Leland Kriegh's Blog

Leland Kriegh's Blog

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Week 3 Free Post - Communicating

I have been amazed at what using blogs, posts, e-mail, and instant messaging can do with communication with some students. We have all had those students whom hardly say a word. They do their work but seldom interact. Mostly through instant messages and blogs, I have learned more about some students and a couple of days that I have been several years of conventional communication. For whatever reason, many students are more comfortable communicating through this medium. It is almost like they are dying to tell someone but have never had the opportunity. Even the gregarious students share information. In a typical classroom, there are so many voices that want to tell their story but there is never enough time. Technology has the ability to stop time in this sense and allow for the quietest voices to be heard.

Week 2 Reading Response to Josh Tolar

Josh's Post:
I keep thinking about the current situation about my job and how it happened so fast. While I was hastily updating my resume to look for a new job to cure my unhappiness with my current one, an opportunity came out from no where and basically slapped me in the face. I’m now in a new position with the same company, but I don’t know for how long. I have this hidden fear that one day this position will be over and I will have to go back where I used to work and fall into an unhappy lifestyle again where my expertise is nothing but a title on a sheet of paper. It is here that I have enclosed myself into a box and never stopped to think about the opportunity I have right now and how it might actually affect my future; An opportunity to seize the moment.

By reading the first 4 chapters of “Art of Possibility”, I realized the potentials I have as well as the weaknesses I have had and still have. When thinking about giving an A to someone, it somehow calms my nerves from expecting too much and allows me to focus on how to contribute to someone else’s life or a project. This IS a realization, but NOT THE END of realizations. While giving an A to someone might make it easier for two people to work together in a more harmonious fashion, there is still the realization of giving yourself an A. For so many years I have been controlled by a never-ending urge to please everyone. It has caused me to go above and beyond to the extent that my body shuts down and causes many problems like stress or an occasional illness. This is from my past of always having to live up to an A or suffer the consequences or living up to the expectations of a parent and it never stopped. It never stopped because I never allowed it to stop. I have always given in to the persistent calculations and measurements in my head. I have always been afraid that if I don’t do the best possible work then I would fail or cause someone to feel disappointed. I have always been in the realm of self-doubt despite of what others say. This is just like what Ben Zander was describing about his students and how giving an A would open up the possibilities of being creative and not focusing on the measurements in their head. If I give myself an A first, then I feel I can start handing out A’s to other people and I can then start a successful domino effect of contribution.

Life is constantly changing and the past year at Full Sail has not only given me strength and trust in myself, but has shown me that when you work with others and recognize their contributions as well as your own, amazing things start to happen. I have always been told, “If you put your mind to it, anything can happen”. This is so true in so many ways, but you have to first realize that if you give in to self-doubt and the measurements that we are so conditioned with, you start to focus on the negative instead of the positive. You become enclosed in a box. I think that by realizing our contributions and the contributions of other people, we can start to open the lid of the box and slowly come out.

My Response:
Josh, thank you for your honesty. One of my favorite things of reading other people's blogs and responding is the realization of how similar we all are. I can relate to your anxiety of going back to your old job. How fascinating! Right now, you are in a job that you love. It is funny how we sabotage ourselves with the emotions that have nothing to do with the reality of today. Not only do we not allow ourselves to feel fully passionate and enjoy what were doing, the angst and anxiety that you feel could be misconstrued by others (your bosses). Can you imagine them thinking that they thought they put you into a good position but you just don't seem that happy. The fear you have of going back to your old position could actually sabotage your new position and put you right back in that old position. In addition, maybe your emotions have sabotaged your old position. Maybe use one that you could be perfectly happy in. I am currently in a similar situation and contemplating the same issues.

Week 2 Reading Response to Janene Neal

Janene's Post:
How can I reinvent myself to be a better person? I think I try on a daily basis to be a better person. I treat others the way that I want to be treated. I work hard to make myself happy, as well as others that are around me. But when I read this week’s readings, I pondered if I am missing something. Is there more that I can offer to others around me? I think I do. But what can I contribute to my students…my friends…my family? How can I provide more possibilities? Or be apart of other possibilities?

I think in order for me to step outside the box, I must list contributions that I can offer to others. I feel that I have a lot to offer others. Not only my work ethics, but I also provide love and compassion. Sometimes, I feel that I might be a little burned out with teaching. But on a daily basis, I still love my students. Of course I want them to learn as much as possible, and sometimes forget about their feelings and how their home life can really affect their school life.

For instance, last week, one of my fourth grade students needed shoes, clothes, underclothes, and toiletries, due to insufficient funds at home. Through a county non-profit organization, I was able to provide these necessary items for this student and his sibling. He was so thankful, and appreciative to receive these items. He didn’t care if the items were name brand, or the latest fashion. He was just happy to have clothes with no holes, and shoes that weren’t falling apart. With his overwhelming response of gratitude, I was able to reconnect with the emotional aspect of being a teacher, as well as looking at how fortunate that I am able to provide for my own family. Still, this kid showed me to appreciate the little things in life.

I think with caring and love, the possibilities are endless. Having a positive outlook in life will provide an abundance of opportunities. Educators are kind, warm hearted human beings that not only teach lessons to others, but also provide love to their students.

So yes, I think that I do have something to offer to my students, LOVE. Sometimes it’s tucked away, pushed aside, or misplaced, but for some reason, my students help me find it.

What I really liked about the reading this week, and what I want to use is giving A’s. The author provided his students with A’s at the beginning of the semester. This way, the students will set their own standards high. It is similar to FSO grading the GPS assignment at the beginning of the class. I know I want to keep this 100%, and will make an effort to not have any points deducted.

One sentence stood out from all the reading…..”Hard Work and Reward…what can be better?”

My Response:
I completely identified with your story of how helping someone else reminded you of love. Moments like these bring us to our central selves. It reminds me of the days following 9/11. Remember how everyone was more caring, even in traffic? This dissipated after a couple of days it still, after a couple of days, we were reminded of what's really important and we noticed it. I think the key to this idea is to constantly remind us of the big picture.

Wk4 Publishing/Leadership project part 2 of 2: Online Gaming and Simulations

I am choosing not to publish. When I did my literature review, I did not find research out there that directly related to my project. I was somewhat venturing into new territory. One could say that this is a perfect reason to publish. My project needs to be modified and I would get more information from my study group. I think that the work I did on this project could be worthy of publication if it was connected to a second study with the changes needed.

Kriegh Leland PubLeadProject

Week 4 Publishing/Leadership Project

I am choosing not to publish. When I did my literature review, I did not find research out there that directly related to my project. I was somewhat venturing into new territory. One could say that this is a perfect reason to publish. My project needs to be modified and I would get more information from my study group. I think that the work I did on this project could be worthy of publication if it was connected to a second study with the changes needed.

Week 4 Response to Thomas Turner

Thomas Turner’s post:

The one thing that stood out to me in this week's reading has to come from Chapter 11 "Creating Frameworks for Possibility." The reading revealed three main areas for a person to create the frameworks needed to make change happen.
1. Making a new distinction to help reframe the current one.
2. Become a part of the framework around you.
3. Distinguish what is part of being off-track, while remaining on-track.
This chapter describes the very reason I became an educator. I usually get laughed at when I refer to teaching as being an art form. It truly takes a special being to become one. It's become open season lately on teachers. Yet despite all the pounding we take, we trudge on because we know what is at stake
Each day we walk on campus we MUST check our egos at the door because something more important is at stake. I strive everyday to instill the desire in my students to look introspectively and make decisions that will positively impact their lives. Unfortunately, success is not 100% and I'm not naive to think that I will ever be 100%. It's like I hear football coaches being interviewed on television saying that they put their players in the best possible position to win. Very few football coaches are successful at accomplishing this, as history has shown, this has only happened once. This fact does not stop me from trying my hardest every day though.

This endeavor goes hand in hand with the third area. Part of making or reframing the current possibilities of life involves distinguishing between right and wrong. I, like the example given in the text about the orchestra in Sao Paolo, Brazil, was faced with something similar when I was playing high school baseball. We took a trip to New Orleans for a tournament. Our last instructions were to NOT go down to the quarter. When 16 to 18 year old young men are faced with being told not to do something, we chose to do the exact opposite. Our coach took a similar tact as the orchestra leader. We did not get the beat down reaming that we all probably deserved. Although we did not win the tournament, we went on to play some of the best baseball we had played up to that part of the season. Rather than playing for someone who we resented, we were playing someone who we felt we understood.

My response:
Your comments spoke to me. Not all teachers speak of their craft as an art form. Lets tie passion as an asset you have that goes hand in hand with with your teaching framework. Because you continue to "trudge on," you have a passion for what you do.

I was going to say that you passion helps you overcome obstacles and challenges. I guess we should identify those things as possibilities. As you profess your teaching as an art form, you make a difference in those who hear it. By making a positive impact with your students, you are influencing the dialogue in public education. Going back a few chapters, we do not know if the rhetoric on teachers is good or bad. It is. It may seem bad right now but we cannot see what is going to happen in the future and how the current dialogue will play into it. By keeping our passion, we can only believe that things will work out perfectly.

Week 4 Response to Jason Reed

Jason Reed’s Post:

Reading response from chapters 5 through 8 of The Art of Possibility, by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander.

I first have to say that every time I pick up and read this book, it relates to things that are happening in my life. Chapter 5 discusses how to lead from any chair, and more specifically it refers to experiences being a conductor. It talks about the power that an orchestral conductor has in the music world and how conductors can often be dominating. I can attest that these traits can still be seen today because of the many conductors that I know or have worked with.

I direct 6 different choirs at the middle school level and never really gave much thought as to how my students view me. I often do what I need to do to get the results that are needed. After reflecting on my teaching and classroom management I realized that what makes my teaching so effective is that I build a family environment. Everyone feels safe in the classroom and I often encourage student ideas, which gives them a sense of ownership.

I really enjoyed reading about the effectiveness of the “white sheets” where students can write down their criticisms and observations during rehearsals. I am going to start trying to use this in my rehearsals to see what my students are thinking and find out how I can better serve their needs. It will also be a great way to have more personal feedback about my teaching and conducting.

The other chapters (6-8) had many great ideas as well to offer. Chapter 6 talks about the Rule Number 6, which basically means to lighten up. I find that I already do this in my classroom by adding humor to my lessons. I often use humor to effectively get my points across rather then coming off demanding and authoritative. I have found better success in the over all sound of my choirs by lightening up and this principle is one that everyone should follow.

Chapter 7 talks about the practice of the way things are. This chapter discusses how we should accept reality the way it is and work with reality to created more positive experiences. There are some things that we cannot change and it is our goal to be happy and positive. There are always positive ways to look at every situation and it is important for us to focus on the positivity to ensure our own happiness and the happiness of others around us.

Chapter 8 discusses the practice of giving way to passion. This was another chapter that really spoke to me. Most people view me as a passionate individual who is driven for success. I often use my passion for helping others and success to inspire and motivate myself. Sometimes I do set up barriers on myself and releasing these barriers is something that I need to first work on. I found that this chapter was more about channeling ones energy to help convert passion into action. This practice is not an easy thing to accomplish however once we can tap into our inner passion and drive we can accomplish anything.

My response:
I wanted to comment on yours because of the passion I know you have for your endeavors. I am glad that you spoke of passion. I would believe that your passion is also what drives your classroom management. Your students assessed you the first time they were with you. Think of the times you were in a class or even a workshop/seminar session. You assessed the presenter and immediately decided if this was going to be a valuable experience. I am sure your students saw that fire inside of you and were drawn towards it like the little moths they are. They want to be there and they want to share in the experience. Congratulations!