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How to teach kids about race, diversity and acceptance

The Toronto Star – Jasmine Miller-Hood

“While I’ve had my own journey of embracing my natural hair (which wasn’t always easy when mainstream media, corporate America and some schools have said natural hair isn’t beautiful or professional), as a mom of boys, I hadn’t given much thought to teaching them about loving their hair. But when an incident at my son’s preschool caused him to be the centre of attention, I had to find ways to address him and his class.” (more)

Diversity at the front of the classroom could mean more diversity among future scientists

The Hechinger Report – Tara García Mathewson

“Lithium, the element, burns red. The flame for sodium is a strong orange. With potassium, it’s pink. Before he did a flame test in his chemistry class at Woodrow Wilson High School in Camden, N.J., 16-year-old Naysaan Benson thought fire only had two colors – orange and red. The experiment surprised him. “There was green, red, orange, yellow,” Benson said. Now he understands how fireworks get their color.” (more)

Embrace Change

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

“If you do not create change, change will create you.” ~ Unknown

Change has always been an inevitable part of life. However, the speed of change and the amount of change a person can expect to see over his/her lifetime has increased substantially in the last 50 years. A recent Innosight study gives us an idea of the magnitude of the shift. In 1958, the average age of a company on the S&P 500 listing was 58 years. Now it is about 18 years. In addition, pundits suggest there are significant technological developments about every two years.

This rapid change can be overwhelming and can quickly leave those who are not actively embracing it behind. As a result, young people need practice adapting to change, so they can adjust quickly and efficiently.

In addition to helping children prepare for life on their own, change also:
• Teaches flexibility
Frequent change makes it easier to adapt to new situations, new environments, and new people. When kids have this type of exposure, it is less likely they will “shut down”          when something unexpectedly shifts.
• Encourages growth
Change forces young people to adapt in ways that are outside of what they have experienced which can help children with personal development.
• Reveals likes and strengths
It is challenging for a child to know what he/she enjoys or what comes easily to him/her unless he/she tries many things. Change is often the only way this exploration occurs.
• Creates opportunities
When the environment or activity is changed, kids can start again without any preconceived expectations.
• Fosters creativity
New environments force children to figure out how to integrate and succeed.
• Cultivates risk-management skills
With exposure, children learn to break change into small pieces so adjustment is easier.

Parents are often the biggest reason kids struggle with change. Many adults are fearful that change will make their kids socially isolated and encourage them to embrace risky or anti-social behaviors. Interestingly, many kids who embrace these undesirable behaviors attend the same high school for all four years and participate in the same activities year after year. These same kids often struggle to adapt when they are finally on their own.

Given how fast technology is changing one has to wonder if conventional wisdom still makes sense. Is it possible that 21st Century kids need a different environment to flourish – stable relationships with their parents and family members and frequent change elsewhere in their lives?

Thriving special education programs have these 7 elements

E-School News – Laura Ascione

“Focusing on inclusion, using data, and forming partnerships are among the practices that can help make special education programs successful in schools, according to a report. “Meeting the Needs of Every Student Through Inclusion,” from the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA), details the special education program philosophy behind 10 California charter public schools, how they implement best practices on their campuses, and what policy arrangements have allowed them to succeed.”(more)

Why Building a Diverse Workforce Requires Computer Science Mandates in Schools

Ed Surge – Sabina Bharwani

“In the Silicon Valley, they call it the “3 percent problem.” African-Americans and Latino/Hispanics make up a tiny fraction of the overwhelmingly white, male-dominated workforce of major technology companies. No leader of the top 10 U.S.-based technology companies is African-American or Latino/Hispanic, and only one is a woman—Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM. The influence of technology in our daily lives is ubiquitous and dictated by a privileged and powerful few. Shifts in technology directly impact our socioeconomic structures—and how individuals contribute to society and make a living. According to the 2016 World Economic Forum (WEF)’s The Future of Jobsreport, the “fourth industrial revolution,” described as the confluence of emerging technology breakthroughs (such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of things, and 3D printing) are utterly transforming everything we experience and understand.”(more)

Rallying Interest In STEAM Education Starts With A Message Of Inclusivity

The Huffington Post – Marcy Klevorn

“As the daughter of the man who co-invented the world’s first adjustable shock absorber, I grew up with engineering as an ever-present part of my daily life. Going to amusement parks meant inspecting the hydraulics before riding the coasters. Chores included assembling shock absorber catalogues. And when my dad’s German and Russian business partners came over for dinner, I was always invited to the table. Those gestures of inclusion gave me great confidence throughout my life. What’s more, I’ve come to learn that the messages we send and receive, consciously or not, are vitally important in shaping what we believe to be possible. Anything can be positive or negative depending on the way it’s communicated. When it comes to STEAM subjects (science, technology, engineering, art and math), I fear that too often the messages and examples are not coming from diverse role models. As a result, we exclude a large percentage of kids from becoming interested in these subjects at a young age, when it’s most important.”(more)