Monday, June 9, 2008
The June 9 & 16, 2008 New Yorker is filled with stories that are illustrated by epiphanies. Uwem Akpan's epiphany in that church at the edge of the Kibera slums in Nairobi. Buckminster Fuller's epiphany the morning he commune with Universe about being instead of not being. Tobias Wolff's friend's epiphany while watching Bergman's Winter Light and his own while reading "Little Gidding." Haruki Murakami's epiphany to write a novel when an American baseball player hit a double during a Japanese baseball game. Allegra Goodman didn't have a sudden epiphany, but a long, slow accumulations of Sabbaths. George Saunders' epiphany came as he saw Father X and Sister Y, kissing. And there are more.
I have been to many presentations given by teachers who speak about the epiphanies they have had as teachers and that have changed their pedagogy and practice. We speak about the scholars and their "a ha" moments. Teacher have epiphanies. I know when I started using technology in my new computer classroom in 1983, it seemed as if I had epiphanies on a daily basis.
I have spoken about one such epiphany earlier when I wrote about Groups. CyberEnglish was certainly an epiphany. But it was a work in progress always under the surface until the technologies fell into place. As a teacher, I found epiphanies were key to the changes that happened in my pedagogy and in developing CyberEnglish.
What are the epiphanies you have had that have informed your practice and have changed your teaching practices?
Since writing this blog, I have come across another great article in the July 28, 2008 issue of The New Yorker, "The Eureka Hunt" by Jonah Lehrer. It is a fascinating article about how a scientist is trying to determine the conditions under which we have those epiphanies. When we are half asleep, in a warm shower, relaxed, and not thinking of the problem are just some of the conditions be forwarded.