Personalization: A long conversation from Bill Wong and some Concluding Thoughts

· Instruction, Personalization

Personalization: Bill and I have had a long conversation — it needs to be completed

  Piece 1 –missing part on portable)
  From Hall to Hall as Editor/Author]
  Finally, a back and forth with Bill W himself over his becoming—(12/27)I think the conversational style is good, if needing focusing/shortening. But we havent yet decided how we will know what to go for generally (home schooling, alted, or high school) or specifically (what to study and how). Edit and amend this story to get us there. Please!]
  Finally, a back and forth with Bill W himself over his becoming.
  BW: Nudges my shoulder.. I jump .. had been deep into some note taking on a student journal. ‘Sup Mr. Hall, saw your conference notes on the board and here I am..
  SPH: Hi Bill. . Seems lke a month since I talked with your mom & dad [B nods and says – “couple days more, actually “— I grimace “appreciatively”). I don’t have a terrific reason for waiting this long but what I’ve got is this: This is my first “lets talk about and plan your life conference” and I probably spent too much time thinking about how it should go . The other part of the delay is that I knew you and your parents would be talking it over and I wanted those conversations to have taken place before you and I had this talk.
  BW: It’s okay Mr. Hall.. I could have started the conversation earlier if I wanted to. (I nod). By the way, Howard, my big brother — you remember him from three years ago in your class (I nod emphatically) says “Hi” and he doesn’t remember anything like this when he was in your class.
  SPH: That’s because it didn’t happen-at least not this way. Howard and I worked on “who he is and who he wants to be” but not in this way. I’m trying to use our test results and to be more organized about it than before.
  BW: [with some surprise and humor in his expression]. Wha!!?? Teachers learn too. Tha’s breaking my head!!
  SPH: (smiling) Yep! Learning is for life, even for teachers. What’s that you got in your hands.. ” More than Human”?
  BW: Yep. I’ve had it a long time— since even before Mom & Pop talked to you. Sorry (I shake my head — “Not a problem”). But it was hard work reading it. But Mom & Dad say that now they get why you loaned it to me. The hero is sort of like me (I nod) — except I’m alot better at talking…way better (I nod again).
  SPH: You’re way different than him and yet similar, Bill. I think us talking about your test profile (sorry about that s— sounds technical and cold) will help make sense of what you are feeling and how you look at things.
  SPH: How you look at things is pretty special— actually WAY special. Jim, too. Me too. By special I mean unique. Nearly a “make once then never repeat” kind of thing. As if every car that Toyota makes was different in a very significant way from each and every other car that Toyota has ever made and would ever make.
  BW: Ok… I get the idea of never before and never again. But I have two questions. [SPH nods] First, we have a toyota and Dad and Howard work on it… I watch . They do lots of things to keep it clean, to fix it up, to keep it running well. They use an owner’s manual. You know what I mean? [SPH nods] They spend almost as much time reading the manual and discussing what it means as they do working on the car. They want do get it right and not make any mistakes. They’re pretty good at it. The car is fifteen years old and runs really well and looks good.
  Here’s my first point. They have the manual. If they didn’t they wouldn’t know what to do—but Toyota (and other car makers , I think) prints a manual for each model (Land Cruiser, Corolla, Avalon are three I can think of) they make. My point is this: If toyota cars were unique I don’t think they’d go to the trouble of printing a manual Then where would car fixer like my father & brother or like mechanics be?
  SPH: In big trouble?
  BW: Yes!! So.. if there’s trouble — big trouble — without a manual for cars , wouldn’t it be the same for people? [SPH has ? written all over his face] [BW laughs]. No I’m serious. People are more complicated than cars. If we’re each unique then what’s the point of writing a manual, it wouldn’t work.
  SPH: I agree, Bill. And the ÒmanualÓ idea , that there can’t be one that works for all because each of us is too different from all other people, is very important. Important because knowing how different people are, one from the other, makes us ÒplanÓ our actions differently [Note: This is awkward and doesnÕt say what I want— but moving on for now so I wonÕt lose the next idea].
  ThereÕs another really important difference working with a car and working with a person. The car — if it is in good shape — will do exactly what a competent driver wants it to, no more, no less. Exactly. If the car is in good shape/well maintained it will do exactly as itÕs ÒtoldÓ by the competent driver on day 1000 as on day 1.
  BW: What are you getting at, IÕm lost. Like – no disrespect- ÒSo what!!Ó
  SPH: [smiling]. So What? So try that with people. If I told you to talk to Alice on day one and said the same thing two or forty months later would you do exactly the same thing?
  And it depends a little bit on what we’re after from other people. If we
  See more … need to pull from portable at
  Piece 2
  —job right now?
  SPH: I like your thinking , Bill. And I can understand your impatience and excitement. But, short answer, no — at least not right now and certainly not in this school. But, in theory, yes, particularly if your parents wanted to design a home schooling program for or with you.
  BW: ???
  SPH: Okay… this isn’t quite how I planned to “INTERPRET THE TESTS” but it’s better.
  Pretending, now, cause we dont really know where you want to head at the moment.
  Let’s say that between what your own preferences, your merit badge work, your parents’ and my impressions of what you are drawn to, and these test scores all point in the direction of law or politics. Let’s say that.
  We could design a work study and home study program for you that kept you playing soccer and working with Mr. Henderson the math teacher. But otherwise you would be working in a law office and shadowing the lawyer in her duties as a civil rights lawyer. You would have some duties, a little bit of pay, and you would be taking a home study course in law and another in “activism” and another in community development.
  BW: [HIs eyes are wide open and he looks both “on” and a little frightened. That’s really exciting… and scary too..
  BW: So these test results.. high in ethics? (SPH nods) and math … and all that . What does that mean? I do get that part better than average and less than average. But now I want to know what it MEANS. And … like ….how does it affect my life now or tomorrow or next week?
  SPH: It can give you hints — insight— into how you run your life now and how you plan your future life.
  BW: I don’t “run” my life. You do, my parents do.
  SPH: Do you pick where you put your toothbrush after you’ve brushed your teeth… for that matter do you pick whether to brush your teeth at all?
  BW: Well yes… so!
  SPH: Do you choose which snacks to eat when you’re here at school and when you get home? Do you decide whether to object to my mismanaging of the class reward system. (You didn’t say anything yesterday but you did last week when I did the same thing).
  BW: How would I know whether I chose to object or chose a snack? Is choose the same as decide..
  SPH: That’s an important question. If you never give your action any thought — and never have — then it’s not a choice — it’s a reaction. For example.. if you always eat food you’ve been served without any objection then that’s a reaction. If you think about it before you decide to eat or not, whether to comment or not — and how you will comment — it’s a choice. If you always tell the truth, even when the consequences will be inconvenient or even disastrous, it’s a reaction. If you think about it and then act – lying or telling the truth as you see best fits your goals, beliefs, your needs, other people’s needs, then it’s a choice.
  BW: Okay okay. I’ve got it. I’ve got to think about it .
  SPH: You want to take some time and meet tomorrow, same time to talk about choice and your skill profile?
  BW: Okay. This is going to be good right?
  SPH: Yes, definitely. It’s a sign that I think and your parents think that you’re growing up. Choice is involved in grown-up decision making. Or, at least, I think it should be.
  See you then? BW: Yep. Thanks (and BW leaves for his bus ride home). ———————- [Next day] BW: Hey! (hall looks up , smiles, and beckons Bill over to his desk). You’re right… I choose to tell the truth. (And, sometimes I’ve lied). It’s not a reaction, it’s a choice.
  SPH: How do you choose?
  BW: When I was little I would lie to keep from getting in trouble, but I felt bad about lying at the same time. Later I would think about lying if someone else would be hurt in some way. But in general telling truth is important to me because I think at least with my family, my friends and people I trust we’re going to work out a better deal for everyone if everyone is honest, even when it’s uncomfortable.
  SPH: That’s choice, not reaction, I agree. Particularly when I see you leaving room for situations when you might “have to” lie.
  So, choice is what our conversation about your test scores is about. The choices are HUGE and they are, when all is said and all is done, yours.
  BW: Big choices, like what?
  SPH: What some people call life choices. But really, it’s about who you are, what you want to do, what you want to be. Okay — big question on your face!! It’s possible that school could be about you making yourself what you want to be. Not about grades— but about quality performance in life.Not about requirements.
  BW: So how would know what I want to do with my life? I’m twelve. (comic -tragic face well demonstrated by Bill).
  SPH: [laughs]. Well you are young but you can still know quite a bit about what you want to be. For example you’re in the BoyScouts, right? (B nods). You’ve chosen to get some merit badges and have avoided or delayed working on certain others . (More nodding). Doesnt that say something or alot about what you want to do… at least now? And —- we have these test scores which also show what you do … and do well.
  BW: Do well? Do you mean I could get a job right away and skip all this school stuff . Are you saying that there already is something I like and do well enough that I could get a jo

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