Archive for May, 2020

Concept: Education Accuracy vs Education Precision

Thursday, May 14th, 2020

Modern education intentionally tries to distribute learning achievement by limiting the attempts at understanding. This is based on the classical requirement of memorization in the early age of scholarly thought and written recordings. As you know, thinking and speaking outpaces writing (and typing even) so memorization and recall among scribes was a priority. This bias towards memorization talent in education creates knowledge gaps upon which academic differentiation is made.

The limited form of education targets and seeks to identify a very particular type of student, especially one good at memorization. Educators are equipped with skills and materials solely towards this bias and incentivized to stay within the bounds of this program. With this perspective, we could think of today’s education as having a precision design that provides a positive outcome for a minor fraction of the student population.

An equitable educational system re-design would provide positive outcomes for practically the entire student population and embrace education accuracy as the vision. This would require identification of learning strengths and preferences of each student, and guidance to a curriculum and educator that would allow academic success. Here are several ways that education accuracy could be implemented:

  • Allow for multiple chances to memorize without penalty, and encourage accretive learning. This would provide a path to subject mastery as opposed to having knowledge gaps set in.
  • Design assessments based on how a student is best able to reflect their subject mastery. Provide coaching on learning strategies for the various assessment types.
  • Learning schedules, pace of learning, and size of learning segments (eg, attention spans) should be tuned to the student. Presently, education is scheduled for the parents’ convenience, and segmented without consideration for the student.
  • Group students for symbiotic learning such that they would elevate each other’s progress. A teacher should be able to teach at a level that suits all the students in a class.
  • Get performance feedback from students and promote their learning autonomy through involvement in academic decisions and problem-solving. Provide activities that elevate awareness and intrinsic motivation.

I imagine teachers would welcome a shift to education accuracy. Their personal motivation as well as relationships with students would be healthier and stronger. And I am also certain that teachers have many of their own ideas how they could re-design their lessons and teaching styles for accuracy.

The YCISL is seeking to kickstart this hyperleap to education accuracy by developing a series of EQ-assessments for application to each teacher-students grouping. It would involve three stages: pre-instruction, mid-instruction, and post-instruction. The pre-instruction assessment would prepare teachers and students for the partnership they are about to experience. The mid-instruction assessment (or two) would check for progress and allow for corrective action, if necessary. And the post-instruction assessment would evaluate the effectiveness of the EQ-based approach to learning, and perhaps be reported as part of student performance profile as they advance in their education.

Idea: The YCISL Teacher Toolkit

Monday, May 11th, 2020

We published a YCISL Toolkit Series for parents who suddenly found themselves needing to become their children’s teacher. There was so much uncertainty about educational continuity as well as finding a schedule that would work. The idea from the YCISL program was to nurture thinking skills rather than expanding content knowledge.

Around the world, most schools reopened in an unfamiliar online mode. Even at Stanford, it took a leap of faith for course instructors to shift to an online mode. Like most, we became highly dependent on Zoom for videoconference communications…and we have experienced Zoom fatigue too. Most educators are searching for educational technologies to step in so that student interest is maintained despite the loss of close contact.

However, in the YCISL worldview, we see this global disruption in education to be an unbelievable opportunity for a quantum upgrade to teaching. Specifically, we should utilize EQ-based methods to elevate class awareness and management skills based on the varied behavioral responses of students and teachers to the virtual classroom. This wiki entry and the following YCISL Teacher Toolkit Series is our attempt at launching this jump into hyperspace.

To prepare the series, we are pondering the following:

  • What are the questions that a teacher may be asking themselves?
  • Do teaching goals and expected outcomes need to change?
  • What are the development opportunities for teachers that would be of benefit now and also in the future when students return to school?

At this time, we are planning on using the same cornerstones of the YCISL Parent (Teacher) Toolkit which includes (1) Asking Questions, (2) Divergent-Convergent Thinking, (3) Filling & Crossing Gaps, (4) Fast Creative Thinking, and (5) Positive Thinking. Our approach will be to show that EQ-based learning can be integrated into each of these skill areas so that teacher-student and student-student interactions have purpose and meaning, and new gold standards are established.


Japan Times: Coronavirus crisis offers chance to update Japanese schools

Monday, May 11th, 2020

I found the Japan Times article “Coronavirus crisis offers chance to update Japanese schools” written by Louise George Kittaka and published April 20, 2020 to be an interesting push for more educational technology especially in this time of school closures and online remote teaching.

From the article, I understand that there are schools in Japan which still largely utilize paper-based learning and that some view this as a disadvantage especially during this pivot to online. As a person who still prefers to read newspapers in print form, I believe a move to digital learning content is not the only solution as much of the article suggests.

I have made past comments on the issues with integrating educational technology and the lackluster value they present. As with technology in most cases, the quantity may be raised, but the quality is unlikely to improve. This lack of quality upside from edtech results in widespread frustration in chasing technologies, equipping teachers with something that works from end-to-end, and user experience. The use of iPads in US schools is an example of over-promise and under-deliver.

As a proponent of more EQ in teaching, YCISL feels there is instead now a significant opportunity to reflect on changing the educational process, not just its tools. Will we find that students who learned best in classroom settings remain equally achieving in an online setting? We already know that learning performance is dependent on a variety of factors such as learning styles, pace and group settings. It is the detection of these factors and ensuing customized teaching methodology that would offer the greatest benefits. We need to boost the awareness and management skills of teachers and students, and generally broaden the public appreciation for EQ in education.

For all the panic and fear that has spread through reactions to the virus, education has been severely impacted and we need to be caring for its resiliency, recovery and general good health.

NIMH: “Panic Disorder: When Fear Overwhelms”

Friday, May 1st, 2020

“And he would point this out as evidence that we fear the judgment of our peers, and that we’re embarrassed about showing our ideas to people we think of as our peers, to those around us. And this fear is what causes us to be conservative in our thinking. So we might have a wild idea, but we’re afraid to share it with anybody else.”

Tim Brown, Serious Play 2008

With an interest in leadership especially the rise of creative innovating skills, I have been observing intently the leadership during this virus wave. Not surprising, most leadership has been average and in a follower mode (ie, non-innovative). At the low end of the innovation spectrum is the governmental action with regards to shelter-in-place and face masks which replicates the strategy from 1918 for the Spanish Flu. In contrast, there has been some exemplary EQ-based responses such as in Germany, Sweden, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Japan.

This led me to see if the poorer responses can be diagnosed with a leadership disability condition. I found that Panic Disorder aligns closely to what we have seen. Referring to “Panic Disorder: When Fear Overwhelms” from the National Institute of Mental Health, which lists the following symptoms:

  • Sudden and repeated panic attacks of overwhelming anxiety and fear
  • A feeling of being out of control, or a fear of death or impending doom during a panic attack
  • Physical symptoms during a panic attack, such as a pounding or racing heart, sweating, chills, trembling, breathing problems, weakness or dizziness, tingly or numb hands, chest pain, stomach pain, and nausea
  • An intense worry about when the next panic attack will happen
  • A fear or avoidance of places where panic attacks have occurred in the past

There is an inability to focus and a desire to collapse. There is a tendency to interpret small (mostly) harmless sensations as threatening and to want to make everyone around them feel the same way. We also may notice the absence of positivity and gratitude, two areas that YCISL focuses on.

This virus response experience has shown the need for YCISL to nurture more resilient leadership in our youth population. To empower youth with confidence to step through risk and uncertainty, and create opportunity, purpose, and hope. We remind ourselves of Tim Brown’s points about the growth of fear in adults and the aversion to embarrassment and negative judgment.