Mariahn Scarborough

Seattle, WA, United States

About Mariahn

Talk to me about

Brain Science, archeology, history, writing, quantum mechanics, social sciences, politics, religion, NLP and other psy-technologies.

People don't know I'm good at

Motivating others, writing, teaching

Comments & conversations

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Mariahn Scarborough
Posted over 3 years ago
Peter van Uhm: Why I chose a gun
I am the daughter of a career army officer in the US. I agree with General van Uhm entirely and would like to repeat one key idea. The general spoke about an aspect of the Dutch constitution which provides a clear international mission for its armed forces. The key to peace keeping is when legitimate armies have a clearly defined mission to restore and maintain peace and the use of force is used only when all other avenues have failed. Individuals join the services for many reasons, but individuals do not deploy themselves. it is the responsibility of the legitimate government to use the massive force of armies sparingly and appropriately until the day when connection, trade and conversation make armies obsolete.
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Mariahn Scarborough
Posted over 3 years ago
Should public schools in the United States eliminate the traditional A to F grading scale? And if so, what assessment do we replace it with?
The reasons why teachers don't assess differently are many and varied. As I see it, there are two prominent reasons why teachers don't assess competence in the same way that every other field does(namely, can you use what you know to complete a project?). First, there is a nearly carved in stone belief that testing for content is the only way to accurately assess what people know. While this is known to be false by those in education, it is state legislatures that hold the purse strings and call the shots. Since the politicians believe that testing is an accurate measure, there is a lot of pressure on teachers to teach students to be experts at taking tests. This involves covering a great deal of content, but leaves little time for project development and extrapolation. Another reason is time, specifically the lack of it. A hundred years ago, a person could learn everything they would need to know in order to earn a good living in about six years of schooling. At that time, school lasted nine months. There was one final at the end of the school year and if you didn't pass you were held back. Today, people have to be at least a hundred times more culturally and technologically literate. Public school teachers have the same 180 days to cover orders of magnitude more material. But if you measure it in hours and you take out all the lunches and pull outs and required testing - that 1080 hours of learning time shrinks substantially. The point is, experimentation takes quality learning time that we simply don't have. So my short answer is money and time. Trust educators to develop and implement modern ways of teaching, and give us the rest of the year to do it, with one week breaks at the quarters and we would graduate a lot more creative life long learners.
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Mariahn Scarborough
Posted over 3 years ago
Should public schools in the United States eliminate the traditional A to F grading scale? And if so, what assessment do we replace it with?
Replacing the A to F grading system will not change the culture of school to the extent that we would like, because the grading scale isn't the problem. The problem is the deeply embedded cultural idea that a good grade = a good person and a bad grade = a bad person. As a teacher, one of the biggest obstacles I face is the fear of "the wrong answer". Useful learning is not comprised of a set of memorized facts or formulas. Useful learning requires that a student be able to take the facts and actually build formulas through experimentation, analyzation, synthesis and extrapolation. If a student is afraid to take a guess, then he or she will never get to the other steps. In an attempt to begin to free students from the fear of failure I built a sign that is prominently displayed in the classroom. It says" There are no such things as mistakes or failures, only choices and outcomes. If your choice didn't work, make a different choice until you get an outcome that does." Most of the methods used in education are at least 150 years old. They do not take into account current knowledge about the brain and how humans learn. We are only just now beginning to adjust our classrooms to use the new technology. My colleagues and I are about 20 years behind when it comes to integrating computer tech in school. The whole field needs to be forced into the 21st century, both physically and philosophically. Experimentation needs to be encouraged and failure seen as a way to learn what not to do next time. It is a shame that the field insists on doing the same things and expecting different results. A new assessment would focus on what the student could do with the information rather than the information itself. This would make the assessment as useful to the student as it is to the teacher.
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Mariahn Scarborough
Posted almost 4 years ago
Julian Treasure: 5 ways to listen better
When I was training to be a teacher, I discovered a framework for learning conscious listening called Non-violent Communication (NVC) developed by Marshall Rosenburg. I became intrigued with the idea that if we could train our students to listen and connect compassionately, the world could become substantially more peaceful and prosperous for everyone. This way of connecting and listening is much easier for children to learn and practice than for adults and I have taught it in my classroom since Ii started teaching. I have been practicing NVC for about ten years and I still have days when I fall short, but I am more peaceful and more patient with others as a result of listening better. It does take effort, and practice to listen well, but the personal rewards are enormous.
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Mariahn Scarborough
Posted about 4 years ago
Sam Richards: A radical experiment in empathy
I see a practical application of this experiment that many of the commentors may have missed. It is closely tied with a social theory that is making its way into popular culture that implies when a certain percentage of the population of the world believes a certain thing, than the rest of the humanity quickly adopts that position as a value, or as the "truth" or even as common sense. If we can empathize with those that we are in conflict with, just as human beings trying to get their needs met, it becomes far easier to connect with those needs in a non-violent way. Empathy is all about connecting with each other as humans, not necessarily with what we judge to be their irrational social structures or beliefs. If every child in America was trained to empathize and act in accordance with that empathy, it is likely that the entire society would behave very differently when it faces challenges of violence and war. This experiment is designed to generate the questions about what I can do differently, to get everyone's needs met. How is my past behavior responsible for the present situation and what if anything, can we do to help heal the world of the error that violence and oppression is ever the answer. In closing I would like to refer to a social experiment in racism that my 4th grade class participated in called the Blue eyes, Brown eyes experiment. In it, children were separated into two groups and one group was given special privileges while the other was not. It took less than an hour for the children in the privileged group to begin excluding those in the other group. Out of 25 children I only had one child from the privileged group elect to leave it to join her friend in the other group. She was the one who led the children to stop the unfairness. Empathy breeds justice. That is the practical application of your experiment.
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Mariahn Scarborough
Posted over 4 years ago
Test Schools, Not Children
We talk about expensive books, but the expense of all this testing on school districts and governments is positively staggering. Millions are made on test creation and many more are made to employ and train people to do the assessments. It is my opinion that tests are not properly vetted,nor is the job of choosing which companies are engaged in the development of these tests given to educators. The job usually goes to the lowest bidder, but the company doesn't have to stick to the budget and they know that the gravy train will continue for a decade of of fees for updates and assessment training. The situation is already unsustainable in my state - to much testing and not enough learning time.
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Mariahn Scarborough
Posted over 4 years ago
William Ury: The walk from "no" to "yes"
What I find interesting about Ury's "first step" is that it doesn't require the two sides to meet for negotiation or to even want to solve the conflict. Rather he finds a metaphor and creates an activity that connects and empowers that "third side". He is quite clear that it isn't a resolution, but a first step to bringing people to the balcony. This is a model that is built on acknowledging the common human needs of people. It assumes the long view - in time, the two sides will come to the table because people simply won't believe the "us and them" story any more. Their experiences and interactions with "them" set within a common metaphor like Abraham, tell the truth of a unifying human experience; we are all "us". It may take 60 or 70 years, but acting on a persistent belief of peace will win out.
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Mariahn Scarborough
Posted almost 5 years ago
Sugata Mitra: The child-driven education
Test scores are not a valid measure of what students know. Period. Testing is useful for letting both teachers and students know what to study more of or what to study next. They only tell what that students knows on that day and often they only tell us that a student is good at taking tests. When Math is taught in a way that demands that students have good skills in arithmetic in order to solve a real world problem, the students get very good at it, very quickly. I have taught many students geometry by presenting them with fabric, a sewing machine and a quilt pattern. It is amazing how fast they learn to calculate how off true a right triangle of fabric is and how quick they are to cut it again. Present students with real life problems and a group will self correct because they want it to be beautiful, or they want it to work.
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Mariahn Scarborough
Posted almost 5 years ago
Sugata Mitra: The child-driven education
With all due respect, I think you are missing the point. The questions are just a catalyst to solve the problem. The problem is not the right answer to the question. The problem clearly is " how do I use these resources to answer this question?" The learning occurs through experimenting with those resources, putting together what everyone knows and then putting that together with information they didn't know to answer the question. All kinds of learning is going on here that far exceeds the collection of information. The whole process is a series of connections in which the students learn a new piece, add it to what they already know, test it to see if it is valid (by talking it over in group), and then go searching for the next piece. It also teaches to other intelligences, this process demands good interpersonal skills and respect for group members; patience and persistence, when ones theory is proven wrong or when time runs out. Students learn self control and self master
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Mariahn Scarborough
Posted almost 5 years ago
Sugata Mitra: The child-driven education
Curriculum is facilitated by the kinds of questions you ask the children to answer. So teachers and curriculum developers will have to ask very good questions, but the students will have to do the inquiry using whatever resources they have available. These resources include, one computer with access to the internet, all their friends and maybe an adult or two. What is exciting about this to me as a teacher is how empowering this is for students and the almost endless opportunities for innovation.