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Quotes to Query

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By: Larissa Brown, TE Instructional Coach

In this series of posts I hope to capture some of the quotes that have contributed my own beliefs and practice as an educator, parent, and fellow human being on the journey of life and work. I would love to hear what quotes and passages of words written or spoken have had an impact on you and your journey. Feel free to respond in the comments with your own touchstone texts.

Quote #1

Just the other morning I was sitting in the parking lot of KIPP DREAM getting readied to begin my day, and as is often the case pulled out my little book of quotes “1001 Pearls of Wisdom – Wisdom, Wit and Insight to Enlighten and Inspire” by David Ross and read this jewel:


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Demystification “All you have to do is touch the right key at the right time, and the instrument will play itself.” Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), Germany

Listening to Bach is to become deeply immersed in the story of sound. Not every note was meant to be perfect, easy or even pretty; however, when properly interacted with they create a story of cohesive progression. A life, you might say. How like our lives is this music? Bach’s quote evokes the idea of an internal song brought to its intended life through the touch and timing of keys. It is such a simple idea and yet can be easily elusive and mystifying in our own work with students. As educators we have sound science and research that gives us a wealth of instructional strategies; yet, the art of our craft is to know when to use them and with whom they will elicit the highest levels of mastery. Being familiar with the science of instruction as well as human intellectual, social, emotional and physical development at each stage can help us touch the right key at the right time to elicit the most beautiful “music” for each of our students. As humans we are not always perfect. We are in search of community and harmony with others and then along the way we instinctively push away to develop independence, identity and self-reliance. In these times our songs may seem more dissonant. “All you have to do is touch the right key at the right time, and the instrument will play itself.” Engage in and enjoy the music as you develop in the science and art of teaching your students.

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