31 January 2010

Student Testament on Facilitative Teaching

From Steve Miranda's Blog:

"Physics has been my favorite class this year by far. The reason? The way the class is taught (or not). Mr. Smith [not his real name] essentially allows us to learn the material (extraordinarily difficult) on our own. He’s there for guidance if we need it, but not there to pound the material down our throats.
“Maybe it’s just that I find myself actually enjoying physics, but I really like the ability to learn at my own pace. Essentially, I have all the resources available to me to learn as much or as little as I want to about physics, and for the first time in a long time, I’m gobbling up everything possible in a class, putting in my full effort. I’m doing well on the tests, and it has brought me to consider physics as a potential college major and career. I’m reading books about physics right now, and it’s the first time I’ve been reading for pleasure in a very long time."

Teaching with Your Mount Shut

27 January 2010

Girl Power

Here's a TED Talk from Eve Ensler that ends with a powerful poem that makes the difficult to hear stuff in the beginning worth it:

25 January 2010

Intro to Geo-Medicine

Here's a TEd Talk that introduces the field of geo-medicine:

16 January 2010

A Student's Perspective on Teaching

Below is an important distinction for teachers to think about. Steve Miranda is the teacher presenting a quote from one of his former students:

I received a note from a former student who was there when I threw out the traditional curriculum and began integrating more progressive pedagogy. She called it the time when I “stopped teaching”; I didn’t think that was accurate, so I told her so. Here’s her response:

“[A]s a clarification to “stopping teaching,” it was more that you stopped teaching us in the traditional way—here’s info, learn it (aka memorize it for a test and forget it 30 seconds after you put down your pencil and walk out of the room). Next. More info. Learn that. Test. Next. Etc etc. . . , and that you started actually EDUCATING us about the things that interested us, weren’t black and white, didn’t have a concrete answer, and weren’t able to be measured on a test. So I would like to modify my first phrase: you stopped being a person of higher ranking and constantly the one with superior intellect (aka, a traditional teacher), and became a person who was intelligent, open to ideas, and generally a human being who genuinely cared about the students, culture, and environment we are growing up in, versus the scan-tron happy teacher with the ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ stamp.”

Here's the original post.

13 January 2010

Empowering Children in India

This TED Talk is about by the founder of a school taking a simple idea to scale:

09 January 2010

Global Climate Argument

Here's a good basic approach to deciding what makes sense in regards to choosing what kinds of broad policy to support:

Part 1:

Part 2 (recapitulates Part 1, but addresses criticisms):

07 January 2010


Here's the most interesting research on longevity that I've ever seen: