Learning in Public


I got to have a long-breakfast-lunch-time with a treasured colleague who’s become a heart friend last week. Thanks to a once in a blue moon Wednesday holiday from school, he – from the East Coast – Brooklyn – and me from the West Coast – LA – were both free with nothing to do but hang out together and talk about our journeys since last we sat together.

I am always inspired by this mountain of a man. He is fresh, he is genuine, he is kind, and he is so smart and engaged he always lifts my spirits, brings me new learning and in all sets my heart a loft with heady ideas connected to the real world.  I am better because of our connection.


Me with the Mountain – Cornelius – and my girl Demi

He got to talking about something he had done with a school that wanted to work with him. He gave a dozen of their students GoPro cameras to wear around all day.  Then he, and the administrator watched the footage.  You can imagine. They learned ALOT!


Talk turned to family. Back to our work. Well, it is not just work. It is LIFE the work we do. Getting to be involved in the educating of young people is nothing short of a gift. A great big huge beautiful wrapped gift that our growing body of understanding unwraps each and every day.

Then the topic of learning arose – as it always does. But this time was different.  This time, he said this:

I’ve become interested in the idea of learning in public.






Don’t you just love that?  And don’t you also feel a little on edge even considering DOING it?

When are we asked to learn in public?

SO much of our professional lives after school are about asserting our skills, knowledge, and abilities.  But this. Learning In Public!

What a courageous challenge!

The thought of it helped me hone my beliefs about learning.

Here they are:

  • Learn.
  • Even when it’s hard. Maybe, especially when it’s hard.
  • Repeat.

Sometimes people think you’re less-than when you allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to learn publicly.  Sometimes people don’t understand.

And yet, we ask students to do this each and every day they come to school.


I think it is important teachers and parents alike remember what it is like to do it. To learn publicly.  We need to know it in our bones. Because we ask the small people. The newest people. The just-now-becoming-people to do it every day when they step in those school gates.  We want them to learn. We want them to learn publicly.

We must be there to support, to honor, to cherish and to reflect their courage and brilliance right back at them as they do.


slice of life

Thank you, Two Writing Teachers for a place to share my writing and thinking. I am better for you as well!  For more small moments, check out their blog.


About Be Strong. Be Courageous. Be You

Principal at the School at the north end of Los Angeles Harbor where AWESOME happens. Working to make the world a little more wonder-full.
This entry was posted in Child Matters, Learning, Step up, lean in, lead., Teaching, thoughts and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Learning in Public

  1. MAK says:

    The gopro? That is an excellent idea. I can only imagine what we would learn.


  2. jarhartz says:

    What a cool Cornelius thing to do. GoPros at school. It reminds me of those teachers who had to be students for a day. But better. Thanks for sharing your day.


  3. demidem says:

    Yes, much of what he said lingers in my mind. Learning in public is a big one. What does this mean? What does this look like?


  4. margaretsmn says:

    I’ve heard so many wonderful things about Cornelius. I would love to meet him one day. So exciting to spend your day off with such a Mountain.

    Liked by 1 person

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