Celebrating Emerging Scholars, NSCS, and the Power of a Crazy Idea

The following article was originally posted as part of my blog series on the Huffington Post where I am sharing experiences and insights I gained from my recent travel. 

 

 

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a twenty-year anniversary celebration for the National Society of Collegiate Scholars in Washington, D.C. It was a special honor to be there because I knew the founder, Steve Loflin, some twenty-five years ago before this concept had completely gelled in his mind. What started as a “crazy idea” to convene a college honor society on scholarship, leadership, and service was hatched with two of Steve’s friends over a lasagna dinner at his apartment. Twenty years later, this organization is a million strong with chapters at some 400 colleges. In Steve’s speech he spoke to the messiness of start-up ideas and the organic, sometimes random nature in which crazy ideas take root; an excellent perspective as the college culture can protect students from the uncertainties and ambiguities they will meet in the reality outside of school. With all of the news stories and data on how students struggle academically, emotionally, and socially, it is nice to see so many examples of students who are thriving and doing their best to make the world a better place.

 

Continue reading on the Huffington Post.

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Wisdom From an Eighth-Grader in Saudi Arabia

 I recently returned from a trip where I spoke in Bangkok at the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas Schools (NESA) Conference and in Singapore at the International Association for Scholastic Excellence (INTASE) Conference. The following article was originally posted as part of my blog series on the Huffington Post where I am sharing experiences and insights I gained from my trip. 

 

 

When I was in Bangkok a few weeks ago at the NESA (Near East South Asia Council of Overseas Schools) conference, I met an extraordinary young award recipient from the American International School — Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. Karen Grace received the Stanley Haas/Luke Hansen Student Award as a student who displays “consistency, persistence, willingness to take risks, acceptance of other cultures and points of view and a genuine interest in and commitment to the welfare of others.” The Stanley Haas/Luke Hansen student award shares the names of Stanley Haas, the late executive director of NESA and Luke Hansen, a remarkable middle school student who died in an accident.

At a time when students are commonly awarded for taking AP classes, getting a 4.0, and getting high scores on standardized tests, eighth-grader Karen Grace was awarded for her strength of character. Karen Grace opened her acceptance speech, stating:

My family and I were so amazed to find out that there is an award out there, given on character and not on grades. Competing towards the good of mankind is the most positive and sensible idea anyone could come across.

 

Continue reading on the Huffington Post.

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Rethink. Reinvent. Revolutionize: Reflections on Singapore’s Leadership with 21st Century School Reformation

I recently returned from a trip where I spoke in Bangkok at the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas Schools (NESA) Conference and in Singapore at the International Association for Scholastic Excellence (INTASE) Conference. The following article was originally posted as part of my blog series on the Huffington Post where I am sharing experiences and insights I gained from my trip. 

 

 

I just returned from Asia where I spoke to educators at the NESA conference in Bangkok and to 1200 school leaders from 13 countries at the International Association for Scholastic Excellence (INTASE) conference in Singapore. Most of the attendees in Singapore were leaders in their schools, spanning the entire education spectrum:

 

18% – Primary level (7-12 years)
15% – Secondary level (13-16 years)
14% – Tertiary level (17-19 years)
29% – Ministry of Education, Singapore
23% – Others (university, colleges, private consultancies, etc)

 

There were many interesting and inspiring topics covered during the conference, and a few concepts that especially struck me that could improve education in America.

 

High Standards. While students in Singapore hold the best PISA scores, their educators realize that students also need to develop creative, innovation, risk-taking, and entrepreneurial skills to be prepared for the complexity of today’s professional world. It was these topics that I was asked to address. Whether their grads are going to discover the next scientific break-through, the most cutting-edge architectural structure, the most imaginative start-up, or the next service company, academic prowess alone won’t cut it. The rethink, reinvent, and revolutionize theme is at the core of the Singaporean education system and workforce. In a culture that has transformed itself in one generation to become a world-class city, these are people who never rest on their laurels no matter how great their achievements.

 

Continue reading on the Huffington Post.

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Lessons From the Near East: How America Can Learn From Educators on the Other Side of the World

I recently returned from a trip where I spoke in Bangkok at the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas Schools (NESA) Conference and in Singapore at the International Association for Scholastic Excellence (INTASE) Conference. The following article was originally posted as part of my blog series on the Huffington Post where I am sharing experiences and insights I gained from my trip. 

 

 

Two weeks ago I spoke in Bangkok at the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas Schools (NESA) Conference. Educators and school leaders from around the world attended, ranging from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Nepal, Greece, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand and Bangladesh to name a few.Some of the teachers were originally from countries in Asia like the Philippines, but have relocated to places like Dubai for better job opportunities in order to support themselves and their families back home.

This single conference housed a tremendous amount of economic, educational, and situational diversity. Some schools struggle with limited resources to bring their students a world-class education in places like Bangladesh and Pakistan and the provinces of the Philippines, where even a private school education is in competition for resources. Conversely, educators in oil-rich countries like Saudi Arabia are challenged to inspire their privileged students to see their unique gifts and talents, not just those bestowed on them from their parents, royalty, or any other outside force.

Continue reading on The Huffington Post. 

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Despite Optimism, New College Grads Are Increasingly Underemployed

 

If you know a college student or new college graduate, you’ve probably had a conversation with them that revolved around their anxiety in finding full-time employment in their field. And rightfully so. The correlation between a college degree and a high-salary job are a lot more uncertain than in the past. Unlike generations before them, a degree is no longer the final step before setting forth on a career path.
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The Psychology Behind Why We Choose Boring Jobs

 

Imagine you are offered a position to work as a museum attendant. Your only job is to stand around making sure that no one touches a painting. The job doesn’t sound too bad, right?

In reality, for many, standing around is a “boring” job that doesn’t offer much variety, interaction with people, or enjoyment. So why do people take these boring jobs?

The results of new research out of Duke University, shared in the NPR story “Why Do People Agree to Work in Boring Jobs?”,  suggests people trick themselves into taking these boring jobs by thinking they will be more enjoyable than they actually know they will be.  They also may suffer from effort aversion. When given multiple choices, people are more likely to choose the one that will require less effort.
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Are Non-cognitive Skills the Key to Academic, Professional & Personal Success?

 

 

What are the top skills employers demand? Communication skills, judgement and decision making, active listening to name a few. These skills are referred to as soft skills, or non-cognitive skills that are not measured by a cognitive or academic test, like IQ, for example.

In an age when our economy demands more college grads in order to fill the jobs of the future and to be globally competitive, the answer has been to make our classes harder and rank students, schools, and teachers by the scores students earn on their standardized test. Put more effort behind increasing IQ and get a better prepared workforce, right?

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Who Does It Better? Eastern vs Western Learners

Is the culture around learning in the Eastern world better than Western, and if so, is it possible to change how a culture learns to one that’s more effective?

Those are the questions proposed in a recent encore NPR story. Jin Li, professor at Brown University has spent the last decade studying conversations that American mothers and their children have about learning versus the conversations between Taiwanese mothers and their children. Two sound bites give great insight into how the two cultures have distinct views.

In the first clip, an American child tells his mother that he and his friends like to talk about books at recess. She responds, “Do you know that that’s what smart people do – smart grown-ups?…that’s a pretty smart thing to do, to talk about a book.” Professor Li explains the mother is reinforcing the idea that because her son is smart he is successful in school.

Compare that to the conversation recorded between a Taiwanese mother and her child who just won first place at a piano competition. She tells her son, “You practiced and practiced with lots of energy. It really got hard, but you made great effort. You insisted on practicing yourself.” In  Eastern cultures, success is thought to come from persistence when faced with a challenge, not necessarily inner intelligence.

Reporter Alix Spiegel makes the disclaimer that these comparisons don’t prove that one culture’s take on learning is superior to the other. In fact, professor Li makes the point that though Eastern students are scoring higher than their Western counterparts in STEM areas, Westerners are typically more creative because of how their culture nurtures individuality.

As a teacher or parent, how do you talk to your kids about the reasons behind their successes or failures? How did your parents or teachers talk to you about your success in school?

 

 

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Final Session of the FREE NROC/LifeBound Summer Webinar Series

This summer, we partnered with the National Repository of Online Courses (NROC) to present a summer series of FREE webinars on Academic Coaching.  Over the past few weeks we’ve presented on the following topics, which are now available to view on archive.

SESSION 1: Coaching for College and Career Readiness: It’s Not What You Know, It’s What You Know How To Do

Presented by Carol Carter, Maureen Breeze, and Lynn Troyka

This session shares hands-on ideas of how educators can coach students to master specific, practical connections for excelling in reading, writing and math. We discuss the development of professional skills as well as setting structures for accountability, challenge, and growth that can ensure success in college, career, and life.

WATCH NOW

SESSION 2: Academic Coaching for Advisors and Student Success Staff

Presented by Carol Carter and Maureen Breeze

In this informational webinar tailored to student success staff and advisors, participants will learn about various academic coaching strategies and professional development options for student services staff supporting redesign efforts in developmental education.

Through academic coaching, faculty and advisors ask powerful questions and promote deeper level thinking to help students make connections, set goals and action plans, create a vision for the future, and develop persistence, grit and accountability.

WATCH NOW

SESSION 3: Introduction to Academic Coaching for Reading and Writing Faculty

Presented by Carol Carter 

In this informational webinar tailored to reading and writing instructors, viewers learn about various academic coaching strategies to support reading, writing and critical thinking skills necessary for college success. Discover how academic coaching promotes academic, professional and life success.

WATCH NOW

Coming up this Thursday, August 22, is the final session of the NROC/LifeBound summer series. Space is limited.

SESSION 4: Introduction to Academic Coaching for Math Faculty

Thursday, August 22

2:00 pm ET

Presented by Maureen Breeze

In this informational webinar tailored to math instructors, participants will learn about various academic coaching strategies to support math understanding and quantitative reasoning skills for college success. Discover how academic coaching promotes academic, professional and life success.

REGISTER NOW

What are some webinar topics you would like to attend? I look forward to hearing from you in the comment section.

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Can Gaming Help Kids Develop Social and Emotional Skills?

Do video games have to be non-social, violent, or mindless for users to want to play?

The gaming center Games+Learning+Society doesn’t think so. Their role playing game Crystals of Cador is an action packed and engaging game that helps young people develop empathy, self-control, and other “non-cognitive” skills that are needed for success in school, career, and life.

“Why not build games that actually save people. Save the world,” said co-director of Games+Learning+Society, Constance Steinkuehler. In Crystals, you, the player, are a space travelling robot who gets marooned on a foreign planet. The goal is to enlist aliens to help you put your spaceship back together only using nonverbal cues. The game not only improves students’ social and emotional abilities through virtual interactions, the it is also fully equipped to assess the player’s progress while they play, making the playing of the game and the assessing of the player one in the same.

Watch the creators explain how their game is taking social and emotional learning into the 21st century in the video above.

 

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