Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Process versus Product

Note my young daughter’s painting. At three, she painted it for the pure pleasure of painting. She used, brushes and rollers and every colour she wanted. She bordered it because at three, she liked to enclose things. When I stepped back and said, “Jillian, tell me about your painting.” She said, “Oh mummy, isn’t it romantic?” And so it is appropriately titled. At eleven, she is embarrassed that the painting still adorns our wall. Why?
Particularly over the last 10 years, I have thought through the idea of a process being more important than a product. And yet, all too often, in formal schooling it is the product that receives the greater reward. In the case of my daughter’s artwork, process was always the focus and yet I framed it because I love the product. I am interested in your thoughts surrounding process vs. product.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


What follows here, are a few words that have invoked thoughts in me surrounding mentorship. What is a mentor? Who have been some of your educational mentors? I look forward to reading your posts.

“Flowers are red young man
Green leaves are green
There's no need to see flowers any other way
Than the way they always have been seen.”
I was thirteen years old when I was lying on my mom’s bed talking to her while she folded laundry, when she said that she wanted me to listen to a certain song. I sat up and was totally captivated. She told me that she knew that all of our relatives and friends wanted me to do something very exciting in this world because I was so vibrant and dynamic, but that she had always seen the teacher in me and wondered if maybe I might head in that direction. I rarely thought about that incident until I actually began teaching and now with twenty-one years of teaching experience, I think of it often and, I think of teaching as a vibrant and dynamic profession. Those words of the great Harry Chapin have played a huge role in my life as a teacher and as a human being and I am thankful that my mom was my first mentor.

There have been several times throughout my career when I knew that if I perished the next day, I would have accomplished something great, only to carry on and think that I hope I do not perish the next day, as I have much more to accomplish.

Every area of my life is filled with reflective thought and my teaching experience has been no different. As an educator, I have chosen to file my plan books every year and only look to them for reflective purposes. I have always liked to think about what worked and what did not. Every two years I would toss the plan books entirely so as not to look back. I feel that this practice has helped me to internalize much of what I do, as well as what I know, as a teacher. I look forward to extending this practice of reflection and being able to mature even more in the way that a constuctivist teacher might grow.
I am a reader and a collector of books. I always have a fiction and a non-fiction on the go and the non-fiction book is generally about education. I am delighted to be able to delve into some required professional resources from the University in order to advance my knowledge base even more. I anticipate reading in depth and dialoguing with others in order to broaden my scope with regards to many areas of education.
For I believe that …
“There are so many colors in the rainbow
So many colors in the morning sun
So many colors in the flower and I see every one”

Harry Chapin. (1978). Flowers are Red. Living Room Suite [CD]. New York, NY: Elektra Records.