Learning and the Brain Conference in Boston this weekend examined the science of human potential, passion, talents and grit. Bringing together researchers, authors, and experts in their fields, the conference states:
By studying child prodigies, savants, and great innovators like Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein, scientists are trying to answer the complex questions of human potential: What makes a person a “creative genius”? Is “greatness” the result of innate talent or practice?
The conference kicked off on Friday with sessions on personalized learning, problem based learning, digital learning, mindfulness, the science of innovation, and personalized learning. Keynotes included Scott Kaufman, PhD addressing Personal Greatness and Gail Saltz, MD speaking about the power of difference, Robert Sternberg, PhD spoke about teaching for wisdom, intelligence, creativity, and success and Ransom Stephens, Phd addressed Your Pursuit of Greatness. Sunday’s keynote, Sir Ken Robinson, PhD was titled, “You, Your Child, and School: Teaching to their Talents, Passions, and Potential.”
My mind is spinning with the amount of greatness and learning buzzing at the conference. Here are a few key take aways to reflect and act on based on this experience in Boston.
“Outliers in the distribution of human achievement, they are not just a bit better than most at their chosen vocation, but dramatically so. . . We are not born knowing how to write a sonnet or flip an omelet. On the contrary, human expertise, at all points in the distribution—including the far-right tail—is acquired.” – Scott Barry Kaufman and Angela Duckworth
“Attaining a certain level of expertise in a given domain gets you in the door and starts your career. It puts you on the playing field among others who have put in the time, effort, and commitment to building up the necessary exper- tise base. Yet to rise to the very top of a creative domain — to achieve true greatness — seems to require even more (and average of 10 years more). – Scott Barry Kaufman
The availability and use of technology has impacted student attention, working memory, and thinking.
“Personalized learning to me is student inquiry and investigation guided by teachers who carefully craft the learning process.” — Angela Townsend
“In personalized learning, a teacher defines and establishes clear learning objectives but provides students a variety of way in which to achieve these. It requires a teacher to relinquish control and expectations for linear, and uniform learning.” — David Ruiz
“The power of teachers isn’t in the information they share, but in the opportunities they create for students to learn how to learn, solve problems, and apply what they learn in meaningful ways.” – Katie Martin
The testing culture has soaked up billions of taxpayer dollars with no real
improvement in standards. Achievement levels in math, science, and languages
have hardly changed, and neither has the international ranking of the United States
in these disciplines.
By most criteria, Finland has one of the most successful education systems in the world.
Much of its success is due to the commitment and expertise of its teachers. Teaching is
a highly respected profession in Finland, and there is intense competition to join it. What
Finland shows is that rather than tempt those with the highest academic qualifications
into teaching, it’s better to design initial teacher education to attract people who have a
natural passion and aptitude to teach for life.
Failure is where the new knowledge comes from, if you fail, you will keep going and ask different questions and get better. Keep pushing. Failure motivates people to be great. – Xiaodong Lin
“Our job as teachers is not to “prepare” kids for something; our job is to help kids learn to prepare themselves for anything.” – AJ Juliani