The future of school looks a lot like a computer keyboard. . . but maybe it shouldn’t.
Right now, young dudes and dudettes in elementary school, middle school and high school mostly take notes by hand. Every parent knows the nightmare of not getting the right color composition book and having to rush back to Walmart with a sniffling child and rooting in vain amongst the dregs of the school supplies, knowing the color won’t be there and school starts tomorrow and why won’t he just be quiet and for the love of peter just take the green one because it really doesn’t make a difference.
*ahem* Yeah, I might have some issues there. Moving on.
So, most notes are taken with pencil and paper in grades k-12, but that might not last for long. And that could be a problem as life goes on.
While college students still take some notes with pen and paper, I’m seeing more and more computers or tablets on college student desks as they take notes to the clicking of keys and not the clicking of a ball-point pen. And that technophilia is moving down into the primary school years as well.
The future is wall-to-wall computers and our schools are changing to accommodate that. According to some recent research, that could be a big mistake.
Children not only learn to read more quickly when they first learn to write by hand, but they also remain better able to generate ideas and retain information. In other words, it’s not just what we write that matters — but how.
“When we write, a unique neural circuit is automatically activated,” said Stanislas Dehaene, a psychologist at the Collège de France in Paris. “There is a core recognition of the gesture in the written word, a sort of recognition by mental simulation in your brain.
Our brains, it seems are hardwired to be able to focus better when we write what we’re thinking, as opposed to clicking what we’re thinking.
I think there might be something to that. I’ve always known that I will remember something when I write it down instead of just hearing it, although I did generalize that to typing as well as writing. I always thought it had more to do with me being a visual learner as opposed to an auditory learner. Now I’m not so sure.
Which we will discuss tomorrow when I come back with a bit more about the whole handwriting versus typing debate.
“No man is an island entire of itself.” John Donne
It’s true, dudes. No matter how much it might irk us at times, we all are beholden to the many and various relationships we build, strengthen, destroy and recreate every single day. Heard the old saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know?” Yeah, that’s relationships.
And relationships are built on feelings. Which, as we all know, is something with which all dudes are exceedingly comfortable dealing, especially around other people.
Not only at work, but, perhaps more importantly, in your personal life. Relationships are vitally important. A bad relationship with your spouse leads to divorce court, if you’re lucky. At work, a bad relationship will drag you down and keep you from advancement.
At home, a good relationship will lift you up from the muck and mire that is the lot of all men, allowing you to see the splendor that is shared joy. At work, a good relationship can help propel you to the top.
Which means it’s time for all dudes to get a move on and start working on their relationships. Hence, this little post right here.
“Relationships are an art, and most of us lack the skill and mastery to help break—or all together avoid—destructive patterns, disrespect, and deception. Far too many people also lack the ability to have productive connections with others—those that help you achieve goals, sharpen your mind, and generally uplift and enrich your life.”
That last was from Van Moody, author of the forthcoming The People Factor, and a motivational speaker who concentrates on building healthy relationships between people. I know this because he had his publicity people send me a big release about some of his rules for healthy relationships.
Of course, because he’s got a book coming out, he’s here to tell us that in the book he will detail some serious rules that, if followed, guarantee you a great relationship. I can’t speak to the verity of his implied guarantee, but I have looked over the abbreviated list of ideas his people sent along and they sound like some good stuff. I thought I’d share those with you right here.
Don’t hide: While secret identities might be fun in the movies, a person who harbors secrets, and hides their fears, and beliefs from others will never be able to enjoy an authentic relationship. Being real with others and even making yourself vulnerable from time to time can foster tremendous emotional connections, including all-important trust, and forge unbreakable bonds.
I love this idea, especially as it’s right up there at the very top. If we can’t be honest with the people closest to us, how can we expect them to give us what we really want, what we really need. Don’t tweak the truth. Studies show that 10-30% of applicants admit to “tweaking” their resumes—that’s certainly no way to start an engagement with a new employer. Whether at work or at home, lying—even small white lies—will do nothing but undermine and compromise any relationship. Instead, even slightly altering the truth is one of the most destructive forces that can permanently damage a personal or professional relationship.
I can’t emphasize this one enough. You might think it’s a victimless crime to inflate your experience, but it’s not. Consider what sort of attitude your boss will have toward you when she asks you to do something you’re supposed to be an expert at, but you have only a vague idea what to do. Trust? Not so much and that can’t be good. Don’t rush and miss critical red flags. Understand that a relationship is a journey with changes in direction, twists and turns, and roadblocks along the way. It’s imperative to pass through certain experiences and navigate through difficulties to learn from these situations and create a healthy outcome. Resist the desire to take shortcuts or race through certain aspects of a relationship.
This is a tough one for me. I’m constantly watching conversational flow and jumping ahead in an attempt to cut out the boring stuff and get to where we both know it’s going to end up at the last. I’ve found people don’t actually enjoy being preempted like that. Take the time to get it right. Don’t force it. There’s an old R&B lyric that says, “If it don’t fit, don’t force it.” Despite the poor grammar, it is quite insightful in its simplicity. Relationships that create positive synergy through mutual respect and shared values are worth your investment.
By the same token, relationships that don’t work shouldn’t be kept around because you wish they would.
That’s all the room we’ve got for today, but we’ll be back with a few more rules for successful relationships tomorrow. Join me, won’t you?
My family — my extended family of relatives and friends — isn’t poor. We’re not living hand-to-mouth. In fact, if you wanted to stretch the definition, you might say the dudes and dudettes in my family are doing pretty all right.
Normally around this time of year, we pick names out of a hat and give gifts to those whose names we’ve drawn, and begin making lists of small gifts to give to friends to show them they are appreciated.
It seems as if the season devolves down to giving out gift cards. Wheeee!
I’m not excited about that. So I decided to make someone else’s day much brighter.
Instead of giving a gift card, I’m going to give a chicken. Or a goat. Or school uniforms. And I’m going to give those things to people who actually need them. And I’m going to do it in the name of those folks who are on my gift list.
I know there are a rather lot of organizations like this, but I’ve found one that makes the most sense to me: Heifer International.
This is a fantastic website and a wonderful, if a bit self important, catalog, billing itself as TheMost Important Gift Catalog in the World.
Inside, you’ll find ways to make someone’s life worth living again.
There are projets to help refugee camps in Rawanda, projects to put safe and effective roofs on shacks in villages throughout the third world, projects to give chickens to poor families, projects to help offer school uniforms to children who can’t afford them.
Whatever kind of project you can think of that is transforming the lives of someone not nearly as fortunate as you are (and, considering you’re reading this on a computer somewhere and you have the time to spare from getting something to eat or a place to sleep, you’re pretty fortunate) and who will really live a changed life after your help.
There are so many charity organizations like UNICEF, your local equivalent of the Second Harvest Food Bank, whatever. You can help someone learn to read through RIF. Google charitable giving and you’ll find an overwhelming number of needs and organizations ready to fulfill those needs.
Instead of giving a gift card or whatever that will be thrown into an increasingly large stack and then basically forgotten once the wrapping paper is thrown out and the thank-you notes written, consider saving or transforming someone’s life.
You will feel better. You will enjoy your life more.
And you will have shown someone, somewhere that life is not an endless series of humiliating, crushing obstacles erected to make his or her life miserable, but that there are people who care and people who want them to succeed.