Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What do parents want for their children?

Excerpt, "Teaching Well-being in Schools" from pioneer in Positive Psychology, Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman, full article can be read here.

First, a quiz:
Question one: in one or two words, what do you most want for your children?
If you are like the thousands of parents I’ve polled you responded, “Happiness,” “Confidence,” “Contentment,” “Fulfillment,” “Balance,” “Good stuff,” “Kindness,” “Health,” “Satisfaction,” “Love,” “Being civilized,” “Meaning,” and the like. In short, well-being is your topmost priority for your children.
Question two: in one or two words, what do schools teach?
If you are like other parents, you responded, “Achievement,” “Thinking skills,” “Success,” “Conformity,” “Literacy,” “Math,” “Work,” “Test taking,” “Discipline,” and the like. In short, what schools teach is how to succeed in the workplace.
Notice that there is almost no overlap between the two lists.

The schooling of children has, for more than a century, paved the boulevard toward adult work. I am all for success, literacy, perseverance, and discipline, but I want you to imagine that schools could, without compromising either, teach both the skills of well-being and the skills of achievement. I want you to imagine positive education...

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Dr. Martin E.P. Seligman is head of the Positive Psychology Center at U Penn. Positive Psychology is the "scientific study of the strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities to thrive..this field is founded on the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, and to enhance their experiences of love, work, and play."

His work takes him into the field of Positive Education. Where he concludes that skills of well-being (positive emotion, engagement with what one is doing, a sense of accomplishment, and good relationships) are necessary to include in education.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Service learning projects - project based learning taken further

Great article detailing the specifics and benefits of service learning projects from blog, Education Transformation.

Service Learning Projects - Project Based Learning Taken Further

"Authentic learning is about engaging with the material, grappling with tough questions, reflection and the ability to apply knowledge in a given situation and assesses the outcomes of the application. Service learning projects, provide students with these experiences in a very real way, in a way that they just cannot get from text books, lecture or test preparation..."

 "When service learning projects are implemented as part of the curriculum not only do students begin to think about the world and their place in it, teachers and  administrators do as well. When students engage in service learning projects they tend to have a more positive self - image, greater social awareness; gain social skills, feel a sense of independence and empowerment, and reflect upon their humanity and the humanity of others..."

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Changing to a curriculum that matters

Excerpt from What's Worth Learning by Marion Brady.

"Even schools considered models and pointed to with pride - upscale, beautiful, well-staffed, shipping high percentages of their graduates off to the Ivy League - send most students on their ways with talents and abilities unidentified or undeveloped. Few graduate with their natural love of learning enhanced or even intact..."

"...American education isn't suffering from a "people problem" but from a system problem - the "core curriculum" put in place in 1893 and still in near-universal use. America's schools and colleges, preoccupied with covering the material in school subjects and courses, have lost sight of the bottom-line reason for educating: helping learners make more sense of experience..."

Full article with book excerpt can be accessed here.