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Kevin Stoda

Location: Kansas City, United States

Member Since: February 2019

Last online: March 2019

Open for read requests: Yes

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Philosophy of a Lifelong Educator and Active Researcher:  Kevin Anthony Stoda

 

I’m certain that by now readers of short writings (like this one) have  learned of many educators who consider themselves to be lifelong-learners, setters-of-high standards,  good role models to students, and empathetic human beings.  I live out, however, what I declare to be true about my approach to life and education.  I have both a moral compass and a religious faith practiced in community, which enables me to stay on this path for decades.

 

This compass is also why I have been able to work with so many different peoples and cultures and in so many different countries over the past three decades. My drive to learn to work with others from different backgrounds and cultures comes from a strong sense of curiosity about why the world is not a perfect place.  The curiosity drive also stems partially from the same childlike curiosity which I cultivate in my travels by taking a camera along in order to look at life from different angels.  It is curiosity which I try to encourage in my students each semester.  (As people get older, they often lose their sense of thrill empowered by curiosity and always asking “Why?” Or “Why Not?”

 

In short, the same sort of curiosity which makes me a great photographer and learner of other cultures (and ways-of-doing things), is the same curiosity which makes me a great instructor as well as a life-long learner of training methodologies.  This is all combined with a desire to empower others to do even better—than I have.  Meanwhile, it is essential that my sense of curiosity consistently challenge me to constantly make (or take) efforts to get to know about the changing student populations I face—wherever I go to work.

 

This philosophy about lifelong learning and the need for it in our world was well-engrained in me by my late departed father, Ronald John Stoda.  He never went to college but he was a voracious learner—having read nearly 10,000 books before he died in 2007.  In the last decades of his life, he worked on Indian reservations in the Southwest (USA) , mining regions of Papua , New Guinea and the mounts of Venezuela in his later years.  Meanwhile, my childhood had been filled with stories of his round-the-world trip, taken in 1957.  In short, my father always also had a great curiosity about why life was the way he had found it, so he had read—and read and read.

 

In comparison with my father, I am also a learner through doing, reading, and seeing.  I therefore take each of these three ways of learning into my classroom.  I encourage my students to explore the different ways of learning.  I give them options, set achievable standards, and encourage my students to exceed these standards and to create more dreams.  If I don’t know them yet, I get to know them and they get to know me.  Trust and empathy becomes the basis on which our curiosity for learning can be fired and inspired.  Questions (related to curiosity) of and for one another (and about real issues in life) build trust more than assumptions or false-assumptions about other peoples on the path to success in learning, teaching, coaching or training.

 

What do you think?

 

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