Saturday, March 19, 2011

MAC_Week3_Reading (Zander,5-8)

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I love Zander’s intrinsic nature about his power over the orchestra. His approach in this matter is the key to his success. For me as a reader, hearing how he continually analyzes his effectiveness, energizes me about my teaching and learning process. I enjoyed reading about his “white sheet” process and think that would be a great idea in education as well as many other fields. Perhaps we should all consider ourselves as conductors or our orchestras (students) and focus solely on trying to find their spark.
One of my favorite chapters was Six and the discussion of rule number six. I want to photocopy this onto a page and place it in the mailbox of everyone I work with. Some need it more than others but it’s something for everyone to keep in the back of their mind (including me). What I thought was a really interesting statement in this chapter was “A child comes to think of himself as the personality he gets recognition for….”(pg 82). It makes me think of kids that grow up only getting noticed when their behavior is less than perfect, rather than being acknowledged for any of the positive actions they take. So they continue on that pattern because at least they’re getting SOME attention. This behavior leads into the calculating self as an adult. It’s fascinating for me to read about his theory for why we continually try to make progress and position ourselves higher and higher, almost to the point of not being content in our current situation. But that, in fact, it is the central self that is more in tune with what we really need on a personal and professional level. I know I keep saying it but the timing this book could not be more perfect and I hope my classmates are getting as much from this reading as I am. I am continually inspired by Zander, especially the last few pages of chapter 8 where he discusses the glass being half full or half empty and the importance of seeing “the way things are” (page 110). I like the way this makes me feel because I have always considered myself an optimist. It’s further support in my dealings with the calculating selves of others!


  1. Nice post, Dena!

    I like your idea of putting the photocopy onto each of your co-workers mailboxes. I work at a school where every teacher has regular access to carts of computers. Even with this setup, many of them fear giving up control of their typical teaching strategies and routines.

    Sadly, I anticipate that even if they read this and were inspired, little change would actually take place in their classrooms. For this reason, I believe that it's critical for those of us who are passionate about using technology to inspire and empower the lives of our students to stay in touch and push each other to be the change we wish to see in all classrooms.

  2. Dena,
    I agree with you, the book is so inspirational and the techniques that Mr. Zander uses are a great way to get the best out of our students! I also loved the idea of the ‘white sheet’ and it’s similar to something that I tried the first year of teaching called ‘the box of comments’. I told my students to write a note about anything they liked, didn’t liked or ideas for the classroom. However, I didn’t make it mandatory so I didn’t read everyone’s comments, but it did workout well.

    I also liked your idea of placing a photocopy of the number 6 rule in your colleagues’ mailbox. I think you should do it and say it’s from you. If you don’t do it, you will never know if it had an impact on them or not. So please let me know if you decide to do it.

  3. Dena,
    I was struck by his comment about how students identify with what ever behaviors cause them to receive attention (I discussed it in my blog, too.)

    I've been thinking about how to apply some of his practices, like the white sheet. This week I had two girls in my Intro to Journalism class who wanted to drop the class because they thought is was boring and hard. They assured me that it had nothing to do with me. They were shocked when I asked them to take the weekend to think up some recommendations on how I could make the class more engaging and get back with me on Monday.

    I'm not sure if they know that I'm serious, but if they have suggestions tomorrow, I'm going to take them into consideration.

    And I don't just want to give my colleagues a copy of Rule #6; I think they need to read the whole book!

  4. Great observations, yes, I've found myself thinking that there are those who would do well by spending some time in Zanders pages, but I've refrained from given them copie of the book (so far...).