Most teachers, or former teacher in my case, can tell you a story about a particular teacher they had in school that inspired them to grow up and become a teacher just like them. My story is not too dissimilar, but there was one major difference. The teacher who inspired me to become a teacher never had me in class. This teacher taught me many things, but never in a formal school setting. I watched him throughout the years teaching others and what I saw, I admired. I wanted to emulate his style, his passion and his skills.
This man, was my father and he was an amazing teacher. He informally taught children through Boy Scouts and formally taught them through baseball. What was most impressive to me though was how he taught adults. My dad taught classes throughout the state of Ohio on the weekends to help people maintain or receive their certification to work in the field of Developmental Disabilities (DD now, but MRDD then). Instead of the normal lecture-based way to teach adults my dad taught using the theory of multiple intelligences before that was even a major topic in education. He taught using lecture, videos, discussions, and my favorite, hands-on activities.
Too often adult education lacks this kind of teaching and I can still remember to this day an activity my dad used to teach teamwork and communication. The activity involved Lego, yes Lego. That activity inspired me recently to develop an activity for a conference that I am helping to design. Most of the conference is filled with very deep and spiritual, brain-burning type learning. We wanted to lighten it up a bit and yet still reinforce the ideas being learned so we designed an activity, once again using Lego.
I go into more detail on a blog I wrote for GEM eDOT which I would love for you to go over and read, but I wanted to share with you the genesis of this idea and give credit to the man who inspired me to help others learn to the best of their ability.