Each work and school week starts with a Monday. It is the opportunity to start something new. A video my Michael Brown Take Monday Down! inspired me to write this article, and a quote by Will Linssen of the Institute of Coaching that I heard at Church today:
New challenges brings growth, but growth is always built on current knowledge and/or major inspiration. Even major inspiration often comes by understanding what has been accomplished before. The invention of Calculus was based on discovered mathematical concepts that led to the development of Calculus independently in England – Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) and Europe – Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716). Each contributed important concepts. A brief history of Calculus is available which gives important moments in the development of Calculus.
If we step too far away from what we know, it can be a disaster. Forcing ourselves out of our comfort zone, based on what we have learned and discovered, we can enter our Growth Zone and achieve great accomplishments. The Disaster Zone can be a quite scary place. Disasters, like being put in a country with no knowledge of the language and customs, are recoverable with great effort. As long as we physically survive we can move the results into our Growth Zone. No matter how difficult, we can eventually succeed.
Comfort -> Growth vs Disaster
I believe growth comes when a person pushes the boundaries of their comfort zone. In teaching a computer language, the basics must be taught first. All students learn to write “Hello World!” before learning more complicated programs. By the end of the first class in either Java or C++, the student can write some complicated programs well. A major project is always assigned at the end of each class. At this point the students know the basics of the language well and need to learn how to organize and use revision control to develop a complicated and good project.
The reason I said that Mondays are beautiful is because Mondays are the start of something new. I start a new lesson each Monday and I am able to learn as much from students as they learn from me. If I can instill in students a love for learning and a willingness to enlarge their comfort zone they will be successful in life. And that is the greatest gift any teacher can give to their students.