Tag Archives: teaching

How the Arts/Media and Public Policy influence one another, and how Time Banks can help!

When I lived in Izmir, a Turkish TV spot shocked me: it showed an image of an elderly Black man, evidently homeless, sleeping in a stairwell directly beneath a sign that pointed up the stairs and read “White House” followed by the caption “Yorum Yok” or “No Comment.” This was about the same time that a major Turkish newspaper criticized the Erdoğan government over the death by hypothermia of an elderly homeless man up in Istanbul, sparking outrage among my Turkish coworkers. These two media pieces, taken together, led me to wonder about the links between the media and public policy.

When I was a kid, PBS School House Rock spots taught me things like the Preamble to the US Constitution, and how bills become law.  These and other PBS shows like Sesame Street demonstrated the concept of cooperation and taught a generation of kids ideas of fairness, social justice, and may have helped pave the way for later laws passed once we became adults on issues ranging from birth control and same-sex marriage to the Affordable Care Act.

In like manner, shows like El Ministerio del Tiempo, in Spain, provide social commentary and critique, while framing various often opposing views on social justice, cooperation, and the policy elements that can encourage those values. Similarly, the Turkish family show Sihirli Annem also showed a generation of kids in Turkey respect for women, social justice and cooperation. That generation is now part of the push-back against radicalism in Turkey today.

All of these shows are examples of how the Arts and Media can influence Public Policy, and vice-versa. Time Banks, when encouraged by local government and community-based organizations, can help in facilitating access to the arts through Open Access Cable, local arts organizations, and extending Time Bank credit to local artists through mural projects and other local culture projects, for the benefit of both local and extended communities.

Join or start one in your community now!

Read, Write, Dream, Walk !
ShiraDest

October 18th, 12017 HE

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The Bright side of PTSD: become a Body Guard?

Smells, noises or lights can suddenly awaken some of us, and refuse to let us sleep until identified. Long-lasting childhood traumas can leave your Inner Child reluctant to come out from under the coffee table. Some ideas, illustrated by examples from historical and fictional sages, may help your Inner Parent to teach safety and trust to that Frightened Inner Child so that your Inner Adult, your competent and ambitious self who’d rather ignore both Child and Parent, can get on with succeeding in life.

First, one possible intrepretation of Hillel’s famous pair of questions:
A. אם אין אני לי, מי לי (Im ein ani li, mi li: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me,”) is that each of us must parent and protect his or her own inner child, and

B. ? וכשאני לעצמי, מה אני ; (Vekesh’ani le’atzmi, mah ani ? “And if I am only for myself, what am I?”), also stand with others who have been wounded.

Second, if, like Harry Potter, you’ve sustained significant losses in your life, even very early on, is there someone you can recall, or as Harry uses to conjure his first #Patronus, even some imaginary memory, showing love or kindness, even if from or to a stranger just for a moment? Your Inner Parent can use that image to show your Inner Child that there is hope for this world, and that is worth holding on to and fighting for, to motivate your ambitious Inner Adult to keep going. This is being for yourself in the most crucial way: parenting yourself through the panic and soothing those constantly jangled nerves until you learn to trust life. Then your ambitious and centered Inner Adult can take it from there to build the life you want to live.

Third, if, like Amelia, you see that it would be safer to give up than to fight, perhaps your Inner Adult can take the lead, having learned by watching your Inner Parent defend your own Inner Child, that sometimes an adult must sacrifice to create a better world for all Human Children. And like Feruze Hatun, healing all those around you may come at a high personal cost, but honesty and love, even shown to our enemies, as Gandhi and Dr. King proved, can indeed defeat hate, and bring you greater self-confidence and feelings of security.

So, warrior like Amelia or Intergenerational Community Parent to all, like Feruze Hatun, or just competent, capable, and knitting lots of hats for House Elves like Hermione, parenting yourself can lead to parenting others , for the good of All Humankind. Or you could still become a Body Guard.

Some more of my thoughts on how local government Policy such as accepting part of local taxes in local currencies/Time Dollars can help stimulate local community employment and inclusion for PTSD survivors are found in my related paper on Building Community and the crucial role of Intergenerational Participation in Community : Shavuot (Pentacost) as one of four Biblical pillars of building community.

Read, Write, Dream, Walk !
ShiraDest
My books on Economic and Social Policy: Shared Monetary Governance, and Stayed on Freedom’s Call…

September 10th, 12017 HE
Community4BiblicalPillarsShavuot

Predatory Landlords, Debt, and Repairing the World

Dr. King said that,

“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. ”

The question is how does such “restructuring” happen?

Following up on my earlier post regarding debt as a problem of financial self-defense, particularly in the case of apartment renters who are forced to live in a lemon or face Breach of Lease, Biblical Law may have something to say about the long term consequences of artificially pushing people into debt (talking about otherwise frugal folks who do not spend profligately).

I respectfully submit that we have had one possible tool in our hands for several thousand years, and it may need to be examined in the context of our present debt crisis -the release of debts, both short term and long term, at different times.  Below is a handout from one of several talks I gave on the relationship between debt and community building, this one from the book of Deuteronomy: DCBM20August_Reeh_Class.

AfterNote: while debts do “expire” at different times in each state and DC according to the type of debt, only two states actually “extinguish” expired debts, and only Maryland prohibits lawsuits being brought against debtors for already expired debts!              Lawmakers in every country need to act to prevent this sort of financial and emotional bullying (in the case of landlords, offering apartments which do not suit, and then reneging on promises to fix issues, while in other cases, offering credit knowing that those who accept are at a relative disadvantage).
In the USA, each state regulates how long one can be sued for a debt, but even then, if the debtor does not know to defend, or is unable for some reason to go to court even if h/she knows, oftentimes creditors sue illegally and win. Now this cannot happen in MD, but of course debtors are still free to harrass up to and beyond the Statute of Limitation (‘expiration’) of the debt.

May we look to our collective good, as one Human Race, and to the potential of each and every Human Being.

Read, Write, Dream, Walk !
ShiraDest

my resume: JonesPolicyResumePublic
June 26th, 12017 HE

Relating PTSD, homelessness and debt to lessons not learned in youth: do we need studies?

What we need our children to prove, for recognition of adulthood, is not their prowess in battle or the hunt, not their virility, not their adeptness at social maneuvering, but their ability to contribute meaningfully to society by teaching another person, from level 0, how to do something that is both difficult and absolutely neccessary in our society today. By requiring our pre-adults to teach some other person a needed life skill, over the course of at least a year, that pre-adult shows persistence, perseverence, discernment, and of course, the skill in question.

Thus we provide an esteem building excercise and respect building accomplishment which we then reward with full adult status, whatever the age of the pre-adult in question. This obviously assumes that the person has had opportunity to prove his or her good judgement in other ways as well, prior to seeking adulthood recognition. This might help as one step of a series of steps implemented by and through local communities which could lead to more long-term thinking in society at large, given a critical mass and good faith in the ability of humankind to rise above our instincts, and learn to cooperate.  Certain pre-requisites should apply: knowledge of emotional, financial and physical self-defense.

Tying into emotional challenges like PTSD, pre-adults must learn how to communicate non-violently, manage their own emotions and prevent emotional manipulation, which eases the recognition and treatment of difficult past traumatic disorders.   Homelessness and debt both relate to issues of financial self-defense, by which I mean the ability not only to balance a check book and write up a home budget, but also to avoid falling victim to scams of all sorts, as well as the ability to plan for long-range problems like job-loss, or illness, etc.
Hence the post I mentioned developing the idea of an Adulthood Rite of Passage:

First elaborated here: https://network23.org/communitycoop/2014/04/17/pre-adulthood-adults-and-rites-of-passage/ with an annoyingly trivializing comment, and then here:

http://adulthoodchallenge.dreamwidth.org/318.html , with more extensive conversations.

Then the prerequisites which are essentially being able to defend oneself physically, financially, and emotionally:

http://meowdate.dreamwidth.org/6177.html but more cleanly written (w/ref. to V. Frankl, also) here: https://network23.org/communitycoop/2014/06/27/am-i-an-adult-part-1-definition/

(A useful side effect of this idea is that it would effectively increase the number of available tutors, and also lead to every adult in our society coming away with an understanding of the challenges involved in teaching anyone anything non-trivial.)

Read, Write, Dream, Teach !
ShiraDest
May 7th, 12017 HE

Words and their impact: important…

While watching El Ministerio del Tiempo with me, a friend commented that it was already passing the Bechdel test for sexism in films/TV shows in the first 20 minutes of the first episode, and then explained that the test also applies to racism in the media.  The importance of this is not just to hit political correctness marks, but to show the impact that words have on both our personal and our cultural development.

After watching the recent electoral campaign, I am more convinced than ever that we as a society need to learn how to think critically, to investigate fully, and above all, to put ourselves in the histories and shoes of the other (see the #SafetyPin movement…).  We need to learn to speak and think Non-Violently, and to think and act inclusively.  Not just for ourselves, but for our posterity.

If there is still a  habitable planet in another hundred years for our posterity, that is.  Even if not, who would want the coming generations to live in fear and aggression in what is left of humanity’s time on this earth?

Read, Write, Dream, Teach !

ShiraDest
November 9th, 12016 HE

Rice, Riots and Basic Income: Teaching math is fun!

 

As I prepared for my second interview recently at a school where I would very much  like to teach math, I was reminded of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s call for a Basic Income, and his comment that “social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention.” (Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? (Boston: Beacon Press, 1967), 22.).  I hope I have made this mini-lesson, and all of my teaching, relevant to both the current and future lives of my students.

Here are some of the interesting resources I came across while planning my lesson on Slope, which I called “Rice and Riots” to illustrate that a line can tell you a lot.

“ancient egypt 3-4-5” gives this: Google image search for 345 Right Triangle

and this Rosicrucian paper seems to have been copied with cuter images across several different websites, while quotes from the Rhind Papyrus make me want to spend all of my time just studying ancient works, and this fascinating proposal to rename the Pythagorean Theorem actually cites interesting sources.

 

And from an EduTopia article on “6 Ways to Help Students Understand Math” (too bad the pdf is no longer online): now we can teach the way I wanted to teach back in 2002!!  Ahem:

2. Introduce topics using multiple representations.

The more types of representations that you can present to students addressing their different learning styles, the more likely they will truly understand the concept being presented. Different representations could include using manipulatives, showing a picture, drawing out the problem, and offering a symbolic representation. For example, when presenting linear relationships with one unknown, illustrate to students the same problem as an equation, on a number line, in words, and with pictures. Students who are exposed to and can recognize the same relationship posed in the different representational modes are more likely to have conceptual understanding of the relationship and perform better on assessments (PDF).”

 
Read, Write, Dream, Teach !

ShiraDest
1st of July, 2016

Let (or help) students do the thinking

I agree intellectually, but still find this amazing, and a bit guilty, emotionally:  a proficient teacher rarely finishes any of the cognitive work that students could own.”  -Wow.  In other words, the students not only should think critically, not only ought to be encouraged to think, but must think critically, and for themselves!  This is what school should have always been!  This is not the teacher who asks, waits half a second, and then answers her own question while the students sit and look at her:  this is pushing kids to use that gray matter between their ears as if they really were real people -and they are!

(Yes, I am hearing the theme song of “Kids are People, Too!” from way back when!!)

*Quote comes from the Teaching Fellows core rubric: http://www.noycefdn.org/documents/hccollab/TNTP_Core%20Teaching%20Rubric.pdf

 

Read, Write, Dream, Teach !

ShiraDest
3rd of June, 2016

Why I am becoming a teacher again

“Conversations about the Common Core State Standards and

raising the rigor of student work were still years away, but even
then it was apparent that my practice demanded very little
of my students. I did nothing to encourage them to explore
multiple approaches. I did very little in terms of having them
explain their thoughts and ideas”
A veteran teacher on how the new Common Core Standards have allowed him to transform his teaching of mathematics from drudgery into joy, for his students.  This is what I want to do!
Read, Write, Dream, TEACH!
Shira

Review (English) of: L’espace est une question de temps ; Einstein et la relativité

L'espace est une question de temps ; Einstein et la relativitéL’espace est une question de temps ; Einstein et la relativité by David Blanco Laserna

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was revealing not so much for his personal life, but for the ways in which Einstein represented people like my high school students back in 2001, or my Community College students in 2012, all of whom needed to understand the mysteries behind the mathematics, rather than just memorizing the rules.
My students needed, like this genius, perhaps a bit less authoritarian rule-following, and a bit more flexibility in my own ways of communicating with even those I saw as less hard-working. From their points of view, the situation was surely different, and as I learn that time and space is relative, I understand that so is thinking and teaching.
Well worth reading,

Read, Write, Dream, Teach !

ShiraDest
2nd of April, 2016

View all my reviews

Putting the maths into the learner’s context

Interesting, that Einstein grew up around clock parts and railway renewal, in Bern. So he drew from his personal context, clocks and trains, to illustrate his theories. Almost a form of NVC, putting mathematical or scientific concepts into a form that your students can readily imagine in their own lifes, thus can use, from their own perspectives Cool!

Read, Write, Dream, Teach !

ShiraDest
26 March, 12016 HE