Today’s guest post comes via Marita Diffenbaugh (@MDiffenbaugh) author of L.E.A.R.N.E.R. Finding the True, Good, and Beautiful in Education
The final camping trip of 2020 offered an exceptional and lingering sunset that my husband and I enjoyed on a calm warm night in August, as it mirrored on the lake we were visiting. We had no idea that the next morning, we would be running for our lives, as a microburst developed through a sudden summer storm. We went from peaceful sleep to the chaos of wild wind, dozens of falling trees, and scrambling to get ourselves to an open area to find safety. As other campers joined us, we all had the same questions in our eyes, “Are you OK? Is everyone in your group safe?” It’s a miracle that all people were safe, however, most cars, RVs, and camping trailers were damaged from falling trees and broken limbs. For those thirty minutes, the group of campers huddled in this parking lot were like a family, caring for each other and expecting the storm to stop.
The storm eventually stopped and families and friends returned to their camp spots to assess the damage. Every trailer, car, tent that we saw nearby our campsite had trees or limbs on top of them, except for our trailer; it was unharmed. As we checked on our camp neighbors to see if they had help on the way, the campground hosts had a group of volunteers out visiting each site to get their information and provide help. We were asked the same questions that we had been asking each other, “Are you OK?” “Do you need help?” and were given some instructions on how to safely leave the park, if we were able to. As the storm calmed, so did the people. However, something was different. We were connected in a way that we had not been connected prior to the storm. As we got in line to leave the park, people made eye contact, smiled, and provided words of encouragement. This group of campers went through a storm together and while the damage from this experience looked different for each person, we all shared one thing in common: HOPE.
When offered the opportunity to share my learning and experiences by writing a book, it was much like that beautiful sunset moment, and I had no idea that I’d be gathering my thoughts while experiencing a global pandemic. In many ways, the challenges that we’ve been through in the last year have helped shine light on what we have in common, along with issues that we need to address. It is with great honor that I have the opportunity to share this book with you now, as you work to provide hope to the learners that you serve. I’m grateful to provide stories, resources, and strategies to encourage you in your next steps.
L.E.A.R.N.E.R., Finding the True, Good, and Beautiful in Education is for hope givers who thrive when helping others develop their full potential. You will find seven essential components to consider when providing education as a service to learners, along with a remix for measuring learning success. I’ve shared my lessons learned through my professional education experience in classroom, school, district, and state roles, along with my personal learning journey as a learner, mother, and grandmother through the L.E.A.R.N.E.R. acronym.
If you are looking for a culture building resource for teams working to provide education as a service, this book will provide support. Consider inviting families and community members, along with district and school staff to reflect and respond to the following questions while reading this book together:
Where is Your Attention?
What is Learning?
Who is Learning?
How Will Learning Continue?
What Will Support Learners?
What is Valuable to Learners?
How Will I Connect With Learners?
This book takes an in depth look at each word in the L.E.A.R.N.E.R. acronym, identifying key components of the word, why it matters, and how we can best address it in our classrooms, schools, and homes. This acronym can be used as a tool to help teachers sort content, processes, and tools to ensure that relevant and responsive learning opportunities are available for all learners. To help a learner, we need to be learners ourselves. A learner’s job involves curiosity, courage, knowledge, skills, willingness to ask for help, willingness to receive and act on feedback, and the willingness to work with others.
Throughout each chapter, look for the true, good, and beautiful, for when all three of these are present, we can be sure that students are learning how to learn, learning how to help others, and learning how to contribute in their communities and in our world. This book was written for difference makers like you who strive to create an education service that Listens, Empowers, Analyzes, provides Resources, understands students’ Needs, designs Experiences, and offers caring Relationships.
Educators, parents, and students have weathered many storms in the year 2020. Some have experienced more damage than others, and some are currently in the middle of a storm. Wherever you find yourself today, we all need hope to be able to answer the question, “Now What?” Hope is a great place to start. When you are filled with hope, you can offer hope to others. Learners help learners, and hope is a prerequisite for learning. While this work takes time and progress can seem slow, never forget helping learners find hope is life-changing and deeply rewarding. It is worth your time.
GUEST BLOGGER: Marita Diffenbaugh
Marita Diffenbaugh has served as a teacher, administrator, and has provided leadership support for districts, schools, and classrooms. Marita gained expertise and experience as a student-focused, purpose driven servant leader and uses this to support school and district leadership in the strategic development of mastery-based education and instructional technology implementation.
Marita is currently sharing her passion and leadership skills to support the expansion of Elevate Academy, a public Career Technical charter school of choice for students in 6th-12th grades who are not finding success in their current education. As a partner with Elevate Academy’s co-founders, Marita is connecting education with industry and community by developing, planning, and launching this new North Idaho school in Fall 2022.
As a connected educator, she has shared professional development with educators through local, state, national, and international presentations with a focus on the process of learning in both in-person and virtual spaces, care for learners of all ages, and encouragement for positive digital citizenship. Being a co-Founder of #EdCampIdaho, facilitator/participant of the Idaho Mastery Education Network, #IDedchat, Discovery Education Network, and iCivics has kept Marita learning with a personal learning network of dynamic educators.
As a passionate learner, Marita enjoys connecting learning goals to community resources and needs. She believes that hope is a prerequisite for learning, and looks for opportunities to help others see their value. She also believes that every human being has something amazing to share with the world, and she looks for ways to help learners of all ages develop their full potential.
L.E.A.R.N.E.R. Finding the True, Good, and Beautiful in Education by Marita Diffenbaugh
Marita Diffenbaugh identifies seven essential components to consider when providing education as a service to learners, along with a remix for measuring learning success. Throughout each chapter, look for the True, Good, and Beautiful, for when all three of these are present, we can be sure that students are learning how to learn, learning how to help others, and learning how to contribute in their communities and in our world. This book was written for difference makers like you who strive to create an education service that Listens, Empowers, Analyzes, provides Resources, understands students’ Needs, designs Experiences, and offers caring Relationships.
We think you will really enjoy this book; let us know! Check it out on Amazon: here
Marita will be presenting at NCCE 2021