I recently read a great article titled ‘Ditch the cones-start using Koans’ by Stuart Armstrong of the ‘Talent Equation.’
I wondered what ‘Koan’ meant.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A kōan (公案?) (/ˈkoʊ.ɑːn/; Chinese: 公案; pinyin: gōng’àn; Korean: 공안 kong’an; Vietnamese: công án) is a story, dialogue, question, or statement, which is used in Zen practice to provoke the “great doubt” and test a student’s progress in Zen practice
So it got me thinking which can be a dangerous thing!
All good information in my quest to create the ultimate learning experience! This makes me think about how can I use it? How can it be used to enhance the environment so that I am continually nurturing a climate that enables continual learning, growth and development? How can it be used so that it enables all the young saplings to grow whilst at the various stages of development?
For inspiration I turn to an old colleague, a science teacher, Mr Hocking. An incredible man who taught for 30 plus years with insatiable vigour and enthusiasm, there would always be a buzz in the queue of students outside his room and led me to question and investigate why? The students would enter the classroom where they would always be greeted with a smile, behind which out of nowhere, comes a nuclear learning bomb. The question,hypothesis, the hook that catches the imagination that fuels the students curiosity and that’s it, they work feverishly. The room is a seething mess of bodies all doing different things to come up with multiple solutions to the problems.
All of which are greeted with a considered positive response, a thought, a question to prod in the right direction, never once an inkling of a mistake being made though the students are failing all the time! Towards the end of the session the learning carnage begins to clear and the specific outcomes appear large in the room, pennies drop at various points and problems are solved. The students leave energized and enthusiastic having been fuelled by this learning Super Nova, eager for their next instalment.
In the coaching session participants are at various levels of growth, therefore there is never really a one size fits all outcome. We can use hypotheses and questions to nurture growth and learning: allowing time for participants to sort through the debris left by the learning bomb, coming up with multiple solutions and therefore becoming more adaptable. The children will learn implicitly, enabling them to operate with a greater self esteem and therefore growing an adaptable range of skills for multiple conditions. Being eager for more! This is the foundation for my own philosophy of SmileychallengySmileyMORE!
It is almost as if the Koan is like a greenhouse for the sapling as it sprouts. Providing it with the perfect environment for it to grow under it. Maybe we need more Koans so that ALL those saplings will grow in their own time creating a forest of big strong trees.