I set out to write these Teachable Moment blogposts to help get important conversations going. Things happen and we react to them but do not always take the opportunity they present for teaching and learning. As I write this, I realise that of course, I am going to learn as much from this as anyone reading and also that it is going to help me remain optimistic against all odds.
I also realise–here comes the confession!–that I know nothing about Teachable Moments really or what these blogposts should be like.
I began to think about Teachable Moments around 9/11. I was teaching at Yale that year and it was clearly a moment in which the University could step out and bring all sorts of knowledge resources to the community. I got into the habit of curating background information that was in the public domain online and set up a webpage I maintained for a couple of years. It became a way in which I learnt to respond to events in the world–I offered the only thing I had, the ability to learn, share and teach.
A year and a half later, I was in Illinois when several students left college abruptly to report for service in Iraq. We took an hour of class to talk about this. It was an amateur effort but it was sincere. If a Political Science class doesn’t stop to take notice of the world, who will?
More than a decade later, I still think of myself as a teacher although I have very rarely taught. The idea that every moment comes with a lesson to be found and learnt is deeply ingrained. I think, particularly for learning peace values, this is very important.
I know how to cull learning from all sorts of sources. In a real world setting, I could probably manage to start conversations that constitute a Teachable Moment. But I haven’t the foggiest what to write about how to start them. But here’s the thing: I don’t know anyone else who would know and be willing to work on these blogposts. So it’s just us, and you’re stuck with me.
So read, respond and share in your turn! Let me learn from you too! Maybe together, we can find a way to write this on-off series the way it is meant to. And if you would like to write for us, just email us, introduce yourself and tell us what you’d like to write about.