On Doing Things “Well”

An ironic title for a 1AM post – I doubt this will be an exemplary piece of writing.

Yesterday I wrote about doing “good” things. The other side of my blog is doing good things “well.”

I’ll just say it: I’m a pretty smart person, pretty quick to learn and pretty quick to improvise. In my opinion, I do things pretty well.

But I think I could do better.

Moreover, I think I could make a ton of headway with just a bit of effort, so why not do it?  Seems like it’d be a great time investment.

The Project

5 by svenwerk on Flickr
5 by svenwerk on Flickr

I’ve decided take five weeks to focus on a given topic: reading, writing, and talking about it with the basic purpose of knowing more about it than when I started. Week 1 will be devoted to making a syllabus for the remaining four weeks.

The idea is that I would do several of these “courses.”  Five weeks will allow me to do some pretty decent reading but won’t leave me married to a topic I have only cursory interest in.

Leaving the Shoulds At the Door

I have no intention of pursuing courses I “should” pursue; this is for topics I’m actually interested in.  I’m also not interested in hearing (even from myself) that I “should” pursue a longer course.  I do better with short-term projects.  Why set myself up for failure, especially to start out?

I also have no intention of doing more than one course if the first one drives me nuts.  The point is to give myself some structure to foster learning and growing, not to make it an unbearable chore.  If this format doesn’t work for me, I’ll drop this project and think of something else.

But maybe it’ll resonate for someone reading about it?

The Pilot

My pilot 5-week course is based on my goal to become a better teacher. Not ‘The 5-Week Miracle.’  Just better.   Let’s define “better” as more effective and more aware of what other good teachers do than I am now.

The start of my syllabus is here.  Feel free to take a look at it.   I’m extremely open to suggestions, but please don’t be offended if I have to put them on hold for a different 5-week unit.

What would your 5-week courses be about?

4 thoughts on “On Doing Things “Well”

  1. Freire was required reading for my Community Organizing MSW. Very much philosophical, sociological, etc., and very interesting, but not much by way of practical tips for someone teaching adults. I guess I’m saying it’s a good resource for giving you a mental framework on the macro level, but not for the day-t0-day.

    Jane Vella’s book Training Through Dialogue is a good primer on how adults learn and interact in learning environments.

  2. I really like this idea of a five week learning course. A lot. I’m going to come up with one for myself. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. MJ – I have a tiny bit of Freire already, and I did consider him, but I think he’s for a different 5WC. Will look at TTD – thanks!

    Katie – Thanks 🙂 Let me know what you come up with! For mine I started at my local public library and in my learning center. I’ll post more about it soon.

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