Saturday, October 29, 2011

Thinking about the whole person

The American Life focused on middle school today. Teachers talked about how 12-14 year olds are distracted by hormonal changes and learning their place in the world. It can be difficult to get through. They were talking about psychological and physiological development. One commentator pointed out that even Maria Montessori suggested that this age group might be well-off in an Erdkinder (Earth School) type program. The program reminded me that we ought to remember to incorporate some things about the psychological and physiological development of people - childhood through adolescence through adulthood. I've been reading too many things about "technology vs. x" and "gamification vs. method x" and "online vs. face-to-face," "STEM vs liberal arts"; "Khan Academy for math or method x"; "higher education vs. no higher education" - too many dichotomies! Seems like at some points in life, what sets up a good learning situation might include an environment that includes some empathy, sympathy, just plain kindness. That comes through to me with Global Kidsprograms. They have their goals,etc. but I always get a sense that there's some fun going on and lots of respect for young adults. This article by Sharon Mizrahi - a 17-year-old The Future of Education mentions "warm guidance of Global Kids staff". She describes some exciting projects guided by caring adults. How do we foster more of that?

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