What’s Kickin’ Blog

Fran Kick, M.A. Educational Psychology, CSP

Deloitte Decodes GenXers + Millennials

Deloitte is a major employer of young adults. In fact, over 80% of their employees who work directly with clients are under the age of 35. As such, Deloitte actively engaged in addressing the topic of generations at work and freely shares their findings with others outside of Deloitte.

Listen to this special Career Connections edition of Total Picture Radio. Peter Clayton shares a thoughtful interview with Stan Smith, national director of Next Generation Initiatives (NGI) at Deloitte LLP. Stan’s responsibility is to study demographic and workforce attitude trends with the purpose of coming up with practical ways to deal with their impact on businesses. He is the author of the book entitled Decoding Generational Differences: Fact, fiction… or should we just get back to work?

Download and read Stan Smith’s book Decoding Generational Differences: Fact, fiction …or should we just get back to work?

Listen to a podcast with Stan Smith, Principal, National Director, Next Generation Initiatives Talent, Deloitte LLP.

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Back-to-school wars in America

As teachers go back to school, doing what some would consider “hero’s work” at times in many of our nations schools, a thoughtful article ties together the School Wars in America (over how best to “fix our schools”). Good Magazine offers its education issue detailing the fight over public education and asking if anyone is really winning as we strive to leave no child behind.

“It’s easy to shake your head at the oft-repeated statistics about how many kids don’t know what a verb is, or can’t find the United States on a map. But in our fear about what will happen if every child doesn’t know the quadratic formula by heart, we’ve created a far more damning problem: We’ve taken all the fun out of learning.”

The article articulates that while politicians, billionaires and many educational mavericks all want to “fix public schools” – they really won’t! The answer he says (surprise, surprise, surprise) is parents. Hmmm, wonder why he didn’t mention teachers?

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How are you smart vs. how smart you are?

Howard Gardner has said for years, “it’s not how smart you are, it’s how are you smart.” Yet measuring your intelligences with the two most widely used standardized tests for intelligence (the Wechsler Intelligence Scale and the Stanford-Binet) only considers linguistic and logical/mathematical intelligences. Education in general over-relies on the resulting narrowly focused single IQ score without substantiating the findings along side other data sources – completely ignoring “how students are smart.” This does the individual student a huge disservice and produces insufficient information for educators.

The development of the IQ test (Intelligent Quotient test) specifically the Stanford-Binet IQ test actually initiated the modern field of intelligence testing back in 1896. Created by French psychologist Alfred Binet (1857-1911) when he was asked by the French government to develop a way of identifying intellectually deficient children for placement in special education programs.

While Binet himself suggested that case studies might be more detailed and at times more reliable and helpful, the actual time required to test large numbers of people would admittedly be too great to do it right. Unfortunately, the tests he and his assistant Victor Henri (1892-1940) developed were (and continue to be) largely disappointing. But don’t blame Binet, he did warn everyone that these test scores shouldn’t be taken too literally because of the many varieties and variations of intelligence as well as the inherent margin of error in the tests.

Using a test that only considers linguistic and logical/mathematical intelligences while calling it a “general intelligence” assessment might be grounds for educational malpractice. Sure, traditional IQ tests may be able to predict success in some specific factors relevant primarily to academic achievement or situations that resemble those of school. But what about all the other areas of learning and ways of learning?

Yale University researchers are pilot-testing an assessment—The Aurora Battery – that reportedly taps intellectual skills not captured by traditional IQ tests. The theoretical framework for this new assessment theory is based on Robert Sternberg‘s “successful intelligence.” Developers say, “the new assessment could yield a very different pool of gifted students – one that includes a higher proportion of students from traditionally underrepresented minority groups than is often the case now.”

Read more about The Aurora Battery in Debra Viadero’s article for Education Week.

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Teaching leadership via a MMORPG?

Massively multi-player online role-playing games (MMORPG) are online computer role-playing games in which a potentially huge number of players interact with one another all within a virtual world. What do these “games” have to do with teaching leadership you ask?

Well IBM is actually teaching leadership (mostly to GenXers now, soon to be more and more Millennials) via these online games. You can see why by reading one of their recent reports “Leadership in a Distributed World: Lessons from Online Gaming.” Obviously “Big Blue” and many others have done the “demographic math” to realize we’re really not doing a very good job developing future leaders. A recent IBM Global Human Capital Study titled: Looming Leadership Crisis, Organizations Placing Their Companies’ Growth Strategies at Risk shares the reality that’s driving more virtual reality learning.

Ian Bogost and his thought-provoking, issue-understanding, Persuasive Games and Water Cooler Games designs, builds, and distributes electronic games for persuasion, instruction, and activism. His work has been featured in The New York Times Online edition and might lend itself to teaching leadership via simulation gaming. One you will want to check out is Fatworld, which is a game about the politics of nutrition—exploring the relationships between obesity, nutrition, and socioeconomics in the U.S.

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What Makes Kids Kick

A collection of ideas, research, and thoughts about kids today.

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