Friday, January 23, 2009

Getting our hands dirty

We all are afraid to get our hands dirty, metaphorically speaking.in the army every friday was dedicated to cleaning our equipment, as a loader and later Tank commander I was in charge of cleaning the machine guns. Early friday I would start the dance of trying to clean without getting dirty. The problem is that everything needed to be washed in a half barrel of diesel and motor oil. The dance would usually end midmorning with me covered with a few diesel stains. From that point on I would embrace the dirt and oil. I did not care anymore, but as a result had the cleanest MGs in the company. The metaphor for me is clear. To do something well we sometimes have to get our hands dirty, and embrace the dirt.
Some teachers I know are literally avoiding trying any 'messy' media. I have really tried to resist professional development. It's not that I do not do a decent job, instead it's the feeling that I'd rather do something else. As a result I tried to use colleagues and students in that capacity. Having done some professional development recently- which turned out well, I finally realized I have to get my hands dirty and love it. Stretching the metaphor, I think that Education in and through the arts should identify these areas that canbeuseful but nobody wamts to touch. Then we shpuld take the plunge.
Come to think of it, quantitative research is exactly one such area, but I am sure there are others. Thoughts anyone?
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