An Agent for My Life and Maybe…the Lives of Others

 

My Practicum Classroom 2016

I read Bud Hunt’s blog first and I fell in love with his ideas.  Everything I read, I related to!  It was an incredible experience, it truly was. The best idea was the Make/Hack/Play.  The way Hunt describes these is incredible.  Making things is essential to understanding something on a deeper level.  I was surprised to hear the definition of hacking.  I always thought to hack was a “bad” thing.  This definition makes sense to me and it is great!  “Hackers improve things” (Bud Hunt Centering on Essential Lenses ).  The definition he gives for play, left me in awe.  He says play is “the search for freedom within constraints” (Bud Hunt Centering on Essential Lenses).  He goes on to say that, “good play certainly requires that you understand what and who you’re playing with, and perhaps even the nature of the game.  If you don’t like the game, perhaps you can tinker your way into a better one”.

Hunt talked about the word “agency“.  I had to see what he meant by that. He begins by saying, “It sure seems like a lot of things just happen to people. You know, beyond our control and all… And we are helpless in the face of all this happening stuff. Right?” (Bud Hunt In Search of Agency).

He continues with, “folks feel helpless more than I think they actually are. Learning, or school, or whatever, seems to happen to them, rather than the other way around.  It’s supposed to be the other way around.  Folks are supposed to own their actions and habits and the way they spend their time.  And our culture too often supports passivity and compliance…folks forget they are the agents of their experiences” (Bud Hunt In Search of Agency).

I looked up the word agency in The Merriam Webster Dictionary that I have by my school desk at home.  It says that agency is, “1 : one through which something is accomplished 2 : the office or function of an agent synonyms: means, medium, vehicle”.  Ok, so what does agent mean? The same dictionary says, “1 : one that acts 2 : a person acting or doing business for another” (Merriam-Webster 1997).

Based on these definitions, being an agent of our education and our life, makes perfect sense.  It is exactly what Hunt says about owning our actions and habits and the way we spend our time. Why can’t I be “one through which something is accomplished”?  Why can’t I be a “means, medium, or vehicle” through which I can accomplish great things and help others to accomplish great things?  Is that too much pressure and responsibility? It can be difficult to own my own actions and take responsibility for my life. I forget that I have the freedom of choice.  I forget that I am not stuck in that choice.  If the choice doesn’t feel correct at some point, I can make another choice.

Logan LaPlante in his Ted Talk, was extremely inspiring.  It was amazing to hear the answer to “What do you want to be when you grow up?” From an honest 13 year old!  I found myself wondering if I, as an adult who has asked kids this question, assume that they will be happy and healthy.  I feel like I do and that I am looking for the answers of “doctor, teacher, firefighter”.  If I hear them say “professional skier, guitarist, painter” I feel like I poo poo it away, laughing and thinking to myself “Oh kid that is NEVER gonna happen!  Get real!”.  Why couldn’t it happen?  Who am I to say.

It is in the poo pooing it away that people (and especially kids) become stuck in what society or their families or other adults think they “should” be doing.  This is what causes the feeling of being “stuck” and unhappy.  Settling for what you “should” be doing, saying, having, and experiencing.  Being unable to think for yourself.  Being stuck in a mold or in a box and eventually becoming extremely unhappy and not realizing there is a way out.  “You made your bed, now you gotta lay in it”.  I heard that sentence often when I was younger and it is just not true.   It is fear that stands in my way.  It is true, children don’t really have any fear of making mistakes. That is a learned fear and it has been hard for me to unlearn it.  The good news, it is not impossible to unlearn it!

References

Centering on Essential Lenses – Bud the Teacher. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://budtheteacher.com/blog/2012/05/24/centering-on-essential-lenses/

Hackschooling makes me happy | Logan LaPlante | TEDxUniversityofNevada [Video file]. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://youtu.be/h11u3vtcpaY

In Search of Agency – Bud the Teacher. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://budtheteacher.com/blog/2012/03/29/in-search-of-agency/

Neilson, W. A. (1995). Webster’s new international dictionary of the English language.

 

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