Tag Archives: education

Day 26 – Lifelong Learning #30dreamdays

22 Sep

TDJAKESI love to learn.  I’m not sure exactly when I realized that.  I always did well in school.  It came easy to me but I don’t remember loving it,  at least not until college when as an adult you choose what you want to learn.

I’ve always been somewhat of a “super high achiever”, but I am working toward recovery.  I no longer seek to achieve simply to achieve.  Now I desperately seek to achieve the things that mean something to me on a very deep personal level.

So when I say I love to learn, I mean I LOVE TO LEARN.  I feel like I spend most of my free time reading, researching, envisioning the future I want to see come to BE.

Learning changes me.  It makes me feel ALIVE.  These days it feels like oxygen.

If you’ve read my other posts then you know that I would love to pursue a Ph.D.   I hope one day to do so.  If I never do that it won’t be because I chose to stop learning and researching.  It will be because I believe I don’t NEED to be part of a program to do either.  I do it everyday.  I choose what to read, what to research…and in case you haven’t gotten the point…a lot of it is on education and how I believe it is insufficient to meet today’s societal needs.

I’ve written about my daughter’s own struggles that drew me into this research.  I’ve written about how mainstream education is outdated and not built to produce United States citizens who are creative and can think for themselves.  I’ve written about the fictitious epidemic of ADHD in our country that is a result, in part, to over-stimulation outside the classroom and under-stimulation inside the classroom.  I’ve written about social entrepreneurs like Angela Jackson who are starting programs to widen the horizons for children who wouldn’t get that without her program.

And now, I want to address all the people out there who are reading this blog.  Did you know that you can take Massive Open Online Courses called MOOCs (such as Coursera) which are taught by professors from universities such as Stanford, Harvard & MIT among others?  FOR FREE…anytime,  All you need is a computer and an internet connection and that is available at the library if you don’t have either.

Not sure you are up for college material?  Try setting up a free account on Khan Academy and you can learn Math from Addition & Subtraction through Calculus.  They also have lessons in Science, History, Economics, Computer Programming…the list goes on and on.

Think you would rather LEARN TOGETHER?  I am considering organizing a Krypton Community College course in Norwich.    Krypton is an educational experiment that launches on 10/1/13.  These courses are led by volunteer organizers (like me) who invite friends (like you) to join them for 4 weeks to learn together.  The first course is based on the work of Seth Godin and is called Go: How to Overcome Fear, Pick Yourself, & Start a Project that Matters.  The curriculum will definitely appeal to creatives and business owners (that’s me & me) but I know for a fact that there are dreams buried deep inside all of us and sometimes it is simply FEAR holding us back.  Or we didn’t get picked for that job we wanted and we don’t realize we can pick ourselves to do work that matters.

Overcome Fears

Pick Yourself

These are soft skills of success and they are available to anyone willing to do the work to teach themselves these skills.  I just did both.  I picked myself as an organizer despite not being sure that anyone else will be interested or whether it will be too hard or won’t work (aka fears).  I did it because I think it is worth doing.   And I did it because I have repeatedly forced myself to do these things and while they get easier over time…I still have plenty of work to do!!!

Excerpt from Seth Godin (one of Krypton’s founders and the developer of the first course) regarding the class.

“The class doesn’t exist to test you on your knowledge. Instead, it’s a safe space to share your experience, to expose your fear and most of all, to push yourself to explore how to do work that matters.”

“My experience tells me that in the world of ‘pick yourself’, the doors are only open to those that actually show a willingness to expose themselves to the risk of walking through them.”

YOU’VE BEEN INVITED.  You can view course materials at this LINK.

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Day 18 – Eradicate ADHD #30dreamdays

14 Sep

ADHDinAmericaI’ve decided to step it up a notch and DREAM REALLY BIG.   If I could eliminate ADHD, I certainly would.   However, this post is more about taking a different look at the ficticious epidemic of ADHD.  This is Part II on my Reform Schools Dream.  Again, I am just hoping to inspire more people to educate themselves about the outdated model our schools are built upon and to demand better for our children.  At the bottom is one of the first videos that got me fired up.  I hope it will do the same for you.

SIR KEN ROBINSON

You can watch the video at the bottom and here is the link to the full text: Changing Education Paradigms

Excerpt from the text…

“This is the modern epidemic, and it’s as misplaced and it’s as fictitious. This is the plague of ADHD. Now this is a map of the instance of ADHD in America, or prescriptions for ADHD. Don’t mistake me I don’t mean to say there is no such thing as attention deficit disorder. I’m not qualified to say if there isn’t such a thing. I know that a great majority of psychologists and pediatricians think there’s such a thing, but it’s still a matter of debate. What I do know for a fact is it’s not an epidemic. These kids are being medicated as routinely as we have our tonsils taken out, and on the same whimsical basis and for the same reason: medical fashion. Our children are living in the most intensely stimulating period in the history of the earth. They are being besieged with information and parse their attention from every platform; computers; from iPhones; from advertising holdings; from hundreds of television channels; and we are penalizing them for getting distracted. From what? Boring stuff.

At school, for the most part, it seems to me not a conscience totally that the instance of ADHD has risen in parallel with the growth of standardized testing, and these kids are being given Ritalin and Adderall and all manner of things. Often quite dangerous drugs to get them focused and calm them down. But according to this attention deficit disorder increases as you travel east across the country. People start losing interest in Oklahoma. (laughs) They can hardly think straight in Arkansas. And by the time they get to Washington they’ve lost it completely. (laughs) And there are separate reasons for that, I believe. It’s a fictitious epidemic.”

He goes on to explain Divergent Thinking which is the ability to see lots of possible answers to a question and lots of possible ways of interpreting a question.   When tested in Kindergarten, 98% of kids scored at the genius level and when those same kids were tested 5 years later, their scores went down.  Then again 5 years later, they were even lower.  These kids became educated and now there is only one right answer and that’s going to be on the test.  Does that sound engaging and exciting to you?  I don’t think so.

We have to correct this pattern in our education because our kids are not getting prepared for the level of problem solving and collaboration that our modern world and future challenges will demand.  I could go on and on…and likely will, in a future post.

I would love to get some feedback to this post.  Please share your comments.  Enjoy the 11 minute video.

Day 15 – Reform Schools #30dreamdays

11 Sep

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I have come to the conclusion that I am a budding Education Activist.   I hope through this post to inspire others to take a deeper look at how we educate our children and join the growing movement of people who believe that our whole method of educating kids has got to change.

If your child struggles in school, I urge you to read on, watch a few videos and reach out to me to start a conversation.

I was only drawn into this movement when my youngest daughter struggled so bad in school that I started researching ANYTHING that could help her.  What I found was that there are lots of outspoken people, including Bill & Melinda Gates, that believe that it is time for education reform on a massive scale.

The whole method of mainstream education in our country is built on  an outdated model meant to train people for the Industrial Age.  Here in the United States we are living in the Information Age and a Connection Economy.  The skills that are going to be most needed like creativity and critical thinking are not being cultivated as we continue to force kids to memorize stuff, regurgitate “right” answers and “learn” to take standardized tests.

I could go on and on…and I will undoubtedly make this at least a 2 part series…but I will end with this.

SETH GODIN – Excerpts from Stop Killing Dreams

“Go build something interesting and ask if you need help.  Why wouldn’t we want to teach our kids to go do something interesting?  Why wouldn’t we want to teach our kids to figure it out?”

Myth #1 – Great performance in school leads to happiness and success.

Myth #1 – Great parents have kids who produce great performance in school.

If these aren’t true, we should stop telling ourselves that they are…

Are we asking our kids to collect dots or connect dots?

If it’s work, people try to figure out how to do less. If it’s art, they try to figure out how to do more.

Watch the full video of Seth Godin’s “Stop Killing Dreams”…

I dream of a day where the stigma of Special Education will disappear because individualized or precise focused education becomes the norm and not the exception.

I dream of a day where all people will choose lifelong learning, not run from learning because they associate it with the awful experience they had at school.

(Photo Credit)

 
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