Sunday, September 11, 2011

The "Essential Chords" of Education and Educational Leadership

Being a father of two young children, husband, dog owner, school administrator, teacher, writer, blogger, social network contributor, voluminous reader, and founder of the American Society of Independent School Educators (ASISE); you may wonder what I do with all my free time.  Well, let me put your curiosity to rest.  This week, I decided to begin teaching myself guitar.

Yes, my fingers are sore and I continue to mute the high e when trying to strum the D chord.  On the other hand (figuratively), I'm having fun, my kids enjoy watching me learn, and once in a while I hit the chord right - progress!

One of the important lessons this week was the introduction of the eight essential beginner open chords (shown in the picture).  No song is played with only one chord.  Even in beginner songs, at least three chords are used (from what I can tell).  Working through these beginner lessons got me thinking about education and educational leadership.

Here's what I like about the chords and what their "educational" equivalent should also provide.
  1. There are few to remember.  It makes the learning feel attainable.
  2. Feedback is immediate.  When you strum the chord incorrectly or have the wrong finger placement, you hear it.
  3. Once you learn a few of them, you can begin playing beginner level songs.  It may not sound great, but at least it is recognizable.

What are the "essential chords" for teaching? 
What are the "essential chords" for educational leadership? 
Do these "essentials" change as you move from beginner to experienced to master levels?

These are my thoughts.  You are certainly welcome to agree with or add to these items.  Feel free to leave your comments below.

No two educators are exactly alike.  You may be better at some of these essentials than others.  That is "ok."  Keep learning.

The essentials will help you serve your students well, but you need to master more than a few of them before your class begins to flow with a rhythm of an expert.  Soon, you will move from beginner to experienced teacher and, hopefully, one day be considered a master.

For those of us who have moved past the beginner stage of teaching, let us not forget to mentor, coach, and support the efforts of those who have just begun their journey.

Also of interest:  If you are looking for a good web site for learning guitar, I have been using justinguitar.com and find it very useful.
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