Just Saying It Doesn’t Make It So



Adapted from Holland and Henriot

Learning Cycle: Adapted from Holland and Henriot

The morning did not start out well…at all.  To be fair, our coffee pot broke yesterday and the new one wasn’t up and running yet. We are getting ready to leave for spring break, but clearly the kids do not understand the rules that every self-respecting person from the Midwest is taught before you leave on a trip: 1. Wear your best underwear. If you get in an accident, you don’t want the paramedics to see your dirty, holy underwear. 2. Make sure your house is spotless. If something happens to you, you don’t want people to know how you really live! So, we are arguing about chores and I feel myself getting totally sucked into Monster Mom Mode, when it dawns on me. I give presentations on education, learning and communication and yet I am not following my own rules. Let me explain.

Whether you are teaching an academic subject, safety lessons or just life skills, there are four steps that MUST take place awareness, analysis, reflection and most importantly, action (Holland and Henriot). Just knowing about something doesn’t do anything. Great, I know texting and driving is bad. Doesn’t mean I’ve really learned anything. To be honest, I see this as a common place that many academic educators, fire and life safety educators and parents stop (I include myself). I told you, so there. You’ve learned. Then we get frustrated and blame others when no real change or learning takes place.

We have turned into a country of human doings, not human beings. Information comes at us fast and furious, and if it is not made relevant to us, we delete it. I’m guilty…there is just not enough room in my brain to remember everything that I need to know for my job, my kids, my spouse, etc. Some things just get deleted. So I need analysis…why do I need to know this? This step is the umbrella step. A general relevance of topic. Many of us stop here. Borrowing from my fire and life safety friends, you need to know water safety so that kids stay safe. Again, wonderful, but this information is still too vague. It doesn’t necessarily apply to me, does it? It needs to become personal, relevant to my life.

If you manage to get to the reflection stage in the learning cycle, you are doing better than most. Why does this matter personally? How does it apply for me? It’s the whole tuning into WIFM (what’s in it for me) thing. Using the water safety example, kids ages 1-4 are most likely to drown…do you have a child that age? a brother? a sister? niece? neighbor? Now I am tuned in, but the process is not complete. Now what?

The MOST important step is ACTION. What should I do with the information I have received? Turn your phone off in the car. Have an undistracted water watcher at the pool. Have something that kinesthetically shows that learning has taken place. So, how does that apply to my morning?

  1. Awareness: The house needs to be clean before we leave.
  2. Analysis: Mom will lose her mind if the house is not clean.
  3. Reflection: Mom will lose her mind on me, take everything I hold dear (electronics) away, and perhaps leave on spring break without me if I don’t get onboard.
  4. Action: Here’s a list of chores. Get to work!

Deep breaths. Monster Mom has subsided and the coffee is on.

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