Saturday, December 15, 2012

This 17-Year-Old is on Fire

Nikhil Goyal is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with in the education world. In the TED Talk below, Goyal calls for an education revolution. His beliefs and thoughts seem to echo with education reform activists Sir Ken Robinson, Diane Ravitch, Alfie Kohn, etc.  So what's different about this guy vs. the others? We've all heard this "call to change the system as we know it" before. Well, consider this: Nikhil Goyal is a 17-year-old high school senior.

We need more students like Goyal if we really want to transform the system. Question/conundrum: how do we effectively develop other students' critical thinking skills to Goyal's level and beyond with our current and outdated education system? 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Man of Steel

Children react and cope with crisis in different ways. Some act out, others harm others, others harm themselves, the list goes on. From the onset, I coped by dreaming: I yearned to be a superhero and often fantasized (and still do) about having an alter-ego and going off to save strangers. I wanted to save people I didn't even know, probably because it was so much harder to save the people I already knew, like my dad. It was much easier to swoop in and swoop out.

When I was younger, my disguise was perfect: nerdy, straight-A 2nd grader with parted-hair and black-rimmed glasses. I remember when my dad would go on his violent streaks, my mom and I would spend a lot of time together locked in my bedroom. She watched TV and guarded the door, and I played pretend with my Superman action figure after I finished my homework. The interesting thing was, when I played with that Superman action figure, I wasn't a spectator witnessing Superman's heroics. I was the action figure; it wasn't Christopher Reeve (or more recently Henry Cavill). It was me making the "WHOOOSH" sound to mimic my own supersonic speed as I flew around my 12-inch globe, saving people across continents.

My mom may have taught me the value of a good work ethic, but DC superheroes like Superman taught me many of the values my parents missed. Values and skills like loyalty, grit, courage, social responsibility, and conscientiousness: these were "noncognitive skills" I would've loved to have learned via my parents, but instead I learned them from text in bubbles. Since DC Comics taught me so much, I'm not at all embarrassed to admit I have seen the trailer below for the Man of Steel over ten times already.

Yeah, that was awesome.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

What if Money Was No Object?

A friend of mine shared this video with me; she said it reminded her of what I do. Take a look, it's pretty inspiring.

Created by Tragedy and Hope, the video is narrated by the late philosopher Alan Watts. I might just show this to my students first thing Monday morning. You know, instead of test-prepping.