Escalate Your Teaching
By Thomas Haller and Chick Moorman
A class trip to Washington DC produced an interesting
teaching opportunity for Mrs. Harper as she accompanied a
small group of sixth-graders to the subway station. The station
attendant asked them if they were on their way to ride the
escalator. “What escalator?” two of the students
asked simultaneously. “The second-longest escalator
in the world,” he replied, “and it’s at
the end of the green line, about twenty minutes from here.
It’s part of the subway system.”
“I want to go,” said one student. “Me, too,”
chimed in another. Mrs. Harper, a veteran educator, had developed
an intuitive feel for knowing when to throw out lesson plans
and go with the flow. She had done so many times before. She
did it again this day and off the group headed to ride the
world’s second-longest escalator.
The group of seven students, with chaperone in tow, navigated
what turned out to be a thirty-minute trip out to the suburban
train station where the escalator was located. Students were
awed at the length and height of the moving stairway. They
rode it up and down again and again. They took pictures. They
laughed. They timed it coming and going. They counted the
stairs and argued over the correct number. After forty minutes
of experiencing the unusual people mover, some students and
their teacher tired of the ride. Others wanted to continue.
After a show of hands produced a solid majority, the group
headed back. Discussion on the return trip centered on how
big the escalator was, what a surprise it was, and how difficult
it must be to maintain.
Someone wanted to know when the first escalator was invented.
Another student joked that it was invented by William Escalator
Recognizing a positive learning moment when she saw one, Mrs.
Harper took out a pencil and recorded her students’
questions. Her list included the following:
• Who came up with the idea for the first escalator?
• Where did that person get the idea and what year did
• How old was the inventor when he got the idea?
• What might have been some of the concerns the inventor
had with the first plans?
• What other inventions came out of this idea?
Back at the hotel, a web search was organized to find information.
The students discovered interesting answers to many of their
For those of you who are interested in data like this, and
not to leave you hanging, at the age of sixteen, Jesse Reno
had the original idea for a moving staircase (later named
an escalator). His invention was first showcased as an amusement
park ride at Coney Island. He received a patent for his invention
Knowing there are many things to learn that are more important
than dates and facts, Mrs. Harper escalated the lesson to
the next level. As the web search was drawing to a close,
she asked her group to think seriously about the invention
of the escalator. “All those stairs moving nonstop to
take people up and down—indeed, all the escalators of
the world—began many years ago with a single thought
from a sixteen-year-old boy. That single thought turned into
plans, and those plans turned into the first escalator.
“Everything you see in this room was once a thought,”
she continued. “Thoughts have energy and go out into
the universe and turn into things. Thoughts are that important.
Be careful what you think, because your thoughts are creating
your future reality.”
Noticing that the interest in her lecture burst was fading,
Mrs. Harper wrapped it up with this statement. “I think
we had a great day today and I think we’ll have another
one tomorrow. How about you?” she challenged. The response
Mrs. Harper is one of a growing number of educators around
the world who are alertly looking for teachable moments to
help children learn about the Attraction Principle. They are
doing so because they are aware of the power of belief and
recognize they have been called to help children activate
that power to manifest a better world.
Thomas Haller and Chick Moorman are the authors of Teaching
the Attraction Principle™ to Children. They are two
of the world's foremost authorities on raising responsible,
caring, confident children. They publish a free monthly e-zine
for parents. To sign up for it or obtain more information
on how to bring their expertise to your staff or parent group,
visit their website today: www.personalpowerpress.com.