Yelling Really Loud
Is there anyone who ever remembers
Changing their mind from the paint on a sign?
Is there anyone who really recalls
Ever breaking rank at all
For something someone yelled real loud one time?
I thought a lot about these lyrics from John Mayer today. Someone I admire asked today: “why do you argue with people who don’t share your views? What do you get from it?” These questions resonated with me. I was forced to stop for a minute and examine my motivation for arguing with someone. My response was that I don’t like it when people lie about something I am very passionate about. Perhaps lie is too harsh – I don’t like it when people tell partial truths and use incendiary language to push their agenda – that’s still harsh. Regardless, I get upset, so I try to sway their opinion. In essence, I yell real loud at someone else who is yelling real loud, which really doesn’t make sense.
So what to do? I refuse to stop being angry at lies and mistruths about education and teaching. But, that doesn’t mean I have to yell. It means that I need to make a case. I need to support my thoughts and ideas with research and sound practice. I know that some of my ideas about teaching and learning are seen as radical by some people. I’m alright with that. Ghandi said: “It is easy to stand with the crowd. It takes courage to stand alone.” Many times he stood alone and was silent. It was his silence that shook the world and changed an empire. The thing is, I know I don’t stand alone. There are many wonderful educators who share my thoughts and ideas – but they don’t yell. They back up their position with sound research and make space for their ideas to resonate with others.
The power to change the world does not come from how strong a person is or how loud they yell. The strong eventually falter and the loudest in the room loose their voices. So how do we change the world? In education, I believe we change the world one child at a time. I also believe, as Jean Piaget said: “Education, for most people, means trying to lead the child to resemble the typical adult of his society…but for me, education means making creators…you have to make inventors, innovators, not conformists.” I guess for some people this is scary, which is probably why they yell. It means giving up control and understanding that learning can be messy. At the end of the day, though, I am not trying to prepare students for my past, I am working to prepare them for their future. But, I’m not going to yell anymore. I’m going to go about my work, changing the world, one student at a time.
Thanks for reading,