A place where we can let our thoughts "percolate" and join in the conversation.

Coffee with Abraham Lincoln December 10, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — caffeinatedteaching @ 9:51 PM

If only I could meet Abrahan Lincoln for a cup of coffee!  Can you imagine?

I just finished reading a biography of our 16th President written by Ronald C. White, Jr.  I find him not only fascinating as a self-taught lawyer and politician, but as a person who struggled with moral and ethical issues in a public arena while wrestling with his personal insights.

Towards the end of 1862, we as a nation were involved in the Civil War.  Controversy was high.  There had been military defeats for the Union, President Lincoln had published his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation and the elections of 1862 had seen Republicans lose seats in the House as well as several states elect Democrat governors and Democrats gained control of several state legislatures.  President Lincoln had to give his second annual message to Congress on December 1, 1862.

White states this part of Lincoln’s annual message has often been forgotten due to the words that follow (pg. 522), but I was drawn to this quote, “As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew.”

The words that followed were, “Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history.  We of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves.  No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us.  The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation.”

White states Lincoln was “…crafting an alternative vision of reality.”  That he was asking his listeners to, “move beyond their limited worldviews and embrace a future that could not be fully known.”

Now of course, this was a time of war.  But let us for a moment consider his words in the educational world of today.  We are teaching students that are digital natives.  Their world is different than the one we were educated for.  They come to the classroom ready to be engaged in their own learning, share in conversation and create.  We must feel the urgency to meet them where they are at and move them forward.  We have a new “case” so we must start “thinking anew and acting anew.” We must move beyond our “limited worldviews” and “embrace a future” that is not fully known.

Will you take this challenge with me?  We must continue to grow as educators to meet the ever changing needs of our students and this includes embracing technology that we have to take the time to learn and understand so we can teach.


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