Sunday, October 27, 2013

Blog Post #10

Randy Pausch

What Can We Learn About Teaching and Learning From Randy Pausch?

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture is a presentation first and foremost about hope. It is his masterpiece that he proudly proclaimed before his imminent death. Pausch begins by addressing his terminal condition and ensures and reinforces that his Last Lecture is not to be centered around death, but rather life.  In this lecture he speaks on achieving your childhood dreams, or as he says maybe even more importantly helping others to achieve their dreams. This was the first to really catch my attention. To so selflessly consider aiding others in succeeding as being even more important than your own dreams is really a thing of admiration. I really do derive pleasure from helping others in many situations, and I strive to obtain a level of selflessness at which I can help others whether that be in everyday life or maybe even in developing their passions. After seeing this lecture Randy Pausch is definitely another role model in this goal for me. Bringing it back to the lecture, Pausch brings up pictures from his childhood where he is always smiling and he discusses constantly dreaming big in a time where man reaches the frontier of the moon. The importance of optimism, being positive, and never loosing that desire to dream is another key point that everyone should consider and practice from Randy Pausch. The power of positive, out-of-the-box thinking is limitless. I want to take a while and talk about how Pausch used his own dreams to kick off his Last Lecture.  Pausch lists his own childhood dreams and uses them as a tool to tell his experiences and what he learned from pursuing each of them. He talks about his first dream, of being in zero gravity, and how it was met by a brick wall. He displays a very thought provoking slide that says, "Brick walls are there to prove how badly we want something." This is an absolutely brilliant statement as most people think of brick walls a point of termination, an obstacle that puts an end to the road to your dreams. Pausch is saying that is not the case! These obstacles just force you to fight even harder to prove that you are striving to achieve your dreams.  Next pausch talks about his dream of playing in the NFL, which he never achieved. However, he views this in no way as a failure, in fact he goes on to say that he learned more from not achieving this goal than he did from achieving some of his other goals. From this he learns the importance of criticism as an essential tool for growth. Pausch also uses this opportunity to first address what he calls "head fake" or indirect learning. I am glad he brings attention to the things we learn indirectly because, as he says, these are some of the most important things we can learn and at times we don't even realize we're learning them! When Pausch gets to his dream of being Captain
Kirk, he uses Kirk as a fantastic example of leadership. Finally Pausch actually does achieve his dream of becoming an Imagineer at Disney. Through this example he again overcomes brick walls and fights tooth and nail to achieve this dream. Randy Pausch, either through achieving or not achieving his childhood dreams, learned and developed so much just from striving for his goals, and after doing so he moved on to helping others have this same experience. I absolutely love this school of thought. Pausch experienced, grew, and gave back to the world but through helping others to do the same so much more is achieved! He goes on to say that the greatest gift you can give to others is the opportunity for them to get other people excited. This aspect of Pausch's Last Lecture connects with me the most. This importance placed upon aiding the growth of others is essential and we should all (as educators or otherwise) learn from these words of wisdom. Mentorship is a vital thing in life and learning and it is something I am afraid is dying out in our world today. Pausch places a great importance on mentorship throughout his Last Lecture in instances where he is the mentor and also where he often consults his own mentors. A final thing he mentioned was a value he learned from one of his own mentors and that was to expect and look for the good in people. "People will surprise you." This is yet another thing from Randy Pausch's Last Lecture I love. I believe optimism is absolutely essential and Pausch definitely propagates the importance of optimism, hope, and happiness. So much that I have hit on here and even more can be learned from Randy Pausch in not only learning and teaching but also living.
smiley face ball


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Hey Jo!
    This is a fantastic post on the Last Lecture of Randy Pausch. You captivated all that he portrayed in the video and you seem to be passionate about optimism not only in education, but also in all areas of life.

    I found no grammatical errors and you did a great job on choosing words that aren’t dull and ordinary!

    The only suggestion I have would be to create more paragraphs instead of one long post. Break the post into a few sections using a line break. I get distracted easily so I looked away at one point and completely lost my place when I became focused again. Doing this would yield easier reading and really emphasize different points and topics of your post.