Dr. Jeanne L. Noble Timeline: an educator, a leader, an activist, and so much more

As several students entered and left my office this week, I was reminded why I fell in love with the education field. We have the greatest jobs in the world because we have the opportunity to make a significant impact on our students’ lives. All it takes is some of your time, a listening ear, and a supportive attitude. Do you have what it takes? Are you willing?

I personally challenge you to engage in a genuine mentoring relationship with at least one student this school year. Allow your mentee to really get to know you beyond  your current role. Sit and talk with them on a regular basis. Mentoring relationships can be lasting ones. My mentor from my undergraduate studies and I are still in contact. She was even at my wedding! I learned firsthand how powerful a mentoring relationship could be, and I believe in paying it forward. Do you? If you had a teacher, mentor, coach, etc. who really made an impression on your life, reach out and let them know how they impacted your life. With the Internet at your fingertips, there’s no excuse for not being able to find them. Find them on Facebook (almost everyone has an account these days), send an email, call, or even write a hand written letter. I guarantee that hearing from you will make their day brighter.

I currently lead a mentoring group for females at my university called Much More to Me, which is such a rewarding experience. I have four mentees with extremely different personality and interests, yet I find a way to connect with each of them individually. I am there through their ups and downs. (If you recall what it is like to be an undergrad then you know it can be rollercoaster ride.) I remind them that I remember what it is like, and I offer advice and share personal stories. I challenge them and call them out when they are in the wrong…I show tough love. Our students should know that we care about them as human beings. Take a holistic approach with mentoring and focus on academics, health and wellness, relationships, leadership skills, social skills, communication skills, etc.   

I know it sounds cliché, but one person really can make a difference. Mahatma Gandhi said it best, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Will you pay it forward?

Image credit Feggy Art

(Source: narasigacasowi)

QuestionSo glad I found your blog through Big Think. I dream to revolutionize my province's education system as well, and look forward to read your opinions on the subject. Good day! Answer

Hi! I’m glad that you found my blog post as well so we can connect and exchange revolutionary ideas.Are you on twitter?

"The past is a good teacher but a bad tutor."
— Unknown

Words are powerful. We can choose to speak or read words that inspire, challenge, and excite us or others; or we can choose to speak or read words that discourage, degrade, or irritate us or others. This week I have been haunted by the words “equality in education” from a spoken word artist Suli Breaks. This phrase “equality in education” is used often, but what does it really mean? What does it look like in reality? Is it taking place at your institution? When you hear or read the words equality in education, what does this mean to you? I would imagine that for some of us we begin to think about Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodations or perhaps Individual Education Plans (IEP) for students with special needs. Others of us may immediately think about social or socio-economic equality or even freedom of speech.

As educators, the challenge is to think about equality in education in terms of designing and providing authentic learning experiences for the individual student rather than for the typical classroom full of students. If past experiences indicate that our current system does not benefit each student equally, then we are intentionally practicing inequality in education. Why? Our focus should be on holistic systemic school improvement in hopes of providing each student with an education that meets his/her individual needs and learning goals. Equality in education is begins with the fusion student-centric learning, educational technologies, and the right words. 

Image by Chris Blakeley

Learning is defined as “the acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, practice, or study, or by being taught”. Based on this definition, I’m not certain that it is accurate to say that we are re-entering a time when we can/should learn on our own. We have always been learning on our own even if it was through trial and error or by observing someone else. I think the distinction that needs to be made here is that learning does not equal schooling. With this mind, the question changes to “should schooling be left up to students/parents” like it was during the apprenticeship schooling era.

The internet makes other avenues such as home schooling, work place learning, distance education, adult education, learning centers, more accessible to the masses than relying solely on the traditional educational system. The internet allows us to leverage crowds beyond our geographic location; it allows us to collaborate with others of shared interests. It provides an opportunity for us to leverage the best of both worlds—an environment that has structure but is flexible.

Yes, we can be trusted to teach ourselves. However, it would be vastly premature to think that we can be trusted to “school” ourselves. I hate to sound like a broken record here, but we must redefine the purpose of schools in the 21st century before we can address many issues. If we don’t, it will be like putting a bandaid on massive gash and just hoping that it works. It is time to remix education. Perhaps we bring in some old school (apprenticeship) with some new school (internet, digital age learning) to find the right balance for our students to put them on the path to become critical, collaborative, and creative life long learners.

Collins, A. and Halverson, R. (2009). Rethinking education in the age of technology: The digital revolution and schooling in America. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Google [I know this isn’t APA, but this is where I got the definition]

Factors that contribute to our current educational system.