Friday, August 22, 2014

The End of the August Rush





The back to school season is more palatable than ever. Chillier weather and a harvest season are walking up to our door. The discussions generated throughout the month of August brought us with more in-depth ideas than ever.



 Our first week encouraged people to follow great ideas. No one can possibly be a leader all the time, and followers are the innovators who put plans into action. Followers are the people who built the great and terrible monuments and milestones.



August is one of the most popular vacation months. Therefore, it’s important to understand that other countries pick on each other too. Half the bonding experience abroad is finding out which of your country’s stereotypes are accurate enough to laugh at.



Finally, we point out the elephant in the room of back to school season, letting education debates flare up for the rest of the year. However, with so many needs to meet, controversies surrounding which method is best allow for better options.



Keep coming back for September! Our speakers and ideas are not going anywhere!


 For more information on all of our speakers, please visit us at AEISpeakers.com and follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Why Education Controversy Can Be Good




The August sun has a chilly undertone. The days seem a little shorter, and millions of teens rush to start their summer reading. This can only mean that the brisk fall months are approaching. Both kids and adults look forward to and dread the days when September crawls in and the school year begins once more. With kids and teachers entering the classrooms, anxious parents are never too far behind.


With education being a hotly debated topic, different possibilities for schooling, and millions of students physical and emotional needs at large, there is no way everything can be done one way. A learning style for one student will intensify problems for another. One teacher cannot possibly reach every student. Fortunately, we have long since passed the days where one teacher taught all ages in a single room. Across one’s life, a student has many teachers. Sometimes the person one learns the most from is not a formal schoolhouse instructor.

This is why so many philosophies and educators are both warranted and necessary. It’s easy to write off one subject or method of teaching as destructive for one reason or another, when stepping into other areas helps understanding too, similar to last week’s blog post regarding traveling.

 Going off on the traveling example, bilingual students use more areas of their brain, so they are said to have an advantage balancing all subjects. A New York Times article reveals a study that there is a heightened sense to monitor the environment when a student knows more than one language.

 Plus, being bilingual often means having an understanding of more than one culture, promoting a deeper understanding of people. For a student who wants to travel and get a job abroad, this social and cognitive need would have to be met.That student would also need to be skilled in other subjects to match up with foreign standards.

There is also often dispute between religious and science teachings. It is easy to write one of them off, though in truth, both have their place. Though contradictory explaining creation, science and its various branches can explain how the world works, while religions give one a deeper sense of how a moral world is shaped. 

Science feeds into art, as a technical understanding of the physical helps put projects together. For example, knowing light and color and human perception will build a successful computer design or a theater show. Meanwhile religious teachings help students to better understand literary themes, such as those in Shakespeare, which often have biblical motifs or references.

With those basic examples laid out, it translates to a greater purpose in education. Differing and contradictory subjects both have their place for teaching. One problem is that often times, the assumption arises that one way of teaching is best, and that one type of educator will be a one-size fits all type of arrangement whether that be the increased focus in science and math the US enacted a few years ago, or the ongoing debate about sex-education in schools. 

Though humans like to organize and simplify, student situations come in so many forms that no one style of teaching can possibly reach everyone. Different teachers and styles of education reach different students. This is why we have public, private, charter, Montessori, home schooling etc and a richer variety of courses available. Combining pieces of information and experience and opening up to contradictions will allow students to get a richer knowledge base. It’s better to allow for controversy than to be a prodigy in one side of thinking.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Why Should You Travel Now?



The United States is such a big country that there are many lifetimes worth of history and culture within the various regions. Some parts of the country say “freeway,” others say “highway.” New England has a reputation for having a very fast paced lifestyle, while the West Coast is thought to be more relaxed and leisurely, compared to the South where there’s a more of a polite hospitable culture. We may as well be a bunch of separate countries. 

Countries abroad pick on each other too. The Danish and Swedes have a rivalry. The Germans and Swiss can’t understand each other’s dialects, and Japan personalized countries stereotypes and history within the television show Hetalia. Europeans love to pick on Americans for our lack of geographical skills and our inability to tell the difference between an Irish and a Scottish accent. Asians and Asian-Americans point out general cultural insensitivity over and over again for failing to recognize someone born in America versus someone from countries like Korea, Thaiwan, China, Japan or the Philippines. 

Since this is American Adventures Month, it’s necessary to recognize our own ideas about our country and how we interact with people abroad. While our education gives us knowledge for how to hopefully get a job and contribute to society, (focusing less on languages,) the best way to learn is through experiencing other types of environments, both in the United States and abroad. There are infinite experiences out there that we know nothing about. Fortunately, AEI is lucky to hear from speakers who have had such a cultural experience. 

People like Neal Petersen are great examples. Petersen overcame racial prejudice in apartheid South Africa. Wanting to be a sailor, he designed and built a yacht himself, and spent 9 months alone at sea through tumultuous weather, just for the opportunity to compete in yacht races amongst other sailors. His story, the embodiment of personal experience inspires people all over the world to turn baggage into a treasure chest. 

Within our own country, we can learn a lot from Brian Unger, who hosted a television show, How the States Got Their Shapes. He studied the history of the United States. State by state, the show focused a little more about how the country formed, how each state came to be little by little from the original 13 colonies of the 1700s, to Hawaii joining the country, only becoming a state in 1959.

It is an adventure in itself listening to different accents and dialects across the country and the globe. It also leads to hilarious moments when Americans and English try to mimic each other. While not everyone needs to sail around the world, or could possibly know every piece of trivia about the states, a few miles or kilometers travel often leaves some impact. 

Traveling gives one a richer experience beyond the borders of a school classroom. If we were to know everything through media and perceptions, we’d have a flat one-dimensional view of most of the world’s population, turning away interesting complex individuals and potential friends and spouses. Though a thorough trip takes some planning, take American Adventures month, or the last official month of summer vacation to visit someplace new.


 For more information on all of our speakers, please visit us at AEISpeakers.com and follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Be A Follower



It doesn't look as glamorous on a poster, and it seems counter intuitive to asserting individuality, but followers do not get enough credit for putting ideas into action. 

Last month we celebrated the Public Speaking Fear-Free Month. Meanwhile AEI honors all types of speakers every month. Some of those speakers advocate for leadership. Commonly, an idea that’s taught within leadership learning is how to be a leader. What we don’t see as often is the other side, the followers, the people who help put ideas into action. Often times, being a follower is seen as a bad thing. While it’s important not to go along with a bad idea like political extremism, sometimes it’s necessary to be a follower to help good ideas come to life. What isn’t advocated enough is that there needs to be followers in order for such leadership to be effective.

A self-made businessperson may claim that they didn’t get any help from anyone. Yet, while starting their company, they would have to go through some process requiring others. Indeed some do have a personality that is better suited for a leadership position, but other people directly or indirectly will help that “self-made” person become more effective. 

Going back to speakers, it’s important to think of the leader-follower dynamic as telling a story. Each person is the main character within their own story. No matter what, others have a powerful influence on us. A brief chat about the last sports game or the grateful glance from the woman you helped across the street is enough to be the highlight of someone's day. Similarly, parents and teachers can become someone’s guide to success or their wrecking ball. But, not everyone can be that helping hand. Someone needs to take it. 

People in different roles give us a break from the cabin fever that is too much of our own company. If you’re the most interesting person you know, great! However, if you’re like the rest of us, you’ll probably get bored of your own pride and angst after some time. You'll also need some other hands to carry the pieces of your project. Even a self-made businessperson gets out of his or her office and spends time with their family, co-workers or Netflix account, listening to someone else. The point is that nobody can be a leader all the time. Eventually, you may need to be a follower to help someone else's vision.

Now, what does it mean to get sick of your own personality? Well, it’s easier to think in relation to story. If one follows any type of storytelling, whether that’s movies, the local news, or internet fan fiction, we have to spend a lot of time with the main character. Blockbusters put a different face to the same brand of hero. The news, reports similar tragedies in separate locations, and the internet provides ample opportunity to unleash one’s smutty interpretations of existing work.

Since every story needs a focus, the recipient sees both highs and lows of that focus. Frodo bears the ring, the US government tackles Health Care and 50 Shades of Grey excites the imagination.  Fortunately, the main character has relationships to help on the journey that others can get invested in too.
Side characters are just as important as the main character. They are the wise mentors, the best friends, the comic relief; the person who jumps out at the last minute to save the day. They are proof that the hero cannot make it alone, no matter how stubbornly they proclaim they need to. How many characters would be dead without a last minute miracle from another human relationship? It is through side characters that the main character learns about themselves. As good a leader as one can be, this is why one needs to have equally talented group of support. Sometimes, that support needs to be you.

People need friends, politicians need advisers, and even fan fiction communities thrive off both interest in a source and reinterpreting it. It is often said that hell is other people. On the other side, given the right group, heaven is too. So being a follower really is not such a bad thing. Direction is necessary, but without people to follow the action and physically build off those rapidly firing neurons, there would be much more dreaming and talking, but far less doing.


 For more information on all of our speakers, please visit us at AEISpeakers.com and follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Goodbye July



Blog Post Recap

July was a month for several rich topics. We had a lot to cover in the past 31 days from our excellent speakers to current events. We had a few fun holidays to mention like Chocolate Day on July 7th. As we come towards the end of this month, we happily remind you what we talked about every Friday for the past few weeks.


 

July 4th kicked off our first Friday. We celebrated the United States becoming 238 years old both with some fun flag facts and with our speaker Brian Unger who showed us how the States Got Their Shapes on the History Channel.


 





Our second Friday, July 11, we delved into why people were afraid of public speaking, what many usually think of when hearing the term public speaker, understanding that a good speech is its own artwork. Doing so, we recognize the hard work of all the wonderful speakers with AEI Speakers Bureau.



Finally, on July 18th we were happy to feature science teacher and football coach Natalie Randolph as our latest exclusive speaker. Natalie has been the subject of focus within sports for her inspiring story coaching a team of high school boys, hoping also to bridge gaps between academia and athletics. She discusses how both successes and failures influenced who she is.




July has proven to be a successful month in regards to diverse topics. Keep in touch for further posts. August is right down the road.

For more information on all of our speakers, please visit us at AEISpeakers.com and follow us on Facebook and Twitter!