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Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

Learning is transformational, can schooling come close?

February 7, 2011 2 comments

Image credit: University of Gloucestershire

This post has been originally posted at the Cooperative Catalyst. I am reposting here — with minor edits — to broaden the audience and hopefully get additional feedback.

After reading Gatto, I make a distinction between education and schooling. Schooling is, at least in its current form, a way to govern education, but more often than not, education can happen without it — as millions of home-schoolers in US and many other countries and numerous important people through history that didn’t go to school can attest to!

What I came to realize lately is that despite the fact that we mostly think of education and learning to be similar, they’re different in two important aspects. Education and learning are usually described as the acts of acquiring knowledge, behaviors or skills — when defining education, Wikipedia refers to these as formative effects on the mind, character and physical abilities, but those are just different technical definitions of the same things.

Though learning and education sound like synonyms, learning goes beyond and includes the act of acquiring (or changing) values and preferences. On top of that, learning may involve synthesizing different types of information. I think these two aspects of learning are greatly important to anyone looking at reforming the current schooling system. Moreover, they should be considered by all parents and teachers when thinking about education choices and methods.

I’ll try to explain this with three stories, but before that, let me give you some thoughts to keep in mind when reading the stories.
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There’s no age limit for passion — meet Perry Chen, a 10-yr-old film critic, radio show host, animator…

February 4, 2011 6 comments

Perry Chen with Oscar-winning director Davis Guggenheim post interview at LA Film Festival, June 2010 -- Photo by Zhu Shen -- © Perry's Previews

When 8 years old Perry Chen entered 3rd grade, his teacher was in for a surprise. Perry was an avid reader and was able to understand the meaning of words at high school level. Instead of drilling him with the same homework practice as expected by an average 3rd grader, the teacher encouraged him to write — and changed his life forever!

Today, less than a month shy of his 11th birthday, Perry is famous as the youngest film critic in the world and gets free passes to screenings of the newest films for kids, interviews movie makers and actors, even joins them on the red carpet. As a young reviewer, he has a unique way of rating movies by giving them starfish and is not looking just for the visual effects and their appeal to kids, but is very interested in the story — particularly the moral message coming out of it.

You would think he’s too excited about being a movie critic, but Perry’s passion doesn’t end with film reviews. He already had an interesting career doing book reviews in the past and recently added restaurant reviews to his growing portfolio. He enjoys drawing and essentially turning any kind of materials into art and have recently ventured into doing animation films. Since his interests are far and wide, there’s no knowing what he may end up doing next! 😉
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The (truth about) fear of change

January 25, 2011 6 comments

25% of my contacts on Linkedin have started in a new job last year

Just over a year ago, on January 24, 2010, I posted the big news to my family and friends — I am starting a blog! Haven’t yet figured out what it was going to be exactly about, but I was convinced it would be another New Year’s resolution that will stay out of the drawer for few months only — before it would go back to the pile of other ideas that for some reason people usually deliberate around the turn of the new year and never truly take the effort to follow up on them. Still, I thought, it would be fun to try — little did I know how much so!
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Our split identities

January 14, 2011 4 comments

Today, I had a chance to meet Judge Robert Watt, an appointed Citizenship Judge for Vancouver, BC. Yes, you guessed it, I got the honor to sing “O Canada, our home and native land” together with him, my family and 77 other immigrants to Canada — who like us, have come to this country about 4-5 years ago, leaving their home land, extended families, even parents, brothers and sisters, seeking a better life!

As Judge Robert was using his charming baritone and inspiring words to warm our hearts giving us one of the best motivational speeches I have ever listened to and congratulating us on our wise choice to pick Canada as our new home, I started thinking — Why is it that we care so much which piece of land we are going to call home country? Is there an intrinsic value that one could claim when choosing to “belong” to this and not another part of the world?

“Albania, Argentina, Bangladesh, …, Macedonia, Myanmar, … United Stated of America, Vietnam” — Judge Robert’s voice still echoes in my head, as he was reading the 24 countries we, the 77 immigrants, called our home land before coming to Canada … 24 countries!! … What a diversity! … I still can’t grasp the grandeur of this number … it means that there were very few countries represented with more than one family in  that room today … For real, the diversity is striking! … It made me appreciate the total number of countries in the world! 😉
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What is in a year, really?

December 23, 2010 3 comments

Photo by Goran Kimovski, December, 2010

If a year was a bucket, it would start half empty…
But sadly, finish half full…

Somewhere death comes by night,
While a newborn smiles at his first daylight
An old man says last goodbye at work,
A child says Hi to her first homework
Mother’s cry, father’s pride,
Children’s voices race for the clouds
If a year was a bucket, it would hold life…

One child is born to never learn food is scarce,
Another is raised to respect nature’s resources
Yet another brings doom to many with his gun,
While his friends are looking up to the sun
White, black, girls, boys,  fast, slow, short, tall
Different but same, happy dreams for all
If a year was a bucket, it would hold hope…

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Superman got it wrong – public schools matter!

December 13, 2010 8 comments

Image Credit: Hip Slope Mama

With all due respect to Davis Guggenheim I think he got it wrong in Waiting For Superman! Public schools have something to offer no other educational institution, be that charter schools, private schools, boarding schools, even the various forms of homeschooling can.

If you read my previous posts where I question the value of formalized education as we know it, you must be thinking I went crazy or got change of heart. Please be patient and let me walk you trough this post by telling you few stories first. We’ll talk again at the end of the post if you have any questions! 😉

The first story is personal, involving my family and few friends with school age kids.

Ever since my older daughter reached school age (currently in grade 1) the question which school to choose loomed large on our lives. At the time my perspective on formalized education hasn’t shifted too much from the traditional view that you need to get educated and get good grades to be successful, even though I already had a chance to listen to Sir Ken Robinson by then.
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Going back to color in our social lives

November 26, 2010 6 comments

Photo credit: Rinasaur! (Flickr)

Once upon a time, there was no Facebook. There were no Twitter and MySpace, there were no emails … stop! … scratch that! I don’t want to write a romantic story about the past times when we all happily enjoyed our fulfilling social lives, visited regularly our relatives, had fun going out with our friends and took the time to give a call or even write a letter to those far to our eyes, but still close to our heart — because we didn’t! No offense to those few who tried hard in doing so, but you made the rest of us feel bad!

Fortunately, for those of us too lazy to give a call to our grandma — who couldn’t visit us any more because she had a gangrene and couldn’t even get our of her house let alone endure the two hours bus ride to our town — or scribble a letter to our best friend from elementary school — who moved away across the world leaving his old parents behind to send his regards every time we meet them on the street — someone invented Facebook!

Now we can simply “like” the photos showing our best friend’s kids playing with their dog or upload a video of our baby saying the first “googoo” so our grandma could watch it when the neighbor kid volunteering to help senior citizens visits and helps her turn on the computer and log her on to the world of social networks.
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