Brief introduction to four knowns and unknowns. What they have to do in teaching.

Brief introduction to four knowns and unknowns. What they have to do in teaching.

Known knowns (Things we know that we know them)

  • We learn best by doing, we know that.

Why it is hard sometimes to see results even when you teach “learn by doing – way”. There are few reasons. One is that school is not real, in sense that even though you might have job like simulation, something still seems to be missing. I think that this missing thing is students’ motivation. There are no sense of danger making mistakes and losing your job. There is no fear that you are losing a patient. School is school, it’s not real life, most of student’s think. They are used to being in school. Almost all their life. They are not mentally prepared to work in school as much as we would like. Think about your first days at work, you are 100% focused (and maybe more stressed and more nervous). Think about you after one year. Not so focused maybe anymore. Think 10 years. Then think how much you are willing to re-learn or educate yourself more and be focused every day. It isn’t that easy. It takes more mental preparation to be that focused and have high energy.

Teaching by simulation is still the best way. That’s the part where important teaching comes in, that dreaded word teaching. Teaching in sense that you learn your ropes with guidance of teacher and have relatively safe environment to succeed and make mistakes. Teachers guidance is super important in this point to give advice and feedback and prepare students for future. I think we teachers know that and know that we know that.

 

Things we know that we don’t know them

  • Why are honeybees dying? We know that they are dying, but we don’t know why.

Let’s say our student works at shop. Shop sells different items there, clothes, candies, coffee etc. When he comes to work first time, what he does not know, but needs to know? Prices of course. What else? How to make coffee, how to use cash register, where shops clothes are coming from, what material they are, and so on. We have to know what our student does not know so he or she can be better at his job. We teachers as our students, must know our unknowns. Let’s think about that simulation again. Can we simulate everything? Off course not. Can we teach or prepare them for everything? Off course not. How we prepare our students to things that can’t be simulated, like real life situations where you might feel anxiety or stress. At least to my knowledge best way is to prepare them mentally and have them practice in job like situation as much as possible, so that they build confidence in their abilities and most likely will stress less at work and be better workers.

 

Unknown unknowns

  • World can explode tomorrow (we did have no clue and did not think it as possibility)

Hardest part to write and think about. How to think unknown unknowns? There might be even better ways to learn and teach. Maybe we don’t know yet that our brains can learn faster and more efficiently, but we have no clue about it. Something completely unknown thing. These are things that comes completely from unknown to us. Do we have to teach it? How we teach? Can we teach it, if by definition, we do not know what kind of situations are coming at us? I think if you are mentally strong it’s easier to handle those kind of things, and humans are very good at adapting to different situations. We can prepare our students to be more mentally strong and help them to be strong in hard situations. That’s about it, that we can do.

 

Unknown knowns

  • The things that we know but are unaware of knowing.

Most interesting of all maybe. In Slavoj Zizek’s words: “these are things that exist and have been influencing our life and our approach to reality, but we are unaware of knowing them, or we do not realize their value, or worst we refuse to acknowledge knowing them”. Like Freudian unconscious. How aware are we in our teaching methods? We have read and read about good teaching ways, but how much our past life experience affects us? Do we force some kind of ideology in to our pupils? Ideology and customs that were taught to us and we are influenced by them (unknowingly). Like for example how to behave in different social situations, who to listen, who to not, etc. How we even define ideology today? Believe yourself, do what you want, we are all individuals, you can do anything in your life. etc. How much that kind of attitude we pour in to our students? Those attributes sound good in principle, but democracy to Iraq sounded good too.

 

Written by Samppa Toivonen

Teachers need reflective leaders

Teachers need reflective leaders

Carey Nieuwhof has written interesting articles in his blog about insecure leaders. A week ago I had a great conversation about this subject. We were talking about how insecure leaders don’t realize how deeply their personal insecurities play role into their managerial styles, and how habitual these behaviors can become if left unchecked. In Finland we have a saying: ”I must have all the yarns in my hands”. For a good leader that is impossible.  Leaders with low self-awareness frequently take the impact of personal challenges, and project those issues onto employees, which is the ultimate outcome of not taking ownership of their insecurities. A leader who is being insecure in their personal life might find it very rewarding to be able to control everything, having all the yarns in their hands.

Learning organization ideology, that we highly admire in Icebath, doesn’t approve leaders who control everything.  In educational world it is very important to have leaders who have people-centered approaches to leading. People-centered approaches mean relinquishing control to others and trusting that employees will not abuse that responsibility. To be able to do this a leader must have very good self-awareness and they must be very confident and comfortable in their role to pull it off. To get the best out of students requires it teachers who have people-centered approach to teaching, coaching, leading their team, a group of students.

2018-01-05 03.50.26 2.jpg

Nieuwof writes that one of the most glorious answers a leader can give is “I don’t know.” Admitting that you don’t know and you want to hear your employees point of view, is a wise thing to do and even an insecure leader knows that. They do respect other opinions, they do want to hear them out and maybe to use them later as their own opinions. The biggest fear of an insecure leader is a fear of losing control. Losing control and switching to a people-centered approach is the most difficult thing to do.

During the reform in Finnish educational system, in this changing world in teaching teachers might have doubts how they will retain their authority, their expertness if they change their role from all knowing teachers to a questioner coaches. How the teachers are lead equals how they will teach, coach, lead their teams.

</p

To be able to lose control, insecure leaders and teachers must concentrate their own personal growth. To be able to grow you must start to think you can grow in every conversation, you can learn from everybody you meet and out of everything you experience. Realizing that you are not the center of the universe, all knowing miracle you can find out that wisdom can be found around you and there are people who know more than you and work better than you. They just need a good leader who supports them to get the best out of themselves.

There are so many leaders who try to control everything schedules, time in the office, output, budget etc.  At the same time they are trying to control everything they can, they say they want employees to be creative and innovative and make the best out of themselves and the company. The problem is that people who are controlled won’t be creative, innovative, and responsive. People won’t stay in their jobs, if they don´t feel respected and trusted. If they are forced they stay, but act like marionettes. We  don’t want our future employees to be marionettes. We want them to be inspired, with good self-awareness and confidence  in their role, what ever it will be,  to pull it off.

Instead of packing your insecurities into a briefcase every day and bringing them with you to work and projecting them onto employees or students,  leaders  and teachers should come to work without a briefcase at all! Tough challenge!

To be a good leader or teachers you don´t have to know everything, because that is impossible, but to be a good leader or teacher  you must be able to grow, learn and develop yourself every day in a reflection with your employees, co-workers, students and people around you.

2018-01-05 03.50.46 2.jpg

Reflection in a relationship and in a leadership has been described as a process that helps turn experience into knowledge. To be able to be a reflective person who creates reflective conversation is not something we are born with, it is a learnable ability and it develops on discussions with other more advanced minds. Low levels of reflective ability have been associated with insensitive and emotionally unresponsive behaviors (e.g., withdrawal, hostility, intrusiveness, and distorted perceptions of affective communication). Reflective ability is a mental process thought to be invoked in the interpretation of human action (i.e., the attribution of personal meaning and intention to others’ behavior). Reflective ability helps individuals to understand that emotions influence interactions. Ability of thinking reflectively helps to clarify the cause and effect relations between underlying emotions and interpersonal behavior.

What then is the purposes of good reflecting leadership ability?

A reflective leader allows employees to ‘hear’ their own thoughts and to focus on what they say and feel, they encourage employees to a conversation that leads to brainstorming and changing ideas, growing.

Reflective leader shows the employees that they are trying to perceive the world as employees sees it and that they are doing their best to understand their messages. They are not afraid of their employee’s wisdom and knowledge vice versa they celebrate the brains that they have in their company, they also give the credit for the ones it belongs to.

Reflecting does not involve asking questions, introducing a new topic or leading the conversation in another direction.  Leaders help employees through reflecting as it not only allows them to feel understood, but it also gives them the opportunity to focus on their ideas.  This in turn helps them to direct their thoughts and further encourages them to continue speaking and that way learning.

The more reflective a leader can be, more reflective will their employees, teachers be and their reflective ability reflects to the people around them. The more reflective a leader can be the more they can learn from their employees, because they know they can trust their employees reflections! Reflective leaders spread life skills around.

Be brave to let go of the yarns in your hands, someone else knows better how to create a woolen sock out of them!

Written by Annele Heikkilä

Teach them to know WHO YOU ARE

Teach them to know WHO YOU ARE

I deliberitely start with coaching though I´ve been a teacher now for 18,5 years. I am a economics, entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial methods teacher/lecturer at secondary level Vocational Business School in Finland, Kokkola. As a background information to let you know that I´ve been coaching and instructing aerobics and other gymnastic groups since 1992. I have various kind of experience about coaching versus teaching. All my life I´ve been a coaching teacher and luckily it`s highly recommended today.

What a cliche? Coaching versus teaching. Very much discussed topic in the Finnish educational system lately. Something that Finland is worldwide known for, is the high level education and the whole educational system in general is very much admired. I won´t get into that now but maybe later. But change is constant. In my opinion we people in general need to have the ability to adapt in changing situations. Teachers are under such a hard pressure at the moment because of the huge changes. The whole world, surrounding society, working life, tasks and skills are changing. Life skills and work life competences are highly demanded skills. How to teach them? On the other hand how to learn them if you don´t know who you are, what you can and what you should be better at?

Processed with VSCO with  preset

The starting point for any human being to be educated should be to know yourself, who am I?  Who I am, what do I know, what are my strengths and in what skills would I like to develop? What are my own goals in whatever I do. The ownership of my own life skills, learning skills and doings are mine. No one elses but mine!

Coaching will turn into teaching with the methods used. It is a mixture of coaching and teaching. In my opinion the mixture is very challenging but interesting and giving. Coaching is challenging in a different way compared to teaching. It is much more personal way of having a contact with the students. Not through an assignment or a mark but straight to the person in an authentic situation. You yourself as coach need to know your own skills and abilities to be able to coach students in changing situations and environments. Many unexpeted things and questions can appear. Are you redy?

They will forget what you said
They will forget what you did
They will remember how you made them feel
YOU can succeed if YOU know who YOU are and what YOU want

Written by Natascha Skog

Inhale coaching, exhale teaching

Inhale coaching, exhale teaching

Exhaling teaching, thinking outside the box does not mean we have to abandon all the pros of teaching. Successful coaches are tremendous motivators, they are determined and want athletes do to their best. Coaches generate enthusiasm for their sport and this enthusiasm is contagious because motivated people influence those with whom they are contacted with. Coaches have their hearts in their work. Positive atmosphere will generate more learning.

Processed with VSCO with  preset

Coaching is also influenced by success. Success, learning new things, can be linked to increasing self-satisfaction. Athletes, students  know they did their best to become what they are capable of becoming. If they fail, there needs to be a reflective discussion.

2017-12-13_03.45.02_1[1].jpg

Let me tell you, I know what I’m talking when I’m talking about coaching. Coaching has been part of my life almost 2 decades. I`m married to a coach. I think that is a achievement to mention and competence very much gained by the experience!

The European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training, ECVET, is a framework for the transfer, recognition and (where appropriate) accumulation of individuals’ learning outcomes with a view to achieving a qualification. ECVET was developed to enable people to build on what they have learnt in the past when wishing to achieve a qualification. It offers people the opportunities to get recognition for learning outcomes they achieved through life long learning and supports the transparency and recognition of knowledge, skills, and competences. (ecvet-toolkit.eu)

Being a coach’s wife is maybe not enough to acknowledge to recognize my coaching skills, but if you dig a little deeper you realize that maybe I have been coached as a wife for 20 years now. You get what you give. You use the methods that you have noticed to be effective. He has coached me to get the best out of myself. What you put into things is what you get out of them. Coaching helps you of what you’d like to receive.

I must say that I’m relieved that he is not coaching athletes at the moment (can´t say anymore, because I know his coaching heart). Oh boy! how dedicated a coach can be. It can be a bit too much for the wife, family and people who are closest with. Coaching though is still a huge part of his life and it always will be, because he is so excellent and talented with that. He is the one who has actually gained real competencies and skills by the experience. He successfully coaches his employees nowadays.

Processed with VSCO with  preset

Teaching could it be coaching has been very important question for us for several years now. Teachers don’t have to sell their souls to be effective, they don´t have to give their hearts to be motivating and enthusiastic. You can be dedicated in many ways and still have balance between your work and free time (and loved ones!). Coaching in teaching is a one-to-one learning and development intervention that is based on a collaborative, reflective, goal-focused relationship to achieve professional outcomes that are valued by the  student (Smither, 2011). The coaching relationship  is  that the student has a specific need or  purpose to fulfill their development objectives. The teacher is their coach and is willing to ask right questions and lead them to the right knowledge.

To be honest, teaching, can not be replaced by coaching. Coaching can be used as a very effective method in teaching. Teaching is far more wider concept than coaching.

Inhale knowledge, exhale wisdom.

Written by Annele Heikkilä