From the outset, RAIS facilitated courses on Thinking Skills, and Philosophy for Children with the aim of supporting parents, teachers, family support workers, and community workers to develop the thinking abilities of the children and young people that they work/live with.
However, it became apparent early on that many of the adults who attended these courses were not as confident or self-assured as we thought they might be – which was affecting their ability to make the most of the thinking strategies that they were learning.
Alongside the work to address the needs of girls in school through the GROW initiative, a number of organisations have asked for help with groups of boys displaying a variety of dysfunctional behaviors
By using a variety of approaches, including OutSmart, Teaching Thinking tools, and Self-Belief strategies, we have been able to encourage the boys to identify, articulate and start to modify some of these so-called “dysfunctions”
Out-SMART activities encourage an awareness of self and team by identifying problems and working through a series of outdoor challenges to foster an awareness of both self and team. The boys have articulated what a successful team might be and are then provided with a practical opportunity to display those skills. Feedback and evaluation is provided by the students themselves, against criteria they evolve.
A Little History
Minnesota was the first state to pass a charter school law in 1991. There are now charter schools in over 40 states. Charter schools are often found in high poverty, low academic achievement areas, but there are a growing number of charter schools in middle and upper-middle class neighborhoods as well.
Because charter schools often have special interests such as the arts, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), and classical education, they are growing in popularity across the socioeconomic spectrum.
1. Charter schools are public schools and are thus funded with public tax dollars. Charter schools, however, do not receive all the same funds that traditional public schools receive. For example, in some states, charter schools do not receive parcel/levy tax monies. These are additional taxes that are approved by homeowners/voters specifically allocated to local public schools. As a result of less funding, charter schools tend to pay lower salaries.
2. Charter schools are open enrollment, but there are often long waiting lists and lottery systems for entry. (more…)
There has been a fundamental change in how leadership is viewed over the last ten years. It is no longer merely the prerogative of those in power, but it is recognized that we all have within us leadership qualities.
If the organizations that we work within are to begin to move towards their potential then it is imperative that this leadership is developed in all, rather than merely in those in power. This is called leadership capacity, a key concept in successful schools, business’ and voluntary and community organizations.
The course is aimed at a wide range of adults working in schools, colleges, businesses, voluntary and community organizations. It is not solely aimed at people in management and leadership positions.
The full course is 10 to 12 hours in length and both the timing of it and the focus can be tailored to the needs of your organization. It could be 2 full day sessions or shorter two-hour sessions or a combination of both. There is an expectation that delegates will observe and reflect upon practice in their own organization.
First of all, Happy New Year to everyone. Let me tell you what's on my mind...New Year's Resolutions...But first:
Alisha loves her glasses. She wants them bigger and bolder and heaven helps you if you suggest she should wear contacts. She even tells us about her most favorite place to buy her (prescription) frames, Gentleman’s Breakfast.
Call me crazy, but I’m a firm believer that if you have to wear glasses, you should embrace your blindness and go bold. Coming from a family of women whom I rarely saw without some sort of combination of plastic and metal balanced on their nose bridges, I knew that I was sooner or later going to follow suit.
By 8th grade, I officially became a lopsided astigmatic, geeked that I would finally be able to pick out a pair for myself. Since that time, my affinity for having ”four eyes” has only grown.
I’ve worn glasses since I was 12 and would never ever go to contacts. Not only because I don’t like the idea of poking myself in the eye every day, but because I do love the way my sexy librarian glasses frame up my face. What about and your glasses? Is it love-hate or love-love?
They help put information into context
Napoleon invaded Russia. The Marshall Plan saved Europe. The Sumerians wrote on cuneiform. George Washington stopped the Whiskey Rebellion. W.E.B. Du Bois was a founder of the NAACP. Charles I was executed during the English Civil War. The Mormons settled in Utah.
Facts - students reading history textbooks encounter a dizzying and seemingly endless array of factual information. And for many, learning history soon defaults into a short-term memorization of factual snippets.
The larger context of historical themes and ideas remains murky at best, and after the test is over information is promptly jettisoned from their memories, as the students begin anew with the next chapter.
In contrast, successful learners in history search for connections and relationships among information as they study. Instead of being engulfed by a torrent of disjointed facts, they look for the "flow" of the information. In history textbooks, that "flow" tends to follow a problem/solution orientation.
Reviewing in pairs helps
"Could you run that by me again?" As mature learners, we know that understanding is not a one-step process. Often, we need to revisit what we are learning to make sure we "have it."
Therefore we return for a second look, to clear up any uncertainties and to mentally reconstruct the material so that it personally makes sense to us. Reflecting, clarifying, and paraphrasing are automatic responses during our learning.
In contrast, many students cling to the habit of taking only one trip through new material, whether they truly understand it or not.
They may become preoccupied with completing an assignment rather than pondering the meaning of a passage. As a result, their "trip" through the textbook becomes a race to get done. Homework may be accounted for, but these students close the book with only a vague notion of what they just read.
An interesting development of one area of the Radical Encouragement work has been events where clients have made specific requests for “hybrid” inputs. This seems to have grown for a number of reasons.
a) Trust developed over the number of years the project has been working
b) Belief in the quality of inputs provided
c) Confidence to ask for something a little different and knowing it will be
d) Building a successful partnership network
Examples where this has worked well, are included below (even where one group has engaged in a dialogue with another group, and this has led them into a working relationship with the RAIS team fostering the network relationships in the patch):
In 1991 Jim Moran PhD and his colleagues from Tennessee University published an article entitled: “Creativity in Early Childhood Classrooms.” In it they stated that, according to their research, the percentage of original responses offered by children during ‘brainstorming’ activities drops from about 50% among four-year-old's to 25% during the primary school years.
They concluded that the structured materials used in schools, and the instructions offered by teaching staff, reduced the flexibility of children and discouraged creativity. (Tegano, D.W., Moran, J.D. III, and Sawyers, J.K. (1991). Creativity in Early Childhood Classrooms. Washington, D.C.: National Education Association.)
Creative Thinking is a skill, it can be developed. A common perception is that we are born creative, not creative or somewhere in between and that is the end of the story. This is not so. It is something that we can become better at.
This course is designed to raise the aspirations of young women who have low self-esteem and a low sense of self-worth. It is closely linked to the Encouraging Self Belief course. It raises questions about behavior and beliefs and encourages young women to encourage themselves and others, through coaching, to identify and celebrate their talents. It encourages them to articulate their goals in life and to work towards making these goals a reality.
The course is designed for young women from age 11 and up. It is also suitable for older people who work with these women and wish to facilitate such programs themselves. The course involves a series of 6 sessions of one hour each. The sessions are relaxed and interactive focusing on building positive self-confidence, self-esteem and raising aspirations.
It can help young women make the transition to Secondary school or who are nearing the end of their school lives.