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edward long

Association of Old Crows


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Teachers should get tough.

In the recent WSJ Saturday Essay Joanne Lipman broaches a controversial idea for improving public education. To prompt you to read her essay here are her talking points: 1) A little pain is good for you. 2) Drill baby, drill. 3)Failure is an option. 4) Strict is better than nice. 5) Creativity can be learned. 6) Grit trumps talent. 7) Praise makes you weak. 8) Stress makes you strong.


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  • Oct 5 2013: Thanks for sharing the WSJ article. The author for the most part I agree with. Tough but fair is how any teacher, coach, mentor, or boss should be. They should always be challenging the student to rise to a higher level of achievement, performance, or greatness.

    I disagree with creativity can be taught. Our current education system seems to kill creativity in most students just by simple conformity to school "rules", peer pressure, or societal norms. What a teacher or mentor, et al. can do is to stimulate or draw creativity out of someone.

    Stress, or better challenge, is necessary to get anyone to a new plateau of the performance, desire or goals.

    As a nation (USA) we have become "fat & happy" while the rest of the world has caught up with us and surpassed us in some areas. Grit and determination is what made this country. We need a lot more of it. It seems our legislative bodies are confusing grit with ill-tempered actions of a 5 year old (both sides).
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      Oct 5 2013: Good observations Spencer. Thanks for a fresh perspective about these qualities not being applicable to teachers only, but to everyone in authority. My take on the author's position on creativity being a learned trait is that so many young people are told that creativity is something some are born with and others are not. If you are in the latter group you cannot learn to be creative.That is just wrong. Creativity can be learned. Do you see that point-of-view?
      • Oct 5 2013: I think everyone has creativity, it just has to be coaxed out of them. Some fear to show it because they can't take the criticism (part of being tough and having grit). Others find it when they need it.

        Reply to Edward Long below: Yes all people have the capacity to be creative. Most just don't exercise it. Its like muscle if you don't use it , you lose it, it atrophies to where it is worthless.
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          Oct 5 2013: So you are not saying creativity cannot be learned. You are saying creativity need not be learned because everyone has it. It follows then that you think it is wrong to teach children that some people have creativity and some don't and there is nothing that can be done to make a person who does not have it be creative. I think I understand your take on the matter. Every young person should be encouraged to be creative.

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