Please read through the articles below or check out my other blog over at Branford Patch.

Fostering Creativity in the Classroom: Part 2

In a previous blog, I introduced a few general methods for incorporating creative thinking in the classroom. This entry will provide some specific techniques. Linda Flanagan, writing in the online educational newsletter of KQED,  MindShift, states: "Imaginative thinking hones creativity and improves students’ social and emotional skills."  So rather than approaching the lecture method of traditional teaching, educators can transform their methods and encourage students to be active, relevant participants in their own learning. When students are excited about something, learning becomes a joy rather than chore. Make learning  a dynamic process! Let students be partners in their learning.  Teachers in...

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College: What graduates need

To address the needs of 21st.century society at large as well as changes in the workplace, colleges need to adapt their curricula as well as their methodology.  As former Harvard  University president, Derek Bok, stated:"Colleges and universities, for all the benefits they bring, accomplish far less for their students than they should . . . (graduates)are unable to write well enough to satisfy their employers, reason clearly, or perform competently in analyzing complex, non-technical problems. Within the last decade, The Social Science Research Council, in collaboration with the Pathways to College Network, organized research later published as a book: Academically...

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Fostering Creativity in the Classroom

Is creativity innate, or can it be taught?  This question is the subject of debate among educators, neuroscientists, and psychologists. Unfortunately, the current model of the American education system is based on a "factory model" that does not encourage creative thought.  In fact, a 2006 TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson centered on the assumption that "Schools Kill Creativity."  An article in Psychology Today, enumerates traits that support the creative process: "Openness to experience, conscientiousness, extroversion-introversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism; they are sometimes referred to collectively by the acronyms OCEAN or CANOE." Educators can begin to alter the educational paradigm to foster creativity...

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Math and the Young Learner

Parents who are interested in supporting their young children's future academic success would be wise to focus not only on reading, but also on math.  Dr. Deborah Stipek,the former dean of the school of education at Stanford University researches the effect of early learning. She maintains that pre-school teachers should focus on math instruction because it predicts future success in school.  She is part of a "network of university researchers advancing young children's opportunities to develop math skills." According to 2007 study by the the Russell Sage Foundation a child's ability in math in kindergarten strongly predicted his abilities...

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Encouraging Persistence

Reading-Clip-ArtHow can post-secondary educators assure that first year students learn how to persist at a given task?  One of the first steps is understanding that having an open mind-set provides them with opportunity to learn. Another important factor in achievement is goal-setting.  While  establishing these goals, they should also recognize that they will face obstacles. Therefore, once they plan how to work around these road-blocks, they must engage in consistent effort to accomplish their goals. According to Don Hosler, et al. "Access to postsecondary education is achieved not solely by...

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Facing Potential Combat? De-Fuse it with Diffusers!

downloadThe best selling author Max Lucado stated, "Conflict is inevitable. Combat is optional."  This is true in all realms, whether personal or professional. And nowhere is it more obvious than when dealing with adolescents and teenagers. Their major objective at home and at school appears to be to challenge authority.  However, adults can choose a response to these provocations that can avoid combat.  One expert in conflict resolution provides the following advice: "Remembering that we have the option to avoid combat, that we are in control, should strengthen us...

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Have some PIE!

Failing to plan is planning to fail.  How many times do well-intended goals fail? How many  keep their New Year's resolutions beyond the first week or the first month? How often do study hours evaporate? How many reports are late? How many diets fail? Countless examples demonstrate that despite the best of intentions, planning alone provides insufficient incentive to achieve a goal. Successful planning involves three stages. Following these steps can help someone attain almost any goal:PIE.  Look below for a practical implementation for a study plan. PLAN: Before new students enroll in my test preparation program I send out questionnaire....

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Student Engagement- Tips for Any Level

teacher-clip-art-20286757   Student engagement refers to the degree of attention, curiosity, interest, optimism, and passion that students show when they are learning or being taught, which extends to the level of motivation they have to learn and progress in their education. It is the essential ingredient for learning to occur. Student engagement is the province of every classroom from pre-kindergarten through graduate school. Obviously, the first step a teacher must take to assure that learning occurs is to provide a safe, orderly environment. In working with educators at levels from pre-school through college,...

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The “Secret” of Intrinsic Motivation

the thinker What constitutes a rewarding life?  What spurs some people to pursue their interests actively, while others remain passive observers?  Motivation is a crucial factor for achievement in personal and professional pursuits.  Yet, working for some extrinsic reward, whether tangible like money, or intangible, like fame, may not provide a deep sense of fulfillment even after one does achieve the pinnacle of "success." One need only glance at headlines to realize the hollow success of many cases of celebrity. On the other hand, working at something for the sheer enjoyment is...

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The Amazing Evidence of the Mind/Body Connection

maxresdefaultIn a past blog, I discussed how use of language affects morality. But the power of language expands far beyond moral issues.  In a lecture series in Great Courses,  Dr. Peter Vishton elaborates on the intricate connections between language and mind/body. He provides research-based proof that an individual's thoughts manifest themselves even on a person's physiology. Dr. Vishton states, "Language is a central feature of how our brain makes sense of the world around us . . . so the language we use can greatly affect our thinking."  He cites research by...

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