A psychologist …

A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: “How heavy is this glass of water?”

Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.

She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.” She continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.”

It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses. As early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night. Remember to put the glass down!

W B Yeats – Among school children

I walk through the long schoolroom questioning;
A kind old nun in a white hood replies;
The children learn to cipher and to sing,
To study reading-books and histories,
To cut and sew, be neat in everything
In the best modern way – the children’s eyes
In momentary wonder stare upon
A sixty-year-old smiling public man.

II

I dream of a Ledaean body, bent
Above a sinking fire. a tale that she
Told of a harsh reproof, or trivial event
That changed some childish day to tragedy –
Told, and it seemed that our two natures blent
Into a sphere from youthful sympathy,
Or else, to alter Plato’s parable,
Into the yolk and white of the one shell.

III

And thinking of that fit of grief or rage
I look upon one child or t’other there
And wonder if she stood so at that age –
For even daughters of the swan can share
Something of every paddler’s heritage –
And had that colour upon cheek or hair,
And thereupon my heart is driven wild:
She stands before me as a living child.

IV

Her present image floats into the mind –
Did Quattrocento finger fashion it
Hollow of cheek as though it drank the wind
And took a mess of shadows for its meat?
And I though never of Ledaean kind
Had pretty plumage once – enough of that,
Better to smile on all that smile, and show
There is a comfortable kind of old scarecrow.

V

What youthful mother, a shape upon her lap
Honey of generation had betrayed,
And that must sleep, shriek, struggle to escape
As recollection or the drug decide,
Would think her Son, did she but see that shape
With sixty or more winters on its head,
A compensation for the pang of his birth,
Or the uncertainty of his setting forth?

VI

Plato thought nature but a spume that plays
Upon a ghostly paradigm of things;
Solider Aristotle played the taws
Upon the bottom of a king of kings;
World-famous golden-thighed Pythagoras
Fingered upon a fiddle-stick or strings
What a star sang and careless Muses heard:
Old clothes upon old sticks to scare a bird.

VII

Both nuns and mothers worship images,
But those the candles light are not as those
That animate a mother’s reveries,
But keep a marble or a bronze repose.
And yet they too break hearts – O Presences
That passion, piety or affection knows,
And that all heavenly glory symbolise –
O self-born mockers of man’s enterprise;

VIII

Labour is blossoming or dancing where
The body is not bruised to pleasure soul.
Nor beauty born out of its own despair,
Nor blear-eyed wisdom out of midnight oil.
O chestnut-tree, great-rooted blossomer,
Are you the leaf, the blossom or the bole?
O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,
How can we know the dancer from the dance?

As an educator (child centered approach)

The Brief:

Each of us, in some way, is an educator. Some of us are parents, some teachers, but whichever we are we must develop our own personal philosophy of education. A tremendous body of educational theory exists. However the immense breadth of knowledge makes it difficult to choose a specific school of thought. For example, some educators base their theories on different approaches to grouping students for instruction, various forms of curricula, methods of evaluating student progress, or the objectives of instruction. Phrases such as “cooperative learning,” “multiple intelligences ” and “whole learning experiences” abound in the literature. Instructional methods range from free exploration to direct instruction. Models of learning range from transactional to transmission.

Using the foundation theories that have stood the test of time would be a valid approach to a philosophy of education. If you were to base your personal philosophy on a child-centered philosopher who you would deem to have greatest influence on modern education… whom would you select? And why?

Interpretation: Select a theorist whose philosophy is child-centered and has a discernible influence on modern education, describe and synthesize

Instantly I think of Erikson, he had a huge impact on me during my clinical training. Early on, in the training clinic over a period of a few weeks, it just seemed that every second patient was a child. I would consult directly with the child, adapting my interview technique and developing a mutual vocabulary, with occasional confirmation and parental involvement (rather tan the other way around, which was more common). After a few of these consultations, I was seeing a pattern that there were huge tracts of medically relevant information that could only be gathered directly from the patient,some of this information was a surprise to the parents.I sought out the the opportunity to observe practitioners who worked primarily with children. It was truly an eye opener to the required difference to be effective.

My early days reminded me of a “story” I had read when I was younger, I thought of Erikson as the father of reverse psychology(perhaps incorrectly) because of this story. Erikson had been consulted regarding a young girl who falsely believed that her feet were huge and hideous, this debilitating dismorphia was preventing her from leaving the house and fulfilling her development through the the psychosocial stages (Erikson’s model).  Erikson made a home visit and “treated” another family member, during this treatment, he purposely stepped back onto her feet and in affect told her off – for not growing feet large enough to be seen and avoided. Apprently this seemingly inadvertent comment did the trick and convinced the girl her feet were fine afterall. Can you see why I thought of him as the father of reverse psychology?

When revisiting his theories and approaches during my own practice, I discovered many excellent techniques to use during consultation for both adult and children. What I also reflected on was my consultations were often only a half hour with children, and that teachers were faced full days of large groups of children, the dynamics of the teacher pupil relationship and the dynamic relationships existing in the class.

Until recently my largest children’s actual class size was 8. I had also done kids parties – often with lots and lots of kids. These both required different skills. Recently I have taught primary school maths to groups of 8 and 15. Again a different approach required. I believe that Erikson has a lot to offer in the understanding of children and the dynamics of their relationships and development. The tender age when a child compares their own abilities to that of their classmates and damaging their sense of self-worth. The role of feedback, praise and criticism can drastically affect this mechanism – that Erikson called Industry vs Inferior. This tenet has proved massively important to me as an art educator. Enthusiasm and self confidence are integrally linked to creativity and competence. Art Education has a unique set of requirements when it comes to assessment and critique, which can truly trigger this effect of perceived inferiority. Erikson believed it was the responsibility of the teacher to minimize inferiority issues in the class. The psychology of the classroom if fascinating especially as the children develop through the stages.

The psychology and dynamics of relationship are still of huge impact even at post graduate level, especially in the sphere of education for education where there is a huge emphasis on the type of training and experience the student had before entering post grad. A wee gem that I came across about Erickson is that he had no Bachelor degree, he trained as a psychologist at the Vienna Institute and later received analysis from Freud’s daughter. It was his work, writing and theories that enabled him to become a prestigious professor at a number of ivy league American Colleges. No inferiority there then, despite his lack of appropriate educational background. Kudos, Erik Erikson and Thank you.

 

“Of Teaching…” ~In the style of Francis Bacon

Image

There are four great advantages of the principled instrument of teaching. First that teaching is by example and design, a speaker of truths should seek not to simulate. The second, cultivation of a wholesome discipline. The third, development of logic, reason and the critical faculties of discernment. The fourth and final, discourse and dialogue in balance with reflection and gathering.

Of the first, teaching by example and design, clarity of vision and thoughts, habits and manner. Encourageth a sense of the whole, foster reason within the concept linking and introduce incremental illumination of the framework glimpsed.

Those that teacheth, should embody the truth they spake, lest simulation and false profession provide the lesson. For in the detection and reception of such an odious vice will depriveth the student of both the trust and belief in the teacher as an instrument of truth and the qualities of the lesson imparteth.

Of the second, the cultivation of a wholesome discipline. Awareness of the turbulent teenage tempests and disposition, when dynamic scattered energies twitcheth, a wholesome habit may form, of movement and stillness, for an extreme of either will disrupteth the enquiring mind and early habits will settle and come to negative effect in older age. Freedom of movement, freedom of speech and freedom of thought. But with the caveat to temper and calm quarrelsome, choleric outbursts or melancholic disillusionment of these bodies and minds torn by hormonal infusions and frustrations borne of the incomplete. Not quite yet fully formed, the in between state of child and adult.

Of the third, Critical Faculties and discernment are of particular importance in times such as these, with such a variety of reading, sources and opinion. One is presenteth with a myriad of truths, a multi-faceted divergence. Is the student to become a hunter of a truth or a gatherer of many, perchance in conflict? The underpinning faith in the framework must provide a means to serve for comparisons and evaluation. An ever strengthening backbone, for only what will nourish will be nurtured in the bosom of knowing.

Of the fourth, a fostering of group collaboration, dialogue and discourse. increments of learning and a glimpse of the whole allows for dynamic discussion bearing fruit within the discharge when sharing with the mind of another. Discourse serves as additional instruments of reflection and gathering, yet not of the solitary, meditative quality. A wit clarifying balm, marshaling communication, a process of enlightenment and a further framing. This stage in learning is a progressive one, students must be wholly acquainted with the first 3 tenets. For discourse may seemeth counsel or resolute truth, bowing a swaying to the charismatic orator. It is desirous, the honourable backbone of existing truth manifest, not manifold. The piercing, penetration of judgement.

Lastly, in summary..

Seek ye to inspire a yearning for learning rather than to instill a lesson

Foster the habits and wholesome discipline which will serve regardless of the unfolding of the individual learning journey. Present the tools, critical faculties of discernment and opportunities for well matched discourse.

A precious, hard won truth that one finds oneself, and enlivens the hungry spirit is so much more prized than if the truth were conveniently presented.

Wherewith i will conclude, moveth the heart, allow for the spark and the passion to learn will grow.

Francis Bacon – a ghostly talking portrait

Of Marriage and Single life…

..Some unmarried men think Girlides and Garters to be shackles….

Ha! and they (generally) weren’t the ones wearing them!

Love the crackling vinyl sound, hmmm… takes me back to Christmases as a child 😀

Tis interesting that in these times we have states inbetween single life and marriage with unique collections of the pros and cons of both states.. hmmmm more to think about.. must have more input!