New Ways to Turn Kids On to Learning

New Ways to Turn Kids On to Learning

I returned from learning so much about social-emotional-relational learning from other presenters at the Changing Brains, Changing Lives Symposium in Aspen, CO two weeks ago, and was immediately immersed in the Mill Valley Film Festival, seeing many, many films on my favorite movie genre: triumph over adversity on behalf of a noble cause. Among the documentaries were these three – inspiring explorations about how to revise school curricula so that students actually discover their own passions and potential:

Beyond Measure [click here to see the trailer]

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted. – Albert Einstein

Beyond Measure explores new ways of learning that are student-driven, project-based, experience-based, and the school districts and colleges that are adopting new ways of teaching these innovative curricula, from rural Kentucky to New York City. Ways of learning that value personal growth over test scores, shifting from the transmission of facts to the transformation of the student. Methods that focus on exploration and experimentation, collaboration and creativity, that evoke motivation and resilience among the students.

CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap [click here to see the trailer]

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that there will be 1.4 million jobs available for computer programmers by 2020 and only 400,000 programmers trained to fill them. CODE explores why so few women and girls choose to work in high tech and explores programs for girls that make learning the math, science and logic necessary to learn programming easy and fun. (Like building things with Legos.)

P.S. The term de-bugging was coined by Grace Hopper, pioneer computer programmer for the U.S. Navy who had to remove a moth that had flown into a mainframe computer.)

Paper Tiger [click here to see the trailer]

Teachers at Lincoln (alternative) High School in Walla Walla, WA created a brain-based and unconditional positive regard-based curriculum, based on the revolutionary Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) research, to address the effects of trauma and toxic stress on students’ learning and on the behaviors that disrupt their learning. Teachers focus not so much on what’s wrong with their students as on what has happened to them, and focus on healing rather than punishment. Students turn their lives around; we all regain our faith in human potential.

Mill Valley Film Festival presented these films as part of its Active Cinema program; each film’s website offers ways parents and educators can act locally, in their own communities, to create a sea change in education, step by step, from the ground up. Please check out the trailers; please follow your heart, please use your mind and energy to create more love of learning, love of self, and resilience and well-being in our students, our future.

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