I had an interesting conversation the other day with my (adult) son about communication. We both have strong opinions about the need for better conversations between people, and my son made some comments that gave me the idea for this blog post. He suggests that when we are trying to deliver information we need to ask ourselves, “Am I crafting my communication for THAT person?”
For true communication to take place, both speakers must have a common understanding of the words being used. Too often we in education (as do many professionals) get caught up in the jargon of our profession, forgetting that the person we are talking to may not have the same expertise to fully understand what we are trying to say. Without shared understanding, our conversations are fruitless—we are not communicating anything of value.
My son offered the acronym DIKW: data, information, knowledge, and wisdom. As we move through DIKW, we condense the exorbitant material of each portion into a more abstract, yet infinitely more vast, concept. So, data are the numerous bits, the factoids, that we compile and organize to produce information, and we gather and coalesce information to build knowledge. If we are very conscientious, we contemplate and apply our knowledge—understanding the “what”—to develop wisdom—understanding the “why.”
My son then referred to a quotation (from French mathematician Blaise Pascal) that, roughly translated, says, “I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.“ It takes time to condense our wandering, voluminous thoughts into true communicable text! My son’s point is that we need to communicate less but better!
That got me thinking about how often we use quotations from others to express what we mean. Quotations are typically short and pithy; they compact large concepts into the essence of wisdom. So, in an effort to share the wisdom of others in as brief a manner as possible, I offer, in no particular order, 10 wise quotations for School Librarians that can inspire us to help our students and make our jobs more meaningful.
- “Everything you need for your success is within you.”
(shared by my former principal B.D. from an educational speaker)
- “It is our choices … that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
Dumbledore in the book “Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets”
- “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”
- “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
- “If students do not learn the way we teach them, then we must teach them the way that they will learn.”
(shared by my former principal F.T. quoting Madeline Hunter)
- “Kids have a long attention span, but a low tolerance for boredom.”
(shared by my former principal M.W. from an unknown source)
- “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”
UCLA coach John Wooden
- “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
- “The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.”
- “The best of all things is to learn. Money may be lost or stolen, health and strength may fail; but what you have committed to your mind is yours forever.”
Louis L’Amour in the book “The Walking Drum”
This is my all-time favorite quote–it was displayed in my classroom and then my school library for more than 25 years.
These quotations have inspired me to be a more successful School Librarian. I hope they also inspire you!