Falconry: Seeking balance between agitation and irritation

Reading from Step 0: Preparation of The Falconer: What We Wish We Had Learned in School.

The excitement of learning, the compelling personal drive to take one more step on the path towards wisdom, comes when we try to solve a problem we want to solve, when we want to solve, when we see a challenge and say yes, I can meet it.  Great teachers lead us just far enough down a path so we can challenge for ourselves. They provide us just enough insight so we can work toward a solution that makes us, makes me want to jump up and shout out the solution to the world, makes me want to step to the next higher level. Great teachers somehow make us want to ask the questions that they want us to answer, overcome the challenge that they, because they are our teacher, believe we need to overcome. (Lichtman, 20 pag.)

Wow! Worth repeating:

Great teachers lead us just far enough down a path so we can challenge for ourselves.

This connects, for me, to Chapter 2. Entrepreneurship, Elasticity, and Ed-Med of To Sell is Human: The Suprising Truth About Moving Others.

Ferlazzo makes a distinction between “irritation” and “agitation.” Irritation, he says, is “challenging people to do something that we want them to do.” By contrast, “agitation is challenging them to do something that they want to do.” (Pink, 40 pag.)

Pink goes on to write that Larry Ferlazzo discovered that irritation does not work in the long run, but can have success in the short-term.

I’m wondering how the art of questioning might help us blend agitation and irritation.  How might we begin to plan, design, and implement learning episodes that achieve short-term goals while supporting long-term goals too? Where and when do we focus and plan, intentionally, for the progression and depth of learning? How are we taking action to ensure vertical alignment of curriculum, assessment of progress/growth/disposition/learning, and authentic learning experiences that motivate learners to challenge themselves to a next step on the path of wisdom?

Do we see schooling as a marathon rather than a sprint? Do we know enough about the distance covered by learners and the many paths to success? We are evolving experts on the stretch we cover with each learner, but do we know about the paths taken to arrive to us and the paths they may take when they move on?

I agree with Larry Ferlazzo that teaching something we want others to do is only successful in the short-term.  How often have I been surprised when learners don’t know something that was proven learning just weeks ago?

I argue with myself, quite often, that I must see the bigger picture.  I need to know more than I know now.  It is comfortable to be good at what I do. It is important to me to be successful.  I argue with myself to push to know, risk, experiment, and do more for and with learners.

I aspire to be a teacher-learner who is more often an agitator than an irritant.  I aspire to be a teacher-learner offering choice and opportunities to learn where the path is chosen by the learner.

The assumption I worry about is that we feel that we do enough of this already.  I argue in support of the idea that we do offer student choice, that we have some vertical understanding, and that we offer challenges that inspire, motivate, and support learning.  I agree that we must blend and balance short and long-term goals.  I aspire to become a better agitator (and irritant).

I aspire to listen more, question more, and learn more.

I aspire to become a falconer.


Lichtman, Grant, and Sunzi. The Falconer: What We Wish We Had Learned in School. New York: IUniverse, 2008. Print.

Pink, Daniel H. To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth about Moving Others. New York: Riverhead, 2012. Print.

[Cross posted on Flourish.]


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