Sharing ideas on Education, Leadership and Life

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Those Other Skills


About two weeks ago I attended a symposium sponsored by SHEMESH, a local organization who brought Dr Rona Novick in to speak about social skills. 

I am currently reading Teach Like a Pirate, that at least in the beginning focuses on the importance of creativity and passion. 

Something struck me about social skills, passion and creativity, there seemed to be a common denominator between them all. Most people would agree that all three are important and our students need to possess all there but for many these three things seem to be different than other skills that we teach and for some reason people assume either you have passion, you are creative or you are social. 

That's not true! As Burgess says in his "Six Words" story there is no such thing as saying "But you are creative". We all can be and need to be creative. 

Dr Novick said the following regarding social skills;

Social skills is a journey. It is something we must have however it is hard to measure and the journey is different and unique for each child. However it is a skill that is teachable, learnable and can be taught like other skills.
When it comes to social skills we are ever done and really never reach our destination. It is ongoing and ever changing and all moments are teachable moments.
I believe creativity and passion re the same and require teaching repetition and reinforcement.

It does take a certain mindset to think more creatively and we all now those highly passionate people or those social butterflies.

What we need to remember that these people don't have any super powers nor are they different from you and me. They put the time and effort to learn a skill like one would learn math or a second language.

Below are two tweets I tweeted about creativity from the book "Teach Like a Pirate" I think it sums this idea.

" Creativity is not [limited2]some special class of individuals, but ...can b nurtured& developed in all of us— including your Ss" Burgess0 retweets0 favorites

"For most of us, creative genius is developed through hard work, directed attention& relentless engagement in the creative process" Burgess



Monday, May 4, 2015

Back To Basics


The curfew has now been lifted in Baltimore and hopefully things can return to somewhat normal. There are many takeaways from the events of the last week, and I am sure the pundits and talking heads have covered them. I would like to focus on my personal takeaways and I am sure others have said this as well but it is an important reminder.

It happened now what can we learn from the experience of the events from the last week? What can we as educators and parents learn from these events?

To me the answer is simple, and that is we need to sometimes GO BACK TO BASICS!

What do I mean. Well in my last post I mentioned how technology will never replace the teacher, which is true. We also seem to live in a generation where social media seems to set the norms and we talk in 140 characters or in abbreviations.

While there many be many benefits to technology, social media and living in such a fast world we need to remember the basics.

Some of those basic include but are not limited to:

  • Common Sense and decency
  • Respect 
  • Building  relationships and friendships
  • A sense of community
  • Responsibility
The last I check a computer cant teach these basic and important skills. Rather this is the responsibility of Teachers, Parents, Clergy, and other Role models. 

I wrote a blog a while ago that got a lot of push back when I said the role of the teachers is 24/7. What I meant is that we ( parents as well) are role models and our students and children are always watching us and what we do. 

Yes we lived in unprecedented times with information at our finger tips and things happen in real time like never before but if we are going to learn anything from the events of the last week we need to take a step back and slow down if you will and take the time t teach, instill, and more importantly model these basic ideas for our students and children.