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The Boys Are Not Alright January 17, 2011

Posted by alwaysjan in Food for Thought, Teaching.
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If women are from Venus and men are from Mars, then girls and boys are light years apart. Nowhere is this more evident than at school. I recently came across a 12-minute video, Gaming to Re-engage Boys in Learning, that features a former third-grade teacher, Ali Carr-Chellman, discussing why so many boys are turned off by school from ages 3-13.  Ms. Carr-Chellman, who now teaches at the Penn State University College of Education and is a game designer, cites three reasons why boys have such a difficult time in school. The statistics cited, “For every 100 girls…” are from The Boys Project.

As a teacher and the mother of two boys, I found this fascinating. This year I applied for and received my first grant that provides funds to add more high-interest books for boys to the classroom library. I wrote about boys’ reading preferences in Boys Book Club.

Just last Friday I told my boys I was going to bring in my son’s old Spawn action figures, so they could play with them during Friday Club.  But first, I needed to confiscate all of their weapons.  There was a collective groan, so when I watched this video, I had to laugh.

WARNING: You might never look at boys the same, and that could be a good thing.

Do Schools Kill Creativity? January 31, 2009

Posted by alwaysjan in Food for Thought, Teaching.
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Do you have 18 minutes?  That’s how long the speakers at TED  “Ideas Worth Sharing” have to give the talk of their lives. TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) was started in 1984 to bring together the best minds in these fields, but has since expanded its vision.  I first viewed this link on The Critical Thinker, which you’ll find on my blogroll (Thanks Mark!).

This 18-minute talk by Sir Ken Robinson is a joy to watch.  It’s a laugh out loud stand-up comedy routine that raises serious questions about how we educate children.  Okay, I don’t really believe that all those kids with ADHD ricocheting around classrooms will grow up to be dancers, but I could be wrong.  Actually, I’d love to be wrong.  

I teach at a school where there’s an “emphasis on the arts” (though no funding for them).  Yet ultimately, it all comes down to The Test and that ever elusive API score.  I wouldn’t say I’m drowning in data, but my new computer password is “Data Hari.”  

As educators,  we’re always looking for answers when sometimes what we need to do is stop and rethink the questions.  Ken Robinson raises some very interesting ones.  Do you have 18 minutes?

To view some of the other amazing people who’ve spoken at TED, click on this link.    TED