“Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.”—Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed (via pigcharmer, via bettyann)
The less people know about important complex issues such as the economy, energy consumption and the environment, the more they want to avoid becoming well-informed, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.
In their zeal to raise test scores, too many policymakers wrongly assume that students who are laughing, interacting in groups, or being creative with art, music, or dance are not doing real academic work. The result is that some teachers feel pressure to preside over more sedate classrooms with students on the same page in the same book, sitting in straight rows, facing straight ahead. – Judy Willis
There’s a wonderful article in the Summer 2007 edition of Educational Leadership:
The Neuroscience of Joyful Education
Brain research tells us that when the fun stops, learning often stops too
It’s by Judy Willis who is both a neuroscientist and a middle school teacher.
Trinity Researchers Show How Social Interaction and Teamwork Lead to Human Intelligence
Apr 19, 2012
Scientists have discovered proof that the evolution of intelligence and larger brain sizes can be driven by cooperation and teamwork, shedding new light on the origins of what it means to be human. The study appears online in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B and was led by scientists at Trinity College Dublin: PhD student, Luke McNally and Assistant Professor Dr Andrew Jackson at the School of Natural Sciences in collaboration with Dr Sam Brown of the University of Edinburgh.
The researchers constructed computer models of artificial organisms, endowed with artificial brains, which played each other in classic games, such as the ‘Prisoner’s Dilemma’, that encapsulate human social interaction. They used 50 simple brains, each with up to 10 internal processing and 10 associated memory nodes. The brains were pitted against each other in these classic games.
“The act of feeling frustrated is an essential part of the creative process. Before we can find the answer — before we can even know the question — we must be immersed in disappointment, convinced that a solution is beyond our reach. We need to have wrestled with the problem and lost. Because it’s only after we stop searching that an answer may arrive.”—Jonah Lehrer on the importance of frustration in the creative process, live-illustrated by Guggenheim Fellow Flash Rosenberg. (via explore-blog)
“In conventional schools, students learn so that they can get good grades. My most important research finding is that young innovators are intrinsically motivated. The culture of learning in programs that excel at educating for innovation emphasize what I call the three P’s—play, passion and purpose. The play is discovery-based learning that leads young people to find and pursue a passion, which evolves, over time, into a deeper sense of purpose.”—
It is, I believe, no accident that as the international crisis becomes more and more acute, the poet to whom writers are becoming increasingly drawn should be one who felt that it was pride and presumption to interfere with the lives of others (for each is unique and the apparent misfortunes of each may be his very way of salvation); one who occupied himself consistently and exclusively with his own inner life…
When the ship catches fire, it seems only natural to rush importantly to the pumps, but perhaps one is only adding to the general confusion and panic: to sit still and pray seems selfish and unheroic, but it may be the wisest and most helpful course.
A pocket of prescient wisdom for today’s sociocultural maladies from W. H. Auden’s 1939 review of Rilke.
“Coffeehouses brought people and ideas together; they inspired brilliant ideas and discoveries that would make Britain the envy of the world. The first stocks and shares were traded in Jonathan’s coffeehouse by the Royal Exchange (now a private members’ club); merchants, ship-captains, cartographers, and stockbrokers coalesced into Britain’s insurance industry at Lloyd’s on Lombard Street (now a Sainsbury’s); and the coffeehouses surrounding the Royal Society galvanized scientific breakthroughs. Isaac Newton once dissected a dolphin on the table of the Grecian Coffeehouse.”—
“When Einstein found that his general theory made correct predictions for the shift in Mercury’s orbit, he felt so thrilled he had palpitations, “as if something had snapped inside. I was,” he wrote, “beside myself with joyous excitement.” This is the excitement any artist can recognise. This is the joy, not of simple description, but of creation. It is the expression, common to both the arts and science, of the somewhat grand, somewhat ignoble, all too human pursuit of originality in the face of total dependence on the achievements of others.”—The originality of the species – Ian McEwan explores the role of influence in the great accomplishments of art and science, essential food for thought as we grapple with building a culture of attribution that recognizes the intellectual indebtedness of creation today. (via explore-blog)
“Originally, feathers evolved to retain heat; later, they were repurposed for a means of flight. No one ever accuses the descendants of ancient birds of plagiarism for taking heat-retaining feathers and modifying them into wings for flight. In our current system, the original feathers would be copyrighted, and upstart birds would get sued for stealing the feathers for a different use. Almost all famous discoveries (by Edison, Darwin, Einstein, et al.) were not lightning-bolt epiphanies but were built slowly over time and heavily dependent on the intellectual superstructure of what had come before them. The commonplace book was popular among English intellectuals in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. These notebooks were a depository for thoughts and quotes and were usually categorized by topic. Enquire Within Upon Everything was a commercially successful take-off on the commonplace book in London in 1890. There’s no such thing as originality. Invention and innovation grow out of rich networks of people and ideas. All life on earth (and by extension, technology) is built upon appropriation and reuse of the preexisting.”—
In olden times, the animals of the forest could speak English just like you and me. One day, a pineapple challenged a hare to a race.
(I forgot to mention, fruits and vegetables were able to speak too.)
A hare is like a rabbit, only skinnier and faster. This particular hare was known to be the fastest animal in the forest.
“You, a pineapple have the nerve to challenge me, a hare, to a race,” the hare asked the pineapple. “This must be some sort of joke.”
“No,” said the pineapple. “I want to race you. Twenty-six miles, and may the best animal win.”
“You aren’t even an animal!” the hare said. “You’re a tropical fruit!”
“Well, you know what I mean,” the pineapple said.
The animals of the forest thought it was very strange that tropical fruit should want to race a very fast animal.
“The pineapple has some trick up its sleeve,” a moose said.
Pineapples don’t have sleeves, an owl said
“Well, you know what I mean,” the moose said. “If a pineapple challenges a hare to a race, it must be that the pineapple knows some secret trick that will allow it to win.”
“The pineapple probably expects us to root for the hare and then look like fools when it loses,” said a crow. “Then the pineapple will win the race because the hare is overconfident and takes a nap, or gets lost, or something.”
The animals agreed that this made sense. There was no reason a pineapple should challenge a hare unless it had a clever plan of some sort. So the animals, wanting to back a winner, all cheered for the pineapple.
When the race began, the hare sprinted forward and was out of sight in less than a minute. The pineapple just sat there, never moving an inch.
The animals crowded around watching to see how the pineapple was going to cleverly beat the hare. Two hours later when the hare cross the finish line, the pineapple was still sitting still and hadn’t moved an inch.
The animals ate the pineapple.
MORAL: Pineapples don’t have sleeves
Beginning with paragraph 4, in what order are the events in the story told?
A switching back and forth between places
B In the order in which the events happen
C Switching back and forth between the past and the present
D In the order in which the hare tells the events to another animal
The animals ate the pineapple most likely because they were
Which animal spoke the wisest words?
A The hare
B The moose
C The crow
D The owl
Before the race, how did the animals feel toward the pineapple? A Suspicious
What would have happened if the animals had decided to cheer for the hare?
A The pineapple would have won the race.
B They would have been mad at the hare for winning.
C The hare would have just sat there and not moved.
D They would have been happy to have cheered for a winner.
When the moose said that the pineapple has some trick up its sleeve, he means that the pineapple
A is wearing a disguise
B wants to show the animals a trick
C has a plan to fool the animals
D is going to put something out of its sleeve
OK so that test was for 8th graders in New York. How about these U.S. Army questions from the 1940’s.
In the Army mental tests R.M. Yerkes attributed the low scores of recent immigrants to innate stupidity. However, there was a strong cultural bias in the test. The following are examples of the multiple choice items on the intelligence test (p 200, Gould, The Mismeasure of Man, 1981).
(1) Crisco is a: patent medicine, disinfectant, toothpaste, food product.
(2) The number of a Kaffir’s legs is: 2, 4, 6, 8.
(3) Christy Mathewson is famous as a: writer, artist, baseball player, comedian.
(Gould only got one correct, and his intelligent brother did not get any correct.)
Part of an eighth-grade English test has baffled students and given ammunition to activists who say that it shows the absurdity of standardized testing.
Daniel Pinkwater, a popular children’s book author who wrote the original version of the passage, which was doctored for the test, said that the test-makers had turned a nonsensical story into a nonsensical question for what he believed was a nonsensical test, but acknowledged that he was tickled to death by the children’s reaction.
“One kid called me, and there were quite a few e-mails,” Mr. Pinkwater said.
“Some kids took me to task; the phrase sellout appeared on my screen,” he said, adding that he had been paid for the right to his excerpt and never looked back to see what had been done with it. “Others were gentler about it.”
“This is the extraordinary thing about creativity: If just you keep your mind resting against the subject in a friendly but persistent way, sooner or later you will get a reward from your unconscious.”—John Cleese shares 5 factors to make your life more creative in this classic 1991 talk.
It is the time of year when I think it is especially important to remember that it is not personal. As springtime arrives and the end of the school year approaches, we all know that it becomes increasingly difficult to focus on academics (sometimes not just for the students) and behaviors become…
What draws us to play, or to love hearing, some instruments above all others? Why are 40m children in China learning the piano, a European instrument that has scant connection with Eastern culture? What accounts for the guitar’s dominance in Western popular music? Why do composers express their most melancholy thoughts on cellos? These questions go beyond music. They touch on the essence of identity, aspiration, expression, history and politics, as well as what Jung called our collective unconscious…
How you interpret any sound depends on its context and your knowledge.
So young children at the Blue School learn about what has been called “the amygdala hijack” — what happens to their brains when they flip out. Teachers try to get children into a “toward state,” in which they are open to new ideas. Periods of reflection are built into the day for students and teachers alike, because reflection helps executive function — the ability to process information in an orderly way, focus on tasks and exhibit self-control. Last year, the curriculum guide was amended to include the term “meta-cognition”: the ability to think about thinking.
Every day, you see how cyberbullying hurts students, disrupts classrooms, and impacts your school’s culture. So how should you handle it? What are the right things to do and say? What can you do today that will help your students avoid this pitfall of our digital world? We created this free toolkit to help you take on those questions and take an effective stand against cyberbullying