Sunday, June 08, 2008

How Your Child Is Smart

We do not inherit the world from our parents, we borrow it from our children.
- Mahatma Gandhi -

We know, based on research, that people remember about 10% of what they hear, 20% of what they see and 90% of what they do, but we still largely use one teaching style: 'I talk, you listen and you learn.'
- Adam Urbanski, President of American Federation of Teachers -

Education is not filling a vessel, but lighting a fire.
- Carl Jung -

Helplessness, the belief that we cannot influence the circumstances under which we live, undermines the incentive to learn, as does the belief that someone somewhere else dictates our actions. Conversely, if we know our fate is in our own hands, our learning matters.
- Peter Senge, director of MIT's Center for Organizational Learning on the subject of control in a classroom -

Students can no longer learn in isolation sitting by themselves at their desks, but by working together to reach solutions and answers in a cooperative fashion. If you accept this concept, you immediately reject the traditional idea of a teacher standing up in front of a classroom and lecturing or reading out of a textbook.
- Gary Watts, Senior Director, Center for Innovation, National Education Association -

"I saw a bumper sticker recently that said: "If all else fails, lower your goals." I disagree. We've been trying that in education for years. In order to create possible futures, we have to change not just what we think, but our predominant ways of thinking about how our children learn.

In thinking of our challenge as mentors, a tale comes to mind. It is about an old man named Zusya who spent the last ten years of his life trying to be generous, kind, loving, perfect. As he aged, he got more and more depressed, because he was so fallible. Finally, his wife called in the village wise man. He came and sat at Zusya's side and listened deeply to him. "I've tried my best to be like Moses, but I am a wretched failure at it."

The wise man was quiet for a long time. Then he said in a very insistent voice, "But my friend, you have not failed. When you die, God will not ask you why you weren't more like Moses. You will only be asked why you weren't more like Zusya!"

Our children are being pressured to be unique in the same way as everybody else. It is our responsibility to discover and honor their individual uniqueness, to support their forming minds taking the shape that is truly their own."

- Dawna Markova in How Your Child Is Smart: A Life-Changing Approach to Learning -

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