Do As I Request Only If…

Please do as I requested only if you can do so with the joy of a little child feeding a hungry duck. Please do not do as I requested if there is any fear of punishment motivating you. Please do not do as I requested out of hope for a reward or that I will like you if you do. Please do not do as I requested out of guilt, shame, duty, or obligation. Life is too short to do anything for anybody out of that. So what I’m getting at is when we do make a request, we want to be sure the person trusts that’s a request not a demand.

–Marshall Rosenberg, The Basics of Nonviolent Communication

Beyond Win or Lose, A Third Option

Never give [someone] the power to make you submit or rebel. One of the things we want to teach children very early no matter what structure you’re in: never lose track that you are free to choose what you do.

–Marshall Rosenberg, The Basics of Nonviolent Communication

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.


I’ve discovered what that field is that Rumi is talking about: when you use Nonviolent Communication, there is no longer a right and wrong. There is simply feelings and needs. So instead of giving someone the power to make you submit or rebel, you can use Giraffe Language (Nonviolent Communication) to express what you’re feeling and needing.

The Game of ‘Who’s Right’ #NVC

The first thing I’ll suggest is that you can’t teach anybody anything. And to have that as an objective in itself creates problems. Let’s change the objective. Let’s never try to teach anybody anything or to change anybody. If that’s your objective, you’ll create resistance.

[What led us here] is the thinking which has been shaped in us by [our language]–the game of “Who’s Right,” “Win/Lose.”  If we can’t change and win, then the option we think of is to be a chump and lose. We’ve been educated to think in those two ways: win/lose, right/wrong. I’ll show you another option.

–Marshall Rosenberg, The Basics of Nonviolent Communication

Not Such a Good Idea

This discussion assumes neither that education takes place in schools as we know them nor that education is for children. In fact, once education is understood in terms of identity, it may no longer seem such a good idea to front-load “education” at the beginning of life.

–Etienne Wenger, Communities of Practice, page 263 (published 1998)

Daniel Pink Quote HT @Suzannah314

Autonomy, mastery, and purpose are the building blocks of a new way of doing things.

–Daniel Pink

I believe that this is the new way of doing education whether one is in a school or homeschool situation. I think purpose is the essential first step for a young person and that is really just as simple as making a promise to oneself to do something; making a commitment to a goal (a really big, scary goal, such as writing a novel and getting it published).

Then the long, arduous path to achieving that goal is all done with pull-not-push learning. The young person pulls to them everything that they need in order to reach their goal. No one is pushing anything onto them (no coercion, only thoughtful guidance). That’s the autonomy part. So in the above example, the young writer is developing their skill and craft along they way by actually writing–putting in hundreds, thousands of hours over years to develop and hone their craft so that the novel is actually pretty good. Anything that might help is pulled by the individual, not pushed or forced by someone else.

Then comes mastery (or the striving to attain it). As the young person develops determination and grit to achieve their goal, then the next step is to present the final “product” to the global, adult world of practitioners in that domain. Back to the example, our young writer submits their work to actual literary agents and editors in attempts to get something published in the real world. It may or may not ever get published, but the young writer is still in the Community of Practice of writers-trying-to-get-published and that is a great place to conduct one’s education.

As Daniel Pink suggests above, this is the new way of doing education.

The Learning That Is Most Personally Transformative @etiennewenger

Students go to school and, as they come together to deal in their own fashion with the agenda of the imposing institution and the unsettling mysteries of youth, communities of practice sprout everywhere – in the classroom as well as on the playground, officially or in the cracks. And in spite of curriculum, discipline, and exhortation, the learning that is most personally transformative turns out to be the learning that involves membership in these communities of practice.

Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity (page 6), by Etienne Wenger

PROCESS POST: The Biggest Effects on Student Learning

This post is intended as a place for me to process my thinking while I explore and make meaning.

I’m pondering about the meanings of Dependence, Independence, and Interdependence in education, particularly in regards to schooling.

I’m curious about the phenomenon of active and passive roles in learning, especially in the context of schooling.

In reading, John Hattie’s book, “Visible Learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement,” I came across this quote:

The remarkable feature of the evidence is that the biggest effects on student learning occur when teachers become learners of their own teaching, and when students become their own teachers. (page 22)