As our journey together continues, Being Better and Doing better will take on a significantly higher mental intensity with the 3rd thematic focus. The focus now shifts to the mirrors category. Arguably one of the areas educators, and really people in general, have many challenges doing is looking at ourselves. Developing a meaningful sense of self that requires conscious and intentional thinking is a highly valuable awareness to gain. It helps us become more understanding of both our perspectives and ideally serves as an empathetic catalyst for better understanding of others. You cannot truly understand or empathize with another person until you gain a better understanding of yourself. Another layer to gaining a deeper understanding is looking at many of our societal institutions and how they influence, shape, as well as determine many of our core beliefs.
All of the book titles below are intentional in facilitating a high degree of self-analysis i.e. introspection. These readings will prompt you to ask yourself many questions. Lots of those questions may create discomfort, and I will request that you sit on that discomfort and lean in as to why it is making you uncomfortable and how you can use that discomfort as a catalyst for your growth rather than as a way out. Use your experience in the readings to reflect on your conscious thoughts and actions. You may discover many truths about yourself that you were not aware of. Some of those truths may not be pleasant, but awareness is the first step to understanding. Once you have that understanding you can choose to be better. One of my favorite Maya Angelou quotes associated with this is "Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better." I sincerely hope to have opportunities to engage in conversations with as many of you as possible on these topics, in person.
I'd like to add special recognition for these posts, the conversations, and workshops led with Jeff Heil have added to my depth in this area as well. We talk about these topics very often and many of those conversations include Dee Lanier. Dee has a special Smashboard EDU expansion pack that any educator can use to further explore conversations in this area and provide a great framework for personal growth. I strongly believe that we must work on ourselves before we can truly to begin meaningful work with others.
Now our list (there are many more that could have been added to this list):
Note: I have recently added two more books to the telescope theme. They are listed at the bottom here.