Teenagers. They are so close to being launched, but seemingly so far from readiness to take the helm and steer us into the bright future that we, the prior generation, have failed to deliver. They look at our failures, ignore the past because the present feels over-full and overwhelming, and decide the most expedient journey begins with letting go of the past and starting with the present.
Thereâ€™s quite a bit of wisdom in that. And yet itâ€™s been said that those who ignore the past are doomed to repeat it. Our kids donâ€™t want to hear that either.
Enter the â€œTeachable Moment,â€ otherwise known as â€œStealth Instruction.â€
Piaget theorized that teens are developmentally ready, and thus naturally motivated to explore abstract reasoning and moral issues by including motivation, as well as the physical consequences of an act. Kohlberg elaborated on this idea, and assumed that, unimpeded, people naturally develop moral principles that honor the greater good in balance with the sanctity of the individual, and that these moral principles will deliver a better future.
Unimpeded, but not necessarily unsupported.
A friendâ€™s daughter recently participated in a school-sponsored day of silence (Day of Silence) to raise awareness of the damage done to LGBT -- and their fellowâ€”students, who have or are being discriminated against because of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. Based on her participation last year, she was anticipating the difficulty of getting some of her group classwork done when she wouldnâ€™t be able to talk. She was struggling with how to act on her beliefs without tarnishing her GPA.
Her parent didnâ€™t tell her what her experience would be, or make her decision for her. Her parent listened, asked a few questions, made it safe for her to consider the possibility of failure on the project and how else she might communicate with her team members. And that it might be interesting to see if the other members would pick up on the leadership role, if she stood down. Her parent suggested that it was probably hard for LGBT teens to risk their safety to reveal something that was so essential to their daily identity. And then the parent dropped it.
The teen decided to go through with the day of silence, because making the statement was more important to her than any difficulties she might encounter. Per her discussion with her parent, she texted with her boyfriend instead of talking (as they normally do whenever theyâ€™re apart). She asked friends to help her tell the lunch personnel what she wanted to eat. And her team members spontaneously announced that on that day, they were going to manage the project.
Stealth Instruction: It works so much better, and is so much richer than any one individual could ever deliver.
Liz Husebye Hartmann
Pam Brittain's Prompt:This weekâ€™s Wednesday challenge:Â Amanda S. came up with another great suggestion for a WWE challenge.Â I broke the rules in my response below, but theÂ suggestion is, if you were going to teach someone how to do something what would it be?Â How would you do it?Â Why did the person you're going to teach pick that subject?