What is Genius? Part 3: Tom, Marty and the Meaning of Life

Marty Dutcher, a colleague whose first career was early childhood education, told me about a guy named Tom he used to hang out with in his twenties. Tom especially liked to listen to Marty play the guitar.

On one day when Marty asked him to sing along, he said “I can’t. I’m tone deaf.”

“Who told you that,” asked Marty,

“My first grade teacher,” his friend replied.

“She was wrong. She shouldn’t have said that,” said Marty.

“No, really, I am.”

“No, really you are not. If you were tone deaf, you wouldn’t enjoy my music,” said Marty, who then proved to him that he wasn’t. Continue reading

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If You Come out of School Thinking You Are Not Creative, School Failed.

“I’m not one of those creative types,” said the Google analyst sitting next to me in Chicago’s O’Hare Airport waiting for our flight to San Francisco—delayed for an hour. Continue reading

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What is Genius? Part 2: Brian’s First Journey

Thirty-four years ago Brian and several of his first grade classmates were “put on the bleachers” after gym class for what Ms. Tough, the P.E. teacher, felt was some ‘inappropriate’ behavior. Then, it seems, she forgot they were there.  Recess came and went, and still they sat and waited as they were told. But after 20 minutes or so, Brian decided this had gone on long enough, went to the bathroom, and slipped out the back door of the gym unnoticed. Continue reading

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What is Genius? Part 1: Calli’s Love Life

Finding genius is not about finding ability. Finding genius is about unlocking the creative potential of the human brain.

Continue reading

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Positive Parenting vs Being a Parent = Reality Parenting

Reality Parenting

Bob and Carol have a blended family with two children each. Carol’s son Ben at 13 is the oldest of the four. Both parents work, so one of the challenges they have is having family time, all six of them together. Another challenge is finding time to be alone—just the two of them.

One Sunday, recently, Ben was ragging on his mother Continue reading

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Raising Competent Children Is Easier than Raising a Spoiled Brat

A teacher friend of mine recently transferred from a “Title One school to a school for Entitled Ones,” as she puts it. According to her the Title One children were generally appreciative, creative, resourceful and loving, the Entitled Ones (not all of them, of course) were demanding, unappreciative, disrespectful and very difficult to teach. Continue reading

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Thoughtfulness: Engaging Empathy to Build Strong Brains

Helen was playing in the sandbox in the park, when a brawl between a brother and sister broke out near her. Helen looked up from her work to see them arguing over a shovel, knocking each other to the ground. Continue reading

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Kids get Smarter Faster when they Make a Difference

Learning Mathematics in Real Life

How to behave in public is something the students at St. Paul’s Episcopal School in Oakland, California, practice daily on their two-block walk to the park for lunch, recess and physical education. Continue reading

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What’s the Role of Education in an Awesome Life?

What are the implications of this:

and this:

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How a Willful Child Can Become a Game Changing Leader (Hint: Have Fun Saying “No.”)

You can tell a good school from a bad one within minutes of walking in the door. All the humans are learning, and no one is making them. Everyone is taking responsibility.

Last June I walked through the gate in a chain-link fence that enclosed a mottled asphalt parking lot/playground and approached a steel door in a one-story brick building. A sign above the door read: Academy for Global Citizenship.

Buzzed in, I was immediately greeted by one of two busy people who escorted me down the hallway to the director’s office. I waited in the hallway so I could see what was going on. Continue reading

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