Power Laws

The real power is in making others powerful

… is attributed to Ben Zander, author of The Art of Possibility, found on Presentation Zen [an excellent resource on presentation design and worth a check before your next PowerPoint presentation]. Garr then says this about teaching:

In presenting – and certainly in teaching – we need to make certain that the audience is engaged so that they may, with our help, find for themselves what is there to be discovered, including the discovery of the possibilities that may be within them.

Finding what’s within means needing less direction from without.  And that is the crux of the issue in this emerging world of do-it-ourselves, collaborative work and user-generated social media. Once the learners are engaged, they set new conditions for the teaching relationship.

I started graduate studies over a decade after I completed my BA. By this time I knew what I wanted and was quite clear with my professors what I hoped to achieve in each course. I didn’t care what marks I got, because I had a clear learning agenda. I was still open to new ideas but I was not willing to jump through arbitrary hoops. I didn’t have this sense of direction until I was in my 30’s and had had some life experience.

It took me a while to accept the idea that I could direct my own learning. This is a powerful idea. Control your learning agenda and you have the power to create your own future, not someone else’s and definitely not the future envisaged by any power elite. What happens when this idea starts percolating down to undergraduates, high school students and even elementary school?




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