Priya’s Shakti – A heroine’s journey

Priya’s story is one we have, sadly, heard many times: a village girl in India who is raped by a group of men who think they have the ultimate rights over women’s lives and bodies. Her family disowns her, she runs away to the jungle where she ultimately finds her voice, her purpose and her courage to speak out for the rights of all women.

The story was published as a comic book beautifully drawn and detailed and is available free online at

For those of us who have been listening to others’ voices and working on including them in the social discourse, this is an invaluable resource.

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We are all experts at something

An interview with Dan Rollman in MentalFloss magazine (Dec. 2014, pg. 32-3) caught my “teaching/learning” attention and generated the warm, fuzzy feeling of “Hey, he got it and is gifting it to all of us”.

His website is “…a digital platform that allows anyone anywhere to set any world record.” Their philosopy is that “…anyone can be the world’s best at something”.

Rollman himself set the world record for “most bananas to fit into a pair of pants while wearing them” (for a while, until his record was beaten…)

Besides being a fun, imaginative and creative venue, my focus on the concept is as a platform for raising ideas about our own (and our students’) areas of expertese – where we already are and setting goals we would like to achieve.

Maybe stuffing bananas down one’s pants isn’t your goal but it can be an opening of the mind into searching for something I would like to become an expert in/on…or a design question about how best to structure the bananas in the pants to achieve a record number… a social studies quest regarding records and competative behaviors in cultures or societies (remember the Spartans in ancient Greece?)… a site for imagining possibilities and for self-empowerment.




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‘Boat schools’ teach tribal children

When there is a will, we can always find a way.

Was alerted to this BBC article about schooling coming to remote villge children on boats.

Education for what? In this case parents say that with an education “their children are no longer being short-changed when selling their catch in local markets”.

Literacy is a situated concept with different value in different places and under different circunstances.


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The cycle of poverty strikes again

The cycle of poverty has its “tricks” to keep people inside, turning around within it even when they make their best efforts to do better…

When You Can’t Afford Sleep: this article in The Atlantic Magazine written by Khazansep, O.(Sept.15, 2014), accessed 10/10/14

argues that

Though Americans across the economic spectrum are sleeping less these days, people in the lowest income quintile, and peoplewhonever finished high school, are far more likely to get less than seven hours of shut-eye per night. About half of people in households making less than $30,000 sleep 6 or fewer hours per night, while only a third of those making $75,000 or more do”

Meaning to me that – the poorer the worker, the more jobs she has to take to get by and support the family, the less hours of sleep she gets and (tying this to limited mental bandwidth*), the less attention she has available for making good decisions, leading her to stumble again… and again…

*Mullainathan,S. & Shafir, E. (Jan./Feb. 2014). Freeing up intelligence.Scientific American Mind, (Jan/Feb 2014), Vol. 25(1).

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Learning and noise

Were you taught that “real learning” can only take place when we are emersed in silence?

That when supervision comes to your classroom the students need to be working quietly in order for you to be considered “a good teacher”?

Mental Floss Magazine of Oct. 2014, on pg. 19, provided the following information:

According to a University of Chicago study, moderate noise helps creativity by slowing down the speed in which we process information. The lag keeps us from fixating, prompts abstract thinking and even provides a healthy dose of mind wandering.”

The trick is to be in a noise zone of between 70 decibels and 85 decibels (above which the noise becomes stressful).

Believe it or not, that’s the noise level of an average coffee shop!

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