Prakash Nair is one of the most respected, innovative, and passionate school planners around the world, pushing relentlessly to create dynamic learning environments based on how students actually learn and how communities collaborate. I'm fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work with him on a regular basis, and simply am amazed what he (and his partner, Randy Fielding) do when they sit down with communities to re-consider the premise of schol design that has traditionally marked our global landscape.
While Randy's background is as an architect, Prakash spent the early part of his career in schools and district offices -- a powerful combination for them professionally. I was reminded of this tonight when Prakash sent a few of us the following John Steinbeck quotation about the power of teaching. It speaks volumes. And it spoke volumes long before the Internet and fast-evolving technology pushed us to re-imagine the 'future of learning'. I think you'll enjoy this:
"...School is not so easy and it is not for the most part very fun, but then, if you are veyr lucky, you may find a teacher. Three real teachers in a liftie is the very best of luck. I have come to believe that a great teacher is a grat artist and that there are as few as there are other great artists. Teaching might even be the greater of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit.
My three had these things in common. They all loved what they were doing. They did not tell -- they catalyzed a burning desire to know. Under their influence, they horizons sprung wide and fear went away and the unknown became knowable. But most important of all, the truth, that dangerous stuff, became beautiful and precious."
I'm left with 2 things on my mind. Both of which I'll leave as questions, rather than arguments:
- Who were your three teachers that helped spring wide horizons and helped you vanquish the fear of the journey, who loved what they did, and who had that burning drive to be a learner?
- In the future, how will we foster this very description in our students, as well, rather than need a single person at the front of the room to be that 'one of three' in a lifetime, for those lucky enough to end up in their classrooms?