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Showing posts from May, 2013

It takes a team

By Dale Blyth In sports, we know that it takes a variety of skills to win, and a variety of players to make a team. So why do we measure the success of every student by comparing their scores on the same few tests, all of them cognitive? We know intuitively that success, whether in school or life, depends on many factors -- intelligence, academic skills, personality, and relationships. Paul Tough calls this oversimplification of skills the cognitive hypothesis. It can cause us to ignore anything but math and reading scores in our push to close the achievement gap or create a work force for the 21st century. Research increasingly shows factors such as grit, self-control, the ability to work with others, and sense of self-efficacy are critical for success of many types (see for example the National Research Council's report Education for Work and Life . Yet we continue to seek to oversimplify what it takes to succeed. Team sports are all around us. Even people who do not

Leading the way with vision

By Mark Haugen Leadership isn't only about action; it is a perspective through which we see the world. Leadership shapes our thoughts, strategies, actions and commitments. In my last blog post , I compared the roles of manager and leader and questioned if you can be both for your program. I believe the answer is yes. Leadership and management are not opposites, but more like two eyes that provide binocular vision. If you allow the two perspectives, management and leadership, to shape your vision you will be able to achieve a higher level of understanding of your program. Similar to how two eyes provide depth perception, a high-level leader and manager can address a topic with a significant depth of understanding. How do we assure that we see things "with both eyes open"? According to Kouzes and Posner, 75 percent of people expect their leaders to be forward thinking, but executives spend only 3 percent of their time thinking about the future! How do we set aside th

Reaching new youth audiences through partnerships

By Joanna Tzenis Community-based programs are great at connecting with local youth. Universities have deep pockets and organizational infrastructure. Partnerships between them can combine these strengths. In a previous blog post , I discussed how all youth can and do benefit from youth programs, but they are disproportionately valuable to the welfare of low-income or marginalized youth. Ironically, there is a shortage of youth programs designed for this audience. How can a large organization connect with youth locally? Research suggests that the key to engaging new audiences in youth programs lies in partnerships. There is a need for universities to partner with smaller, autonomously funded youth programs because these programs are most effective at reaching youth in high-risk situations. Autonomously funded youth-serving organizations historically do an exceptional job at reaching low-income youth audiences because they are so tightly embedded in the communities they serve. But

What's your teaching philosophy?

By Nicole Pokorney Identifying your teaching philosophy -- your style, teaching goals, how you assess learning -- can have myriad benefits. A class I'm taking this spring has introduced me to the concept of the teaching philosophy. In my 20 years as a non-formal educator, I have thought a lot about how and why I teach, but I have now fully experienced the power of documenting and sharing that philosophy. Why should non-formal educators understand and develop their own teaching philosophy? Barbara Bowers, a nursing professor at University of Wisconsin - Madison, in a Chronicle of Higher Education article says, ". . . the purpose of the teaching statement is to be self-reflective, to identify where you might need some help from others, or you might need to do a little more work on your own to improve, and to look at which of your strategies are effective and which ones aren't." The purpose of a teaching philosophy is both summative and formative, according to