Saturday, December 12, 2015

Practice Makes Learning

“Practice isn't the thing you do once you're good. It's the thing you do that makes you good.” ― Malcolm GladwellOutliers: The Story of Success


Yesterday, I sent a tweet to my friend Aaron Davis to congratulate him on his excellent blog, Read Write Respond, being recognized as a finalist for an Edublog Award (#Eddies15). He graciously responded with this...
My first thought was, "whaaaa?". My second thought was, Aaron's in Melbourne and I'm near Chicago, must be something lost in translation. After checking out the Edublog site, sure enough, my blog is listed as a finalist in the Teacher Blog category. Honor and pride began percolating for two reasons. 

First, my blog was listed along with others that I read, and comment on, nearly every day. Blogs from people I hold in high regard as friends, as thought-change leaders in education, and as people who ignite learning, model leadership, and foster connection. Kasey Bell, Alan Levine, Ann Michaelsen, Jon Andrews, Jackie Gerstein, Susan Oxvenad, Alice Keeler, and Starr Sackstein, are just several of the hundreds of bloggers who deepen my learning and stretch my perspective on a daily basis.

Second, because of the encouragement of people like George Couros, Tom Whitby, and Silvia Tolisano, my blog has become the centerpiece of my personal learning environment. Almost four years ago, my friend, Keith Sorensen, convinced me that a blog was a better way to create a digital presence than a web site. George Couros, with his amazing brand of transparency, convinced me that a blog could serve as a professional / personal learning e-Portfolio. 175 posts later, I want to thank both of them for their encouragement, and for intensifying my passion for learning and sharing.



There is some bit of irony in all of this. Back in my days of formal education, namely high school, English, and in particular, writing was my worst subject. My ACT scores were actually quite good, with the exception of English and writing. I dabbled in journalism while at Harper College because I liked to tell stories. However, somewhere in the deep sulci of my brain, I had convinced myself I wasn't good at writing. 





Things changed several years ago. My dad's voracious appetite for reading must also be a genetic trait because it activated in me when I turned 40. I started reading everything I could get my hands on. Later, iBooks and Kindle apps meant I could read several books at a time. I also learned about RSS feeds. I started subscribing to bloggers who shared my interests and fed my curiosity. 

About the time that I started blogging, I was reading Carol Dweck's "Mindset", and Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers". These books shifted my thinking about writing. I realized my skills were substandard, but with practice and purpose, my writing would improve. I have invested countless hours into writing my blog posts. Since I view my blog as a digital portfolio of my learning, I am able to see improvement over time, and reflect upon my growth. I am in the process of drafting two books. If someone would have suggested to me while in high school that I would have the opportunity to impact the learning of others through writing, I would have dismissed it as crazy talk.

So here I sit, letting the words flow from mind to keyboard, appreciative of the fact that an activity that means so much to me is also valued by others. I am humbled by being recognized as an #Eddies15 finalist. More importantly, I treasure the friendships, connections, and learning opportunities made possible by people sharing their stories. They are the reason I enjoy sharing my thoughts through writing. This blog is a symbol for learners, like me, who awaken to the freedom of knowing that we can do anything we dedicate our minds and hearts to.

I encourage readers, bloggers, and learners to check out some of the excellent blogs listed on this Edublog site. The student submissions, in particular, are excellent models for the transparent sharing of learning. Happy reading, and writing!


Related Reading


Strategies to Help Struggling Writers - Edutopia, Rusul Alrubail



photo credit: write(r) via photopin (license) 

4 comments:

Joy Kirr said...

How great to be nominated for something you do (and LOVE to do)... that will encourage you to do even MORE of it! I'm glad I follow your blog using my Feedly, Bob! I wouldn't want to miss the gems!

Robert Schuetz said...

Thank you Joy. Your friendship & support are appreciated. I hope your students are able to read some of the blogs listed as Edublog finalists. I see opportunities for comparing, validating, and connecting with other learners.
Thanks again - talk soon,
Bob

Ann S. Michaelsen said...

Thank you for the mention and good luck with your work. Your blog is great by the way!

Ann S. Michaelsen said...

Thank you for your mention! Good luck with your blog, it is great by the way, hope you win!