Starting today, the Shoah Foundation, an education group from the University of Southern California that disseminates information about the Holocaust to schools, will release a new activity, resource, or professional development opportunity, one per day, for the first 100 days of President Trump’s term of office. The initiative is called ”100 Days to Inspire Respect” and covers subjects including hate; racism; civil and human rights; community; respect; intolerance; women’s rights; immigrants and refugees; cross-cultural understanding; courage; violence and violent extremism; indifference through media; resilience; and civic responsibility. Activities range from a 15-minute writing exercise on stories that unite or divide peoples, to week-long studies that include reading testimonies from survivors of the Holocaust and the genocides that occurred in Rwanda, China, Armenia, and Guatemala.
This type of curriculum can help serve as a bulwark in the classroom against attempts by Trump and his administration to cloud the air with suspicion, hate, racism, bullying, and other attributes that are counter to America’s commitment to free speech, equality among peoples, and spirit of freedom.
Posted in Cross Cultural Issues, Education, Social Issues, Trump Watch
Tagged 100 Days to Inspire Respect, classroom resources, Donald Trump, free speech, Holocaust, learning activities, professional development, Shoah Foundation, Trump, Trump administration, Trump's First 100 Days
Check out the latest online edition of Education Week Teacher, which today published my article, ”5 Ways to Use Student Choice to Improve Learning.” In the piece, I focus on specific ways in which middle school and high school educators can provide more opportunities for students’ decision-making skills to be stimulated so that they are more likely to make good decisions outside of the classroom as well. The 5 strategies I focus on include:
- Letting students make choices about required reading assignments
- Involving students in decisions about school policy
- Providing opportunities for independent study
- Offering more electives
- Using student polling
The areas of the brain that control decision-making are the last to develop in late adolescence and early adulthood and are highly sensitive to environmental influences (a feature of the brain known as ”neuroplasticity”). This article hopes to convince teachers that educating the ”choice muscles” in student’s brain is as important as the content they’re learning in the classroom.
For more information about giving secondary students choices in the classroom, see my book The Power of the Adolescent Brain: Strategies for Middle and High School Teachers (ASCD, 2016).
Posted in Adolescence, Education, Human Development, Neuroscience
Tagged electives, high school, independent study, middle school, neuroplasticity, neuroscience and education, neuroscience and learning, secondary school, student polling, student voice, the adolescent brain, the teen brain, the teenage brain
Today I’m beginning a new category for my blog entitled Trump Watch. It will consist of blog posts specifically related to Donald Trump and how his pronouncements and policies affect learning and human development, especially as it relates to our children.
In a Tweet Thursday, Trump said that the U.S should greatly expand its nuclear capability. This may have been a response to a Vladimir Putin speech to Russian military leadership that Russia should increase its nuclear missile strength. Clearly, both leaders are engaged in a risky game of tit-for-tat that could escalate both arsenals and tensions between the two countries, and endanger the existence of everyone on the planet. In an earlier post, I had noted that the primary reason for not voting for Trump in the recent presidential election was that his erratic personality could increase the chance of an accidental or purposeful nuclear war, thus extinguishing our children’s chances to grow up and experience the opportunities in life that it is their birthright to have. Thus, Trump’s statement today clearly endangers our children’s lives. There can be no rational benefit to expanding our nuclear arsenal, since we already have enough warheads to put an end to virtually all life on earth (cockroaches and bacteria excepted). Thus, before he has even become our nation’s leader he has demonstrated an extreme level of irresponsibility to our nation’s (and the world’s) children.
In future Trump Watch blog posts, I’ll be looking at Trump’s education policies, and other aspects of his administration in terms of how it could affect our children’s learning and development, as well as the realization of human potential in each of us.