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Category / education

Steven Pinker explains what education should accomplish

The esteemed scientist and Harvard professor, Steven Pinker, on what higher education should accomplish (ht Farnam Street): It seems to me that educated people should know something about the 13-billion-year prehistory of our species and the basic laws governing the physical and living world, including our bodies and brains. They should grasp the timeline of human […]

A student, not a teacher

The great Greek philosopher Socrates is a character in the novel I’m reading, and in it he refers to himself as a student, not a teacher. The best teachers and authors I’ve encountered have had that mindset. You are learning with them, not just from them. The wiser you become, the more you realize how […]

The most valuable commodity

New knowledge is the most valuable commodity on earth. The more truth we have to work with, the richer we become. — Kurt Vonnegut (@Kurt_Vonnegut) May 19, 2016 The pursuit of truth and understanding, the neverending stretching of our boundaries of knowledge is THE human pursuit.

School yourself, rule yourself

   The last day of the school year and the first day of the school year are two of the happiest days.  My daughters returned to school today, and there was much rejoicing.  The kids are excited about new adventures, new teachers, and old friends.  The parents are excited to have some structure back in […]

Merlyn’s lesson: Keep learning

Merlyn’s lesson to young Arthur in T.H. White’s The Once And Future King: “You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour […]

Thoughts on job interviews and college students

It’s interview season at my work. Last week we interviewed almost 300 college students who applied to work as campus tour guides. We conducted group interviews with six applicants at a time being interviewed by a four-person committee. I was in every interview and wouldn’t have it any other way. This week I’m interviewing the […]

Kyle Maynard reminds us what awesome looks like

I met Kyle Maynard briefly when he came to his freshman orientation at my university ten years ago. I was running the program at the time and have met thousands of students over my twenty-plus years working in higher education. But Kyle remains one of the most memorable and remarkable students I have encountered. He […]

Ken Robinson: Creating a climate of possibility

Sir Ken Robinson has the most viewed TED Talk ever, and his latest talk on education is a must-watch as well: Notice his presentation style. He uses no slides, no video. He stands in one place and holds the audience’s attention with his wry humor and short stories and wise insight. His humor charms the […]

Stand and deliver then sit and rest

I spoke to a group of college students tonight. My message: “Be a college superhero” It’s a version of a talk I’ve done several times to various student groups, sharing wisdom I’ve learned from the many amazing students I’ve known over my twenty-one years working in higher education. Tonight’s audience was a delight, very attentive, […]

Ben Dunlap: Keep learning

This is a favorite TED Talk, Wofford College president Ben Dunlap telling stories about a remarkable individual and the joys of lifelong learning: What a great storyteller. His accents of the various characters are delightful. And he ends with a fitting summary and call to action: “Live like you’re going to die tomorrow. Learn like […]

Leo Buscaglia: Learn every day

The late, great Leo Buscaglia was a dynamic whirlwind of positive energy. He was a professor at USC and became famous on campus for teaching a non-credit class about love that would overflow the lecture hall with standing room only for the crowd of interested students. He wrote several books and took his wisdom and […]

Education is not training

Education is not training. A puppy can be trained, but not educated. True education grabs hold of you and sparks a powerful, consuming desire for lifelong learning stoked by curiosity and wonder. “He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.” -Albert […]

The ultimate mission for each generation

The more we know, the more we realize we don’t know. What an awesome, overwhelmingly mysterious universe we live in. “He who thinks he knows, doesn’t know. He who knows he doesn’t know, knows.” You want a calling, a noble mission that can consume your life? Make it your work to help push humanity’s understanding […]

Seth Godin: What is school for?

This is Seth Godin’s take on what’s wrong with our education system: Our 20th century model for how to educate kids needs a 21st century update. Godin offers some excellent suggestions for what to do next, like inverting the lecture and homework. Students can watch a world-class lecture online on their own at home and […]