I recently had the incredible opportunity to work with more than 150 10th-graders representing their schools at the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership conference in Rochester, N.Y. This was my third year of participation in the regional conference, and I always leave impressed with the potential of these soon-to-be leaders.
In the past, I’ve spoken to the students about where information lives and social responsibility on the Internet. This year, I asked them to think about what being a leader means and asked them to create a collaborative manifesto of their vision of leadership in the 21st century.
I asked them first, in groups, to identify adjectives that describe their vision of a great leader. Then, I asked them to create a “We Believe” statement. Collaboratively, through group discussion, they created this leadership manifesto.
We are the future leaders.
Determination. Integrity. Charisma.
We believe that leaders are made, not born.
We believe that communication is key. (read more…)
There are only two C’s in “character,” but one can find many words that begin with C in describing good, positive character traits and behaviors. I’ve compiled a few C words that show the attributes of character.
1. Caring: Two important synonyms are “compassion” and “empathy.” Robert Krzaric wrote in The Greater Good’s e-newsletter that caring-empathy is one’s “ability to step into another person’s shoes, aiming to understand their feelings and perspectives, and to use that understanding to guide our actions.” Most importantly, he notes that new research suggests that caring-empathy is “a habit we can cultivate.”
2. Choice: Living a life of good character doesn’t happen by chance, nor does it happen by circumstance. It happens by choice. One of my favorite character education authors, Hal Urban, reminds us that no matter what the circumstances — “people, places, times, things, conditions” — your choices determine your actions and behaviors, not the circumstances. (read more…)
In many schools and districts, career education has gotten a “bad rap.” Sometimes, vocational- and career-exploration activities are only offered to students who aren’t attending college. Due to this, career exploration can carry a negative stigma that seems silly and even detrimental.
But the common core’s focus on career and college readiness may change all that. Schools and districts across the country are revamping their internship and career exploration programs with awesome results. A recent study published in Phi Delta Kappan found that students participating in career exploration activities generally were more likely than nonparticipants to graduate from high school and to prepare for and enroll in postsecondary education. Further, the 2011 Harvard GSE report, 2011 Citizen’s League Student Speak Out Project, and the 2007 Project Tomorrow efforts have all reframed school-wide conversations about careers.
As educators, we must use this momentum to make career exploration cool again. (read more…)
So I have a bit of a confession to make: I’m addicted to reality television. While I can’t quote a “Seinfeld” episode or a Monty Python movie to save my life — and while I’ve never seen “Caddyshack,” “Airplane” or half the “Star Wars” trilogies — I have spent hundreds of hours watching “Ax Men,” “Swamp People,” “Flying Wild Alaska,” “Pawn Stars,” “Deadliest Catch,” “Dance Moms,” “Say Yes to the Dress” and “Ice Road Truckers.”
A part of me knows that should be embarrassing to admit. And a part of me knows that I should be spending the spare hours I have every day tapping into the cognitive surplus that surrounds me. Just imagine how brilliant I’d be if I traded in an hour on the couch watching reruns of “Cake Boss” on Netflix for an hour on the couch watching Sal Khan’s tutorials or wrestling with big ideas in Twitter. (read more…)
While hard-core progressives and tea-party activists continue cozying up to each other in a shared rejection of the common core, I have a radical proposal to make — and it might just be crazy enough to garner an equally eclectic coalition of support:
Let’s eliminate private schools altogether. Or, better yet, let’s make every school both public and private.
If that idea doesn’t make sense to you, consider this: It’s already happening at The Sharon Academy, a school in Vermont that offers, in its words, “the best of both private and public school education.” Kids who live near the school can attend TSA just as they would any neighborhood school. Kids who live outside the attendance zone can attend as well, as long as they pay tuition. And the genius of the Vermont system is that those fees are not paid by the family; they’re paid by the hometown of the student. (read more…)