My Letter to Kiwi Scholars

Trip Start Jun 08, 2012
1
6
9
Trip End Jun 24, 2012


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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Sunday, June 17, 2012

18/6/2012

Dear New Zealand Students,

Sometimes a professor must travel far to learn about education. I learned a lot from talking with you, watching you work, and from your sharing your school work with me.  I loved reading your writings and seeing your original artwork hanging up for all to see in your classrooms. How lucky your teachers are to have bright, curious, creative, funny, hardworking, not to mention good looking, students like you. And you're also very lucky to have such bright, curious, clever, creative, funny, hardworking, not to mention good looking, teachers.  

They work hard to give you the best education possible, and as we say in America, that takes a lot of chutzpah. They want you to become the best kind of learner imaginable, a self-directed learner, so they’re helping you learn how to learn about your world, your words, and about yourself. They’re teaching you one of the most important things about learning, how to ask questions and then how to go about discovering the answers! I hope that each of you is also discovering that this way of learning is different and unique for each student.  Like our fingerprints, no two brains are alike, so each of us learns in different ways.  Your teachers see you as individuals with your own personal way of learning, so they try to provide personalized learning activities for you. What more could you ask for, kiwis? Yes, learning requires independent work, but not totally. I also saw in you classrooms how exciting the learning process can be when you work together on your projects and help each other learn. 

New Zealand schools are similar in many ways to schools in the USA, but also different in some ways. For instance, believe it or not, we tend to keep our shoes on at school, although I think I might begin to make shoes optional in my classes.  We don't speak Maori or sing songs in Maori nor dance your traditional  and spectacular Haka . We sing and dance the hokey –pokey;  we sometimes speak Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, Hindi, Farsi, Urdu, Korean, French, German, or Greek, but mostly, we speak, read, and write in English, as you do.


I guess I've written enough for now.  I'd certainly like to hear from you especially any advice you can give me for how to prepare teachers in the USA to see each child as an individual and teach each individual child, ok? Thank you for making me feel welcomed in your classrooms and for showing your spirit of friendship. I hope one day to return your kindness when you come visit my classroom in America.

Oh, yes, forgive me if acted silly sometimes. I just couldn’t help myself.  When I'm happy I tend to get silly, my one and only flaw. And one final question for you  --  I know what happens when you give a mouse a cookie, but I'm curious what will happen when you give a kiwi one?

Red beans & rice,
Mr. Ball

Professor of Education
Marymount University
Arlington, Virginia                       

Douglas.ball@marymount.edu

PS:  "red beans & rice" is how Louis Armstrong, the great America trumpeter from New Orleans, always signed off his letters.
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Comments

Cara Martin on

The reason behind our choice of school for Max is that Hearthstone treats each child as an individual and honors each child's spirit. Very, very important if you ask me.

Doug on

Yes, I think Max ould do well in schools here. You and William would appreciate the tattoo art, too.

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