Buchan (Thomas Nelson and Sons: 1921).
‘… curiosity is piqued when there is a gap between what we know and what we want to know—this encourages us to ask questions.’
—Loewenstein, G. (1994). The Psychology of Curiosity: A Review and Reinterpretation. Psychological Bulletin, 116 (1)
‘Engagement is the new frontier of student achievement. It is the route from the Age of Achievement and Effort to the Age of Engagement, Well-Being and Identity’.
—Shirley, D. & Hargreaves, A. (2021). Five Paths of Student Engagement: Blazing the Trail to Learning and Success
‘… cultivation works both ways; it is inward as well as outward and tending a garden can become an attitude towards life.’
–Sue Stuart-Smith quoted in The Well Gardened Mind – Rediscovering Nature in the Modern World (2020)
Trust and respect together give an orchestra flexibility. You can’t have or express deep feeling without trust. When you have trust, you get “permission” – permission to be yourself, do what you are feeling and do what you do best
—Queensland Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster Warwick Adeney quoted in Crowther et al. 2021, pg. 148.
There comes a day when the scattered pieces of knowledge need to be fixed to a transmission line! —Maria Stepanova (2021) Memory of Memory.
The New, my friends, is not a matter of
letting machines force out our handiwork.
Don’t be confused by change; soon those who have
praised the “new” will realise their mistake.
For look, the Whole is infinitely newer
than a cable or a high apartment house.
The stars keep blazing with an ancient fire,
And all more recent fires will fade out.
—Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus, trans and ed. Stephen Mitchell (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1985, 135)
‘Collective effervescence happens when joie de vivre spreads through a group. Joy shared is joy sustained!’ — Organisational psychologist and columnist Dr Adam Grant, New York Times.
‘If you never change your mind, why have one?’ — Physician and author, Edward de Bono (1933-2021)
‘Teaching is a profession brimming with positive emotions such as satisfaction, joy and pride. The most underestimated of these emotions, perhaps, is surprise.’ — Hargreaves, A. and Fullan M. (2012). Professional Capital.
Music gives a soul to the Universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. — Unknown; often attributed to Plato. Foreword, Strings Fest, Brisbane Girls Grammar School.
Self-Expression — Eger, E. (2017). The Choice: Embrace the Possible.
On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.
And when your eyes
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets into you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.
When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.
May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.
— Beannacht/Blessing by John O’Donohue (For Josie, my mother)
‘We need leaders who will help people recognise, inquire into, empathise with, constructively question, and then ultimately bring together multiple identities into one greater whole, without imposing a single white, colonial or Western identity on everyone.’ — Hargreaves, A. (2019). Leadership Ethics, Inequality and Identity.
‘Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.’ — Fox, M. (2020). Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic – and Beyond. iUniverse Books: Bloomington.
‘Wisdom is the mother of all good things.’ — (Wisdom 7:10-11)
‘You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.’ — American architect, Buckminster Fuller
‘Children grow to fill the space we create for them—if its big they will walk tall.’ — Sacks, R. (2020). Morality: Restoring the Common Good in Divided Times. ‘Children grow to fill the space we create for them—if its big they will walk tall.’ — Sacks, R. (2020). Morality: Restoring the Common Good in Divided Times.
‘The true division of humanity is between those who live in light and those who live in darkness!’—Hugo, V. (1992). Les Miserable. Modern Library, New York.
‘Time doesn’t heal. It’s what you do with the time. Healing is possible when we choose to take responsibility, when we choose to take risks, and finally, when we choose to release the wound, to let go of the grief.’ –Eger, E. (2017). The Choice: Even in Hell Hope Can Flower.
‘The motivational appeal of personal bests is that individuals are comparing their performances with what they have already achieved, so they are about attainable improvement.’ –Stobart, G. (2020). The Expert Learner—Challenging Myth of Ability. Open University Press.
The Instrumental Music Faculty’s memorable 2021 International Women’s Day concert was entirely dedicated to compositions written by women, some of which were especially commissioned for the event. One such commissioned piece, was a work for Chamber Choir and Strings, Tune thy Music to thy Heart, by Estonian Composer, Mari Amor. Speaking from Estonia, in a message to our community, Ms Amor noted:
‘… as we are connected by music and singing, distances don’t really matter … because music, love, devotion and being thankful, in our lives, are universal values.’
Such a statement is not only uplifting, it speaks to the fundamental light and decency inherent in our common values.
‘Einstein was only partially right when he said, “Curiosity is a delicate little plant which, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom.” It turns out that like many delicate plants, in order to flourish, curiosity needs to be cultivated.’ –Engel, S. (2015). The Hungry Mind: The Origins of Curiosity in Childhood. Harvard University Press.
‘”Is your glass half empty or half full?” asked the mole. “I think I’m grateful to have a glass” said the boy’. –Mackesy, C. (2019). The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse.
‘When follow-up questions are asked consistently, it creates a culture in which students know that being able to explain their thinking is important and expected.’ – Coleman, L.M. (2020). Deeper Discussions in Math Add Up. Educational Leadership, 77, 58-62.
‘This new age fairly glitters with opportunity, but it is as unkind to the slow of foot as it is to the rigid of mind!’ –Pink, D. (2005). A Whole New Mind: Moving From the Information Age to the Conception Age. Allen & Unwin.
‘An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest’ – Benjamin Franklin
‘There is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.’ –Poet, Amanda Gorman
‘ … ideas change lives!’ –Philosopher, theologian, author, and politician, Lord Jonathan Sacks.
‘The good we do lives on in others.’ –Philosopher, theologian, author, and politician, Lord Jonathan Sacks.
‘History is continually graced with people who have been transformed and somehow learned to act beyond and outside their self-interest for the good of the world. They are exemplars of public virtue.’ – Franciscan, scholar and public intellectual, Richard Rohr.
‘We should also regularly doubt ourselves, and question what has shaped our own thinking, what unconscious biases we might harbour, and whether we might be wrong (pg. 264).’ –Julia Baird’s Phosphorescence: On Awe, Wonder and Things that Sustain You.
‘Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the one who asked why.’ –American philanthropist, Bernard Baruch.
‘… every so often a kind person appears and is willing to set everything else aside in order to show interest, to give the gift of a smile, to speak a word of encouragement, to listen amid general indifference.’ –Pope Francis, Fratelli Tutti (p. 56).
In Sue Stuart-Smith’s The Well Gardened Mind, she quotes Voltaire’s timeless injunction from his novella Candide:
‘Il faut cultiver notre jardin’ –we must cultivate our garden! (p. 282)
In our very complex world, the garden brings us back to reality. Not the kind of reality that is known and predictable, for the garden always surprises us and in it we can experience, different kinds of knowing—one that is sensory and physical, with all of its wonder.
‘Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate and doubt, to offer a solution everyone can understand!’ – Former Army General and US Secretary of State, Colin Powell.
‘You can’t go home again, back … to the old forms and systems of things, which once seemed everlasting, but which are changing all of the time …’ – American novelist, Thomas Wolfe
‘… the role of a creative leader is not to have all of the ideas; it’s to create a culture where everyone can have ideas and feel they’re valued.’ – Author, Sir Ken Robinson
‘Creating can be a messy process … not sure that you can do wild innovation neatly … giving birth to new ways takes upheaval.’ – Glenn Capelli (2020)
‘What guides our learning (beyond family, community and Elders) is spirit, our own learning spirits who travel with us to guide us along our earth walk, offering us guidance, inspiration and quiet unrealised potential to be who we are. In effect the learning Spirit has a Learning Spirit. It has a hunger and a thirst for learning, and along that path it leads us to discern what is useful for us to know and what is not. (pg. 15).’ – Battisse, M. (2010). Nourishing the Learning Spirit. Education Canada.
In a recent article in The New York Times, Alina Tugund (2020) noted, when applying the work of American psychologist Professor Carol Dweck:
‘… if we see every mistake as a crisis, every failure as a sign we’re losers, then we avoid taking risks, we become less creative, we even learn less deeply… if we’re resilient enough to understand that mistakes are inevitable, that we often make them when we’re trying something that challenges us and the learning process is (or should be) as important as the final achievement, then we’re far more open and able to accept them.’
– Tugend, A. (2020, August 12). Feel Like You’re Going Out of Your Mind? Consider Your Mind-Set. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/12/well/growth-mindset-resilience.html
‘… the wise take the business of laughing at themselves seriously.’ – de Botton, A. (2019). The School of Life: An Emotional Education.
‘In the course of history, there comes a time when humanity is called to shift to a new level of consciousness, to reach a higher moral ground. A time when we have to shed our fear and give hope to each other.’ – Academic Biologist and 2004 Nobel Laureate, Professor Wangari Maathai
‘… judge a person by their questions rather than by their answers!’ – Voltaire
‘Lead with love, low ego, high impact and move at the speed of trust!’ – Gloria Steinem
No quote to start Term 3 but rather some music. Recently Italian Maestro, Ennio Morricone, died. One of his most memorable scores was Gabriel’s Oboe from the movie The Mission. It’s an ageless score—hauntingly beautiful and evocative in its simplicity.
This week’s quote is from Brisbane-based poet, mediator and mariner, Captain Tom Stodulka. The verse comes from his poem Loss, Grief and Hope—An Ode to Friends and Loved Ones.
Embrace love in all its norms,
Enjoy the storms.
And the quiet and peaceful times.
Not just sometimes.
Finish well, the race is being run.
And in the meantime, enjoy every moment in
‘In the universe, there are many things that are known, and things that are unknown, and in between them, there are doors.’ – William Blake
‘… the only basic skills that are essential are literacy, numeracy and discernment.’ – Bartos, M. (2020, May 5). Knowns and Unknowns. Inside Story. Retrieved from https://insidestory.org.au/knowns-and-unknowns/
‘Technology, as a catalyst, is effective only when used to enable learning with richer content, more powerful pedagogy, more valid assessments, and links between in-and out-of-classroom learning.’ – Dede, C. (2014). The Role of Digital Technologies in Deeper Learning. Deeper Learning Research Series.
This week I came across the African word Ubuntu again. It’s a great concept. Mogobe (2003) notes:
‘… what Ubuntu underscores is the vital importance of mutual recognition and respect complemented by mutual care and sharing in the construction of human relations.’ – Mogobe B. R., The Ethics of Ubuntu, The African Philosophy Reader: A Text with Readings, eds. P. H. Coetzee and A. P. J. Roux, 2nd ed. (Routledge: 2003), 329.
In this very strange time we have seen this in our local communities and in the great work of the Care Army. It’s a shame we have needed a pandemic to foreground respect, care, sharing and relationships over markets, competitiveness and consumerism!
This week’s quote is from Michael J. Fox. It is about the lessons learned from his battle with Parkinson’s disease. The overarching theme of the book is living to learn. He observes:
‘When you move out of your comfort zone and interact with people you might not have otherwise, the results might be compelling.’ – Fox, M.J. (2010). A Funning Thing Happened on the Way to the Future: Twists and Lessons Learned, Hachette, UK.
This could have been written in COVID-19 2020. Here’s to the mobilisation of some collective wisdom during what is shaping up to be the next stage of this crisis. Wouldn’t it be good if individually and collectively we all learned to live as well as living to learn. This just maybe 2020’s gift to humanity.
‘The teacher takes as the curriculum the social life of the classroom and aims to make the classroom a democratic, just community. The resulting socio-moral atmosphere is one of vitality and energy invested in the experience of being together where social relationships are characterized by relative equality and by the reciprocity conducing to decentring and perspective-taking.’ – Edwards, C. (1995). Democratic Participation in a Community of Learners: Loris Malaguzzi’s Philosophy of Education as Relationship. Faculty Publications, Department of Child, Youth, and Family Studies. 15.
‘If you can do something to improve your predicament, why worry? If you can’t change anything, why worry?’ – A Tibetan quote, as cited in Goleman, 2020.
We all have had a fair share of ‘worry’ as we have traversed the COVID-19 crisis. The above quote’s simplicity is misleading as it’s not as easy as it suggests. Here’s to a worry-free zone as we prepare to welcome back the girls—hopefully in the not too distant future.
‘The real metal and strength of character of our Nation will be seen in the way in which we and our leaders meet this present trial, with its demands for unity in renewed self-dedication, and rise above the adversity which has befallen us. National character and public opinion are very important factors in life. They are always being moulded – moulded by circumstances and by the events of our time, as well as by the deeper things of the spirit – and the peoples of our Nation are affected very much, for good or for bad, by such influences.’ – Sir Phillip Strong at Prime Minster Harold Holt’s Memorial Service in 1967.
The appropriate words or inspiration have escaped me during this very strange week. The situation the world finds itself in is so unprecedented in our lives.
May our thoughts and prayers be with those who will develop vaccines and medicines to help fight this pandemic. May our thoughts and prayers be with the medical personnel who are tending and who will tend to those who are desperately ill. May our thoughts and prayers be with those who have lost loved ones. May our thoughts and prayers be with those who have lost and will lose their livelihoods. May our thoughts and prayers be with those who will design the policies to nurture humanity to better and hopefully more sustainable times. May our thoughts and prayers be with teachers and all those who work in schools during these difficult days.
‘… when we change the way we see things, the things we see change.’ – Stan, S. (2016). Mindful Meditations for Every Day. Columba Press: Dublin.
This week some thoughts from KD Lang’s song, Constant Craving. They have been quoted recently by Emeritus Professor Michael Fullan in his article, The Battle of the Century: Catastrophe v Evolutionary Nirvana (ACEL, 2020, pg. 8). Lang wrote:
Maybe a great magnet pulls
All souls towards truth
Or maybe life itself
That feeds wisdom
To its youth.
This week I’d like to share a quote from John Marsden’s (2019) book, The Art of Growing Up. When talking about the importance of literary fiction he concludes:
‘… it has an integrity that simply may not be available in the places we have been accustomed or trained to expect it. It enables readers and writers to journey together, sharing the path from the first page of the book to the last, and through all the exhilarating and difficult pages in between, and in so doing to confront honourably humanity’s toughest and most tangled questions in a mutual search for truth.’
‘Genuine communication involves contagion; its name should not be taken in vain by terming communication that which produces no community of thought or purpose between the child and race of which she is heir.’ – Dewey, J. (1910). How We Think.
‘The goal in all education is always receding before the advancing student, just as the top of a mountain seems to retreat before the climber, remoter and higher summits appearing successively as each apparent summit is reached.’ – Professor Paul Henry Hanus
‘Make hope practical in a world where despair would seem far more convincing.’ – Lingard, B., Hayes, D., Mills, M., Christie, P. (2003) Leading Learning: Making Hope Practical in Schools.
Welcome to the 2020 academic year. I hope everyone had a relaxing and refreshing break, and feels rejuvenated for the year ahead. A peacefully poignant quote from Thou Whose Harmony is the Music of the Spheres by Robert Leavens, to start the School year.
Thou whose harmony is the music of the spheres, By our presence here with one another,
In thy presence,
May some of the harshness and discord of our human lives be transmuted into music.
A new song in our hearts may there be,
And a new harmony in our beings,
So that we may return to our many duties, With fresh courage,
With rejoicing, And with eagerness.
‘Not to speak, is to speak. Not to act, is to act.’ – Theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Recently we have all been concerned about the fire engulfing our country in so many places. During the week I re-read poems from an anthology entitled Earth Prayers. One poem ends with this line:
‘We give away our promise to begin to learn how to stay in balance with all the earth’ – Roberts, E., & Amidon, E. (2009). Earth Prayers.
Balance is such a simple yet difficult concept. Let’s hope balance pervades all decision making when addressing the pressing issues about the climate.
‘Without nourishment there can be no growth and no love….give thanks and celebrate!’ – Leunig, M. (1991). A Common Prayer.
‘People learn best by stories, because stories lodge deep in the heart.’ – Nerhburn, K. (2016). Voices in the Stone: Life Lessons from the Native Way.
‘The beauty is in learning from each other … and having constant growth!’ – Queensland Symphony Orchestra Music Director, Ms Alondra de la Parra.
‘A liberal education helps us claim our own voices in the midst of the clamorous crowd, staying engaged with the communal conversations of a democracy in ways that keep opening us to larger versions of the truth’. –Parker, P. (2011). Healing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create A Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit.
Foundational truths are only as solid as the strength of democracy’s schools. We should pause and reflect on the plight of students, teachers and the communities in Syria.
So much of what we do as educators is about individual difference.
‘One thing my grandfather Bart taught me is that no two race horses are the same so treat them as individuals.’ – James Cummings (grandson of legendary racehorse trainer Bart Cummings), November 2017
This week’s Pedagogy Quote of the Week is aimed particularly at the summative start of the new QCE/ATAR system.
‘Approach your own personal voyage and projects like Michelangelo approached a block of marble, willing to learn and adjust as you go, and even to abandon a previous goal and change direction entirely should the need arise.’- Epstein, D. (2019). Range—How Generalists Triumph in a Specialised World. Riverhead Books.
‘Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment, until it becomes a memory.’– Dr Seuss
‘Good thinkers not only know how to think creatively, critically and deeply they actually do it!’–Harvard Project Zero
‘Most people believe that physicists are explaining the world … they are only dancing with it.’-–Physicist, Gary Zukav.
The natural world keeps groaning and we just keep doing what we do. Our role as educators is to ensure that our students at least, in part, understand and appreciate the intricacies of the moves!
‘… Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.’ –Saint Matthew’s Gospel (6:34)
‘Lying is done with words and also with silence.’ – American public intellectual and poet, Adrienne Rich.
Silence can transform with its stealth. Let’s hope humanity has learned from past silences so that it won’t ignore outcomes that may well be predictable.
‘Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.’ – American-Cuban-French essayist, Anais Nin.
‘Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not!’– Dr Suess.
‘Culture turns the other into us, and it does this through trust, imagination and empathy.’ – Cellist, Yo Yo Ma.
Culture is all about the invisible as well as the visible. The unsaid as well as the said, the action as well as the thought.
‘Leaders throw long shadows!’-Morgan, D. (2019).
Sometimes the most obvious statements are timely reminders. Working at this School makes us all leaders in some way—leaders in core educational values and deeply interrogated thought—our articulation of a 21st century concept of a broad-based liberal education!
‘… the future is always contingent upon our cooperation, choices, and actions.’ – Buber, M. (1949). Prophetic Faith.
‘Feminine power is deeply relational and symbolic—and thus transformative—in ways that many men cannot control or even understand.’- Rohr. R (2019). The Universal Christ. Convergent Books.
Not everything fits into a gendered binary. I do sometimes wonder if more qualities of the feminine were allowed to seep fully into public discourse our world might be a better place.
‘Own the jungle!’- British General, Sir Walter Walker.
There are many possible applications for this week’s Pedagogy Quote of the Week. Some might say that ‘grit’ is counter-insurgency of the mind.
As assessment commences we are reminded of the following words:
‘Don’t worry, be happy!’- Bobby McFerrin.
‘You’re not stuck in traffic, you are traffic!’- Slavin, K. (2016). Design as Participation.
Slavin’s words prompt us to think, what can we do, from a personal practice sense, during an era of amazing educational complexity to limit congestion?
‘Fairy tales are more than true—not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten!’- paraphrased quote by author, GK Chesterton.
‘A ship is safe in habour, but that is not what ships are built for.’- Theologian, William Shed.
From listening comes knowledge
From knowledge comes understanding
From understanding comes wisdom
From wisdom comes well-being.
-Kerr, J. (2013). Legacy: What the All Blacks Can Teach Us About the Business of Life, Hachette Australia.
‘Feminism is not about women …. It’s about changing what is valued!’ -Cox, E. (2019). Late Night Live: Phillip Adams.
‘Don’t confuse pessimism with profundity: problems are inevitable, but problems are solvable, and diagnosing every setback as a symptom of a sick society is a cheap grab for gravitas (pg 452).’ -Pinker, S. (2018), Enlightenment Now, Penguin Random House.
‘The ultimate source of a happy life is warm-heartedness.’-Dali Lama.
As we approach the Christian festival of Easter, a time in which re-birth, hope and renewal are celebrated, remembering the wellspring of humanity that can emanate from warm-heartedness is very appropriate.
The events in Christchurch, the aftermath and the leadership of Jacinda Ardern has resonated with all people of goodwill over the last week. The poetry of George Herbert has provided food for thought over the last few days. He wrote a series of poems in 1633 called The Temple: Sacred Poems. They were set to music by the English Composer Ralph Vaughan Williams under a collection entitled Five Mystical Songs. The fifth of these songs, Antiphon, starts with the words:
‘Let all the world in every corner sing!’
Let our world sing with peace—peace in heart, mind and soul! May something good come out of the horror that has been so confronting. Here’s to the genuine and inspirational leadership that the world has been witnessing in recent days.
‘Looking up not only lets our brains improvise and play, but it improves our capacity to maintain a focused state of mind—with less effort—so we actually get better at thinking.’
-Kerr, F. & Maze, L. (2019), The Art and Science of Looking Up.
‘The whole struggle of life is to some extent a struggle about how slowly or how quickly to do each thing.’
-Nadolyn, S. (1996). The Discovery of Slowness. Penguin Books.
‘I am because we are!’ -African proverb
This quote is a wonderful way of thinking about connection and caring—the fundamental essences of schools as agents of community.
‘….education—as a societal good—is both a means to participating in public , and a means of creating ‘the public.’-Robertson, S. (2018). Recovering the Political in the Idea of Education as a Public Good—and Why it Matters.
‘We must be guardians of a space that allows students to breathe and be curious and explore the world and be who they are without suffocation.’ -Brown, B. (2018). Daring to Lead. Penguin Books Limited.
‘Expedience asks the question, ‘‘Is it politic?’’ Vanity asks the question, ‘‘Is it popular?’’ But, conscience asks the question, ‘‘Is it right?’’’-Dr Martin Luther King.
‘Kind words are a creative force, building relations and securing foundations for growth.’ -Lovasik,L. (1962)., The Hidden Power of Kindness.
‘Learning is more than the acquisition of the ability to think; it is the acquisition of many specialised abilities for thinking about a variety of things.’ -Lev Vygotsky, Psychologist (1978).