Questions For Our Educators Circle

Posted by Audrey Lin on Dec 22, 2014
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We are hosting a 'Transformation in Education' circle tonight, and thrilled at the overwhelming response from the community. Close to 30 inspiring educators are convening to brainstorm around the nuances of aligning our values with the learning process.

Here are some of the questions we've been thinking about ...
What are we studying?  This incredible chart of 4 decades of college degrees show us that business majors keep growing, as Education drops dramatically alongside English.  First time ever, at Harvard this year, humanities was outranked by science.

Is it just about jobs?  STEM majors are more employable and so government has made these subjects a priority.  But can we quantify everything that matters in planning our future?‚Äč  

Is culture the new counter culture? Are reading and writing still important? Parents don't read to their children as much. 

What is education's higher purpose?  3x more Americans have bachelors degrees compared to just 2 generations ago. Yet only a third of Americans today consider themselves happy. How do we learn how to live with joy, meaning, and fulfillment?

As income gap increases, what happens to access to learning?  Lots of research shows adverse effects of income to one's learning journey.  Are programs like TFA successful? Are we helping, fixing, or serving students? Parker Palmer has ideas.

How does digital media change the way children think and focus? Why Steve Jobs was a low-tech parent? Why does the CTO of EBay send his kids to a school that doesn't allow technology? How can technology support for better learning and teaching?

Do we need a curriculum for compassion and empathy?  Almost 50% of kids in 4-12th grade are bullied at school each month. 31% are the bullies.  Should kids learn ethics in school? The internet turned 25 this year, but why don't we have a hippocratic oath for STEM majors?

If you have thoughts or more questions, we'd love to hear it!     

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Comments (4)

  • Afreen Malim wrote ...

    So wish I could be there tonight -- especially since I'll be back in the industry again! Promises to be a rich dialogue with such wonderful threads of conversation and though+heart partnership :-)

  • Sima Sanghvi wrote ...

    Thanks for posing these thought-provoking and important questions, Audrey!! Generally I think the income gap, the loss of the US's intellectual prowess in the world and the rising cost of education is putting kids in a position of having to worry about how to make ends meet when they finish college. Therefore, they naturally strive for the fields that guarantee job security (STEM jobs) and will make choices about their educational pursuits based on that. I don't think STEM jobs are necessarily bad - unless they are purely profit-driven and thrive solely on competition. Scientists, engineers and mathematicians that have a strong appreciation and passion for humanities and the mysteries of the universe have created works of art through their fields. Any field that approaches life and humanity with a sense of wonder and awe can be noble. This is why I think a well-rounded education that includes art, music and literature is absolutely vital. It teaches us to see beauty in the seemingly clinical and push further to seek answers in what appears black and white. It allows all of us to tap into our own inherent creativity that sows the seeds of solving the world's biggest problems. I definitely think adding ethics to basic primary education - where children are reminded of their inherent generosity and empathy through immersive teaching practices could be a popular culture that's increasingly deemphasizing these virtues.

  • Ward Mailliard wrote ...

    It was a gift to sit with such passionate and dedicated educators and hear stories of transformation, creativity and deep caring.

  • Harpreet wrote ...

    What an awesome question: Why don't we have a hippocratic oath for STEM majors?

    I would enlarge that to all college graduates. a lot of grads are lost and have a little direction of where to take their life... Its as if the intention is missing. I believe that including some exposure to empathy and compassion in high school and college would help a lot of students helps others and help them find themselves, and perhaps a direction!