Peter Benson on Sparks: How youth thrive

Every teenager has a spark — something inside that is good, beautiful, and useful to the world. Sparks illuminate a young person’s life and give it meaning and purpose…

Just ask a teen: “Tell me what it is about you that gives you joy and energy? What’s going on in those moments when life feels the richest and the fullest, with purpose and hope. What is your spark? I’m dying to know.”

Peter L. Benson (1946-2011) was one of the world’s leading authorities on positive human development. Dr. Benson was the author or editor of more than a dozen books on child and adolescent development and social change, including, most recently, Sparks: How Parents Can Help Ignite the Hidden Strengths of Teenagers…

Fourth graders play the World Peace Game

John Hunter
John Hunter

John Hunter puts all the problems of the world on a 4’x5′ plywood board — and lets his 4th-graders solve them. At TED2011, he explains how his World Peace Game engages schoolkids, and why the complex lessons it teaches — spontaneous, and always surprising — go further than classroom lectures can.

Musician, teacher, filmmaker and game designer, John Hunter has dedicated his life to helping children realize their full potential. His own life story is one of a never-ending quest for harmony. As a student, he studied comparative religions and philosophy while traveling through Japan, China and India. In India, inspired by Ghandi’s philosophy, he began to think about the role of the schoolteacher in creating a more peaceful world. Continue reading

Edutopia: Portland principal promotes collaborative culture

Mike McCarthy is principal at King Middle School in Portland, Maine.

From Edutopia:

McCarthy transformed a culture of divisiveness and violence by committing to cooperation and innovation.

McCarthy: “The genius of this school is not in a program, it’s not in the laptops, it’s in the learning. It’s in teachers designing learning that they know will work for kids … and they have the space and the time and the autonomy to do it.”

The Koh Panyee Football Club: a true story

From TMB Bank, Thailand:

In 1986, in a floating village in the middle of the sea that has not an inch of soil, the kids loved to watch football but had nowhere to play or practice. But they didn’t let that stop them.

This film is based on a true story about a little island in the south of Thailand called “Koh Panyee.”

This video launched a campaign for Thailand’s TMB Bank, hoping to inspire people to start small, think differently, and create positive change. The video is based on a true story. Full credits are here.

Thank you for sharing this, Charlotte Agell!

TED: How Eric Whitacre conducted his virtual choir of 2,000 voices

With an emergent technology, something happens that you’d never imagined. Here, YouTube and Hulu, via WordPress, Facebook, and Twitter — and built upon the Internet — bring something new and wonderful to life.

With all of the horrible things we’ve learned through the Internet about suffering in our world lately, this is a video about the simple, powerful joy of people around the world singing together. Continue reading

An idea is a curious thing…

From 90˚W. Video:

An idea is a curious thing. It can be hard to find, and then suddenly appear. It can be simple or complex, big or small. An idea can come from anywhere, and go anywhere. And once you have an idea, the real fun begins.

By 90˚W. Video and Bad Dog Pictures. Original composition by Mark Bartels.

The film ‘Schooling the World’ is profound, disturbing

From Kima via Cooperative Catalyst:

“Today, I watched a profoundly disturbing film. It completely shattered my view of education as a progressive force in the world. Even if the system in place is seriously outdated, I never really questioned the intrinsic value of education as a way out of poverty, as a way to move humanity into their future….

“I believe Schooling the World is a film that is just as, if not more, important as Waiting for Superman — at least Sir Ken Robinson seemed to agree with me when replying back on Twitter, after I brought it to his attention, that it is ‘An important and fascinating movie.’

“The current education system was devised during the start of the industrialization, more than 200 years ago. Its purpose was to create skilled workers that could take specialized jobs and work in the factories. …

“In the developed countries, most of the factories are gone, more people than ever work in services, and a great level of innovation and creativity is required by most modern companies. However, the education system still produces people that can do specialized jobs — or worse, tries to generalize their knowledge to such a level that it is useless at that point.”

Fan video from Korean drama Coffee Prince

It seems that I am very late to this party. I’ve been watching the 2007 South Korean drama, Coffee Prince, on Hulu. It’s the story of about a dozen people — from three generations — in a Seoul neighborhood who come together to renew a failing cafe and who actually renew each other.

As with the several other Korean dramas I’ve watched, the pilot is somewhat silly by sophisticated Hollywood standards, but the series grows with depth and insight over the first few hours. (Incidentally, the MBS-sponsored subtitles can be pretty interesting, too, like “tomboy,” for a female who isn’t obsessed with marriage, and “shaken,” meaning the moment of being attracted to someone new.)

Over a quarter million people have watched this fan-produced video, which combines the song “Across the Ocean” by American duo Azure Ray — used twice in the series — with scenes of cafe owner Han Kyul and “tomboy” Eun Chan from the middle episodes.

I am, again, fascinated by the way this series integrates universal emotions — captured with quite a bit of subtlety — with the resistance to South Korean cultural expectations about men and women, parental respect, and class distinctions.