If You Could Be Part Of Creating A Truly Life Changing Event, Would You Be Interested?

Rarely do we have an opportunity to participate in being a part of creating a life changing event. When I think of those enormous life changing events I’m talking about the discovery of insulin in 1921 by Banting and Best or Fleming who developed penicillin in 1928. Being more basic the wheel was invented around 3500 years before Christ walked the earth. X-rays, telephones, computers, the internet, gun powder, fire, medical vaccines for polio, and electricity were really milestones that would be considered vital to the development of human beings. Some would argue that splitting the atom was the single-most important thing that we ever did when we think about all of the things that came from that achievement. There is no question that these are examples of massive importance and there are arguments pro and con for so many other inventions and innovations.

However, here we are today with a rare opportunity to influence one of the most important developmental shifts in our existence as human beings and I’d wager that very few people are even aware of what I ‘m talking about nor would they equate it to something that they are capable of  influencing or contributing to.

Everyday so many parents send their children off to a building somewhere where there are professional educators responsible for enlightening their kids and expected to prepare them for what?  When I have asked the following  questions of some teachers, some parents or business people “What is the purpose of education?” or “What is the goal of education”? no one has been able to provide a clear concise answer. So the question remains–why do we send our kids off to be educated? 

Most parents did mention ‘to make sure that the kids can get a good job and be employable.’ Others say so that they can be self sufficient and provide a good life for their families. Nothing wrong with that but many of the kids themselves aren’t buying it. They want so much more and aren’t getting it. If that was all it is about for them they could learn enough studying the internet to gain enough information to “pass” school exams. We are turning out too many kids who don’t feel that their educations, or what is passing for an education, is doing anything more than turning out robots who are being programmed to learn the same things as each other to produce a uniform work force for industry. If this sounds familiar its the same idea–the same thinking–that was put forth over 100 years ago. The goal for educating our kids seems to be the same now as it was during the Industrial Age in Europe. Although the world has changed dramatically, due to the amazing growth of technology, the way we prepare our children to survive in that new world hasn’t changed much at all.

Please consider the rise in student drop out rates, why do so many college graduates find it difficult to get a job, why is there more gang growth and gang violence, more suicides among our young folks, more instances of mental/emotional illness, and a waning interest in our children when it comes to being excited about learning in general. We often hear our kids saying “why do I have to learn this stupid stuff” or “I hate this stuff-I could care less about this or that”? Our kids have their own ideas and goals about their futures but folks don’t appear to be listening. The school system has its own ideas about what they–the learners need to learn and how they need to learn it. Rote learning is still the popular delivery system despite all the indications and evidence to the contrary.

There is so much more to say about this topic. You can go to my web site at jimcloughley.com for more information about this but consider that our educational system is trying to prepare our kids for a life and a future by employing an approach that is out dated and irrelevant.  We have no idea at all about what job market and opportunities will exist because technology is changing so quickly. J0bs available now may not exist in two or three years so how can an old approach satisfy the qualifications needed to succeed? How will our children succeed if they are not ready or educated to succeed. Our success as a race–the Human Race–depends upon our ability to adapt and prepare the next generation of thinkers, innovators, creators, problem solvers and collaborators. It is up to us to make sure they have all the tools they need to get that job done and right now we are not doing a very good job of making that happen. The old system trains our kids to retain data–to memorize stuff.

How much of what you learned in high school do you remember today? Not much would be my guess. What is needed and right now is the creation of a new paradigm concerning how and what our children are learning. We need to be teaching our kids HOW TO LEARN and not WHAT TO LEARN. They will take care of the rest on their own. They are so much smarter than we give them credit for.

If learning more as a parent or as a student is important to you–If you want to find out how you can be a part of this extremely unique opportunity to shape the world in a new way-and we can do this-become informed about what is coming so that you can contribute to this rare but necessary shift in thinking. Go to Google and type in learner-centered education.

I’ll be writing a great deal more about this new opportunity to influence our survival in the weeks to come.

Anyways, that’s how I see things.

All the best, Jim        Please send any thoughts or comments to me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com or go to jimcloughley.com

Thanks for stopping by–

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes Our Most Important Messages Come From The Least Expected Places . . .

I am grateful to be back and able to pass along some wisdom that I learned contained in an email that a friend sent me. I can’t even say who authored it. But it turned out to be very important to me at a time when I needed to make sense of what was happening around me.

It has been said that we are likely to feel most alive the closer we get to death. I agree. Recently I experienced some news regarding a health issue that lead me to believe it was entirely possible I was living on borrowed time and there was very little that I could do to change that reality.

I recognized how easy it is for  some of us to get so caught up in ‘living’ our lives on a day-to-day basis that we overlook or pay little attention to what are the most important lessons for us to really focus on. We spend so much valuable time trying to make up for past mistakes or we paint ourselves as people who are unworthy of having a good life. What I realized in this time is that each new day is an opportunity that I deserve to begin a new way of living and that I and only I can make that happen for me. I said more than once to myself during this time that if I got another chance to live my life again I would be much more  attentive to what are REALLY the important things in life. Many of us we believe that if we ‘get on with life-if we get down off the meat hook we have been displayed on for much too long’ that that somehow makes us terrible self centered egotistical people who are not decent human beings. It is difficult to live a life of service to humanity or to enjoy simple moments of pleasure with friends if we can’t get passed some punishing idea that somehow we should never forgive ourselves.

I mentioned an email I received earlier. Six short ‘stories’ which remind me of how important each of us is to each other. We have wisdom to share and gifts to grant to each other as well..

“SIX LITTLE STORIES”

{1}

Once all the villagers decided to pray for rain.

On the day of prayer all the people gathered,

but only one boy came with an umbrella.

That’s FAITH.

It is important for me to live my life by what I believe to be true for me and not to get caught up in what others think of me or would wish for me. My faith is a result of recognizing that we have to be ready to accept good things into our world and we never know when that will happen. If we are not ready for it we could miss it when it comes to us.   

{2}

When you throw babies in the air,

they laugh because they know you will catch them.

That’s TRUST.

We have very little if we don’t earn the trust of others. When someone we care about gives us their trust we have earned something very special in deed. Real trust is to be valued and honored. But should we lose that trust that doesn’t make us ‘bad’ people. We are not perfect. We will make mistakes. It does, however, indicate that we have much to learn about who we are before we go hoping for trust again. 

{3}

Every night we go to bed

without any assurance of being alive the next morning,

but still we set the alarms to wake up.

That’s HOPE.

I see many people walking around who have a far away look in their eyes. They look, talk, and walk like they have given up on life or they believe that life has given up on them. I would suggest these are people with little or no hope in their lives. It saddens me to see that because I understand it doesn’t have to be that way. Awful things happen to us I agree. But if we are not able to see the good in others or to witness the good deeds of others we are already dead. Look into the eyes of a newborn and you will see hope.   

{4}

We plan big things for tomorrow

in spite of zero knowledge of the future.

That’s CONFIDENCE.

How can we know what the future holds for us? That’s why it’s called the future. If we look around us we see fascinating things happen to others all the time. We hear stories of miracles all the time. Just being alive is a miracle for some. Miracles can happen to us as well but never will if we don’t believe they can. We have to be ready to receive them. Have you ever done something nice for someone just because . . . ? What did that feel like? Good I’ll bet. Just when you were feeling sad or depressed you were able to feel ‘good’ because you did something other than worry or feel sorry for yourself. Good things can happen if we open the door and let them into our hearts. 

{5}

We see the world suffering,

but still we get married and have children.

That’s LOVE.

The world truly can be a terrible place full of suffering but love is about us and not about them. We don’t need to live by what others  think or do-at least not in our hearts.

{6}

On an old man’s shirt was written a sentence

‘I am not 80 years old

I am sweet 16 with 64 years of experience.’

That’s ATTITUDE.

A little bit of attitude can go a long way to getting what you want. It is attitude which determines the quality of our lives and that is something that you can control. 

Have a happy day and live your life like the six stories.

All the best, Jim

Comments welcomed-send them to jim.lifechoice@gmail.com. and I’ll get back to you.

This Guy Knew What He Was Talking About . . .Immigration Made Easy

Its good to be back.

I thought I’d return with an article I posted quite a while ago. It’s topic has been in the news for much longer. We seem to be having a tough time trying to figure out who we are, who we want to be and how we want to be seen in the free world.  Our politicians find it more challenging telling the truth rather than keeping their word. Spin has become an ugly term and one that we should never get used to.

I’m not a big fan of the politicians of the day. Politics has changed quite a bit in the last decade or so becoming, in my humble opinion, much more self serving, egotistical, and about how to get re-elected and much less about how to maintain Canada’s reputation as being trustworthy. Too much ‘ political correctness’ is making a mockery of the idea that we are being ‘progressive’ when we have clearly gone over the top and super sensitive. We have failed, miserably, at trying to be all things to all people.

One such example of this failing is the whole topic of immigration and how we have really ‘bastardized’ what was a great and generous idea-one that truly recognized the need to ‘share our wealth’ but maintain our domestic loyalty to those who fought for and wanted to remain true to their heritage and culture. We have ignored a great opportunity to live what we say we stand for by how we have treated our indigenous citizens. We certainly have discriminated against our Indigenous People by showing more compassion for off shore immigrants to our fair land. There are approximately 1.7 million Indigenous People living in Canada. In the last 10 years we have granted status to 2.6 million immigrants.  But that will be an article for another day.

We continue to ‘move the goal posts’ regarding any clear program governing immigration to date. We have created a mess that acts by different rules and philosophies day-by-day. I am a solid supporter of inviting immigrants to share our land, constitution, our riches and the opportunity to be free to be who they are or want to be. 

What saddens me is the price we paid and continue to pay for our generosity. Our governments position on immigration is untenable especially when we consider the complete and continued bungling of the homelessness and youth homelessness issues that plague our fair land.

My suggestion: Let’s get back to a document created by our 7th Prime Minister who ruled from 1896-1911. He knew THEN that we needed to be aware of what runaway immigration could do to us as a nation and outlined a very practical, reasonable, compassionate and simple but effective policy that was both fair and gracious.

Please read this with an open mind.

WORDS FROM 1907

This article was written over a century ago . . . . . so it has stood the test of time. It is short, and to the point. Here’s what Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier thought of the immigrants wanting to become Canadians in 1907.

First of all we must insist that the
> immigrant that comes here is willing to become a Canadian
> and is willing to assimilate our ways, he should be treated
> on equal grounds and it would be shameful to discriminate
> against such a person for reasons of their beliefs or the
> place of birth or origin. But it is the responsibility of
> that person to become a Canadian in all aspects of life,
> nothing else but a Canadian. There can be no divided
> allegiance here. Any man who says that he is a Canadian, but
> tries to impose his customs and habits upon us, is not a
> Canadian. We have room for only one flag, the Canadian flag.
> There is room for only two languages here, English and
> French. And we have room for loyalty, but only one, loyalty
> to the Canadian people. We won’t accept anyone, I’m
> saying anyone, who will try to impose his religion or his
> customs on us.Wilfrid Laurier, 1907

For me it is quite simple but I would add some clarification. If you are looking for a place where you can sleep at night and not worry about being kidnapped or shot, where you can be sure that you will have the opportunity to succeed and excel at just about anything you want to do, if you are interested in finding peace, freedom, friendship good healthcare and open education where your family is safe then Canada is the place where you should choose to live. If you choose us-great. But leave you biases and your ideas about changing us to suit you behind. I don’t want what you are leaving. That’s why we are here and you are not. Join us-please. No one is saying you cannot live your customs and your culture here. Enjoy your own church and wear your own clothing style but be willing to allow us to live what you had dreamed of having when you decided to come here. I do not want to be you. I do not want to live my life according to your ways. We fought to have and be who we are. If you want to live among us then get used to the idea that you are free to join us or not but do not try to make me–you.

Yours truly, and with pride in country, James Cloughley

Anyways, that’s how I see things. Direct comments to jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

 

Get Him Outta Here . . .

It wasn’t that long ago in real terms but it seems like a life-time ago that Donald Trump was elected king south of the border. When his journey, and our nightmare started, I remember a rally he was at where he had security toss out a dissenter. He uttered those famous words ‘throw that guy outta here–yeh throw him out.’ Thus began his constant assault on freedoms and rights and it has not slowed since. He has managed to discredit the media in the eyes of many and once that happens we are all screwed.  He has not been kind to the country or the world for that matter. He spreads chaos and discontent wherever he goes. For me, he re-in-forces the belief that money cannot and does not by class.

Beyond that, however, and if that is not enough, a growing number of people suggest that he will go down as one of the all time worst representatives of the US people and what they used to stand for in the world. He has sold out the reputation the US had cultivated and held so dear–that the country was fair, powerful and could be innovative. Now they are just bullies.

Sadly those in a position to sanction him choose not to do that. Perhaps for the fear he will find a way to survive or the promise of mutual greed or both–you choose. Instead they support the idea of  combining politics and economics to create foreign policy at the expense of their own (declining popularity) support base. When interviewed he continues to prove his basic ignorance of several key issues and the environment is one of those issues. He has no clue about what his policies are doing nor, I believe, does he care. His support and pressure to support pipe lines, coal fired energy generators ( he promised 8 key coal producing states that he would put them back to work and 7 states believed him. Wyoming,West Virginia,Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Montana, Texas, Indiana) and the growth of nuclear energy by building new reactors is dangerous not to mention costly and time consuming.

It takes approximately 5-6 years to build a nuclear reactor at an estimated cost of 8-9 billion dollars. Instead of investing in a future for his people that would ensure much more affordable energy with a never ending supply of renewable energy he chooses to cow tail to Saudi Arabia and the other oil producing and pollution producing countries around the globe that will continue to have the power to influence global policy by withholding or reducing oil supplies. Russia and China come to mind. I don’t look forward to those two having a say in how we live our lives according to which Autocracy you wish to listen to.  If we don’t believe that those two countries don’t have any sway with the Middle East producers then we are not paying attention to world politics. The evidence is there for us to see. Consider Trumps’ ‘kiss me quick’ relationship with Putin and the hollow threats of meaningful sanctions against China.

I have included a video link-about 3:30 in length that deserves our attention. Please watch it and then ask yourself why are we, here in Canada, not considering investing in the product outlined in the video rather than considering other more costly and environmentally disruptive and destructive sources of energy. If this process is what it reports to be it seems like a no brainer to me. It makes perfect sense to develop an industry that other countries would seriously consider using–almost zero emissions, cheaper, cleaner, would replace gas for our trucks, cars and airplanes with minimal disruption for auto makers, virtually an endless supply of basic product that currently causes a great deal of concern for our overall health (co2) and the health of the planet, and one that we would not have to spend a great deal of financial resources on trying to figure out how to minimize it’s presence.

How about you?

Anyways, that’s how I see things. Thanks for stopping by, All the best, Jim

Send me your comments–jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

(Image used by Getty  Images/istockphoto–I derive no financial benefit from the use of this image. It is used for education, research or criticism purposes)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/b-c-company-says-it-is-sucking-carbon-from-air-making-fuel-1.4696817

 

 

 

 

Are Our Lives Really Just A Day Long . . ?

As I have come to understand my life started out as most do. I woke up and it was dark as usual. It seemed like I had been asleep or resting for a long time. Then all I remember was I was moving. I was going somewhere and it was a bumpy ride. I wasn’t liking this much. All of a sudden I noticed this small light ahead. It kept getting bigger and bigger-brighter and brighter until-BANG-I was in a whole different place. Some of me was in-some of me was out (I think it was out) and it was cold. There was a lot of noise now and I was not happy about being here. Before I knew it the long ride was over. Hands were all over me and then someone smacked me and I wanted to scream Hey!What’d I do? Someone picked me up and I felt warmer. Well I wasn’t sure about whether or not I was going to like this place so I started to wail. What I really wanted was to go back to familiar territory. One thing for sure was I was hungry. At least I think that’s what I felt-hunger? Next thing I knew I ended up with this big soft thing that I could put my head on and if I squeezed it stuff would come out. It was warm and not bad.

This was the beginning of my day known as “Morning.” (the morning of my life)

Time passed me by and I got to the point where I was tired of being carried around so the first chance I had I started to learn about being mobile. Big people that I had come to recognize as my parents helped me and soon I was able to go from here to there with little injury.

Soon I went to a place where other people like me were hanging out. They were dealing with the same issues as I was. Bathrooms and what was supposed to happen in there. Not being able to capture that thing with legs but didn’t look like any of us was frustrating and when I did get it and pulled it’s head it got angry and other people rushed to take it away from me.

Sooner it seemed I went to a place called school but I saw less of the people who used to spend a great deal of time with me and then I started to ride a thing called a bus. That was fun for a while. I went to a “bigger school” with crazier people although some of them did things that made me laugh.

I think they called my next stop “public school.” My days seemed longer-sometimes really hot-sometimes really cold and sometimes not much fun. One day my parents told me I had to “work” doing things around the house. Most of that entailed cleaning up messes that I had made. Then I had to learn how to be nice? to other people. I didn’t know why but they said it was the right thing to do-so I did it. Turned out they were right. The longer I was around the more they taught me and the more I felt OK doing it. As it turned out I stopped going to these “smaller schools” and started to go to bigger places with more people than ever and I was learning strange stuff I really didn’t want to know about.  This time space, as it turned out, was called the “Afternoon” of my life.  This was really a great time for me. Freedom to do what I wanted. I met some interesting people who dressed and talked differently than I. Some wore dresses, some had long hair, some had beards and mustaches and some were called “hippies”. Music was great, I entered a relationship with alcohol and cannabis which I believed would lead me to a greater understanding of the universe. Truthfully it ended up being a most tumultuous relationship and not always ending well. I learned that girls were more fun to be around than they used to be and I learned about respecting other peoples opinions and values and rights. Along about this point I started to tune out most of the adult voices in my life in favor of  younger more dymanic voices. This was my second great mistake. I stopped listening to my parents and older folks figuring they were out of step and didn’t know what people like me needed to know. I missed so much of their wisdom and knowledge. They had been where I was going. I regret that decision now.

Eventually it became time to get serious about how my life was going to be spent and I started on a career path that was an awful choice. I did it for a long time reconciling the choice with the idea that this is what folks do to raise a family and buy a home and have toys and things. I learned that I alone was responsible for being the author of my own story. As it turned out it was a great time to be alive. There was a vibrancy all round. I needed my parents to guide me and to listen to me but I never asked them. I thought I knew better. I didn’t.

I had my family and changed my career in mid stream-good move. I had struggled to learn but learn I did. I managed to get it right, at least for me, and I’m good with how it all turned out. This has been and continues to be the“Evening” of my day. I’m still healthy; I still have enough energy to do most of what I want and most of the time the means to do it. I realized some successes and I continue to use some good advice “from back there” that, somehow stuck with me.

The last stage of my day is “Twilight” and although I’m not there yet I will be soon enough.

There are seven points that I’d like to share:

  • value what you have learned no matter how you learned it.
  • never pass up a chance to learn something new-even at this stage of your day.
  • don’t get caught up with what others are doing or not doing.
  • don’t suffer stupid people easily.
  • never forget who your friends are.
  • patience is often over rated.
  • time is your most valuable resource

Anyways, that’s how I see things. Thanks for stopping by, All the best, Jim

jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

 

 

What’s The Big Deal With Killing ?

Quick-get your guns so we can kill these animals. The little ones will be big ones soon anyway so what’s the difference?

There is so much killing going on everywhere these days and I am having a hard time understanding why. I get it on some level. People are  frustrated and resentful and mean spirited and angry–so much anger abounds. We seem to be losing the spiritual and emotional connection we had with life not too long ago. Life meant something as a standard. That’s what concerns me the most. What are we doing to each other animals or humans and why? To experience what satisfaction? What do we get out of blowing some innocent animal or person away just because we can?

Within the past week there was a shooting in Toronto where a young woman (18) was shot dead and a ten year old died as well. Many others were taken to local hospitals and cared for with many receiving emergency and life saving treatment. Then I see a picture of some rich kid standing in front of her latest conquest. She had managed to kill a rare black giraffe–oh wow-good for her! Some feat this was. She was pictured in front of the dead animal after, no doubt, doing a victory lap. She was quoted as saying her prayers had been answered. Rack up another one for GOD I guess. For her part she had been tracking a giraffe, with the help of a guide who should be ashamed of himself or herself, armed with a high powered rifle and a scope sight that could see a flea from 300 yards. Now there is a challenge for ya. My point in question here is the skilled and talented huntress gets a pat on the back by those as sad as she is and the man who shot all these people gets labelled with a mental health disorder of some kind and yet they both indiscriminately murdered living creatures. We are not talking here about ants or spiders either. So my question is what is it about murdering living things that gets some people all jacked up. If it’s about the culmination and thrill of the hunt then hunt with freakin’ camera bozo. Shoot a frame and not a bullet.

Look at the picture of this lioness. Look at her posture and the look on her face and tell me that she doesn’t love her offspring just the same as the human parent who lost her child or children. Does this lioness feel pain when she knows that her babies are dead? I’m thinking she does. One is called sport and the other a tragedy. They are both tragedies to me. Why do we have to kill anything at all in order to feel ‘good’ or excited. There is something terribly wrong with that. Get some help. Really.

The truly amazing part of all this, to me, is that we are no closer to understanding the purpose–the rational–the satisfaction of killing other entities at will. Is it about “just because you can?” Do people become mass murderers as a result of a mental illness of some kind? No. There are many who slaughter others who are quite “sane”-so what’s going on with them?

When I think about young folks who are violent and who commit murder and mayhem on our streets and in our homes how much has social media , music, videos, movies, electronic games, horrible role models who are more evident every day who are obviously above the law, those who never seem to be held accountable for their behaviour and their decisions contributed to the newly developed “violent entitlement” culture of the young.

As parents perhaps our permissive parenting model needs some adjustments and the initial goals of pursuing that model need re-tooling a bit. This isn’t about blame this is about moving the pendulum back to the middle of the spectrum. Perhaps that move back needs to include more discussion about the sanctity of life for all creatures not just some.

Anyway, that’s how I see things–all the best, Jim

Comments will find me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

(Photo image used under the “Fair Use” provision. I derive no financial benefit from the use of this image)

Teacher Centered Education vs. Learner Centered Education . . . ? Part 1

I will admit that the image I used at the top of the article is a bit overstated but not by much. Not every classroom looks like this regarding student interest but most are not too far removed from this image either. The point is there are some and that’s too many. After how many years of “investigating” alternate methods of educating our children we have come up with very little that would constitute any meaningful change and the learners in our school systems would likely agree. There has been a great deal of press coverage that has not done a creditable job outlining or explaining the new thinking about transforming education. It is so much more than just providing information and data and expecting the kids to pick it up or understand it in some form that they might be able to use somehow-someday-perhaps. The kids are telling us what they need and to date we have only paid them lip service.

I fully support, endorse, agree, and hope that we can find a way to listen to what our kids and the experts who know what needs to happen to move ahead are saying. We need to begin transforming education and the methods by which our kids are supposed to learn.

The place to start is to provide a simple, clear, no double speak and easy to understand description of the two options one of which is most likely to be implemented.

The first option is to tinker with what is happening and has been happening for a very long time. This option would see a minimum of change take place and not much improvement in the outcomes. Classrooms would continue to be served by one teacher generally at the front of the classroom who requires the learners (students) to be quiet and focused and to pay attention to what he/she is saying. This person is often referred to as the “sage on the stage.” The second option would represent wholesale change in that there is no “talking head or sage on the stage” but rather an educator who presents information by many different means–eg. technology, u-tube presentations, experiential methods–“Do and learn” instead of “learn and do.”

Many parents and the general public for that matter have been told a slightly different story about what a learner centered program VS. a teacher centered program is about.

Some of the misconceptions about a learner centered program suggest that the students will only study what they want. Many believe that kids aren’t mature enough to create a course of study that will be of use to them when they enter college or university. In fact the concern is that they will not be prepared to succeed at that level. Yes there will be some major changes in the study programs–certainly curriculum  will be different and yes the students will have choices about what they want to study according to their interests, skills and talents. Why would they study programs and try to incorporate information/data that they believe has no relevance to their ambitions or life goals. Although the challenge is about deciding and understanding the choices they make the other challenge is to decide HOW they will receive the data or information in a way that makes sense to them and that they understand. Here we are discussing the “pedagogy”–the method used or the practice exhibited when “teaching.” The old system would have students sit still, be quiet, allow the teacher to be in total control of dialogue and discussion. A new learner centered program would turn that around so that the students could speak, discuss, ask questions, work in groups thereby developing their skills regarding collaboration, communication and investigation but most of all it provides an opportunity for the learner to feel that they are in control or have some control of their lives, what they decide and which area of interest they want to pursue. This is as it should be. They want to be equal partners in the choices and decisions they are expected to make concerning their futures.

In the movie “Whose Life Is It Anyways” Richard Dreyfuss helps the audience see that we are each given a life which is unique to us and because it belongs to us we have a right to spend it as we choose.  It would be easy for a conversation about this topic to branch off in all directions. The point remains that we may not agree with the choices our children make about their education or any other decisions for that matter but as long as those decisions don’t encroach upon the rights of others to do the same–meaning make decisions that they believe are made in their own best interest, we really don’t have much to say unless asked for our opinion or feedback.

This is a 2 part series. Next week we will look at a variety of topics including:

–doing away with the need for homework; doing away with standardized testing; eliminating the use of “grades (grade 10 or grade 11 etc.) and grading in general; what it means to educate the ‘whole’ learner and who are the hard-to-serve learners? I’m sure there will be other topics as well.

We may not want to think about it but education and doing it in concert with the new social times is more crucial to address–NOW– than important issues such as poverty, homelessness, political correctness, immigration and on. This is not to take away from the importance of those other issues but this one is the one that will help solve the other social issues of our time.

Anyways, that’s how I see things.

I welcome your views so please send comments to jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

All the best, Jim

(use of the photo image by ‘getsomezzz.blogspot.com’ used for research, educational or criticism purposes. I derive no financial benefit from the use of this image)

 

 

It’s Time For Parents To Do This . . .

I have struggled mightily to stay out of the darkness that surrounds Donald Trump and for the most part I think I’ve done OK. I won’t waste much of your time here going on about him. He isn’t worth our time actually but again but one never knows what he will say next. I’m not sure even he knows. We need to ask a couple of questions: “Is he a joke for our time or is he a person to be concerned with in our time?” I don’t think he will be remembered for anything that he did that was good for our time. We do, however, need to protect or insulate ourselves against the possibility that his rhetoric doesn’t infect our sense of positive world citizenship.

As Canadians we should be very concerned about whatever drivel comes out of his mouth and yet he is, in many ways, in control of what happens to us here. However, there is one institution that he can’t or hasn’t affected–yet–and that is our educational system. How we educate our children and how we create our futures. I do believe that certain aspects of our culture could be at risk. That’s why I feel there is an urgency for us to re-write/re-create the pedagogy concerning how we teach our children and curriculum concerning what we teach our children. But in order to do that we have to re-write or re-create a new direction and basis for what we do in our schools from public school to university. There needs to be a new focus and a new method in place that allows our children to have a say for themselves what they are excited about learning so they can continue to move toward the eventual enlightenment and enthusiasm that comes from a desire to have a meaningful place in the society they want to live in. Up to now we have managed to provide just enough interest in the mainstream student to continue to move ahead and not settle for complacency. That complacency is what concerns me about people like Trump who has the power to do almost anything he likes and no common sense to know what to do with it. It’s like having someone flip a loaded gun around with the safety off.

Education will be the worlds salvation-of this I have no doubt. Those who believe the same need to rise up and be heard. We need to be sure that our children have a chance to develop their own innovative opportunities, to trust in their own creativity, decency and the value of the global participation of like thinkers. We need to be focusing on taking care for those who can’t yet and we need to come to the place where we understand that better for “them” means “better for all.” There is close to 8 hundred million humans walking around on Mother Earth who are illiterate who would see life much differently if they could read and write. Marginalising them is not the answer.

There are pockets of people on the planet who are beginning to move toward this progressive way of seeing the world but that movement is fragile at best. It needs more fuel to feed the fires of change. We do that by managing our educational systems much more closely and we become much more interested in how our kids are doing when looking at other children in other parts of the world. We guard against the complacency that still exists and the blind trust that “they” will do right by us. “They” are those who have the power and control over how education is done today. How we educate our children is not working well now. We have been doing “education” this way for the last 100 years and it no longer suits the overall needs of today’s learner. So says the learners who have gone through the system and so says much of the marketplace who are looking for more soft skill capabilities from graduates.

As parents we need to scrutinize the curricula that our children are exposed to and whether the methods of teaching are appropriate for the times. Our kids need to be enjoying the opportunity that school provides them to learn, how to think and to be innovators and creators and not be deterred by those who would be critical and closed minded. Parents are the ones who can do this by supporting their children’s efforts to be those free thinkers. Kids need to be allowed to choose their own field of interest based on what excites them. It is their life not ours to spend. Some will err no doubt. Some will not accept the responsibility of choosing for themselves-no doubt. But so many more will decide to work on finding ways to solve the poverty and fresh water problems. They will work collaboratively to help solve the worlds issues and are more likely to support diversity and what being human really is about regardless of where folks live. We just need to look around and listen to what our children are doing these days to see that they are more interested in global issues than making large sums of money in a career that has no life in it.

You want to make a difference? You want to be an important part of your child’s growth into adulthood then get to the town hall meetings coming up in your area and ask the candidates what they think about the state of education in your area or province. Vote for the ones that see it as in need of change. If they have no thoughts about it then DON’T put an “X” beside their name. They don’t have your kids best interest or yours at heart.

I have been asked to contribute to this topic a bit more often so I will. Thanks for stopping by.

Anyways, that’s how I see things, Jim

Comments can be sent to: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

(Photo image used for education, research or criticism purposes only. I derive no monetary benefit from the use of this image)

Should Learners Design Their Own Educational Futures?

Many people who are parents, professionals, business owners-large and small, teachers and students are beginning to voice their thoughts and feelings regarding the very question that headlines this article. Some are saying ‘yes’ and some are saying ‘no.’

My answer to this question is an enthusiastic “yes.” The following is “why.”

First of all there are the very basic thoughts about this question.  Of course there are many questions that will come from the question itself. Generally speaking some of the obvious ones are: Why shouldn’t they be able to decide what they want to do to earn a living when they grow into adults? Are learners mature enough to make these important decisions? Parents worry that junior will pick all the “easy” stuff and won’t be prepared to “do battle” upon graduation for those diminishing employment opportunities?  If I am willing to pay the cost of tuition and all the attached costs why shouldn’t I study what I feel adds interest and relevance to my life? There are many more but hopefully you get the gist of what I’m writing about.

There are concerns about education becoming too dependent upon technology to adequately educate our children and that we are moving much too fast. Learners still value contact and the connectedness they experience with human beings–mentors/coaches. If the learners aren’t getting what they need, they’ll slow down the use of technology.

For me my reasons speak to the need to grow the understanding that our learners need to be more competitive on the International stage. We need to demonstrate, more clearly, the need to address the long overdue changes identified with the current pedagogy. In 1962-Hall-Dennis suggested dramatic changes in how we educated our kids and not much was done to address those ideas. Now we are playing “catch-up” because many other countries who were struggling with global standards and ranking saw the need to change-did so-and now we are following their lead in many cases.

This is not a condemnation of our system. This is not a criticism of our teachers. This is, however, a comment on some of the decisions that were made years ago that have hampered our growth and our inability to change how we do things in education. The University of Toronto-a fine school by all accounts ranks 22nd Internationally tied with The National University of Singapore. U of T is the only Canadian School in the top 25. Oxford and Cambridge rank 1 & 2 Internationally. These are the 2018 rankings.

The point to this is we have to change the way we do business-the way we do education in this country and we need to start by letting the actual drivers of the system have a much greater say in how things are done–student satisfaction and success go a long way to changing the perception other countries have of us.

Here are my 5 reasons why learners should design their own educational futures:

  1. The most important driving force in education today is the learner. They are the ones who foster change in the system and we would be well served if we paid more attention to what it is they have to say. In a true sense the system is supposed to work for them and not the other way around. They would be the ones who regulate the overall content and the amount of influence technology would have on course design. They recognize the importance of the human factor in any learning environment.
  2. It’s a given that there still is some need for rote learning in a number of the courses the learners might choose. If we listen to the learners they will tell us (the system) how much is enough. It needs to be dropped as a practice but continued as a necessity for those professions that require it. It still can be a learning tool.
  3. Learners need to be able to select and study what they favour–what they are interested in doing when they grow up. They will never know what those interests might be if they are never exposed to the information and a hands-on opportunity to experience working in a particular field. We need to get over the idea that university is a 4 year  plan and that we know what’s best for them. If it takes 5 or 6 years to graduate then so be it. Kids learn at different speeds-It is too great a mistake for kids to be pushed through a course of study to graduation just because they changed their minds half way through a program. Better they have a chance to pursue something they are interested in than to work at something they dislike.
  4. In the future certifications will not hold much value. The true proof for a potential employee will be how well they do with on the job examinations testing for particular skills sets and how successful are they are with the competency based testing they are likely to experience. Kids need to select particular skill based programs that they will need to develop so they can be more successful. THEY are the ones that know what they need more than others. They should be able to choose what they need to be comfortable and more confident.
  5. Kids just learn better and faster when they choose to study and learn about topics that are of interest to them. The system needs to put together a study plan that includes these interests but also prepares them for the supporting education that helps them to succeed.

Anyways, that’s how I see things, All the best, Jim

Comments can find me at jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

(Disclaimer: Photo resources used in this article were used for Education, Research or Criticism purposes only. I derive no financial benefit from the use of this image.)

Teachers Lives Matter Too . . .

Unless you have been passed out under a rock somewhere for the last week or two you will know that 17 young lives were taken for no other reason than they were where they were supposed to be and the murderer wasn’t. Among those who were wounded or murdered were the teachers who get up every morning with the very thought that this might be the day. That’s a hell of a way to start anyone’s day. Those I don’t admire-are those who refuse to show a backbone and have placed children’s lives ahead of the right thing to do. That would include the politicians who spend their time sucking up to those who are positioned at the underbelly of the NRA.

Those I do admire are those students and teachers who have not shrunk away to the shadows to feel sorry for themselves but rather those who have stood up, brushed themselves off and have shown more grit and courage and passion to do the right thing than the so called leaders who are supposed to protect them. These kids will be heard and they will make a difference.

I guess what bothers me the most is that whenever an African American or Latino citizen gets shot all kinds of marches happen and cries of racial bias and lack of caring fill the air. But who is marching for the Teachers? Who is out there chanting for justice to find them?

These Teachers are the people who actually hold the nations future in their hands and yet no one seems to recognize the significance of what just happened. It is about far more than losing the precious lives of these 17 human beings and their minds. The world lost their creativity and vision as future scholars and difference makers. Every time a tragedy like this happens more people decide to either leave the teaching profession or they get involved in another career choice. When a suggestion like giving guns to teachers is made it is not only the most ridiculous and repugnant suggestion that could have been made but it shows a COMPLETE lack of understanding and empathy for teachers and what they go through every day to try to do the best they can as educators. They spend their days with one eye on the door each minute of each day not knowing who may be on their way through it with malice in their hearts.

The NRA can and will keep this debate alive and well for as long as it can because there is a fortune to be made each day the rules stay as they are. This isn’t about fundamentals. This is about cash-pure and simple. I believe the law makers need to stop trying to ban guns and re-think how guns will be tolerated. Here are three suggestions they might want to consider:

  1. There is no question or doubt that assault rifles need to go. They serve no logical purpose and they are only made and sold for one purpose and that is to KILL other human beings. A 357 will do the same thing. So assault rifles are to be owned by law enforcement or military personnel only. Home owners do not need an assault rifle to protect and defend their property and their liberty.
  2. If you feel you need to own a gun to defend your property then you would be able to purchase a hand gun after going through the proper and most thorough process known to man. Only after completing the appropriate assessments, background checks, criminal records and after an appropriate waiting time do you get the chance to purchase a legal fire arm from a legal retailer–no gun shows-no magazine purchases. If you are found to possess a hand gun bought on the street the time served should be on a chain gang (first offence-1 year-no fine) cracking rock and making new roads.  If you are able to purchase a hand gun you take it home and it stays IN YOUR HOME. It does not see the street. It does not see the light of day. If you need it to protect your home then it should stay in your home-locked, loaded and safety on.
  3. If you have a burning need to have a rifle of some kind then you join a gun club where they have lockers that can be secured. Join a club where the targets move and you can hunt them. When you are done the gun(s) are locked back up again and you leave knowing that it will be right there for you whenever you want to go back and blow off another 100 or 200 rounds-who cares.

The problem today is the NRA has people believing there has to be one solution that fits all situations and of course that is never going to happen. The NRA will continue to spill the “life blood” of the citizens and businesses will continue as usual.

The bigger problem for me is that more innocent children will die. More teachers will die or quit. The educational process that is absolutely vital for any country to succeed or survive for that matter will become an afterthought instead of a priority. Nature hates a vacuum. Dictatorships are born from citizens who demonstrate a lack of education which, in turn, creates limited thinking and no political will. Laugh if you will–would never happen here you say. When you look around at the troubled countries of the world there aren’t many that have the freedoms we enjoy at present. Our high rate of education keeps us insulated from the chaos that other countries experience. To continue to do that we need to protect our teachers not drive them away or worse yet kill them off.

Anyways, that’s how I see things.

All the best and thanks for stopping by, Jim

Comments will find me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

(Photo image used for education, research and criticism purposes. I derive no financial gain from the use of this image or any others.)

 

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