21st Century Learners Have Hidden Talents

How well do you know your students? Do you see only their strengths and weaknesses through the lens of a teacher of a particular subject? I remember taking some middle school students on a canoe trip many years ago and learning so much more about certain students as I witnessed them team up to paddle against strong head-winds, pitch a tent, or carry supplies over a puddle-filled, rutted portage.

Unfortunately, teachers sometimes only get to view students in a somewhat superficial manner when they look at each individual’s image projected in the classroom. However, when we get to witness the other “background” aspects of our students, we get to better understand the complete, or total, student. Many times talents are “hidden bonuses” that we may miss if we don’t take the time to really get to know our students or witness their behaviour outside our classroom walls.

I think that this observational limitation can be illustrated by looking at the, somewhat familiar, “FedEx” symbol. For years, whenever I saw a FedEx truck or sign, I only saw the foreground image comprised of the five individual letters.  However, one day my son asked me to stare at the logo and try and reverse the coloured foreground letters with the white background to see what hidden symbol was revealed. It took me a while but when I saw the right pointed arrow, cleverly hidden between the “E” and “x” characters, I was amazed at the subliminal image that was revealed (as illustrated by the above, animated image which can be viewed online). From that point on, I could not look at a FedEx logo without seeing the hidden arrow and the complete picture.

Perhaps we need to take time to look at our students to see if we can discover more of their hidden bonuses revealed as part of their total personality. It may take time but I believe that everyone has hidden talents.

Take care & keep smiling 🙂

Credits:
– Flickr Creative Commons image: “FedEx Logo” by MoneyBlogNewz
http://www.flickr.com/photos/moneyblognewz/5301110939/
The Man Behind the FedEx Logo
http://www.thesneeze.com/mt-archives/000273.php

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