Preparing And Questioning

There is a sweet tension during the week before school begins.

I have been working with children and adults as teachers-learners for 42 years and that last week of preparation has always been embedded in the tension, sometimes not so sweetly.

We have in our minds a vision for the learners’ space-environment. In our imagination, we can see them in the classroom: Oh, Scott will love’s new arrangement; Michelle will be showing everyone how to do this.

The to-do list is long. Every time you strike three items, at least one more arise. And the last night before the first day – when you turn off the lights before leaving for home and much needed sleep – there is a smile on your face and in your heart.

Some of my fondest memories during my years of working with children were those when I had an opportunity to “team teach.” When you find the right combination of intuition and response, the sharing can be profound. I found that, first with Anne Angel in the mid 70s, and later with my partner, Marsha Morgan. With Anne and Marsha I was able to co-create an ambience for the development of heart-centered collaboration. Before school classroom preparation was not limited to the physical environment as it involved –through dialogue- deep questioning.

My experience in working with adults is altogether the same, yet different. In 1993 I began creating online learning environments, before most people even knew the term. Today there are still to-do lists before classes begin; there is still the preparation of the environment – creating inviting spaces for sharing life and learning together.

And that first day… Who will be present and what will they be like?

Philip Snow Gang, PhD

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