15 March 2012


Many thanks to my friend Beth for turning me on to this lively RSA Animate video called Changing Education Paradigms.  The video operates on two very effective levels ~ its content (which contains ideas certain to challenge one's assumptions) and its presentation (which proceeds at a pace guaranteed to engage our total attention).  The speaker, Sir Ken Robinson, suggests that a paradigm shift from production-line education to the nurturing of divergent thinking is not only desirable, but essential if we hope to produce creative and original thinkers among our youth.  I couldn't agree more.  Please, please watch just the first few minutes.  I think you'll find yourself unable to disengage from the flow of his ideas.

How's this for a headline?  Sex Education Delays Teens' Sexual Activity ~ not only that, those teens who do take sex ed classes are far more likely to practice safe sex than those teens who didn't take the classes.  I find the delay factor fascinating.  It goes a long way toward challenging the paranoia of adults who are opposed to sex education due to fears that it may encourage sexual promiscuity.

If you've ever had the good fortune to study ecology, chances are you'll have come across at least one course in environmental education.  At the University of Arizona I had the great good fortune to enroll in the environmental ed class taught by Dr. Paul S. Martin, a geoscientist and Renaissance man who became my de facto mentor.  The class is intended both for those who plan on becoming teachers, and for those whose careers will involve outreach to the public.  

For an overview of what outreach might look like, check out Jim Moran's excellent essay Three Challenges for Environmental Philosophy.  Convincing people of the need to tread lightly on the planet has been an uphill struggle since the days of John Muir, Aldo Leopold, and Rachel Carson.  It remains so today.  Broken down, Moran argues that in the 21st century the essential challenge are ~

  • overcoming anthropocentrism
  • reassessing our place in nature
  • defining moral status.
It is a thoughtful piece, a window onto the ethics of environmentalism.

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