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Austin Jones

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Elementary education reform.

I have a mapped out curriculum that entails practices of bio/neurofeedback into elementary schools. Basically just emotional therapy, cognitive exercises, abstract thought building, and individual analysis. All of this without changing the system too much, that's my goal for an easy and agreeable transition. The goal being that we want to captivate a childs' imagination, identify what their individual interests are, build on that while still educating them on the other fronts, and teach them about their own mind. How their mentality is effected by environment and how to control it. Show people at a young age how to identify when their emotions have relatively larger impacts on their decision making processes.

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    Jan 27 2014: So, little Johnny is unaware of his temper tantrum but as a member of your educational system, he can be made aware of his angry outburst so he could grow up aware of feedback to better use his cerebral cortex over his limbic system. Oh, now I better understand it then when I am maxed out on my anger polarity. But if I can bring a smile, my response is well served...
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    Jan 26 2014: I don't think teaching children to control their emotions is completely removing their childhood, or even removing it at all. Let me give you an idea as to what I mean by emotional control or therapy. I notice so many people, grown people that is. When I am discussing things such as religion, politics, society, it almost seems that a majority of the time. If our views don't agree, the other person becomes anywhere from annoyed to irate. When you get angry, you're not thinking clearly. The primitive limbic system starts to kick in and the cerebral cortex doesn't function as much. Personally I enjoy hearing arguments that negate my own, especially ones that are more well structured. It helps my broaden my views. When I hear ones that aren't even well structured, I try not to laugh. I've noticed a correlation between anger polarity and the structure of arguments. Basically I want a system that doesn't force children to control their emotions, but allows for them to be aware of when their angry and making hasty decisions. I think a system that could successfully do this, would end up with more cognitively functioning adults. In the sense that they would be aware of the biofeedback and neurofeedback of their own brains. Making it to where by the time they are adults they would have a easier time using their cerebral cortex over their limbic system.
  • Feb 22 2014: Fascinating topic...profound really. I believe much of our dysfunctional, polarized culture/politics today is the result of our limbic's systems dominance. It's a lot easier (more entertaining?) to react with hostility or admiration than to thoughtfully consider new information in the context of our current 'beliefs'! I also believe this inability to think critically starts early in life. Early testing can reveal a child's genetic and cultural tendencies and the likelihood (probability) he or she will react appropriately/productively in either social or learning situations. Everyone (teachers, parents, kids) would benefit from gaining an insight into what to expect when Johnny encounters challenges as he experiences new subjects or situations.

    I was a 'good kid' and got good grades throughout school but had lousy social skills. My interpersonal and extrapersonal skills haven't really improvement much and I was frustrated daily trying to 'manage' people throughout my career. I feel certain I would have been much happier and more successful using my 'imbred' ability to solve most problems than didn't involve personnel.

    What you describe is a big deal Austin and affects virtually everyone as they/we learn how to 'optimize' life. Understanding what 'comes naturally' for us and our children and how it can be be a strength or weakness (depending on the subject or situation) would be nothing short of life changing. A gift that might force the tired, ineffective axiom "just try harder Johnny" out of our vocabulary.
  • Feb 17 2014: well this idea seems to be quite effective. well i hope it help students to learn to make better decision in life
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    Jan 28 2014: It's hard to say man, theirs so many unorthodox methods of education that could be implemented to better the system. I'm sure theirs systems out their that even blow my idea out of the water, even if my idea is 100% accurate. However I think it's worth considering.
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    Jan 27 2014: Imagine the US government or some private agency selecting ten of the most qualified educators (provide them with the necessary manpower, technology, and incentives) to create an elementary curriculum and a system of delivering that curriculum, do you think they will come up with the same curriculum and system?

    What are the the likely scenarios?
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    Jan 27 2014: To be honest, I thought your argument was a good one and didn't even think it was biased by temperament. I was just using that as an example by the way. Being able to recognize your emotions impacting decision making processes has other perks as well. I would have smiled from your response if I wasn't so serious about this Mr.Colera. I've got the jist of how this should go in my head but until I've had some experience I won't really be able to give this topic credibility or in depth description. I truly feel that once I've had some experience as a father teaching his son, I will be able to change the world with something like this. This is going to sound crazy and far fetched, and I'm not certain this will happen but I do think it's possible. I have a hypothesis that if people can learn to better control their neurological functions from the time they are children, by the time they are grown we will actually have adults with relatively stronger cerebral cortexes . I would even go as far to say that the usage of this part of the brain and less of the limbic system after multiple generations could take place in evolution. However it already is, so that's kind of a broad claim to throw out. Regardless I hope this better sums up my opinion. Only time and experience will tell :)
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    Jan 26 2014: Robert,
    While you are pondering the hurdles presented by current public education policies and I believe they are more overwhelming then even you have indicated, I was looking at the process and the goals of the proposal. Because if we are speaking of prepubescent children, attempting the learning to control emotions etc., I just don't see it happening. Children are losing so much of their childhood now, we are to completely remove it? I am not in favor.
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    Jan 26 2014: Austin, Wow sounds like a pretty heavy and in depth approach. The problem I have is getting around the state and federal mandates. The textbook writers and the test developers have out lined a curriculum and set time schedules to cover high stakes tests that the federal and state governments use to rate teachers, administrators, and school systems ... in short money and careers are on the line. Frankly the federal and state governments do not care about the emotions or the child they want pure data and to meet the mandates or they will reduce or stop your funding.

    What we can do to enrich the opportunity to succeed is to use preparatory events such as hands on and enriched vocabulary. We should pay more attention to study habits and test taking techniques. We should require demonstration / application and not multiple guess.

    We are no longer in charge of what occurs in the classroom ... that was decided at the white house in a knee jerk reaction to the PISA exams which the USA fell to the bottom third of the bottom third. It is the documented intention of the Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, to socialize our education system to be ran by the federal government. With the advent of CORE and STEM and ability to control the purse strings he is well on the way to socialism. We should note that Duncan was the state superintendent in Illinois where they spend the most and have the worst results in education in the states .. his plan worked for that state .... NOT.

    We fail to prepare the elementary student for the transition to the junior high rigors .... that should be the goal.

    I too have a plan for the renovation of the school system ... cannot occur when the feds are running the game.

    Carter really screwed the pooch when he made Education a Cabinet post.

    We beat this up on TED quite often ... don't give up. We know what the problem is ... get the feds out of the state business .. then we can work to heal the system.

    Be well. Bob
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      Jan 26 2014: There is simply no way any guidelines or mandates would cause a teacher not to try to address the social and emotional needs of the children in her charge, as well as often trying to attend to the separate needs of their parents. The caveat is that some teachers teach large classrooms of children with an array of emotional challenges that are too much for one person to handle.

      Some schools have a useful in-building resource for counseling problems beyond what can be addressed in a whole class format and some have found that resource stripped in the face of budget cuts.

      An example is that the classroom teacher is not equipped to diagnose and address real depression, OCD, and so forth in a classroom setting of thirty students, even if she had the training for it. Also, only specialists are equipped to address some of the anger-related issues that can arise at schools.
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        Jan 27 2014: Hi Fritzie, I agree. No caring teacher would not attempt to address these issues. My intent was to address the issues ... as you say there are many cuts .... teachers have been strapped with a very tight schedule to prepare students for high stakes testing.

        My issue is that the federal government is becoming more intrusive in the states business and in particular education.

        I think we must address the issues we are facing prior to attempting changes.

        We too are losing many things here in order to fund the mandated changes.

        I am with you in supporting teachers ... I am afraid the deck is stacked against them. In Arizona now the teachers evaluation is based on the students results on the high stake tests. The teaching plan is directed by the text writers and the test developers. It has become a matter of teaching the test.

        I can only imagine the frustration this must present to caring teachers.

        As always thanks for the reply. Bob.
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          Jan 27 2014: I know and appreciate your support for teachers and recognize too the various destructive impacts of much high stakes testing.

          In terms, though, of attending to the social and emotional needs of kids, I believe they would do better on ANYTHING you might measure about their learning- including tests- if teachers attend to their needs as kids. There are no shortcuts around it. The human factor is important for its own sake, for their school performance, and for students' future.
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    Jan 26 2014: I can understand almost everything you're saying. I just have yet to see any type of education that teaches young children to control their emotions, or makes a big focus on that. Other than telling them being mean is bad and sharing is good. I've yet to see something like this, my son was born just a week ago so maybe in the next 10 years I'll have a better idea for how to do this.
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      Jan 26 2014: Congratulations, Austin! When you start looking for materials to support your parenting, you will find them. One useful place to start might be Michael Gurian's The Wonder of Boys, which is aimed at parents and at educators. An even better known book of this kind aimed at addressing emotional challenges for girls is Raising Ophelia.

      The training teachers receive on addressing the social and emotional needs of their students is closely connected to the students' age. So the teachers who work on these issues with grade school students use different material and lesson arrangements than those who work with, say, adolescents.

      Again, what a beautiful time for you!
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    Jan 26 2014: I think perhaps you have had little response to your question here either because 1) the topic is discussed so very often that people don't want to discuss it again at this moment or because 2)what you propose, "The goal being that we want to captivate a childs' imagination, identify what their individual interests are, build on that while still educating them on the other fronts, and teach them about their own mind. How their mentality is effected by environment and how to control it. Show people at a young age how to identify when their emotions have relatively larger impacts on their decision making processes" is not really controversial. Teachers and average parents are continuously engaged in these pursuits.
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    Jan 26 2014: Nobody? :(