If you are interested in the difference between "hard work" and "native intelligence," consider this article:
Download Self-DisciplineIQPerformance. It's a good read for those who are interested in predicting adolescent academic performance.
We're getting a lot of positive praise and support from the cognitive brain development folks at Columbia Teachers College for continuing to require all Lower School boys to maintain an analogue assignment book. At the beginning of each year, we demonstrate exactly how each boy is to approach and maintain a relatively straight forward weekly planner, and we verify that the assignment book is, indeed, being properly maintained. Consequences are assigned for failure to do it.
We invite parental oversight in this prioritized developmental, organizational practice designed to help these boys who are required to balance a lot of school work and extra-curricular activities. We find that such a practice helps busy families as well.
Online bullies are a serious threat to the student experience. We have witnessed serious cases of similar happenings here, and it is so much more complicated than yesterday's toilet paper rolling or crank calling. Parents should bear the brunt of their children's choices with regard to out-of-school and off-campus student antics, and cyber bullying is no exception. There are legal ramifications as well.
If your child hasn't had a good loving earful from you about your expectations as the adult when it comes to the purpose and privilege of Junior's use of social media, have the talk. What is done in the dark will be made known in the light, I know that. Cyber bullying, email trash talk, Facebook personal attacks... be it July or January, if an MUS student is involved as a perpetrator, he does so to the jeopardy of his enrollment status, and that's just the beginning of his worries. Please, talk about this and monitor activity regularly.
Could it work? Should it be? You read the article from Sunday's New York Times and decide for yourself: Should we limit academic competition for the benefit of our students? A Lower School blog reader who read the Times piece and follows education trends responded this way:
How about an Olympics analogy: if you finish fourth in
the 100 yard dash at the Olympics, you're the 4th fastest person of the 7
billion on the planet, but you're still not getting a medal. You'll have
to satisfy yourself with the amazing achievement itself (sans hardware) and
perhaps the disappointment will spur #4 to work harder and be #1 in the future.
Leaders of industry probably wouldn't care about the
ceremonial title of Valedictorian much (maybe in ancient times, the #1 GPA
person would also be the best orator in a class, but that's probably rarely
true today), but business and market leaders would clearly be a fan of class rank. They would see it as
a motivator to achieve. As long as Harvard and the like are selective in
admissions, there will always be competition. You can have 28
valedictorians in the class, but unless all 28 of them are going to Harvard,
there are going to be "winners" and "losers".
Sorry! And that will be true in business where some get better jobs along
with promotions and advancement and others do not.
If people think that eliminating competition is
the right thing to do, then they should start by eliminating interscholastic
athletics (no tryouts, no cuts, no competition for Quarterback or Point Guard,
no wins/losses) and Cheerleading (anyone who wants to cheer can).
Everyone should play for the fun of it -- high school sports should model
itself on elementary intramural participation games. Clearly more self-esteem is lost on the
athletic fields than anywhere else in most American schools as members of the
Football/Basketball Teams and Cheerleading Squads are awarded much more social
status than top students. When they finish eliminating sports (good
luck), then they can start in on class rank.
So, maybe we should begin to take the argument seriously only when we see the same advocates satisfied by their "valedictorians" responses to the inequity in their college admissions... o, and no more try-outs for the teams. Yeah, right.
This is not an indictment against some portion of internet-based learning employed to supplement classroom instruction. I wish MUS had more of it, frankly. How great would it be to have some of our prized instructors' class sessions available for online viewing? You don't think that would be a hit with our boys, not to mention our parents and alumni? That said, state and local budget restrains, involving both public and private entities, will motivate increased discussions about supplanting classroom instruction with web instruction. Don't buy the baloney.
The view from my Manhattan window reveals folks who camped out beginning at 11:00 a.m. yesterday morning. This photo shows about 1/5 of the line! The doors opened at 8:00 a.m. this morning. The iPhone 4G is here!
Sir Ken Robinson has some provocative opinions about learning, education, and creativity. I ran across this video today during my summer studies, and I hope you consider his argument.
I support his quest for a new "Human Ecology" of seeking ways and means to be excellent stewards of human beings' potential, versus, as he puts it, the "strip mining" some current educational practices impose on students, some who are just bored and misunderstood.
Oddly, I find certain inconsistency with those, like Robinson, who find peculiar attraction to the popular notion that, for illustrative purposes, in 50 years the earth would be literally dead without the necessary insects who sustain biodiversity but ecologically thriving without the unnecessary human parasites. Robinson tags this biddy at the end of his otherwise outstanding remarks, and had he associated humankind's capability to destroy given human herd mentality, impatience, selfishness, forgetfulness, even sin, in context of human beings as special, the crowning creatures of creation... flawed, foolish, and inconsistent, yes, but still fearfully and wonderfully made, I would prefer such a framing. We are capable of the innovative changes for our mutual benefit that Robinson so thoughtfully presents. The best ways to implement such adjustment to our present practices is worthy of robust debate.
These are the official Summer Readings lists... as sanctioned by the powers that be. Reports of hand-distributed lists at the end of the school year, from vaunted faculty, in conflict with the official 2010 MUS Library link are to be heeded as dangerous to a student's Summer Reading fortunes. Any such list should be destroyed. If by chance Junior went ahead to purchase and read a book on a hand-distributed list in conflict with the official Library list, he' safe. His teacher can make a special test when testing begins in late August. Just retain the evidence of the conflicting list for our return.
The goal of Summer Reading is for the boys to cultivate a deeper appreciation for reading while reading good stuff. Please don't approach the assignment as a looming task to be avoided at all costs! The list has evolved with the tastes of the boys' current generation while maintaining what we deem to be important titles for their broader education and development. Maybe mom and dad can pick up a copy and read along? Enjoy!