Archive for March 8th, 2012
Tom Hoerr is the is head of school at the New City School in St. Louis (a school both of my daughters have attended). In an article titled, “Got Grit?” at the website of Educational Leadership, Tom reminds us that it is critically important for children to experience failure:
As important as scholastic preparation is (and it is important), it is only part of what students need to succeed in life. Howard Gardner’s personal intelligences, Daniel Goleman’s emotional intelligence, and Carol Dweck’s mindsets all reflect the fact that our attitudes are even more important than our skills . . .
As educators, part of our job is to ensure that every child finds success, and an important part of finding success is knowing how to respond to failure. As soccer star Mia Hamm said, “Failure happens all the time. It happens every day in practice. What makes you better is how you react to it.” People who have not learned to respond well to frustration and failure are likely to choose paths without much risk or challenge and thus destine themselves to a life of predictability, safety, and mediocrity.
I’ve also been impress with the writings of Gardner, Goleman and Dweck, and I’ve commented on each of them at this site.
At Slate, Will Oremus reminds us that many species of animals are homosexual, though very few are exclusively so. There is no evidence that any animals other than human animals are homophobic:
Not as far as we know. Homosexual behavior has been documented in hundreds of animal species, but the same does not hold for gay-bashing. For starters, few animals are exclusively gay. Two female Japanese macaques might have playful sex with each other on Tuesday, then mate with males on Wednesday. Pairs of male elephants sometimes form years-long companionships that include sexual activity, while their heterosexual couplings tend to be one-night stands. For these and many other species, sexual preferences seem to be fluid rather than binary: Gay sex doesn’t make them gay, and straight sex doesn’t make them straight. In these cases, the concept of homophobia simply doesn’t apply.
Susan Cain is an introvert in a world dominated by extroverts who insist that introverts should act like extroverts. She recently wrote a book titled, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. I took special interest in Cain’s talk because I am an off-the-charts introvert.
The world constantly dominated by extroverts is a great loss, Cain asserts, because introverts, who avoid great amounts of stimulation, often “feel their most alive, their most switched on and their most capable when they are in quieter, more low key, environments. Unfortunately, our most important institutions (schools and work places) “are designed for extroverts, and extroverts’ need for lots of stimulation.”
Society has a prejudice that creativity comes from gregarious gatherings. Schools and workplaces typically assemble students and workers into groups and ask them to work “together,” even in activities such as writing. Kids that seek to work alone are seen as outliers and problems. Most teachers think of extroverts as superior students even though research shows that “introverts get better grades and are more knowledgeable.” Introverts are often passed over for leadership positions, even though they tend to be careful and avoid unnecessary risks. Research shows that introverted leaders tend to let proactive workers run with their ideas, whereas extroverted leaders tend to interfere with the process (min 6:45). At min 8:00, Cain suggests that “ambiverts” probably have the best of both worlds.