Thursday, March 31, 2016

Educating the Heart

During the Dalai Lama Center's Educating the Heart Series, Sir Ken Robinson discusses the importance of an education that educates not just the mind, but also the heart. Sir Ken warned the audience that we are approaching a new climate crisis. As the world’s natural resources continue to be depleted by humankind, there is also the danger of losing our human resources. While the world’s population reaches closer and closer to seven billion people, fewer and fewer are realizing their true potential. And the evidence is everywhere. Dropout rates and disaffection rates in school are on the rise. Education is not engaging. Why is this? Sir Ken argued that we have entered the fast food era of education. I think that as education becomes more and more standardized, it’s become more like the fast food model,” he said. A child essentially receives the same education as every other child even though it may not be what that child needs, let alone prefers. Education should be built on diversity not conformity,” Sir Ken said. And when children don’t conform, they shouldn’t necessarily be deemed to be the problem, rather than model of education. Along with a focus on conformity, Sir Ken argued that education also has an unhealthy focus on the external. We are taught so much about the outside world, yet are encouraged so rarely to engage in our own inner world. “What children desperately need is time to look inward and to explore their inner space,” Sir Ken said. This leads to children connecting with themselves and in turn, through empathy, being able to connect with others. And while learning about the external world is certainly important, Sir Ken argues there needs to be a “balance between knowing and feeling.” “All of these things get lost in an industrialized, homogenized, atomized system of education," he said. "And the price couldn’t be higher.”
-- Go to the Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education

Friday, March 25, 2016

Toxic Culture of Education

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” - Albert Einstein
"We must change the public narrative on education. We must fight our Toxic Culture! We must end high stakes testing for the sake of “accountability”. Let’s have education policy that builds up our students with sensible human standards instead of fitting them into robotic boxes for “college readiness”. Let’s focus on getting students out there in the evolving global economy. Let’s focus on teaching them the important things: how to read, how to think, how to research, how to reason, how to master basic skills, and how to be good citizens. Let’s talk about the Non-Cognitive factors that are the true measures of student achievement: persistence, integrity, character. Let’s teach them how to learn and how to innovate, NOT how to take tests. We must change the focus of our Toxic Culture away from curriculum, teachers, and schools, and WE MUST focus on our students! Let’s stop measuring fish by how well they climb trees."
Joshua Katz is an inspiring math teacher who has worked with students who fall in the bottom 25 percent in math. Those students are at risk of failing or dropping out, he says. They believe if they don’t go to college, they have no worth, which means their only alternatives are to be underemployed, find illegal work, or to abuse the social welfare system, he says. “It doesn’t matter if a student is a gifted artist, a loving caretaker, talented musician, or poetic writer, those students are the fish being judged on how they climb trees because we say the end-all, be-all is college,” Katz says. “Those students are marginalized by what I call a toxic culture of education.”
We have posted this talk early on, but it is worth watching this again. So powerful.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Flat World and Education

Linda Darling-Hammond is Professor of Education at Stanford University where she has launched the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education and the School Redesign Network. She is a former president of the American Educational Research Association and member of the National Academy of Education. Her research, teaching, and policy work focus on issues of school restructuring, teacher quality and educational equity. From 1994-2001, she served as executive director of a panel whose 1996 report, What Matters Most: Teaching for America's Future, led to sweeping policy changes affecting teaching and teacher education. In 2006, this report was named one of the most influential affecting U.S. education and Darling-Hammond was named one of the nation's ten most influential people affecting educational policy over the last decade. She recently served as the leader of President Barack Obama's education policy transition team.
In her book "The flat world and education", Darling-Hammond examines the roots of the U.S. modern education system and shows how the skills required for our 21st-century global economy cannot be learned in traditional education systems, which have been in place since the early 1900s. She identifies an "opportunity gap" that has evolved as new kinds of learning have become necessary - a gap where low-income students, students of colour, and English language learners often do not have the same access as others to qualified teachers, high-quality curriculum, and well-resourced classrooms. After setting the stage on current conditions in the U.S., Darling-Hammond offers a coherent approach for effective reform that focusses on creating successful systems, inducting and supporting quality teachers, designing effecting schools, establishing strong professional practice, and providing equitable and sufficient resources. The Flat World and Education lays out what the U.S. needs to do in order to build a system of high-achieving and equitable schools that ensures every child the right to learn.
-- Watch Dan Rather's interview with Linda Darling-Hammond on Finland
-- Watch Linda on Becoming Internationally Competitive

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

World Peace and other 4th-Grade Achievements

World Peace...and other 4th-grade achievements interweaves the story of John Hunter, a teacher in Charlottesville, Virginia, with his students' participation in an exercise called the World Peace Game.
The World Peace Game is a hands-on political simulation that gives players the opportunity to explore the connectedness of the global community through the lens of the economic, social, and environmental crises and the imminent threat of war. The goal is to extricate each country from dangerous circumstances and achieve global prosperity with the least amount of military intervention. The game triggers an eight-week transformation of the children from students of a neighborhood public school to citizens of the world. The film reveals how a wise, loving teacher can unleash students' full potential. The film traces how Hunter's unique teaching career emerges from his own diverse background. An African-American educated in the segregated schools of rural Virginia, where his mother was his 4th grade teacher, he was selected by his community to be one of seven students to integrate a previously all-white middle school. After graduation, he traveled extensively to China, Japan, and India, and his exposure to the Ghandian principles of non-violence led him to ask what he could do as a teacher to work toward a more peaceful world. Hunter teaches the concept of peace not as a utopian dream but as an attainable goal to strive for, and he provides his students with the tools for this effort. The children learn to collaborate and communicate with each other as they work to resolve the Game's conflicts. They learn how to compromise while accommodating different perspectives and interests. Most importantly, the students discover that they share a deep and abiding interest in taking care of each other.
We have posted this before, but today it felt right reposting it.
-- Watch John Hunter's TED talk "Teaching with the World Peace Game"
-- Watch "Steps toward World Peace"

Monday, March 21, 2016

Most Likely to Succeed

Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era” is a book by Tony Wagner, Expert In Residence at Harvard University’s new Innovation Lab and Senior Research Fellow at the Learning Policy Institute, and Ted Dintersmith, a leading venture capitalist passionate about innovation. In the book they argue that the only way to ensure any kind of future security for our children is to totally upend the education system and rethink what school is for. The book was made into a documentary directed by Greg Whiteley and produced by Dintersmith. Starting from the premise that nowadays more than half of America's new college graduates are unable to find employment, Whiteley locates the source of the problem not in the economy but in US educational system, which was developed at the dawn of the Industrial Age to train obedient workers and has changed little since, despite radical changes in the marketplace wrought by technology and the outsourcing of labor. With a world of information available a click away, and the modern workplace valuing skills like collaboration and critical thinking, the current rote-based system of learning has become outdated and ineffective. Charter schools like San Diego's High Tech High, which replaces standardized tests and compartmentalized subjects with project-based learning and a student-focused curriculum, may offer an alternative. The film follows students, teachers, and parents to see if this different model can reawaken the love of learning and offer the potential for a paradigmatic shift in education (source here)
-- Watch Tony Wagner introduction to "Most Likely to Succeed"
-- Watch Tony Wagner presentation "When knowledge is a free commodity, we need to innovate"
-- Read book review on The New York Times
-- Read "Most Likely To Succeed: A Film About What School Could Be" on Education Week

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Revolutionizing Education from the Ground Up

“The fact is that given the challenges we face, education doesn't need to be reformed -- it needs to be transformed. The key to this transformation is not to standardize education, but to personalize it, to build achievement on discovering the individual talents of each child, to put students in an environment where they want to learn and where they can naturally discover their true passions.”
Sir Ken Robinson is an internationally recognized leader in the development of creativity, innovation and human resources in education and in business. He is also one of the world’s leading speakers on these topics, with a profound impact on audiences everywhere. His 2006 talk is the most viewed in TED’s history. In his new book Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education, he focuses on one of the most critical issues of our time: how to transform US troubled educational system. At a time when standardized testing businesses are raking in huge profits, when many schools are struggling, and students and educators everywhere are suffering under the strain, Robinson points the way forward. He argues for an end to our outmoded industrial educational system and proposes a highly personalized, organic approach that draws on today’s unprecedented technological and professional resources to engage all students, develop their love of learning, and enable them to face the real challenges of the twenty-first century.

Thursday, March 17, 2016


"We are not alone. We do not exist alone and we cannot create alone. What this world needs is a humanistic awakening of the desire to raise one’s life condition to a place where our actions are rooted in altruism and compassion. You cannot hide behind a profession or instrument; you have to be human. Focus your energy on becoming the best human you can be. Focus on developing empathy and compassion. Through the process you’ll tap into a wealth of inspiration rooted in the complexity and curiosity of what it means to simply exist on this planet. Music is but a drop in the ocean of life"
Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock have been friends for over forty years. In the pursuit of their art, they’ve shattered boundaries previously believed unbreakable, they’ve revolutionized the concept of innovation, and have chosen to make the endeavor of living compassionately and courageously the center of their lives.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Purpose of Education

"The first kind of education is related to the Enlightenment - highest goal in life to inquire and create; search the riches of the past; try to internalize; carry the quest --- help people how to learn on their own; it's you the learner; it's up to you what you will master. The second kind of education is related to Indoctrination - from childhood young people have to be placed into a framework where they will follow orders that are quite explicit".
Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, historian, logician, social critic, and political activist. Sometimes described as "the father of modern linguistics," Chomsky is also a major figure in analytic philosophy, and one of the founders of the field of cognitive science. He has spent more than half a century at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he is Institute Professor Emeritus, and is the author of over 100 books on topics such as linguistics, war, politics, and mass media. Ideologically, he aligns with anarcho-syndicalism and libertarian socialism. In the videos below Noam Chomsky discusses the purpose of education, impact of technology, whether education should be perceived as a cost or an investment and the value of standardised assessment.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

How would you design a school

Graham Brown-Martin is the founder of Learning Without Frontiers, a global platform for thinkers and practitioners from the education, digital media, technology and entertainment sectors to share provocative and challenging ideas about the future of learning and explore how affordable disruptive technologies are radically improving learning and equality of access. He left LWF in 2013 to pursue new programmes and ideas to transform the way we learn, teach and live. His book, Learning {Re}imagined was recently published by Bloomsbury/WISE.
-- Watch Educating creative innovators on the WISE Channel

Thursday, March 03, 2016

What if Schools Taught Us How to Learn

Why is it that schools teach us WHAT we need to learn, without ever teaching us HOW? Memory and Speed Reading expert Jonathan Levi takes us through his personal journey from a failing student to a SuperLearner in this provocative and inspiring talk. Jonathan is an experienced entrepreneur and angel investor from the Silicon Valley. Since 2014, he has been one of the top-performing instructors on Udemy and has launched a rapidly growing information products company, SuperHuman Enterprises. Interesting talk.
-- Go to "Become a SuperLearner: Learn Speed Reading & Advanced Memorization"