Blended Rumi

Coleman Barks, a poet in his own right, is the primary translator of Rumi’s 11th century Persian wisdom.  In an interview with Bill Moyers, Barks said that he thought about this poem in relation to teaching, “it doesn’t really matter what the teacher talks about…what we remember were a few presences…what we were really learning about was coming through the teacher.” Students either connect with content or a teacher, and usually both.  It’s usually a teacher that brings to life an area of learning and it’s those special moments with special people that are implanted in our memory.

We take long trips

We puzzle over the meaning of a painting or a book,

When what we’re wanting to see and understand

in this world, we are that.

I thought of this Rumi poem while visiting a Performance Learning Center, an alternative school sponsored by Communities in Schools of GA.  PLCs are a good example of blended learning–a combo of online learning and onsite support.  While the kids liked the self-paced learning, it was clear that the power of PLCs starts with life changing relationships.

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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