I come from a long line of uncommon teachers. An uncommon teacher is one who teaches or trains in the duties of an everyday work life, rather than in a classroom. My father was a videographer who far preferred explaining the intricate guts or the laborious editing process than the actual job of shooting a wedding or editing the event afterward. In his spare time, he would elaborate on the way a car engine was put together, why the clouds were cumulus before a storm, or the exact process of how to perfectly cook a soft boiled egg. My mother was celebrated as an encourager, a trainer, and a mentor. She relished in the act of taking a neophyte through[…]

Standing in front of a crowd of around 600 students seated in an auditorium, I held up my hand to silence them. In the quiet atmosphere of nervous silence, one of the girls sitting in the front row looked at the test and began to explain (in a rather loud voice) her displeasure at the nature of the test, speaking in a loud voice and prompting students behind her to peer over their desks like curious cranes at the little squawking bird flapping her wings. In all my years of teaching, that girl wasn’t the last outburst during a test I encountered – but never had I witnessed such an emotional reaction to an exam. Little did I know how[…]

A city is a lonely place. Towers of steel and artifice, standing side-by-side in the horizon, surrounded by throngs of hearts and souls all begging for some semblance of meaning to be found in passing shadows. In many ways, teaching in a class is much the same – a profession of multiple shifting persona, learners filtering through the educational system to some mysterious end, staying awhile and then walking out the door. For the teacher, Fallon and Barnett argue, professional isolation is a reality. Teachers become experts in their particular environments, astride mental carriages of their own design; while they may pass by another carriage on the road to learning (and perhaps throw a wave or two) they remain safely[…]

My first “real” teaching experience was standing in front of a crowd of four year-old children, holding up cards of colors and numbers, and then dancing until my audience was giggling so hard that they forgot they were speaking a foreign language. While not all teachers may have had origin stories as kindergarten teachers, my journey into the teaching profession began quite unexpectedly. What you realize (even as a kindergarten teacher) is that teaching begins with relationship and only after a relationship has been established can learning take place. When the eyes of the teacher lock with the child and there is a spark of trust – then, only then – can learning begin. As children grow older into adults,[…]

Gerzon begins his book “Leading through conflict” (2006) by outlining three different kinds of leaders: the demagogue, the manager, and the mediator, however these simple classifications don’t do justice to his meaning. The demagogue is Gerzon’s example of a leader who operates in the field of conflict but rather than using conflict for organizational transformation, uses conflict for personal self-gain. The manager is the myopic leader who operates primarily in the short-term (p.43-44) and who is limited by his frame of reference (p. 32), while the mediator isn’t necessarily a figure but rather a set of skill development that the manager or demagogue can use in order to transform themselves. One of the key problems at my university has been[…]

 In March of 2014, I met students at a Starbucks coffee shop for a period of three days. During my interviews with the students, I asked each student a series of questions, one question which was directly related to their five strengths (according to Buckingham & Clifton, 2001). During the question process, once I wrote down the five strengths, I made a mental note of each and altered the questionnaire process to conduct an experiment with each student. In total, I asked the same five questions of around 120 students in my attempt to assess each students’ level of fluency in speaking English. In previous interviews I had conducted, I also asked the same five questions of my students with[…]

The striking nature of Goodboy’s conclusions come not from the actual conclusions, but rather from what he does not conclude. In “Student use of relational and influence messages,” Goodboy answers his question, “does ‘the model of relational power and instructional influence theory’ (posited by Mottet, Frymier, & Beebe, 2006), from a student perspective, communicate any relevant data to explain relational and social influence from the instructor’s use of power?”, although his conclusions while common (instructors should “use confirming messages which communicate to students they are recognized and acknowledged as valuable and significant individuals”, 202) are striking because of the conclusion not answered. Goodboy posits that instructor uses of prosocial power empower student satisfaction, while uses of antisocial power encourage the[…]

Lecture Goal: Give a broad view of contemporary American fantasy literature and where the ideas came from   1. Sword and sorcery in the 30s-60s, based on Weird Tales and Lord of the Rings Weird Tales in the 1920s, born from Edgar Allen Poe and H.P. Lovecraft (Cthulhu) Fantasy, horror, myth, and swordplay – Conan the Barbarian, Robert E. Howard Fritz Leiber, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, and the idea of true adventure, from Conan   2. Heroic fantasy and dark magic in the 70s, 80s and 90s, based on Dungeons and Dragons (1975) Michael Moorcock, Elric of Melnibone, combination of heroic myth and popular fantasy Roger Zelazny, the Chronicles of Amber, and castles, dungeons, monsters and sorcerors Tanith Lee,[…]

I admire Lu Xun. Not for his timidness, which he was not; not for his resolve, which faltered often; not for his calculating mind, which carried the burdens of a man blinded with inhibited sorrow; and not for his kindness, which crossed blades with his cruelty so often he might have been his own doppelganger; rather, I admire his perspicacity with words, his transparency of soul, and his exuberant passion in the movement of ideas through the vehicles of people and systems. Once a teacher myself at Peking University, Lu Xun exhibits ideals I wish I had but also showcases the dangers of adorning the armor of a hundred ideals, each engaged in civil strife. “The present passes step by[…]

The following is a series of notes taken from a class on organizational behavior I took from Rev. Colin Buckland, back in the summer of 2010. The class took place at Kingsfield, in Baldock, Hetfordshire, England. Worldwide, the issue about leadership is Integrity — “We want our leaders to have integrity.” Psycho-spiritual dynamics: Acceptance: people are desperate to be accepted by others Achievement: if people can’t achieve they will get ill; God built us to achieve Significance: feeling of being here not by accident; three basic human requirements Normal (secular) teaching about significance:  Aim for  Blue Ocean, when you will pitch your business; in which there are not so many products, so you can achieve a niche; but the[…]

The following is a series of notes taken from a class on servant leadership I took from Rev. Colin Buckland, back in the summer of 2010. The class took place at Kingsfield, in Baldock, Hetfordshire, England. Leadership is: serving; influential; role-modeling; influencing people; creating a context for human flourishing; communication and modeling; discipline; situational but consistent; transformational; an embodiment of what others desire to follow; visionary; trustworthy; inspiring; and equipped and empowered. Maximizing potential in people Serve people so that they can grow Raising the morality of the organization  Leadership is NOT about telling people what to do. The leader must always have followers. Followers are volunteers.  There is a human agreement between the leader and the followers — in[…]

Junzi on the Cross: A Discussion of Servant Leadership on the Dialectic Between the Son of the Ruler in Confucian Philosophy and the Son of Man in the Christian Worldview This study’s objective was to develop leadership qualities within students in a Chinese university, through creating models of compromise between eastern and western philosophies, and then putting variable testing tools in place to observe whether changes took place. This research took place over two school terms, in which 36 leaders of small workgroups each term was examined. The aim of the research was to instill servant leadership principles into these leaders, and that through modeling they would instill those values into their group members. At the end of the research,[…]

The following is a series of notes taken from a class on Ethics I took from Dr. Ray Wheeler, back in January of 2009. The class took place at Daystar University, in Nairobi, Kenya. Ethics is central to leadership because of the nature of the process of influence. Influence: Engages followers Accomplishes mutual goals Ethics is central to leadership because of the impact leaders have on establishing the organization’s values.   Different forms of ethics: Philosophical Theological Social Professional   II. Intention for Ethical Dilemmas Our intentions assume a right or wrong, against a universal law. Our intention is based on self-examination.   Ethics is the process of making decisions based on moral assumptions.   How do I handle conflicting[…]

The following is a series of notes taken from a class on Conflict Dynamics I took from Dr. Macmillan Kiiru, back in January of 2009. The class took place at Daystar University, in Nairobi, Kenya. Group dynamics: Focuses on advancing knowledge about the nature of Group Life The Scientific study of the: a) Nature of Groups, b) Behavior in Groups, and c) Group Development The Knowledge of Group Dynamics helps the way we think and/or function in groups   “My life is our life.”   III. Assertive People: Meet conflict directly Does not pretend everything is ok Looks for win/win situations Brings the facts forward Does not let offenses build Willing to compromise to arrive at a destination Open-minded to[…]

 All organizations contain an invisible culture, with varying strains of subcultures. These cultures can be accessed by analyzing three levels: artifacts (visible structures), values (philosophies), and assumptions (perceptions). Leaders are at the forefront of culture as models; by learning how to discern an organization’s culture, leaders can then create, transmit, change, maturate, and foster the life of what Schein calls a “learning culture.” The Learning Leader, as Schein says, creates culture by spreading shared assumptions, which result in shared values, and those values then showcase as positive artifacts. The organization is a living structure, which matures alongside the culture and like any living thing, without food (leadership) and water (culture), can die. However, changing culture is complex and often lifelong,[…]

Wang’s intent is to clarify the problems surrounding the Chinese university entrance exam by using Amartya Sen’s model of social exclusion. This is a curious concept, since he is marrying two different disciplines into the same school of thought (poverty studies and educational theory). While his introduction is short (two paragraphs), his background to the problems related to the university entrance examination is extensive, and is necessary to understand the implications of social exclusion when applied to the policies that surround the test. One of the weaknesses of the paper, however, is Wang’s extensive explanations of historical and economic-sociological concepts. Wang tends to focus more on applying previous literature to support his opinion, rather than creating and using verifiable data[…]