A Philosophy to Use???

I recently wrote a teaching philosophy – I adopted it some for this post to apply more generally. To write this philosophy I adapted the 7 C Model I use for many things I do. If you have time, please take a look and share your thoughts… Thank you.

Teaching Philosophy


The teaching techniques and philosophy I developed and use has evolved over the past 14 years. Overall my teaching philosophy has developed techniques to fulfill the goal of helping others evolve into a better, more competent and capable version of themselves. Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe captured my philosophy well when he proclaimed,

If I accept you as you are, I will make you worse; however, if I treat you as though you are what you are capable of becoming, I help you become that.

How I accomplish this  philosophy can be described with what I refer to as a 7C framework which includes Challenge, Courage, Competence, Commitment, Connection, Contributions and Consequences.

In my efforts to be an effective teacher I initially ask the almost rhetorical question of whether or not they are interested in becoming a better version of themselves. Gaining confirmation, I them ask them to accept it as a Challenge. I also warn them that growth is hard. As Simon Sinek has stated,

If the challenge we face doesn’t scare us, then it’s probably not that important.

With giving them the idea that accepting the Challenge is important, I also explain that seeing this as a Challenge rather than a chore makes them more likely to think and act as needed to meet the Challenge. I also tell them my experience has shown that as they work to meet these challenges they will develop strengths and abilities they never knew they had. Of course since accepting the Challenge is scary, they need Courage.

As Mark Twain made known,

Courage is not the absence of fear, it is acting in spite of it.

I explain they will need Courage because as they learn new ideas and concepts to become who they want to be, these new ideas can be scary because they will Challenge their existing beliefs. I also explain that Courage is that voice inside of their head that says they can be better!

In concert with these efforts is my  aim of helping others become more capable through the development of Competencies from acquisition of new skills and knowledge. As the management guru W. Edwards Deming often stated,

Learning is not compulsory…neither is survival.

When I teach I provide opportunities to learn from lecture, homework, projects, and group assignments. In helping them learn and develop Competencies, I am not just working to help them survive, I am helping them realize their potential to thrive.

New abilities don’t just happen, a Commitment is needed. Colin Powell explains Commitment like this,

There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.

Commitment is devotion or dedication which requires persistent effort and thought. To assist their development, I design my courses so they engage in preparation, hard work and have the opportunity to learn from failures. Committed students are rewarded with developed Competencies from their use of the many varied learning opportunities provided if not in a class, at work and in life.

I also emphasize the value of Connections through experience and teaching about other resources, people and groups. As Helen Keller said,

Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.

To help them learn how to make connections I teach them about the benefits of developing strategic partnerships which are connections to groups that share a common goal and have complementary strengths. In my teaching I demonstrate this by making Connections with the library to help them learn, with Wellness Education so they can use their competencies, Career Services for developing job acquisition skills, and with the Volunteer and Service Learning Center to gain leadership skills through the completion of a Service-Learning assignment.

To help them understand the value of their knowledge, I relate class to their future and how it will enable them to make Contributions. Albert Einstein warned,

One should guard against preaching to young people success in the customary form as the main aim in life. The most important motive for work in school and in life is the pleasure in work, pleasure in its result, and the knowledge of the value of the result to the community.

It is by accepting the Challenge, having Courage, being Committed to learning new Competencies and making Connections they are able to Contribute to individuals, groups and society, thus making a career of which they should be proud.

Finally, since the Dalai Lama suggests that in this life there are no punishments and no rewards, we simply suffer or enjoy the Consequences of our actions and choices, I explain the beneficial Consequences of their Contributions to others and to themselves. The consequences they will be able to enjoy include autonomy to direct their career and life, mastery over many topics and hopefully the discovery of a life purpose. Through their personal growth their Consequences beyond autonomy, mastery and purpose include self-confidence and the ability to be a happy, successful citizen  who contributes as a role model and helps create a better tomorrow.

This teaching philosophy helps me continue to learn, grow and improve. It also keeps my teaching and learning as an interactive, not a passive process. I cannot make others learn and it seems these techniques and philosophy helps me provide an opportunity to learn. This philosophy and these techniques also force me to continually learn and develop better ways to learn and share new information. I hope that my teaching efforts are providing others with the ability to create interactions so everyone and everything benefits. Of course having the honor to teach and in attempting to help others become better versions of themselves, it has hopefully provided me a way to become a better version of myself. For this I am thankful for these  opportunities.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Better Has to be Better

To be truly better, innovation  is necessary. Better cannot be linear, it must be systematic. In other words, better can’t mean that it is only better in quality but not cost or functionality but not sustainability; it must be better on all accounts. Data is documenting that this can be done if continual improvement is ongoing. Research is also documenting that these solutions require a different approach and different work effort, however the results are more beneficial, and yes more profitable – in more than monetary ways. As Aaron Antonovsky said, “No one contends that museums pay off in cash.”

Better must take into account the whole system. As Jane Benyus clarify’s with BioMimicry, when nature evolves and creates new things, these new things also make life more livable. Its not so much that certain things are gone and no longer exist as they have evolved into a more complex functioning organism that improves the whole system – understand time factor. In other words, solutions were not fixes but ways to optimize the continually improving system that also provided fixes. By approaching better this way, nature created leaves and petals to not only increase the beauty of a plant, it provided feed for the plant when it fell to the ground, provided food for animals like us, and in some cases also protected it from predators with an emitted smell. Plants also are friends to the system by helping soil and air. Leaves help the soil by serving as feed, the plants hold the soil and the leaves perform photosynthesis to get food from carbon dioxide so it can exhale oxygen. It also performs many other functions to enhance its own life that also improve the system to make life more livable for all.

Nature’s answers that improved the whole system did not come about but focusing on how to fix problems, but rather by thinking about what can be done to improve the whole system. In doing this, not only was the system improved, the functioning of that species improved. A result was that problems dissolved. If the improvement did not lead to the dissolution of a problem, it really would not have been a true improvement. For example, humans developed their prefrontal cortex which now allows us to plan and predict for the future. While the benefits of this capability are innumerable and has led to our ability to create our world, problems such as being overcome by predictable problems has dissolved. For example we now know of possible weather change problems and difficulty in getting food at certain times of the year so we have built structures and stored food. Although some can suggest these solutions have created other problems, the example demonstrates solutions can not only create a better world for us, it also dissolves many associated problems.

With this in mind, it provides us with a map for how to become better at getting better. Aaron Antonovsky did work related to the origins of health, what he called salutogenesis and continually encouraged people to ask the salutogenic question – “What leads to movement toward the positive end.” This questions is not only relevant  for health but for all fields – how can we move toward the positive end, not just away from the negative end. Realize positive and negative are not different ends of the same pole, they are on different poles. Positives and negatives have been shown to be independent in multiple fields. It seems we have gotten stuck with a focus on fixing problem or deficits incorrectly believing it will create positives. Maslow pointed out that progress must focus on growth not deficits because eliminating deficits does not create true growth. As I have shown in exceeding expectations, fixing problems is helpful but it can only return us to the status quo or where we were before the problem – not truly better.

If profit or money is a concern, we must remember money ALWAYS follows, it can’t lead. When better is created using the idea of continuous and never ending improvement, it starts a ripple and good things follow. Start as many positive ripples as you can. I look forward to all of us enjoying the positive ripples you create to help improve the whole system by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

I look forward to hearing about how you use selfish, selfless, synergy to Practice Paneugenesis by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits!