The culmination of my quest for more powerful learning grounded in theory and research came when recently I conducted an experiment in pushing constructionism into the digital age.
Constructionism is based on two types of construction. First, it asserts that learning is an active process, in which people actively construct knowledge from their experience in the world. People don’t get ideas; they make them. This aspect of construction comes from the constructivist theory of knowledge development by Jean Piaget. To Piaget’s concept, Papert added another type of construction, arguing that people construct new knowledge with particular effectiveness when they are engaged in constructing personally meaningful products.
Imagine my surprise and joy when I realized that I had arrived at constructionism prior to knowing that such a theory even existed. I believe that thousands of other educators are unknowingly working within the constructionist paradigm as well. Although many within the Maker movement are aware that it has it’s roots in constructionism, the movement is gaining impressive momentum without the majority of Makers realizing that there is a strong theoretical foundation behind their work.
After I came to understand this connection between my practices and the supporting theoretical framework I was better able to focus and refine my practice. Even more importantly, I felt more confident and powerful in forging ahead with further experiments in the learning situations I design for my learners.
Resiliency is about handling stress, uncertainty and setbacks well — in other words, maintaining equilibrium under pressure.
And in our modern lives, whether we are at school, at work, or at home, there is no shortage of pressure.
Maintaining our equilibrium is something, it seems, we all need these days.
There is something you can do — everyday if you would like — to help build your resilience, your capacity to weather stressful events.
Keeping a journal can foster resiliency.
CCL recommends using "learning journals" or "reflection journals" as tools for gaining insight into your leadership experiences.
The process of writing and reflection builds self-awareness, encourages learning and opens the door to adaptability.
The form and content of your journal is a matter of individual choice. However, when you do sit down to make a journal entry about an experience that has challenged your equilibrium, we recommend it have three parts:
✤ The event or experience.
Describe what occurred as objectively as possible.
Don't use judgmental language.
Stick to the facts.
Who was involved?
When did it happen?
Where did it happen?
✤ Your reaction.
Describe your reaction to the event as factually and objectively as possible.
What did you want to do in response to the event?
What did you actually do?
What were your thoughts?
What were your feelings?
✤ The lessons.
Think about the experience and your reaction to it.
What did you learn from the event and from your reaction to it?
Did the event suggest a development need you should address?
Do you see a pattern in your reactions?
Did you react differently than in the past during similar experiences and does that suggest you are making progress or backsliding on a valuable leadership competency?
So remember, capture the event or experience in objective language, describe your reaction, then note the lessons you might get from it.
CCL uses journaling as part of almost all our leadership development program experiences and we emphasize with our participants that learning doesn't come from the "doing" but in the "reflecting on the doing."
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