Wednesday, March 4, 2009

"Brevity. Levity. Repetition." thoughts on Daniel Pink's talk

Last night, I attended a lecture given by Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind, with Blades and Ambookgeek. It was hosted by Brentwood School which has a yearly lecture series in honor of John Hutson, a loved and respected History teacher of the school. The John Hutson Memorial Lecture Series is open to the public so if you hear about it next year and like the guest you can go.

I read and wrote about how A Whole New Mind completely blew my mind with Pink's ideas about how the world is changing focus from skills that are logical and routine and moving to more towards the artistic side of thinking (this is really simplistic so you should read the book). He reiterated that a bit in this lecture but focused mainly on what needs to be done in education. From the onset, he emphasized that he is not a trained educator but he does talk to those in the fields children are being trained to work in - medicine, law, arts, etc. For me, a lot of what he speaks about is valid. There is a shift and it seems that other places are getting it and the US education system needs to catch up. I am not sure if Arne Duncan will strive to make the public education system better but I hope something changes.

Working at the type of school I work at and being a product of the public school system, I have a real fear for my nieces and nephews. I fear for kids in low-income and middle-income public schools. I work at a public library as well and the gap between middle schools at the public library and the middle schoolers I work with is incredible and I am only commenting on research skills and some technology skills. I am not even sure about other skills in other subjects. Of course, all kinds of factors need to be considered, economics, parent involvement, teacher skills, etc...but it is very appalling witnessing how unprepared students are.

Pink emphasized how important having a well-rounded mind is for our kids and ourselves. There should be a focus on using both sides of our brains - the artsy, creative side as well as the logical side. I am not going do much justice here but if you do have an opportunity to hear him speak, I highly recommend going...but if you cannot see him, here is a link to his lecture from Americans from the Arts website.

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