About The Thrivapy Blog

I created The Thrivapy Blog to share my thoughts and ideas about living a learning lifestyle.

For more, visit my website: www.thrivapy.com
Thank You,
Dr. Troy P. Roddy

Thursday, July 4, 2013

For Teachers And Learners, Independence Is The Only True Choice

Today is Independence Day 2013. As such, I find myself reflecting on the nature of independence as it applies to learners and teachers. I cannot recall an instance where being an "independent learner" or "independent teacher" was a characteristic to be avoided. However, as in our society in general, practicing student or teacher independence can become quite messy. Embracing those independent qualities is not as easy as it sounds, but just as with society, the benefits greatly outweigh the costs.

What do I mean by independent?

For the sake of clarity and purpose, I will not dive into a philosophical diatribe about the nature of independence. There are plenty of philosophers you can read that will satisfy your thirst for that conversation.

Instead, independence, as I use it in this post, is...
  • having the freedom to identify a way to improve the lives of others AND take the action needed to affect that change.
  • having the ability to take personal responsibility for understanding and appreciating different opinions.
  • believing in the power of collective wisdom and having the freedom to participate in and contribute to that collective wisdom.
  • being free to "follow your muse" and find others with whom you can share your passions and knowledge.
  • having the ability to create knowledge.
  • not perfect, and being comfortable learning from those imperfections in order to contribute to the greater good.
The independent teacher...
  • takes responsibility for their professional growth as an integral part of being an educator, not because it is mandated by an outside entity.
  • respects that not all students learn the same and is willing to help find a path to success for each student.
  • shares his/her professional knowledge for the betterment of the collective group of teachers.
  • takes appropriate risks and learns from those experiences for the sake of improving student learning.
  • seeks opportunities to lead solutions both in and out of the classroom.
The independent learner...
  • takes responsibility for the effort he/she puts into each assignment.
  • works as a partner in the learning process and seeks ways to improve with each lesson.
  • is comfortable with making mistakes and views those mistakes as learning opportunities.
  • contributes to the success of a lesson for all students.
  • steps outside of their comfort zone to discover new or hidden talents.
  • respects the contributions of all students, even those who may not have as deep an understanding as she/he does.
It is certainly easier to be a dependent teacher or learner. There is, though, a problem with that path. The world values ideas and innovations, and the ability to connect those ideas and innovations to a solution that advances the betterment of society. Independent teachers and learners operate from a position of freedom to engage in that process because those teachers and learners embrace the value of the connection which comes from being independent.

Dependent teachers and learners know neither the value of connection nor the strength of the collective wisdom of society. Dependent teachers and learners are selfish and only interested in their own comfort, which in an act of natural justice, is never possible until they embrace their true calling to be independent.