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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Four Ways to Create Your Legacy

Four Ways to Create Your Legacy
Only by changing the way you live, will you be able to create the legacy you want to leave, says 
John Maxwel
l, leadership expert. Legacies happen when they are deliberately crafted with years of hard work and dedication. Create your legacy with these expert tips:
  1. Identify your strengths. Think of your core strengths and then talk to colleagues, friends and family members for their insights. Keep a running list and see which strengths come up most frequently. Often, others see our strengths more easily than we do, says gerontologist, Ken Dychtwald.
  2. Think about how you spend your time. “Most of us tend to be drawn—either directly or indirectly—to the settings, activities and people that allow us to express our interests,” Dychtwald says. Remember, your legacy should be a labor of love, not a chore.
  3. Write a life sentence. “A statement summarizing the goal and purpose of one’s life,” Maxwell says.
  4. Realize your legacy is based upon what you do today.  “For most of us, it is the days of our lives taken as a whole, that people remember,” says leadership expert, Chris Widener. “If you want to be known as a kind person, do something kind every day for the people around you.”

thought of the day 20.3.2013

“To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.”
— Henri Bergson

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

5 qualities of role models

Role models come into young people’s lives in a variety of ways. They are educators, civic leaders, mothers, fathers, clergy, peers, and ordinary people encountered in everyday life. This study showed than being a role model is not constrained to those with fancy titles or personal wealth.  In fact, students were quick to state that “a true role model is not the person with the best job title, the most responsibility, or the greatest fame to his or her name.” Anyone can inspire a child to achieve their potential in life.
The top five qualities of role models described by students in the study are listed below. These qualities were woven through hundreds of stories and life experiences that helped children form a vision for their own futures. In a poll of 50 adult Facebook readers of this blog, these same qualities were mentioned as adults reflected on their own role models. The biggest difference was that adults did not rank “commitment to community” as high as their younger counterparts. They also mentioned qualities like compassion, fearlessness, and listening skills. By far, the greatest attribute of a role model is an ability to inspire others.

Passion and Ability to Inspire

Role models show passion for their work and have the capacity to infect others with their passion. Speaking of several of his teachers, one student said, “They’re so dedicated to teaching students and helping students and empowering students. That is such a meaningful gesture. They are always trying to give back to the next generation. That really inspires me.”

Clear Set of Values

Role models live their values in the world. Children admire people who act in ways that support their beliefs.  It helps them understand how their own values are part of who they are and how they might seek fulfilling roles as adults. For example, students spoke of many people who supported causes from education to poverty to the environment.  Role models helped these students understand the underlying values that motivated people to become advocates for social change and innovation.

Commitment to Community

Role models are other-focused as opposed to self-focused. They are usually active in their communities, freely giving of the time and talents to benefit people. Students admired people who served on local boards, reached out to neighbors in need, voted, and were active members of community organizations.

Selflessness and Acceptance of Others

Related to the idea that role models show a commitment to their communities, students also admired people for their selflessness and acceptance of others who were different from them.  One student spoke of her father, saying “He never saw social barriers. He saw people’s needs and acted on them, no matter what their background or circumstances. He was never afraid to get his hands dirty. His lifestyle was a type of service. My father taught me to serve.”

Ability to Overcome Obstacles

Role models overcome challengesYoung people develop the skills and abilities of initiative when they learn to overcome obstacles.  Not surprisingly, they admire people who show them that success is possible.  One student shared a story of a young man she met in Cambodia on a service-learning project with her school. “He is an incredibly hardworking individual who has faced unimaginable obstacles in his life, yet continues to persevere to support his family and encourage his community. He survived the Cambodian genocide. He earned his education in a system where those who succeed are the ones who bribe officials. He has dedicated his life to give back to his community. Wow! What an individual; and the best civic role model!”
Research studies have long shown a correlation between role models and higher levels of civic engagement in young people. Positive role models are also linked to self-efficacy, the ability to believe in ourselves. In fact, the young people in my study admitted that unless they learned to believe in themselves, they would not have been capable of believing they could make a difference in the world!
Children develop as the result of many experiences and relationships. Role models play an important role in inspiring kids to learn, overcome obstacles, and understand that positive values can be lived each day. Whether you are a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, teacher, civic leader, clergy member, sports coach, after-school program leader, or a person who just happens into a child’s life, you have the ability to inspire!

avoid academic entitlement

Student scores on K-12 achievement tests have remained relatively constant over the years. Yet, K-12 grades have increased dramatically. This suggests that today’s students are receiving higher grades for the same performance as students in previous decades. Some studies show that even the most talented students earn success by cleverly circumventing hard work.
What happens when students develop unrealistic expectations toward college or the work world? They respond with anger and disappointment when their goals are not achieved. Feelings of entitlement have been correlated with a host of negative outcomes, including hostility, depression, difficulty in relationships, and greed.
Parents and K-12 teachers can minimize the risk of academic entitlement in college and the world beyond by instilling positive values toward learning and success during the formative years.

Seven Ways to Help Children Avoid Academic Entitlement 

  1. Teach children that knowledge is a privilege that is earned through hard work, challenge, and discomfort. See the article, What Teens Learn by Overcoming Challenges
  2. Help students understand that learning isn’t about satisfying requirements; it’s about living a satisfying life. Share the article, Happiness or Harvard, with a teenager -- an inspiring story of how one teen redefined her attitudes about success.
  3. Let young people know that when they are struggling, it is their responsibility to ask for help. Role models and adult mentors are essential for teens.
  4. Teach children that failure is the bedrock of learning. Read the compelling article in The Atlantic by middle-school teacher, Jessica Lahey, Why Parents Need to Let Their Children Fail.

  5. Help students understand that no one has the same learning or test-taking style. Adults can foster a positive mindset for kids with learning differences.
  6. Support your child’s teachers. They develop policies that apply to everyone. There are penalties for breaking the rules just as there are in the world outside of school.
  7. Instill the principle that teachers are facilitators of learning. Education is something we accomplish for ourselves throughout a lifetime.
When children embrace behaviors that emerge from the above principles, they learn to take responsibility for their successes and failures, accept the consequences of their actions, and learn to engage with meaningful life and career goals.
What do you think? What other ways do adults help children learn to take responsibility for their learning and actions?

Saturday, January 5, 2013

We owe everything to you

Digital education for teachers

Taking a Closer Look at Teachers' Technology Shortcomings

One of the biggest concerns about how technology is being used in the classroom today focuses on what some see as a fundamental breakdown in the system: many teachers aren't comfortable with technology, and are unsure how to weave it into their instruction.
The National Association of State Boards of Education probed this issue in a recent report, as part of a larger examination of how schools can keep up with students' tech knowledge and expectations.
I wrote about the release of that report, "Born in Another Time: Ensuring Educational Technology Meets the Needs of Students Today—and Tomorrow," but I'm turning back to it because it offers some revealing details on what state board officials, as well as faculty at teacher colleges and educators themselves, see as shortcomings in preparing teachers to use technology. The authors argue that many teacher-preparation programs fail to give teachers the tech skills they need, partly because they instead choose to focus heavily on things like pedagogical theory—in general, different philosophies about how teachers convey knowledge to students.
How much catching up on technology do teachers, and the system that produces them, have to do? The report's authors cite the following examples:
• The vast majority of faculty members and students in teacher preparation programs say that their programs require one stand-alone technology course, as opposed to integrating technology and pedagogy through the program and clinical experiences (the authors see integration as the preferred way to go);
• Teacher-prep programs tend to emphasize using technology to boost educators' "personal productivity," through the use of tools such as word processing and spreadsheets, and for use in presenting information, as opposed to giving aspiring educators the tech skills needed to collect, analyze, and utilize data in their instruction;
• Less than a quarter of educational technology faculty said they had taught their students how to use technology to analyze student achievement data, a skill that the authors say is crucial to tailor instruction to individual students' needs; and
• New teachers are no more likely to blend technology into their practice than their veteran peers—which is surprising, the authors say, "given that the vast majority of those entering the profession are digital natives."
Those findings come from a number of sources, including an analysis conducted by researchers at Indiana University, which included a survey of teacher-college faculty and their students; and a separate survey of teachers and administrators released by Walden University, an online university, and Grunwald Associates, a Bethesda, Md.-based research and consulting company.
How can policymakers help educators become more sophisticated users of technology? State officials, in cooperation with licensing boards and others, should revamp standards for new teachers to make sure they receive more preparation in technology and online instruction, including through clinical, or hands-on classroom work and observation, the report says. It adds that states should revamp professional development to include a greater focus on technology, provide sufficient funding for school technology coaches, and do more to weave virtual instruction into existing teacher mentoring and induction programs.

Taking a Closer Look at Teachers' Technology Shortcomings

Taking a Closer Look at Teachers' Technology Shortcomings