One of the wonderful things about Blue School is that at its core, it is an invitation to consider not only critical questions within education, but also to explore our shared responsibility as parents and educators to raise happy, passionate, successful children. Defining those words, and what they mean to each of us, is a complicated matter. For me, so much of the work of building a school is working through these questions together. Recently, I've seen two really interesting pieces that move this conversation forward. The first is an hour-long video from the Aspen Ideas Festival. It features a conversation between key players in the world of education and parenting, including advisory board member Larry Cohen, Ellen Galinsky, and Amy Chua, author of Tiger Mom. If you can spare some time, you will find this discussion very thought-provoking. I did with both my parent and educator hats on. Second, if you haven't already seen it, the New York Times Sunday Review last weekend featured an article called "Raising Successful Children," arguing again for a balance in our parenting. In this article, Madeleine Levine references Carol Dweck's Mindset, which is a great book about the difference between a fixed and a growth mindset. Her work was also featured in a New York Magazine article in the Spring about the impact of praise.
If you've had a chance to read the Berger piece in my last entry (no guilt if you haven't), Dweck's work provides a simple and compelling rationale for putting student effort at the center of our classrooms, and our praise.