Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Power to Do Something Meaningful

I have been working hard to make sense of the sections of my game.  How can this be useful?  Who can I use it with?  But, this week outside of my self-absorbed steps life continues on, and has spit back some moments that grabbed my attention.

I went to a yoga class.  I want to thank my husband for pointing out that I had been telling lots of people they should go to yoga, neglecting the fact that it has been some years since I actually had been to a class.  Life in Motion YOGA

So, I arrived and was trying to become ready for the class when two women who both had connections to a certain university began a conversation about a high school student in this area who is allegedly a polyglot (he knows something of 22 languages.)  I needed to go to this yoga class and was in my most critical place and asked "what good would this be"?  I made no friends.  However, at the end of the class I took the younger woman aside to apologize for my bad attitude and learned that she had decided to take a break from college after 1 1/2 years because she had worked intensely to get into the college and wasn't sure why she was there.  One question I will ask students as they are deciding if college is a good plan is WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU WERE LITTLE?

Thank you Charles Schulz!!

This question is simple and we have all faced it, right?  Ballerina, teacher, scuba diver, mailman, fireman, etc., etc.

  But, she couldn't answer the question.  She said she tried to go back there and found she couldn't.  And, for her, college is what is supposed to happen because of where she is in her world.

I have been listening to people speak at the SCHOOLS FOR TOMORROW conference at  I feel elated that I listened to Sal Khan speak

 and I've learned about his new Bank of America budget and finance lessons.  I got to hear him talk about how important his website and technology is but it has to be connected to live teachers.

But, it was Anant Agarwal (President, edX) who really blew me away when he spoke about the problem of colleges looking at data about successful admissions and how really good colleges only accept limited percentages of applicants AND then trying to show that graduates are able to get really good jobs at top places.  Mr. Agarwal spoke about the difference between getting bright students and not doing any damage, and really providing an actual learning or transformative experience.

What is happening in the educational process today, and does it lead to working in an area that each of us want to be?   Benefits of a college education


  Is it that difficult to develop the very important skills that we all need to have to be good, solid human beings who are successful?
Guess what?  You can be the most intelligent person in the world, speak lots of languages, number crunch until the cows come home but

if you don't know how to be kind,
communicate in a way that invites people to want to hear what you say or join your thinking process, navigate,
help others grow in confidence then
can you count yourself as a success?

Recently I read an interview with Simon Anderson, CEO of Dreamhost (NYTimes, Adam Bryant).  Mr. Anderson, in response to what questions he would ask an interviewee said, "Probably the first one would be, “Tell me about the first experience in your life when you realized that you had the power of change or the power to do something meaningful.”

I have been doing lots of reading these past several months.  Where does the motivation come from for wanting to go to college and what is valued in the process of applying?

I found a list "top ten things colleges look for" which is pretty general.  They include grades, scores, recommendations, extracurriculars, and of course the application.

Then, I found a list of questions that Suzanne Colligan, Director of College Counseling at Georgetown Prep suggests students ask themselves when thinking about college.  They include:
-What is something you've always wanted to try?
-If you could do any job for a day, what would it be?
-As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
-What are some things you feel you do well?
-Who do you look up to?

WOW!  Looking back at this post there are a number of thoughts.  But, what is clear to me is that EDUCATION is more than fulfilling someone else's idea of success.  I wonder what the answer would be if I visited several different classrooms, even just in my own city, and asked one or two students in each just these four questions.  And, then looked at their grades and activities to see if there was any kind of connection?

Do I have the power to do something meaningful with it?

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