Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Buck (recommended film)

This is a documentary about Buck Brannaman, a horse trainer (not horse "breaker") who was an adviser on the film The Horse Whisperer and who seems to have made a positive impression on everyone he's worked with.  

Reading between the lines (or whatever the viewing equivalent would be), there are many lessons here about working with  students in any subject or skill area.  Buck points out how alarming it must be for a colt as it's approached for the first time by someone who wants to stick a piece of metal between its teeth and jump on its back...  And, if you think about it, that's the same feeling many beginners have when suddenly faced with a new task. 
By taking it step-by-step, with a lot of encouragement along the way, they (whether horses or people) can learn not only less painfully by also more quickly than through a more aggressive approach.

Buck is surprisingly gentle for someone with his background:  He and his brother were child performers who charmed audiences, then were savagely beaten by their father for every perceived misstep.  Fortunately, they were taken in by loving and supportive foster parents.  And Buck has clearly chosen to live the rest of his life with compassion rather than bitterness.

He focuses on what's happening in the present moment.  He treats his students (both equine and human) with compassion.  And he leads by example as much as through direct advice and instruction.   In short, although he probably wouldn't describe himself in these terms, I think Buck Brannaman represents everything we're trying to do as mindful teachers.


related posts:

Monsieur Lazhar (recommended film)

My Definition of Mindful Teaching

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