professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Is it not interesting that there is one letter difference between belief and belie? Once again this Sunday, the sermon at church resonated with me beyond the service. It focused on the phrase, "and the Word was made flesh." A visiting minister talked about our own words and how they need to have flesh so that perhaps others would hear our words and see our actions as part of our belief. I am not doing a good job here, I know, conveying the message delivered to us in attendance. However, the minister did talk about the stages of belief: conviction, trust, action. And that has caused me to wonder and ponder about beliefs as they relate to education. I think sometimes I have held strong convictions, but I have not always gone on to the trust and action pieces of belief. I see this same sort of behavior often of late.

I spent a few days over the last couple of months talking to audiences of educators in various situations. I talked about the importance of CHOICE when it comes to reading and not just for reading outside of the school. I hear some folks talking about CHOICE and it seems to me there is some conviction there, but I do not find trust and I certainly do not see action that mirrors the belief that kids need choice in reading. Instead, I see some hedging. "Well, some say, for reading outside of class I give them choice." Or, "Well, my hands are tied. I have to include certain things because my kids are AP or GT or fill-in-the-blank." Sometimes, "Well, kids will just pick stuff that do not challenge them." This is where belief becomes belie. There may be some conviction, but trust is definitely absent. There is no trust that kids are able to select books (and please note that no one advocating choice is advocating that we do not help kids make informed choices). And the action does not mirror the conviction.

I will point the finger back at myself here. I lauded choice over and over, but my own literature classes offered little choice. And I used the trust argument. My students needed me to select books for them. So I did and I rationalized it all. Obviously my action belied my belief in choice. I have finally arrived at the point where all three phases of belief are at work in my classes. There is much more choice of reading material and also choice in terms of how students demonstrate their knowledge.

I hope that in the coming year, as I present to educators, that I will talk about the need for belief to be mirrored with trust and action. Otherwise, belief is word without flesh, without substance.
Tags: action, belief, conviction, trust
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