Author, Educator, Kids' Interactive Media Producer, Founder of Red T Media
Amy Leask is an author, educator, and children's interactive media producer. She founded Red T Media in order to foster a love of big questions in little thinkers, and is driven by the conviction that everyone is (or at least should be) a philosopher.
The best hashtag I've seen in a long time is #enough. It's short, it's poignant, and it expresses what a whole lot of people are thinking this week. Enough violence. Enough discrimination. Enough hatred. We probably reached the "enough" point thousands of years ago. According to a couple of famous political thinkers, history is littered with moments of "enough".
We make decisions together. We hold meetings together. We share an office, and our desks are a whopping 10 feet apart. We go on business trips together and attend conferences together. And then at the end of the day, we go home and live together, too.
When we lose a role model, we realize that the gap they've left behind, but it also brings to light the fact that others will have to fill that gap. There will be young minds who need someone to look up to, and that's a big pair of shoes to fill.
Sometimes it really is good to have an argument. It can be an emotional one that clears the air, or an intellectual one that presents a conclusion supported by reasons. Either way, I'm a fan. If history tells us anything, it's that a lot of us are fans. What irks me is the notion that arguments have to have winners.
Okay, I was a bit of a keener, but I didn't think of teachers as being mere dispensers of marks. Because I was raised among teachers, I knew they were human beings too, and usually interesting ones. I did well in school partly because I worked my tail off, but also because acknowledging that my teachers were human allowed me to figure out what they expected, and how they worked.
Saying that education is changing is kind of an obvious statement. Our kids study subject matter that wasn't even on the menu 20 years ago, they do it in ways that have been previously untried, and they have a brave new world of tech to help them do it. However, the changing role of parents in supporting these new methods of teaching learning tends to get overlooked.
What's with the divide between arts and sciences? Has it always been the case? Historically, no. Google the word "polymath," and you'll find a whole lot of thinkers whose ability to think both creatively and technically not only made them interesting, but also more successful. I'm not alone in thinking that this great divide has done us a great disservice.
In the next few days, like many, I'll resolve to eat better, sleep more, exercise more, swear less, spend less, and keep the garage neat and tidy. I'll probably find these resolutions hard to uphold. There is, however, a promise I make every year, one that I work very hard at keeping. On January first, and on the 364 days that follow: I will resolve to try and help children become better thinkers. The problem isn't a lack of good intentions on our part. The problem is that we sometimes overlook some of the finer points of "good thinking" when teaching it to youngsters.
While it's true that young people do need the guidance and direction authority figures provide, they also deserve to have people in charge who think rationally and are willing to explain themselves. If we're going to teach our children not to trust just anyone, we need to give them good reason to trust us.
Festive occasions are the perfect opportunity to hear what your budding philosopher has to say, and to encourage them to play with ideas. As you sip cider and watch the snow fall, why not start up a great conversation? Here are some cool questions to get the mental merriment started.
Teachers are supposed to be experts. We chase monsters from under the bed, but we're not often prepared to admit to one of our own greatest fears as care givers and educators: that we don't have all the answers. There are many good things that can come from admitting you haven't got things sorted out yourself.
This definition of student was written during the industrial revolution, when the focus was more on job training than on fostering a love of learning. Whether you're an educator, a parent, a student, or just a concerned citizen, it's probably becoming apparent that this long-standing notion of student needs an upgrade. So, why doesn't this notion of student work anymore? What's changed?
About a month ago, our daughter informed us that Santa is indeed coming to town this year. She knows when, and she knows how. So what now? What of my commitment to Truth with a capital T? Now that she already believes, do I burst her bubble for the sake of her future, truth-seeking self?
I get a lot of raised eyebrows when I tell people I write materials that introduce politics to children. It's a subject that can make even a mature adult's palms sweaty, and on the surface, it seems like the last thing anyone would want to bring up with their child. You really should and here's why.