My favorite method for cultivating Value in the hearts of your students for the work of your discipline is called “An Apologist Winsome and Sure.”
That's a weird title — purposefully so — so let me briefly explain what I mean.
An apologist is someone who makes a case for something that's controversial. But this summer, I learned a bit more about the roots of the word. It has two parts:
- Appo — meaning “out from, out of”
- Logos — meaning “reason, meaning, order, speech”
A teacher who is an apologist, then, is someone from whom words about the meaning and reason of what you do in your class flow out.
I picture a fountain that's ever bubbling with water, the nourishing stuff of life.
- The ELA teacher who is an apologist for English language arts is like a bubbling brook; he's always nonchalantly crafting these “positive micro moments” (language our ELA colleague David Reese created) in which the class gets to marvel at the wonders of language.
- The personal finance teacher who is an apologist for personal finance is like a bubbling brook; she's always going off on micro-tangents of how cool and neat and useful and meaningful personal finance can be.
- The math teacher who is an apologist for mathematics is like a bubbling brook; she's reliably springing forth with the reason, meaning, beauty, and order of math.
And speaking of math, let's close with a brief video example of what I'm talking about. This comes from Caroline Ong, a mathematics teacher based in Texas.
We'll use this video again as we deepen our grasp of this “An Apologist Winsome and Sure” strategy. But for now, let's agree on a couple things:
- She's giving reasons for mathematics (from point 1:20 in the video until the end) — in other words, she's giving an appo-logos, an apologetic;
- These reasons are flowing out of her in a way that exudes her enjoyment of what she's speaking about — this is winsome — and her confidence in it — this is sure.
I want you to do two things with this:
- Go have a ball briefly ranting at times about how beautiful and lovely and powerful and cool your discipline is.
- Do this as often as you can. You want it to be normal for your students to see An Apologist Winsome and Sure — not the exception, but instead the rule.
More to come.