Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Personal growth via professional development

One of my other recent learning projects (which I chose not to publicly blog about) is an interest in psychology. I've been trying to improve my own understanding of feelings and interpersonal issues and get back to a sense of depth and awe I seem to have lost in my twenties.

In my more public professional development efforts--online courses on teaching for learning and participating in the Open Online Experience MOOC--I keep noticing connections to growth efforts I consider more personal.

Foundations of Teaching for Learning drew my attention to Transactional Analysis (TA); the roles people play of parent, child, and adult; and this video on a TA view of games people play. The concept resonated with me, and with personal growth in mind, I just started reading I'm OK, You're OK. It's been sitting on my partner's bookshelf for years (with the rest of her social worker library), and I never would have given it a second of consideration if not for my Coursera course on teaching.

In the course materials, professor John MacBeath also encourages viewers to consider the concept: "Punish only in anger." He points out that although many are quick to assume this is poor advice, some things that make you angry (for instance, racism or other forms of bigotry or discrimination) often should be swiftly reacted to rather than contemplated. I've been thinking a lot about anger generally, so it's refreshing to have a notion to chew on from a more formal source than my own brain.

I recently heard about Learnist, and polled the OOE13 folks about it. Brendan Murphy shared his boards with me, and the first slide in 21st Century Teacher struck me. "If you want to be a carpenter, then you apprentice with a master carpenter. If you want to be a learner, then you should be apprenticing with a master learner too."

This quote is from Gary Stager's institute on PBL at ASB Unplugged2012. Original Image by Rob Shenk licensed under CC BY SA. Via Clint Hamada.
I was thinking about my future and my career before I launched into these professional development projects. I discovered that one of the things I get most engaged and rewarded by is learning new things, and I planned to research careers that take advantage of it, thinking first of being a workflow consultant (except for the whole people-losing-their-jobs part). 
Is education one of few careers that rewards and requires deep personal growth? In my office jobs, it hasn't felt so important and hasn't happened organically. Do you think of education when you consider careers for lifelong learners? What other careers do you think of?

1 comment:

  1. Everyone seems to like that quote by Gary.

    In answer to your questions, I sometimes long for a career that doesn't consume my life, influence my politics, shape my parenting, and monopolize my friendships. But then I wonder what would I do with all the free time and I realize I would probably spend it learning something new.