Wednesday, January 7, 2015

My One Word: Time

Let it be known that I didn't jump on the #OneWord bandwagon this year; I did that last year. Of course, as 2015 approached, I had to search to find what my 2014 word was (pride). At first I was leaning toward something in the "no excuses" vein for this year. I have a problem with procrastinating, so I've actually held some "no excuses" days in the past; when something came up that I needed to do, I promptly did it!  It was fun and strangely satisfying.

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While there are many trite sayings and platitudes about time, what is true is that I do have the same amount as everyone else. Eric Sheninger's blog post of 12-21-14 had a graphic that really stuck with me: 

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Then, as I started to work on my word, I serendipitously heard a sermon by our youth minister, Jenni Crowley Cartee, about the "fullness of time". She cited a book by Daniel Stern called The Present Moment. (When I investigated later, I discovered that the complete title is The Present Moment in Psychotherapy and Everyday Life.  Whew!  I'm glad I had Jenni's sermon to explain it.)

What struck me most about Jenni's sermon was the description of Chronos time vs. Kairos time.  How do we reconcile the precise, objective measurement of time, Chronos, with the importance of Kairos?  Kairos reminds me of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's concept of "flow " when you become completely absorbed in what you are doing.  Steve Chapman says, "The way I understand it, the difference between the two is that chronos time is informed by the passing of seconds, whereas kairos time is informed by the emergence of meaning." What's fascinating is that as you may lose track of time, you may find insight.

During my time working with a dozen outstanding educators to write Teaching 2030: What We Must Do for Our Public School Students--Now and in the Future, we frequently discussed the concept of "seat time" vs. "learning time".  I always think of 2030 colleague Renee Moore for her views on using seat time (Chronos) as a measure of accomplishment.  Is, "Congratulations! You're spent 13 years with us; you're done," the best way to measure K-12 education?  Should students be assigned work by their age?

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Even as I worked on this post today, the Indiana State Board of Education was debating the definition of an "instructional day" at the same time school districts were holding eLearning days due to frigid temperatures.  

With the advent of the net and easy access, I spend a lot of time on social media. I'm not sure how often I experience Kairos, especially while jumping from platform to platform. We can connect to more information than ever before, and, if we are deliberate in our practice, much of it can prove to be useful.  My goal for 2015 is to be more mindful of my Chronos time while obtaining more meaningful results. And, what does this mean for students?  How do we guide them toward experiencing Kairos time, or flow, while adhering to the implications of the typical Chronos school time?