Our summer administrators book group is rounding into shape, aside from Barnes and Noble’s policy of claiming something is “in-stock” and if there is one copy, yet letting you order 12 without telling you that you’ll only get one. Our first choice was Moral Leadership, but B&N decided to only send us one copy. That’s OK, we’ll share.
So in light of that, we decided to read A Whole New Mind as a group. I’ve read it before, but it won’t hurt to have some face-to-face discussion with my colleagues about the ideas within. In preparing for leading some of the discussions, I decided to dive into some of the work that Karl Fisch did with the students at Arapahoe High School with their wikified research papers. I found this quote from Gus Tuberville, President of William Penn College on sonofrio’s opening page:
For learning to take place with any kind of efficiency students
must be motivated. To be motivated, they must become interested. And
they become interested when they are actively working on projects which
they can relate to their values and goals in life.
How do you find what it is that motivates and interests your students? What are some methods that work to find out what makes students tick?
When I look at the situations in which I have interacted critically with both students and teachers, I often find it difficult for both parties to tell me what interests them, and further, how it relates to what they teach. Index cards as they walk into the room at the beginning of the year? Is that feasible for 120-150 students? If so, how do you manage that?
Some of the other questions I came up with regarding the first section of the book:
- Can we train people to think using both hemispheres of the brain? Is R-Directed thinking something that can be learned?
- If we ask that our teachers come into this system (the education system, classroom, school environment, etc.) with right-brained skills in addition to the traditional left-brained skills, are we setting them up for failure?
- this was in the context of looking at how schools haven’t physically changed in over a hundred years. Those of us in education tend to be successful products of the system, meaning that we did well in the system that we went through, thus we tend to re-create the system we are used to.
- If that is the case, does it make sense that we hire teachers expecting them to think “outside the box” only to put them back into an environment that is exclusively “in the box?”
- How do we respond to this statement: “We don’t have time to include R-directed thinking; we are trying to prepare our students for taking these standardized tests (NJASK, SAT, HSPA, etc.)”
- Does this statement have merit: “The changing world is leaving the SAT behind?”
- Should these three statements (from page 51) drive the decision making in our building regarding what we are creating with our students?
- Can someone overseas do it cheaper?
- Can a computer do it faster?
- Is what I am offering in demand in an age of abundance?
- Are we wasting our students’ time by teaching them skills that are irrelevant anymore? If so, what are they?