Lee’s Stories

Lee’s Stories

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posted on October 12, 2016 | Teaching and Learning, Podcasts & Videos
Making Magic Together

 

In the
terrible title
of a talk
I gave
at McMaster University
in 2014,
I talked about something I thought
worth thinking about
when anyone thinks about
helping people learn, which is magic. It feels like
magic to me whenthings snap into place, something
kicks in,
learning takes off, and nobody even thinks
about
slowing any of it down.  Learning at the
speed of light, or
whatever we call it when
it really really works
in a room.
Magic happens, and every
one can feel it.

About classrooms,
Brett Gilley called this a feeling.
It has everything
to do with human
consciousness
and nothing in particular
to do, necessarily, with education or class-
rooms. 
Antonio Damasio called it The
Feeling of What Happens.
I think
of it as
making magic
together.

In the talk,
I wanted to make it
clear
that the kind of magic
I was talking about
lives and thrives
on cooperation,
collaboration, and
clear, honest, open, trust-
ing communication in
every direction.



The full title of the talk, as
embarrassing as it is for me to
admit it to you now, was “
Stories
of Transformation in Higher Educa-
tion:
Students, Faculty and Administra-
tors
Creating Magic Together”.  That’s
awful! 
Now I think of it as Making
Magic. 
Here’s my only excuse for
the title,
not good but all that
I have, so
I may as well
see if
I can sell
it to you.

The day
Arshad invited me to
McMaster
and long before the
trip,
he said he needed a title right
away
and I gave him one without
really thinking about
what it
might mean
for what I
say
about it when
the time came
.

Does it happen
that way for everyone?  I
get myself in trouble doing things
like that. 
Fortunately, I usually discover
things worth
knowing about what I talk about,
and about myself, getting back out of the messes
I create. Unfortunately, I discover many of them
while I’m actually talking! 
My childhood friend
Paul Phipps said about himself in a speech
in Mrs. Coon’s English class that he
talked so fast he said things he
hadn’t yet thought of.

My PhD
student Peter Cahoon
called it “speed lying” when
people who are extraordinarily
good at thinking on their feet turn
problems, as Buzz Holling said in
the video about his Environment
Prize, into opportunities.


In
relation
to creating
problems and having
to work our way out of them,
see
Creativity: The Case of Michael
Ondaatje
According to him his writing
is like that.  My sculpting, learning, educating,
writing, and doing science are definitely that
way, and
Gerhard Herzberg seems to agree
about the science.
I told a story about my
own scrambling in
Stories about
Stories
and A Decade
of Innovation
.


Edited January 2019

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