HARVARD Day 3-Tuesday, the 28th

30 Jun

After yesterday’s challenge course, the members of the Art of Leadership group were not that thrilled to spend the whole day in the classroom.  After all, we were energized! We had challenged ourselves physically and mentally…there were some deep emotional moments and some soul searching concerning why we want to be leaders…fo lack of a better term, Monday was deep, and it was exhausting!

So, the idea of listening to Dr. Hunter Gehlbach about “Everyday Mindreading in Educational Contexts” didn’t seem exciting.  Well, as would become the theme for the next few days, things just get better and better. Harvard is for real! –(I’m writing this Wednesday night) I have to digress for a moment. The quality of the professors I’ve seen this week is nothing short of amazing!  The reality is, they are just teachers and they take that very seriously–teaching, education, the service of it, is a life! So, they make their lives interesting, exciting, and fun…makes sense. The Harvard teachers’ lectures are highly interactive. They keep the students (us) engaged, and they use multiple technologies. By the way, we have all of that available to us, it’s just a matter of doing it! Am I saying that MCAS is capable of teaching the same way Harvard teaches? Yes! Yes, I absolutely am!

So…think about the name Dr. Hunter Gehlbach…sounds like an old man in tweed that reeks of a pipe and uses $64, 000 words…wrong! Didn ‘t I tell you, Harvard is not stuffy, old, or stuck in the past.

Hunter (yeah, first name!) is a young guy in his early 40s (who rides his bicycle to work) with some amazing research that makes a VERY important point.

Hunter Gehlbach

The goal of his work is to enhance the social interaction between teachers and students.  He wants us to get better at communicating with each other. A perfect way to open the day. We had broken down some serious barriers the day before and now we’re going to learn how to teach people to communicate better by learning the methods with the author.  Hunter has created a systematic way to get better at perceiving others. WE NEED THIS!

The basics are we have to have knowledge about someone before we judge and react. If we don’t, we may react incorrectly or inappropriately and therefore, prohibit an opportunity for learning.  Think about kids.  Some are better at holding a grudge than we are. If we injure a relationship early on, it is hard to repair.  Kids will not be receptive if they feel they’ve been mis-perceived.  Imagine the harm done when making a judgment on someone you’re going to spen 10 montsh with, and then expect them to listen and respect you. Would you do it? It would be hard for me, too.

Even though people often mis-perceive us, as educators, we have to take this higher road by withholding judgment, gathering information, watching body language, and listening, first. Many people are ging to read this (fat chance) and say, “Duh, who doesn’t know that!?” They may be right, but ask why then do we have so many conflicts in education that are based upon poor communication skills? The answer is that we rely, we rely HEAVILY on our perceptions. Many of us think we know best…that assumption is a recipe for failure. Educators must remain open-minded…and you know what? Everyone else should, too! Again, we are all together on this!

If you think you’re highly perceptive, watch the video below and concentrate hard. Count the passes the white shirted team makes. I’ll bet you get it incorrect…


Now, on to Dr. Robert Kegan…

Robert Kegan..OMG (oh my gosh, btw–by the way)! I still cannot wrap my head around what this man did to the room on Tuesday afternoon. It was like mass hypnosis, mass psycho-therapy, mass brain control, and wildly edu-taining! Honestly, it is late and I have an early session, so I’m not going into detail right now…just know that man had adults sobbing and smiling while showing us who we are, why we do what we do, and whether or not we’re going to do what we set out to do…I am getting chills right now thinking about it!

Just try his first step, and I’ll get back to you…

Pick 4 people to have dinner with. You’re inviting them there so each one can tell you one thing you should change about yourself to become a better person. Each guest gives you one thing that would improve what you do. Write down who those people are, and what each one would tell you. It can be anyone…spouse, co-workers, superiors, friends…just one thing, each of them different, that you need to change about yourself in order to be better.

Write that down and if anyone responds to this blog, I’ll finish the experiment…it’s going to BLOW YOUR MIND! I am still emotional about it! It made me scared about my goals while affirming that I am absolutely in the right place. It made me face my faults and affirmed that my goals are in the right place. It made me see, no, FEEL, how important, not just MCHS, but Michigan City is to me.

Again follow the instructions above, and I’ll finish the experiment with you…I’m beat! Need sleep!






4 Responses to “HARVARD Day 3-Tuesday, the 28th”

  1. Danielle June 30, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

    I have invited four people to dinner.  They include my sister, Shannon; my oldest son, Brett; my best girlfriend, Amy; and my friend & colleague, Lee.  I chose these 4 individuals because I know they would be completely honest w/me and would not hold back anything to spare my feelings.

    My sister would tell me that I am too judgmental and that I need to be more accepting of people.  I tend to “look down” on people who don’t share my ideals, values, morals, etc.  

    My oldest son, Brett, would tell me that I’m too uptight and that I need to loosen up.  He would tell me to chill out, relax, & not be so much of a perfectionist. 

    My friend Amy would tell me not to worry so much.  I worry about everything and she would tell me to trust God and take life as it comes.  I think too much about things I can’t control.  She would tell me to “enjoy the journey”, instead of fretting over the details.  

    My friend, Lee, would probably tell me that I need to have more faith in myself and in my abilities.  He would encourage me to not be so critical, especially when I make a mistake.  He would probably tell me that I am my own worst enemy.

    • ldabagia June 3, 2014 at 5:20 am #

      WoW! This is powerful, especially considering how life has changed since…

  2. leedabagia July 1, 2011 at 3:51 am #

    I did have a response to the challenge. However, it does become quite personal in nature. If you like, you can write to me directly at ldabagia@mcas.k12.in.us I will not publish your response if you require privacy. This challenge, this experiment, is intensely personal and can change your life.

  3. Dana August 4, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

    Now I understand.

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