Sport of EducationOur campus clubs possess the college's varsity program. It is an interesting choice of affiliation because varsity teams engage in competition and represent the sports program. A Toastmasters program has academic qualities but it does share something very important with a sports program. It is a practice.
While there are academic programs to support the business school, the reality of leadership and management education in the workplace and boardroom is that it is also a practice. As I gain appreciation of physical intelligence, the area of practice becomes more vivid in my mind.
Through a shift in thinking about physical fitness, I can see personally the difference between life practiced at 215lbs and my life now being practiced at 197lbs. It is hard for me to realize where I managed to tuck away 18lbs, but there is 18lbs less of me.
What matters to me in the here and now is viewing education as a practitioner rather than as a theorist. It would be exceedingly nice if there was a mental model where one can simply think oneself to fitness and even if the meditative mind has an effect, the effect is more likely to be relaxation and an easing of stress. Such a blissful state requires less physical energy to maintain, so one must compensate for physical ease.
A varsity program does provide benches for spectators to sit on, but those embarked in a varsity program are not spectators, they are physically active participants. If they watch sports they are doing so as much as a student as well as a fan. It is the observing of sports as a student which fits the practice of being involved in a Toastmasters club.
Whether I call Toastmasters a learning laboratory or a learning gymnasium, the emphasis is still on practice and the practitioner. In that regard I love an illustration about teaching and learning by an educator called Tom Whitby, who also wrote the book "The Relevant Educator".
This particular illustration from Tom Whitby speaks in great volumes about the traditional sport of education and the practitioners sport of education. When we are watching professional sports, what we are actually watching is excellence in action. It is one of the moments when what we observe are practitioners who represent that which we call excellence.
Instead of observing excellence, we associate sports to the meme of our own identity or tribe. In doing that first we lose the sport of education and secondly to choose that is actually to become spectators of education.
It is a profitable business to get people to sit on seats and watch others perform but it does not necessarily follow that getting spectators to pay for that seating leaves them more educated, in many instances, it leaves them better entertained.
The picture Tom Whitby uses of the teacher on the see-saw also a different sport of education, because the business of sports does contain a lot of politics and constituencies and here making a sport of education is not at all education as a sport. While Guy Debord comes from a marxist framework, his Society of the Spectacle depicts the spectator quality of our attention.
Toastmasters for my education is not a spectator activity. It is a sport of education and in that regard theories abound, philosophies abound and all sorts of prescriptions for mental models will continue to promulgate. All of that has shaped the world we live in but it is not the be all and end all of our own education. My education is a sport but it is not about turning education into a spectator sport or the endless trials and tribulations of sport as a business or a culture.
A university education will teach us to debate and foster argument, which as a sport of education has its place in learning, but it is not the be all or end all of education. As we move into an increasingly visual world, we are moving towards a world where our own education is a personal observation. As Jiddu Krishnamurti says that I do view as profound
The observer here is not a spectator, the observer here is a learner - one who see's the sport of education as a practice and not another piece of theory to add to the ever-expanding curriculum's that forms the form of education we keep thinking of education as, a teacher delivering a lecture and we as students of the 21st Century, wondering how is this form of teaching still called "education".
It is an education if we are willing to learn, but the will to learn is a choice of how and what we view as a learning laboratory or if I view the sport of education, our learning gymnasium. This requires the open mind of a practitioner, not the closing mind of a seller. There is no sale to close when learning is my personal freedom. I am not here to teach beBee how to be or how many bees wants to be. If education is truly a freedom the observer is the observed.
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