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Monday, June 29, 2015

Dear Hannah: Marva Collins' Way


Dear Hannah,

My heroes have always been teachers.

Marva Collins (August 31, 1936 – June 24, 2015) has had a mighty impact on the way I teach and learn.

I had the chance to interview her many years ago, and her answers have stuck with me.

Here are some of the more memorable ones from my notes ...

Her Approach ...

  1. She teaches students, not subjects.
  2. One gift a teacher gives students is to help them understand who they are (self-identity), and what they are called to (their purpose).
  3. Another gift a teacher gives students is to help them master language. She used her school's required subjects to teach language.
  4. Every student is special, and must be loved and affirmed into their "tomorrow".
  5. Her students learn poems and proverbs that affirm their self-identity and purpose.
  6. She likes to give one-hour lessons on single words like truth, honor, and justice.
  7. She meets her students "where they are". She then brings them to her level, or ascends to theirs.
  8. The teacher-student relationship requires reciprocal respect.
  9. She has written over 30 journals that she will leave to her children.
  10. She is frustrated by teaching advice from non-teachers.

Starting (& Funding) Her School ...

  1. She started her school in her own home with her own money.
  2. She had no textbooks or typewriters, so she handwrote textbooks and memorized them.
  3. Her children attended her school, and were ridiculed by their former classmates.
  4. In 1918, a first-grade reading book introduced 870 new words. Current books introduce about 60.
  5. She accepts no federal funds or corporate grants.
  6. In 1981, CBS aired The Marva Collins Story (starring Cicely Tyson and Morgan Freeman). She used the proceeds from the movie to move her school into a new building.
  7. She obtained additional financing for her school by writing books (much like Booker T. Washington used the proceeds from his autobiography Up From Slavery to fund Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University)), and by giving lectures.
  8. Prince (yes, Purple Rain Prince) was a good friend of hers who believed in her teaching methods. He played a benefit concert to raise $10,000 to train teachers in The Marva Collins Way.



Copyright © 2015 Derrick  Brown. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Dear Hannah: The Opinion Prayer


Dear Hannah,

Salvation is free, but free will results in many costly decisions that oppose God's will. We will all like, dislike, and sometimes make these choices.

Understand the flaws of your opinions (and positions).

salvation is free
but my will can be
somewhat costly
when I choose to see
what pleases me
and who might agree
then declare and decree
its veracity
and sip iced tea
in victory.

perhaps the key
is to what degree
I grasp that we
must always flee
the absence of humility,
while honing the ability,
to recognize insanity,
enter my own "guilty" plea,
then redirect this energy,
into greater self-honesty.



Copyright © 2015 Derrick  Brown. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Dear Hannah: The Identity Prayer


Dear Hannah,

The road to self-awareness and self-identity (who you are and how you are) is paved with pebbles, potholes, and progress.

They all help you grow - so keep moving - no matter what.

I am what my heart says
but my heart can deceive
so I guard it with care
'cause good sense can take leave.

I am what I think most
so my mind can assign
the ideas and attitudes
I view as bad or benign.

I am what I see
so my eyes stay wide shut
for they lead me astray
and even blind me somewhat.

I am what I say
and I say a whole lot
but try to listen more
'cause I don't know jack squat.

I am what I discern
and perceive by design
but read it wrong sometimes
thinking 8 and not 9.

I am what I feel
- good, bad, indifferent
the most severe wounds heal
peace can grow from dissent.

I am what I decide
- choices collaborate
to propel or hinder
- halt or accelerate.

I am what I do
- may my actions dictate
a life lived on purpose
showing love conquers hate.

I am what I eat
sometimes I eat too much
now this struggle is real
but it keeps me in touch.

I am what I desire
- may my "want" match my "need"
- may my good deeds exceed
my excesses and greed.



Copyright © 2015 Derrick  Brown. All Rights Reserved.

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