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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Are Millenials Really the “Worst Generation”?

Millenials have it rough. Not only are these 18-25 year olds struggling to complete college, land a job that requires a degree, and start a family, they get criticized for all these shortfalls, and on top of it, get called narcissistic, lazy, and lecherous.

Matt Bors is one Millenial whose “rage” over the headlines about his generation lead him to create the opinion cartoon below, “Can We Stop Worrying About Millenials Yet?“. Our own summer intern, Sarah, a college senior who works, has an internship, goes to school full time, and lives with her parents, also had something to say in response to the TIME magazine article “The Me Me Me Generation” with her article, “Long Live the Twixter!”

Check out the Cartoon below (via @CNN), and let know what you think.  Can we stop worrying about Millenials yet?

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Developing Thinking & Behavioral Skills to Reduce Youth Crime Rates

Could developing a kids’ thinking and behavioral skills cut crime among youth?

It’s a very good possibility, found a new study from the University of Chicago’s Crime Lab. In the study, about 1400 kids in 7th through 10th grade from high-crime neighborhoods in Chicago were chosen to participate in the 30-week program Becoming A Man. A similar group was tracked who did not go through the course. Researchers found students who had been through the Becoming A Man program were 44% less likely to have been arrested by the end of the year.

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LifeBound Joins the Summer Learning Day Movement, June 21!

It’s National Summer Learning Day on June 21st! This advocacy day aims to spread awareness of the critical role learning plays in the summer months for kids from all backgrounds and socioeconomic standing.

Why is summer learning so important? Research shows:

  • All young people experience learning loss when they are not engaged in a summer learning activity.
  • Most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months.
  • Only about 10 percent of students nationwide participate in summer school or attend schools with non-traditional calendars.

There are many ways parents can give students summer learning experiences, from no cost/low cost experiences to structured day camps.

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