As regular readers know, I teach an International Baccalaureate “Theory of Knowledge” class. Our school structures our IB program a bit differently from many others by having a whole lot of students take individual IB classes and we have relatively few who are taking all IB classes in order to get the IB diploma. I really like this set-up, and it opens up my TOK class to a lot more students.
As I’ve said before, I can’t think of a high school class that would be more fun to teach or more fun to take…
‘What Money Can’t Buy’ and What it Shouldn’t Buy is a terrific interview of Harvard professor Michael Sandel about his new book, “What Money Can’t Buy.” It appeared on the PBS News Hour tonight (Part Two will be online tomorrow and I’ll post it here). I’ve embedded the video below, though I don’t know if it will show up in an RSS feed. If you go to the previous link you can also read the transcript. I’ve previously written about Professor Sandel’s new book and what he has to say about schools. I also use his work when we study ethics in our IB Theory Of knowledge class.
“Teenage Philosopher Defends Missing Her Curfew” is a must-read, very funny piece from McSweeney’s Magazine. It is perfect for an IB Theory of Knowledge class! I’m going to have students read it, and then work in pairs to find the meaning of each philosophical allusion in the article. It will be a fun activity near the end of the school year, and I’ll probably even make it a contest (I’m obviously not a fan of extrinsic rewards, but, in this case, I’ll make a very silly one).
I titled the post where I published this comic “There Are Dangers To Always Doing What You’re Told To Do….”:
Here are my choices for The Best Videos For Educators In 2012 — So Far:
Here’s a short video demonstrating Bloom’s Taxonomy through scenes from the movie, “Finding Nemo.” It only has still scenes for each level with a description, but it would be easy enough to show the scenes from a DVD or via Netflix and use this video as a guide:
And here’s Bloom’s Taxonomy (Revised) According to Homer Simpson. I’ve embedded the video below, though if it doesn’t show up on an RSS Readers you might have to click through to see it. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Helping Teachers Use Bloom’s Taxonomy In The Classroom, where it joins similar videos using clips from Star Wars, Seinfield and Pirates of the Caribbean to provide a similar light-hearted, but educational, perspective.I’ve written a lot about the work of Harvard Professor Michael Sandel. Here’s short video where he’s considering the question “Should we pay children to read?” He gets to the crux of the matter in the final couple of minutes:
I titled this video “Sometimes You Just Have To Take The Risk, Jump In, & Grab An Opportunity Because It May Not Be There For Long…”:
First, congratulations to LeBron James on his first NBA Championship.
Second, thanks to LeBron for spending so much reading and making it so public.
This really is an extraordinary video, and is tailor-made to use in an ESL class — it’s extremely engaging and has lots of different activities that students can describe and discuss. In fact, it’s engaging for anyone…. Unfortunately, it’s also a commercial for Coke, but the advertising part is very small at the end:
PBS released this wonderful remix of Mister Rogers:
“Farmers and gardeners know you cannot make a plant grow….The plant grows itself. What you do is provide the conditions for growth. And great farmers know what the conditions are and bad ones don’t. Great teachers know what the conditions for growth are and bad ones don’t.”
In this video, some ducklings were able to get over the curb on their own. However, several found that it was just too high. Look at how someone provides assistance to those having trouble, and how he doesn’t tell them what to do. Instead, he offers it as an option, as a choice they can make. It’s an example of an old community organizing axiom, “If you don’t give people the opportunity to say no, you don’t give them the opportunity to say yes, either.”
Diane Ravitch calls this video clip the “greatest single commentary on flaws of data-driven school reform today.” It is pretty darn good, I have to agree:
‘What Money Can’t Buy’ and What it Shouldn’t Buy is a terrific interview of Harvard professor Michael Sandel about his new book, “What Money Can’t Buy.”
It appeared on the PBS News Hour tonight (Part Two will be online tomorrow and I’ll post it here). I’ve embedded the video below, though I don’t know if it will show up in an RSS feed. If you go to the previous link you can also read the transcript.
I’ve previously written about Professor Sandel’s new book and what he has to say about schools. I also use his work when we study ethics in our IB Theory Of knowledge class.
For years, Switzerland had been trying to find a place to store its radioactive waste…. One location designated as a potential site was the small mountain village of Wolfenschiessen (population 2,100). In 1993, shortly before a referendum on the issue, economists surveyed the residents of the village, asking whether they would vote to accept a nuclear waste repository in their community if the Swiss parliament decided to build it there. Although the facility was widely viewed as an undesirable addition to the neighborhood, a slim majority (51 percent) of residents said they would accept it. Apparently their sense of civic duty outweighed their concern about the risks. Then the economists added a sweetener: suppose parliament proposed building the nuclear waste facility in your community and offered to compensate each resident with an annual monetary payment. Then would you favor it?
The result: support dropped to 25 percent. What’s more, upping the ante didn’t help. When the economists increased the monetary offer, the result was unchanged. The residents stood firm even when offered yearly cash payments as high as $8,700 per person, well in excess of the median monthly income.
I would strongly recommend reading his article (it’s not that long). Here are a few excerpts:
The most fateful change that unfolded during the past three decades was not an increase in greed. It was the reach of markets, and of market values, into spheres of life traditionally governed by nonmarket norms. To contend with this condition, we need to do more than inveigh against greed; we need to have a public debate about where markets belong—and where they don’t…..
….we should hesitate to put everything up for sale is more difficult to describe. It is not about inequality and fairness but about the corrosive tendency of markets. Putting a price on the good things in life can corrupt them. That’s because markets don’t only allocate goods; they express and promote certain attitudes toward the goods being exchanged. Paying kids to read books might get them to read more, but might also teach them to regard reading as a chore rather than a source of intrinsic satisfaction.
…. some of the good things in life are degraded if turned into commodities. So to decide where the market belongs, and where it should be kept at a distance, we have to decide how to value the goods in question—health, education, family life, nature, art, civic duties, and so on. These are moral and political questions, not merely economic ones.
…without quite realizing it—without ever deciding to do so—we drifted from having a market economy to being a market society….The difference is this: A market economy is a tool—a valuable and effective tool—for organizing productive activity. A market society is a way of life in which market values seep into every aspect of human endeavor. It’s a place where social relations are made over in the image of the market.
The great missing debate in contemporary politics is about the role and reach of markets. Do we want a market economy, or a market society? What role should markets play in public life and personal relations? How can we decide which goods should be bought and sold, and which should be governed by nonmarket values? Where should money’s writ not run?
And, since I began this post talking about my article in today’s Washington Post, I refer to the use of “magical solutions” that end up making things worse as a hallmark of many school reform efforts, and use Disney’s animated classic “Fantasia” as a metaphor (allegory?). Here’s the scene from the movie I write about:
I’ve put the word “motivating” in quotation marks for this post because I hate the word. Here’s how I put it in a previous post:
Anytime I hear or read about “motivating students,” I cringe a bit.
An organizing truism (one that I learned during my twenty-year community organizing career) is that you might be able to bribe, cajole, badger, or threaten somebody to do something over the short-term (I’ve certainly done my of that, and I’ve written about the negative results). But I don’t think you can really “motivate” anybody to do anything beyond a very, very, very short timeline, after which the initial enthusiasm quickly dissipates.
However, you can help another person find what will motivate themselves.
The posts in this “The Best…” list more of my thinking around this perspective.
You might also want to check-out articles I’ve written on this topic for other publications (some have similar titles, but different content):
Dan Pink was interviewed on CBS, and it really gets at some key elements of motivation and goal-setting. There’s nothing new there for people familiar with his work, but it’s a great piece to show to colleagues and to students. I’ve embedded it below, though am not sure if it will show-up in an RSS Reader: