Friday, November 4, 2011

Wk 2 Reading: Shiny Eyes

Wow! What an entertaining presenter Benjamin Zander is, certainly a multi talented individual with a unique and powerful view of the world. I'm impressed with the choice of text this month because it reaches a message or thesis that is deeper than education or media, a message that speaks to the essence of life and possibility. Through Zander's presentation I was reminded of the universality and unspoken language of music. Musician Bobby Ferrin makes a similar point in the video below:

Zander closes with a heartbreaking story about the power of words but what sticks with me now and possibly forever is the "shiny eyes". Zander comes to the relevation that a conductor is silent and that success lies in the shiny eyes of his or her players. This simple statement hit me like a sledgehammer. We are often selfishly unaware of our influence, as educators we have a powerful responsibility. I immediately related to Zander's example and I have seen those shiny eyes first hand when a subject simply "clicks" for one of my students.

In his book "The Art of Possibility" Zander goes on to speak about different ways we perceive the world and situations around us. Sometimes simply changing a point of view can open up new possibilities. A theme I have found throughout is that the answer often lies inward. How much can we change by simply adjusting our approach? While our answers can lie inward out influence is to those around us and our contributions to others. In this sense Zander offers a practical guide to being a conduit of good to those around you.

Here is a quote I will leave you with by French Novelist Marcel Proust:
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” - Marcel Proust (1871 - 1922)


  1. Mike,
    I've already completed my two comments, but I loved the Bobby Ferrin video so much, I had to let you know. Thanks! Made my day!

  2. Mike - these videos are terrific. Thanks for sharing them!

  3. Mike,
    After posting my own thoughts, and reading the thoughts of some other classmates, I started seeing a small trend. I think many of us are aware, to a certain extent, of our influence over others, but the readings and video this week really provide a good summary for all of us. The impact that we, as teachers, have on our students can not be understated, and that's the point that the Zander's bring home to us. I agree with you, that the "shiny eyes" example is stunning. After watching that video, I spent Friday in my lecture trying to focus on the students, to see if there were any shiny eyes, looking for the spark inside of them. For all of the curriculum design that we do, I really think that the spark is something that we can quickly look to for non-verbal feedback of how we are doing as teachers.

  4. Beautiful. I love the Proust quote. We often tend to over-complicate things by looking elsewhere for the answers, but as you have stated beautifully, the answers usually can lie within ourselves. All too often the real roadblocks are within our own minds. I was just having a conversation about this with my wife this morning. If we change the "eyeglasses" we all wear to a whole new, more correct upgrade, we can see things much differently.

  5. excellent review of this week's reading, I love the ending quote.