In my last post I wrote drawing an analogy between learning to implement technology in teaching & learning, and the fundamentals of Buddhism. I’m following up today by applying the same philosophy outside of your own development, and dealing with the unexpected.
What about everybody else? What about when conditions change, tools disappear or new ones materialise? What about the fact that our students are so immersed in this technological environment that we feel a little bit useless in trying to teach them anything?
Two Sets of Three
I could get into Buddhist doctrine here, but I think it wraps up cleaner as a few little rules of thumb. If you want to read deeper, have a look at the Three Marks of Existence and the Three Noble Disciplines. The first three will help you understand the digital wilderness & be prepared to adapt to change. The second three will help you interact with others – especially your students.
Impermanence. This is as much a comfort as it is a burden. It’s the understanding that if your new device doesn’t do exactly what you want it to, it’s because it doesn’t do it yet. It’s the understanding that if the network goes down, it’ll come back up but if it’s out of your hands, it’s out of your hands. This Too Shall Pass.
Digital Dissatisfaction. Sometimes it doesn’t play nice. Nothing personal. Sometimes it can’t or won’t do exactly what you want it to. View it as a challenge to work around it, and learn to love that challenge.
There’s No Static You. Tough one to articulate. Change is constant, and it’s more productive to flow with it than resist it. Thinking about it further, it allows you to unlock the potential of a network or a community of friends & colleagues. Around the globe, around the clock, with their diverse expertise & insight.
Discipline. In a lot of cases, working to a model of democratised information access & publishing is a big change of pace that flows against old habits. Give your undertakings the attention to do them justice.
Training of Mind. It’s not just about skill set, it’s about mindset as well. Think outside the box, be your own devil’s advocate. Living in a bubble only leads to pointless arguments.
Wisdom. Sure, your students are fast & confident on their devices. Sure, they’re producing content & publishing it online. But how much of it is of any value without guidance?
The long and short of it? Nothing lasts forever – not the godsends nor the hair-tearers. Things won’t always go your way, but if you’re mindful, usually you’ll be fine. Go with the flow because change around you can help shape & advance you. Stick with the things you know are good, but know why they are good. Look, listen, & converse broadly – don’t allow mutual agreement to become a social or professional gatekeeper. Lastly, acknowledge & give credit to the life skills & intangibles that you can contribute to your students.