A Week In The Life . . .


I mean no disrespect toward teachers with this commentary. On the contrary, I have the utmost respect for teachers. I just feel as though they are not granted the freedom they require to do the job they thought they were signing on to do. I sincerely hope that that changes and soon.

I have noticed more articles and research findings around these days. Magazines are finding this ‘new topic’ about education quite interesting. The need to re-think how we provide it has only been discussed since 1962 but hey who is keeping track? The powers that be are finding out that there is a dropout problem and it is not always about delinquent kids. There are people out there who are making a ton of money ‘educating our kids’ and they are fighting like crazy to keep their hand in. No names will be forthcoming right now if ever. Ask them and they will tell you that this ‘hype’ is just a passing thing and that education has been as it is for 100 years or better and it has worked just fine ’till now. Sadly that is not quite the case. Corporations and Businesses have been telling anyone who will listen that they are not getting the type of students with the requisite skills needed to be productive and relevant in today’s economic reality. That’s a part of the educational problem.They are not learning what they need to in a way that they need to in order to be competitive with other global students. Apparently, they are sorely lacking when it comes to soft skills such as decision making, communication skills, leadership skills, problem-solving skills and be self-motivated.

So what has to change? Well just about everything about how we do ‘education’ has to change. Many are still trying to save’ the old way. Many say that we just need to ‘tweak it’ a bit. Others say that we need to update the curriculums to reflect the new economies. Those folks are getting warmer I guess but still not even close to what needs to happen.

In a nutshell–we have to develop a new paradigm meaning we need to look at ‘how’ we go about providing an education for our kids. Next, comes the ‘what’ they need to be learning that will make a real difference in their ability to compete for good jobs. But the topic that many who work in the field already don’t want to talk about is the fight to hold on to the ‘top down’ system that many want to keep. IT DOESN”T WORK ANYMORE–Hello. Parents need to become aware of what that means. They need to take a real interest in what is happening in their neighborhood schools and stop trusting the trustees and the boards to tell them what will happen next. The people doing the talking right now are the learners-the kids-the students. Remember them? They are the ones who should have the most to say about the system they learn in and how they learn because it is their lives that hang in the balance. It is their life choices now that will forge their career choices a few years from now. The philosophy and approach need to be fresh and new.

There are questions that need to be discussed and answers that need to be provided. What we don’t need is another study done where nothing will happen or change and the findings will get buried yet again. We have been doing that since Hall-Dennis put out their outstanding work in the 60’s which got dumped quickly without much of a hearing. What a shame because what they suggested all those years ago is what is beginning to be talked about now.

I’ll be writing a great deal more about this in the weeks to come. Stay tuned if you are interested to see how we can all be important pieces to this puzzle as we should and need to be. If we are not ready to play an active role then shame on us. It’s only our kids future that we are playing with here.

Truth Talkin’ Thursday:

Jane and I started an interesting conversation on the subject of how many people give up much too quickly when having to accept a new way of living our lives, or a new crisis of some kind that could interfere with our ‘life plans’. My point was that instead of ‘capitulating’-giving in we need to learn how to adapt to our new circumstances so that we can still have most of what we set out to have or enjoy. So we discuss some simple ways of doing that. It’s like any other skill–it takes imagination and practice.

Interested in knowing more go to U-Tube and type in Truth Talkin’ Thursday and Episode #36  Enjoy

The 80’s–Great Music:

I have been focusing on great Canadian musicians–there really are many and when you look at Alanis Morrisette, The Guess Who, Gordon Lightfoot, Celine Dion, Blue Rodeo and the list continues, we are talking about some folks who were innovators as well as huge box office entertainers. They certainly rival or match up favorably with their US counterparts.  But one that got lost in the shuffle somewhat was Alfie Zappacosta. For my dough he has one of the best voices to come out of that era-bar none.

Judge for yourself.     


Thanks for stopping by, all the best, Jim


Comments will find me at   jim.lifechoice@gmail.com   OR    jimcloughley.com

Poster/photo by William G. Spidy. This photo is being used for education, research or criticism purposes. I derive no financial benefit from the use of this photo.

3 Important Things You Can Do To Change The Course Of Your Life . . .

Would you give a known thief all of your hard earned cash or your credit card with the pin number and ask him/her to look after it for you? The question that follows, then, is why do we give anyone else the right or the power to make decisions on our behalf? The fact is there are times when our decisions work out and sometimes they don’t. But none of us is perfect. To me making mistakes is part of learning. How can we ever learn to make decisions if we don’t risk something in the process? Hopefully, people learn from their mistakes because they learn little by their successes. It is incumbent on each of us to take responsibility for making our own decisions and not to base those decisions on what someone else would or would not do. Unless they have ‘a dog in the fight’ meaning something to lose, most people around us are likely to be full of free advice none of which takes into consideration what will this mean to you if it all goes south.

I work as a counselor and a life coach. I don’t ‘fix’ people and I don’t dispense advice to my clients. I’m often asked, however, to offer a variety of viewpoints that can be thought about. With that in mind I put together 3 thoughts and ideas that I often use in my real life for your consideration and you do what you want with them. Use them or don’t use them. Consider them or don’t consider them. That would be your decision to make.

We spend most of our lives learning and applying what we have learned, or what we THINK we have learned, to our lives to see if we can be successful or more successful than the other guy. Truth be known we cannot apply data and facts that we don’t know if we are not aware of what it is we don’t know but need to be in order to make decisions. Sounds convoluted-I get that.

So to simplify this point:

  1. I began counting less on facts and data and more on my feelings, instincts, and emotions. I am careful to use only data that is fixed. For example by-laws or things that are written in stone. Most other data and facts are much more fluid these days, thanks to technology, and using them to apply to a particular context can be hazardous. Contexts change as well so how can we use what we know or think we know to be facts with any certainty.
  2. I cannot allow fear of what might happen to interfere with my opportunity to decide something of importance. There is a difference between being afraid and being respectful of something. Fear can paralyze me if I allow it to. Being respectful makes me slow down from making snap decisions that I cannot justify. I need to depend more on how I feel or have been thinking. It gives me an opportunity to become better informed before I decide. We are our own best experts on us. No one knows us better than we do. IF we pay attention to ‘us’ we will more often make the right choices or decisions.
  3. If I do approach a respected and experienced friend or colleague I need to prepare questions ahead of time so that I don’t get swayed, side-tracked or lose sight of what information I am seeking and why and how I might utilize the information to suit my particular set of circumstances. I need to distinguish between his/her points of view based on their success and not what they would do if they were me.

In order for me to feel good about what I have done, I need to have as few regrets as possible. I am more likely to feel that way if I am the ‘captain of my own ship’. That way I have no one to blame and I can take the credit as well.

Anyways, that’s how I see it. Thanks for stopping by

All the best, Jim

Comments are welcome–send them to:   jim.lifechoice@gmail.com  OR jimcloughley.com

Please pass this along to family, friends or neighbors.

Disclaimer: Photo resource used for education, criticism or research purposes only. I derive no financial gain from the use of this photo/quote


Author Jim Cloughley's 
Brand New Blueprint For Learning