Leila Oicles

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What are some ways to help youth in our communities?

Sorry for the recent change but was told I must change the title in order to reflect the whole TED community and not ask for any personal help in particular for a project. So perhaps instead we could share some ideas and personal experiences about learning, growing and the best methods we have had or experienced to benefit youth in our communities.

To get us started there are a list of questions below that could help get some ideas flowing, feel free to use them or not. All ideas are most certainly welcome.

1. Did you have a teacher that inspired you? What did you learn most from him/her?

2. Is there any particular school project or assignment you had that sticks out in your mind? What was it?

3. Knowing what you know now about the "real world", is there anything you wish school better prepared you for?

4. Do you love your work? If so, what inspired you toward that field? If not, what is it you would love to do if you could?

5. If there are three pieces of wisdom or advice you could give to a kid, what would it be? If you are a current student what 3 pieces of wisdom or advice would you give adults?

6. If you could design a worshop or class for any age group you choose, which age group and what would you want to teach? Current students encouraged to answer this one too.

7. Are there any classes, workshops, books, etc that have had a huge impact on you? What are they?


Thanks again!

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    Aug 16 2011: Your project -- and your nine questions -- would take a 1,000 page book. I'll just mention one single anecdote, referring to #5...

    While hiking I've (twice) met young guys in their early 20s who were upset that they were/are 'broke'. I asked, "Were you broke when you were 15?" "Yes." And were you broke when you were 18?" "Yup!" "Well, relax. You should be used to being broke! If you were 50 and had never been broke before, you might be in trouble. But you SHOULD be broke when you're in your 20s!"

    I then pointed out the obvious: "This is the time in your life when you should be out exploring your world, making mistakes, taking chances, learning from your bad judgment, doing incredibly stupid things and realizing how dumb they were later." And, "Worry if you get to age 30 or 40 or 50 and are still repeating the same mistakes. But for right now, be grateful you're out here hiking in the woods, getting wet and cold and dodging lightning. You'll know why when you look back in a couple of decades."
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    Aug 17 2011: if you have a skill, share it.
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      Aug 17 2011: Very true. Yet, I suppose what I seek to do is to help someone discover their unique talents and place in the world. Sometimes it is also about giving someone the courage or permission to be their true selves. I had a teacher that helped to shift my whole perspective and opened doors for me I didn't even know existed. That is what I would like to give back in some way.
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    Aug 16 2011: Hi Lelia. Allowing the responder to know a bit more about your personal project might be more beneficial to you the next time (if there is) you ask this question. It would be very easy to write chapters on each of your questions but that's quite time consuming. I'd rather like the option to give you the very meat of what you'd like to know. Don't mean to be a thorn in your foot, just being constructive. Are you currently a teacher or are you studying to become one? What age of children do you or are you planning on working with? Knowing the answers to those questions would greatly help me to help you. Good Luck!
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      Aug 16 2011: Hi Gilbert, I thank you for the suggestion. No thorn in the foot at all. I will most definately give more information in future posts once the idea gels a bit more. Right now I am in a collecting data stage so to speak. I am not a teacher, but I have been blessed to have some incredible teachers in my life, my grandmother being one of them. She was also a school teacher and I enjoyed hearing her stories on how she seemed to have a way with troubled youth that other teachers didn't want to deal with, or perhaps didn't know how.

      I will also be asking specific questions to different groups and ages. I have not really set a specific age, but I know I will be focusing more on middle school onwards. Right now I just wanted people to have the freedom to express their personal experiences without being biased on my ideas and thoughts or the specifics of the projecct, so that I can compare with what I have.

      If you could answer number 7 that would be great. I could name a few classes and books that have had a huge impact on me . :)
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        Aug 17 2011: Are there any classes, workshops or books that have had a huge impact on me? Of course! Through those three mediums I'm the person that I am today. Let me begin with classes. One in particular stands out in my mind. My 10th. grade drama teacher Mrs. Gregg. I thought that while being the smallest guy on the junior varsity high school football team I could beat the injury statistics and continue on to the NFL. As history has proven, that was a no go. A spinal cord injury led me to having to choose a different elective. Enter Mrs. Gregg (formerly Ms. Pavelka) and her drama class. I was astonished to find a class, or a world for that matter where people were not reserved in regard to their voice, actions, or even others' perceptions of them. Going from afraid to ask a girl to slow dance to a place where I could say, "Hey baby, let me help you with that bra." was a fantastic achievement. Thank you Mrs. Gregg.

        Books? Two Stephen King novellas come to mind, 1) Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption 2) The Mist Also I really enjoyed The Minds of Billy Milligan.

        Hoped this helped...I'm a finger chatter box. Good Luck!
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    Aug 16 2011: 1.No. Because inspiring is a strong word for me. They only impressed me.

    2.General charity stuff was uniting and peaceful.

    3. I am not sure. Actually they need to teach a little more about laws maybe.

    4.I dont love, I just like it. Money took me down in the business when I was younger, now I don't value money that much so it is not essential anymore. I could have been a scholar or academic in university maybe.

    5 (1. Dont take what you dont need. 2. Share or recycle instead o giving away or thrashing. 3. Do not overvalue physical attraction in your relaitonships with opposite sex ( or your sex whatever) )


    6. High school kids and college students to help disabled kids once in month. Take them out, carry them around, spend time together what so ever. I think it will have a poistive effecto on both sides.

    7. I dont have.
  • Aug 19 2011: Thank you for the kind words.

    Books that have been of use:

    Wealth of Nations - Adam Smith
    The Commuinist Manifesto - Duh
    Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy - Schumpeter (this should be read directly after the Communist Manifesto)

    These are books that coverr incredible findamentals. They may SEEM to be about money, industry etc. but in reality, they are examinations of human conditions from an extremely dispassionate viewpoint (except Marx, he's a bit fire and brimstone).

    Hagakure
    The Demon's Sermon on the Martial Arts
    The Book of 5 Rings

    These more or less cover what it means to not be a dickwad as an individual. A surprisingly difficult task for most.

    The Peloponnesian War - Donald Kagan

    The best example of how things don't change much. I invite anyone to compare Cleon's speech to many given Bush Jr. Hilarious and terrifying. This book more than anything shows the need for open and honest communication.

    Purple Cow - Seth Godin

    To be blunt, I already believed everything this book said before I read it. But this canonized it. I think it extends far beyond business and into thinking in general.

    A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess

    Possibly the first real "game changer" of my life. Originally read when I was 14, and re-read a couple of times since. The freedom to choose, and the primacy of the individual are put front and center, and continued core values for me to this day.

    The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

    What grander adventure is there? (I know I know it rhymes with Bored of the Stings). But as a child it sparked my imagination, and to this day I delight in the adventure of going "there and back again".

    There's more so many more. As for workshops, most involved a very successful business man teaching us how he made a miillion dollars by breaking the mold and being different. We all got very exceited and clapped and cheered then returned to our tightly controlled corporate environment where we betrayed what we learned and wondered why nothing changed.
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    Aug 18 2011: My point is that if we will keep believing that our existing technology, knowledge and sciences, mass production industries, and politics can create a great progress and convenient life - we are deadly mistaken. We have a long, long way to understand what we are, and what we are really doing on this planet. Therefore we are all students of life.

    I suggest that schools have to change the ways to teach because the teachers are not only to teach but to openly LEARN together with students.

    Classical philosophy, from Greek teachers to Schopenhauer, and basic knowledge about human sensory perceptions, behavioral psychology and ethics would be an inspirational foundation for any knowledge and experience. Yes, schools have to introduce students to sciences and technological methods, instruments, tools and toys, explaining that technology does not really prove our super intelligence, but it compensates for our poor intuition and undeveloped sensory perceptions.

    Where to start? Non-profit organizations can peacefully turn that existing stiff and stuffy schooling environment into a new generation of schools of life.
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      Aug 16 2011: Your pieces of wisdom remind me of a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt "No one can make you feeel inferior without your consent." Yet, you also go beyond where we do have the ability to control our emotions, reactions and attitudes. i posted a quote by Viktor Frankl in a previous TED conversation, but this one really hits home to what you are expressing...especially for someone that endured what he has, so I will share again..

      "“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.”

      As to your excercise, I have never heard of this one. I am curious to know more about the after discussion and how to help it sink in and learn from it. Have you dont this before?
  • Aug 16 2011: 7. Are there any classes, workshops, books, etc that have had a huge impact on you? What are they?

    More than I can count, but none that would be useful to you I fear. (Too heavy/in depth).

    9. Please feel free to share anything else you would like. Perhaps resources or ideas or talks that could be relevant? This is a free space to share what you please on the topic.

    Let kids be creative. Provide a pallete of options, let them naturally gravitate towards their interest, and create projects based on those interests.
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      Aug 16 2011: Now you have peaked my curiousity about question number 7. Perhaps some you could think of could be useful to me or someone else on the TED community, so I would love to hear more. Got a top 3 maybe?

      Also, I really love your 3 pieces of wisdom and your answer to number 9.
  • Aug 16 2011: 1. Did you have a teacher that inspired you? What did you learn most from him/her?

    I learned that education can be interesting. The perspective that it is fun to learn has shaped my life.

    2. Is there any particular school project or assignment you had that sticks out in your mind? What was it?

    Game Design. We were tasked with designing either a puzzle or a game, I created an offshoot of Chinese Checkers using a fantasy theme (yes I was a geek). It stands out beause it was one of the few times I was able to be completely creative.

    3. Knowing what you know now about the "real world", is there anything you wish school better prepared you for?

    Budgeting, accounting and other mundane stuff like that, that throws so many of us under the bus at a young age whenn we are financially inexperienced.

    4. Do you love your work? If so, what inspired you toward that field? If not, what is it you would love to do if you could?

    I don't love my work, but it has it's upside. If I could do anything? Either a profesisonal fighter, or an archaeologist. Go figure.

    5. If there are three pieces of wisdom or advice you could give to a kid, what would it be? If you are a current student what 3 pieces of wisdom or advice would you give adults?

    To a kid:

    1. Others share the same feelings you do. You aren't different, and you have nothing to be ashamed of.
    2. Losing is the best thing you can do. If you don't compete against people that can beat you, you'll never get better.
    3. There are infinite possiblities. Learn from your experiences, but don't let them control you. There are always more options ahead.

    6. If you could design a worshop or class for any age group you choose, which age group and what would you want to teach? Current students encouraged to answer this one too.

    Grade 5 and onwards. We would learn basic formal logic and critical reasoning.
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    Aug 16 2011: I don't know if you have had a chance yet, Leila, to do some baseline reading on what research says about how children learn. One informative book with which you could start is by Bransford and is called How Children Learn.

    It would give you a research framework to complement, or with which to organize, the anecdotes you collect by your surveys.
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      Aug 16 2011: I just looked this up on amazon, and ordering it. Thanks for the recommendation.
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    Aug 16 2011: #1.... I'm 65 and still have teachers who inspire me. Sometimes they give me technical information. Often they're decades younger than I am. Sometimes they're folks whose lives are examples to be emulated. Sometimes they're wrang-wrangs: folks whose lives are so screwed-up that they act as warning signs: Do not do this! And often they are just folks who remind me of stuff I already know but have forgotten. I could give hundreds of examples.... I won't. Everyone needs to look around and find their own teachers -- on their own solitary paths into the mysterious future.
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    Aug 16 2011: 5. Do not believe. Do not force yourself to believe. Be suspicious. Do not become angry with somebody who tries to convince you of his opinion, but try to understand his line of thought and look out for the flaws.

    6. Thinking with order and method like Hercule Poirot. Maybe mathematics or programming.
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      Aug 16 2011: Oh how I wish I had more of that before I ventured off into the "real world" It wasn't until my late 20's that I reaized the huge importance of maintaining an excellent credit score! You can't even find a decent apartment these days without it, for now anyone can go online and check.

      You also mentioned teaching efffective communication skills, and I feel this is paramount in all aspects of ones life, from family, to career, and then some. Do you know of any methods, books, or resources that effectively teach this skill?

      Have you ever thought about starting such a workshop in your community? If you have not heard of Dave Eggers or watched his talk Dave Eggers wish: Once Upon a School I highly recommend it. Another great site that another member recommened: http://capsulasdetiempo.com/en/2011/02/22/there-will-be-no-work-left-unless-we-create-it/

      On a side note, I changed the format of my original post as it wasn't getting any replies. I figured it would be easier to ask for the help and offer a series of questions to help me with my project. So please feel free to look back on the post and share anything else you would like. Thanks!
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          Aug 16 2011: Hi Kate, it looks like you do have your hands full...in a wonderful way. I wish you much success. Thank you for the great recommendation on Allan and Barbara Pease.