By Robert Elton
“Lau Tzu sat quietly under a tree when a leaf fell to the
earth in his presence. It was in that moment— that of
watching the leaf tumble from a tree— that he became
Similar experiences have been reported in contemporary venues, that of simply being in the moment, where the mind and body drift into a daydream. These moments, while rare, do happen. In the educational setting, I can relate a similar feeling, when a student has succeeded in developing a skill that has heretofore been elusive to him. Witnessing his eyes, his posture, and his humanity radiate the relief of a tired explorer who has finally stumbled upon a larger piece of the world— and connected to a deeper part of his soul. Yet this is a prison—these experiences are subject to much less appreciation; but they do occur. I am also confident that these experiences occur across the globe. Just in case no one recognizes YOUR enlightenment, for what it’s worth, I am proud of you.
As a teacher, I employ a handful of general concepts to enrich the potential for an enlightening student experience— toward their procurement of educational epiphany. These concepts, taken from Richard Nisbett (2009)2, regarding developing into an effective tutor/and student, I now pass to each of you…
1] Control is a necessary component of instruction. This includes creating an’ atmosphere that is conducive to learning— which utilizes an array of approaches. For instance, some people can jam to Greatest Hits of the 50’s on the highest volume whereas others find this distracting (and annoying); some students may work best in a quiet environ. However, finding control does not mean forcing people into unhealthy • situations, it is structuring the surroundings, the time, as well as the curriculum around what works best for the students.