ON THE ROAD WITH CAL FARLEY’S INTERNATIONAL CONSULTANT

Seems like there is always something to learn when traveling… Measuring Success by Statistics and Smiles: The week of March 16th I attended the 7th annual conference of the European Federation of Conflict Management and Treatment in Education and Care (EFeCT) in Budapest, Hungary.  I’ll write more about that organization and conference in a subsequent entry.  Now I want to focus on the program visit experiences of the two pre-conference days in the Hungarian cities of Győr and Salgótarján. Győr is a city in the western part of Hungary, sitting about halfway between Budapest and Vienna, Austria.  We visited a school there, Kossuth Lajos Elementary School, that served young people who could not function well in regular community schools.  Most of the students were from the Roma community in the city.  The school is poorly funded.   In 2010 our colleagues from Pressley Ridge Hungary became involved in a training and consulting capacity and, according to statistics in four key areas, since then student performance has improved.  The four areas measured are school attendance, academic performance, serious discipline meetings, and continuation in school. In the period between 2008 and 2010, prior to the involvement of Pressley Ridge Hungary, the trends in school attendance, academic progress, and continuation in school were … Continue reading

Two Faces?

We have found that the use of illusions are often helpful to illustrate various complex ideas about how the brain functions. Look at the picture.  What happens? This is a picture of half of a human face.  Your brain quickly reacts to this incomplete pattern by turning the face sideways – which, to it, makes more sense.  To continue looking at the half face photo would mean the brain is not allowed to do its work of completing the pattern.  Sometimes the brain is so anxious to make sense of the world around it, it will add or subtract information in order to satisfy this desire to predict thereby – better ensuring its continued existence.  Because our brain’s primary directive is to keep us alive, many of its functions underscore this drive.  In order to stay alive, it is helpful to be able to anticipate what is going to happen next.  Our brains are constantly and continuously trying to predict what will happen, next words, next actions, in an attempt to be prepared in a response.  A extension of this is the need to complete patterns.       

On the Road with Cal Farley’s International Consultant

Seems like there is always something to learn when traveling… Judgment Calls & Compromise: Flying through Amsterdam Airport Schiphol yesterday my wife, Marty, and I watched a scene unfold at a gate security area the likes of which I have never observed in a thousand flights anywhere in the world. A passenger casually waited as his carry-on bag went through the x-ray machine. As an agent was called to inspect the bag the passenger stood calmly, showing no sign that he expected anything to be wrong. Standing together at the end of the security conveyer, the agent proceeded to open the bag, remove some clothes, and expose a food processor. Yes, a standard sized food processor. The agent removed the food processor and disassembled it, soon to expose the double-edged blade, which is common to such devices. While we could not hear their conversation in whatever language it was spoken, the non-verbal communication was very clear. The agent looked at the double blade, made a look of consternation, and slowly shook his head at the passenger. The passenger, in turn, looked back at the agent with a look that said, “but sir, I must have my food processor.” Back and … Continue reading

Beware Neuro-bunk

As new brain research is published, the media and many marketers are quick to “run with the data” and often far exceed the true meaning of the research.  In this 2012 TED talk, neuroscientist Molly Crockett explains the limits of interpreting neuroscientific data, and why we should all be aware of them.

Molly Crockett: Beware neuro-bunk

 

 

Community As Lab

CAN AN ENTIRE COMMUNITY BE A LEARNING ENVIRONMENT? In 2010, Cal Farley’s staff pondered how residents could extend science and arts learning outside the classroom. As they heal emotional wounds, youth also could develop hands-on skills to use in their future lives. The result was the development of the Community-as-Lab program. “Community-as-Lab is an effort to use the whole community as a learning lab for the youth,” said Cal Farley’s Executive Vice President Mark Strother. Essential to the program, Strother said, is understanding how the approach empowers residents by letting them make choices based on their interests. This helps engage them in their activities and shows them the power of their unique talents. “One of the main motivators in school,” Strother said, “is when you see the application in the real world. Getting residents involved in all of these things can motivate them back in math class, science class, history and writing.” Another way this highly accessible program benefits Cal Farley’s residents is through the positive relationships they develop as they learn from staff mentors and their peers. “They gain a sense of belonging, relationship,” Strother said. That’s a real key factor.” Xavier, 17 participates in the three-dimensional design lab, … Continue reading