I was very fortunate to have spent eight days of my spring break in Cuba!
Americans still need a reason (other than pure tourism) to be allowed to visit Cuba, and I went on an educational research tour, during which we visited schools, clinics and the Cuban Literacy Museum in Havana.
“To Read Is To Grow”
The Cuban people place a high value on education, and Cuba has one of the highest literacy rates in the world.
At the Literacy Museum, we learned about the Cuban Literacy Campaign of 1961, which enlisted “each person who could read to teach one person who could not read,” and which raised the national literacy rate from about 65% to 96%.
I feel passionately about one-on-one education as a source of empowerment and connection for both learner and teacher, so I was greatly moved to see tutoring having been implemented on such a grand scale and having had the effect of forming bonds between people from different backgrounds and geographic areas.
“Before 1959 it was the countryside versus the city. The literacy campaign united the country because, for the first time, people from the city understood how hard life was for people before the revolution, that they survived on their own, and that as people they had much in common. This was very important for the new government.”- Luisa Yara Campos, Cuban literacy museum director
I also believe that all people should be lifetime …
What was he thinking?
Is there a parent out there who can’t relate to the first sentence of The Teenage Brain, by Frances E. Jensen, MD?
She’s a neuroscientist specializing in adolescent brain development and the mother of two teenage boys, and her book is “a survival guide” full of important information about how brains develop, what’s going on inside the skulls of adolescents, and what this means for how we parent and educate our teens and young adults.
I’ve just started reading this book, and here are a few of the nuggets I’ve already discovered:
Many middle school students struggle with math, often for the first time.
Math becomes harder in middle school, and teacher expectations are higher. These changes are appropriate as kids mature; the achievement bar must be raised so that students’ intellects are challenged to grow. The teacher who waters down instruction so that it’s always easy and “fun” isn’t doing students any favors.
Many students will be taking the ACT or the make-up SAT this coming Saturday, February 7, and today’s snow day is a wonderful opportunity for kids to do some prep work.
There’s lots of test prep material online; here are some of my favorites:
One of my students included this very interesting 9-minute TED talk in a psychology class project.
The speaker proposes that, as with diabetes, there are now arguably two forms of ADHD. We could call the inborn variety ADHD Type I; Type II would be what one doctor calls “Acquired Attention Deficit Disorder”, developed through excessive Internet use.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
-The Serenity Prayer
I like Victorian-era cemeteries, and whenever I visit one the Serenity Prayer enters my mind.
In those days there was no cure for tuberculosis, which was romantically called “consumption” and which along with other infectious diseases filled the churchyards and necessitated the creation of vast new burying grounds.
Victorian cemeteries were intended as parks where families could picnic and visit their departed loved ones on Sunday afternoons.
Because attention, time, and energy are all limited resources, scaling down and living a high-quality yet low-maintenance life is really the way to maximize contentment and minimize stress.
To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. -Pema Chodron
Is there anything more painful than watching your child suffer? But when we shield our kids from the lumps Life dishes out, we rob them of the critical growing-up experiences that will make them into strong, brave, confident adults later.
Sleep is the best meditation. -Dalai Lama
These are the simplest pieces of wisdom in this whole collection, and they are amazingly powerful.
Oh, how I wish I could relive those days in my 20’s, 30’s, 40’s (days?…actually years) of chronic weariness, when I was heroically trying to “do it all” and muddling through on way too little sleep.
If you love her, support her.
Love may seem magical, whimsical, steered by the forces of fate, timing and chemistry…but, in fact, love thrives when people behave well towards one another and withers when they treat one another badly. (Duh!!)