Archive for April, 2010

Time: Should Schools Bribe Kids?

Monday, April 26th, 2010

The cover story of the April 19, 2010 issue of Time Magazine reports on cash incentivisation in elementary and middle schools to raise academic performance. The article written by Amanda Ripley is┬átitled “Is Cash The Answer?” It traces an experiment conducted by Professor Roland Fryer, Jr. at Harvard’s Department of Economics whereby students were paid money for a wide variety of behaviors such as attendance, reading and test performance. I support the notion that this is an interesting experiment and the results fascinate my interest in psychology. However, any hint that this is for the purpose of sustainable educational reform is objectionable from my viewpoint. Mainly, it amplifies an adult obsession for monetary reward which erodes at the effort to preserve and foster youthful creativity and leadership. Further, it does not help students achieve “placement” as I have diagrammed in an earlier post about leadership by age stages. I would suggest that monetary rewards distorts any vision of leadership and retards progress towards harnessing creativity potential. Using a chemical toxicology analogy, the cash is a xenobiotic toxicant (ie, unnatural) that enters the body and acts as a stimulus, but hinders normal body life function such as growth, disease resistance, and even intelligent thought. As with real toxicants, the effects are even more devastating in young children. Think harder. There’s got to be a better way.

The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything

Monday, April 26th, 2010

I recently finished reading “The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything” by Ken Robinson. I had very much looked forward to reading this book after seeing the video titled “How schools stifle creativity” at http://edition.cnn.com/2009/OPINION/11/03/robinson.schools.stifle.creativity/index.html.┬áThis book was certainly well written and captivating through its illustrative technique of using real world examples, many of which were based on well known people.

Favorite Insights:

p. 238: “Children learn best when they learn from each other and when their teachers are learning with them.” This makes so much sense and yet most of school is about linear and mostly unidirectional information flow.

p, 67: “You can think of creativity as applied imagination.” There is a followup statement that links creativity, as opposed to imagination, with value. However, I would think that imagination is a prerequisite for creativity, not a form of it. Therefore, I would suggest that imagination has value as well but less perceptible in the adult realm.

p. 77: “Creative insights often come in nonlinear ways, through seeing connections and similarities between things that we hadn’t noticed before.” This is something that instructors need to be aware of and incorporate in their design style.

pp. 179-183: Four roles of mentors: recognition, encouragement, facilitating, stretching. I wonder whether there is a necessary sequence or relative magnitude for these roles to be optimally effective.

p. 90: “One of the strongest signs of being in the zone is a sense of freedom and of authenticity.” This backs up the notion of having a youth creativity and leadership workshop that is free-form.