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MIFGASHIM  April 2016

MIFGASHIM April 2016

Subject:

Mifgashim Volume 8 Issue 369

From:

Lee Buckman <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Thu, 7 Apr 2016 04:31:19 +0300

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text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

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Mifgashim Volume 8 Issue 369


Contents:


1.	Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy

2.	The next big idea is built upon today’s and yesterday’s big ideas

3.	Internal locus of control:  How people learn to become resilient

4.	The sands of history seem to continually shift: What does this mean for Israel?

5.	Marshall Memo: Questions Principals Might Ask in the Hallway


~~~~~~~~~


1.	Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy


2016-2017 Course Catalogs Have Arrived!

Request your copy and learn about the 23 course options available this fall!

Standard and Honors Level Courses Available
Courses for Students in Grades 6-12
6 Week, Semester, and Full Year Options
Courses in Jewish History, Chumash, Navi, Megillot, Talmud and More

All 23 courses combine the best in asynchronous and synchronous education, feature interactive modules, and include live sessions taught by master educators in Israel.

Contact us at [log in to unmask]


~~~~~~~~~


2.	The next big idea is built upon today’s and yesterday’s big ideas


In the February 17, 2016 issue of eJewishphilanthropy, Andrés Spokoiny, President and CEO of Jewish Funders Network, argues that we should declare a moratorium on new “big ideas” and look at the possible “near ideas” that abound in our community. Innovation doesn’t come about ex nihilo.  It always builds on existing discoveries and knowledge.  “We invent based on what we have. Innovation happens mainly through a slow process of combining and recombining previously existing ideas.”

What Newton, Da Vinci, and other inventors did was discover “the adjacent possible.”

Andrés Spokoiny  writes:
The concept of “the adjacent possible” was developed by biology theorist Stuart Kaufman to explain how evolution operates. The concept was then adapted and popularized by innovation theorist Steven B. Johnson. Their insight is that innovation doesn’t happen “ex-nihilo” but rather emerges within a context that was prepared by previous evolutions. The “adjacent possible” concept captures both the limits and the creative potential of innovation. Imagine a chess board: there are countless possible combinations of moves, but all of them exist within the confines of the board and the rules of the game. The adjacent possible, in Johnson’s words “is a kind of shadow future, hovering on the edges of the present state of things, a map of all the ways in which the present can reinvent itself.”

Birthright and PJ Library are two examples that Spokoiny evinces to show the impact of “adjacent possibles.”

He writes:
Both programs also used partnership in an innovative way, a way which was itself an adjacent possibility. In other words, Birthright and PJ Library did not invent philanthropic partnership, but they created specific models that were both novel and functionally tailored to the changes they were seeking. The strange and beautiful truth about the adjacent possible is that its boundaries grow as you explore it. Each new adjustment or combination opens up its own new possibilities. The adjacent possible never runs out; it’s always there waiting for us, just at the boundaries of our reach.

So here’s my suggestion: let’s declare a moratorium on new Big Ideas and look at the possible Near Ideas that abound in our community. Forget “the new Birthright;” let’s explore the new territory that Birthright has opened up.

Of course, that approach requires being less territorial, and taking cues from voices we may not be used to thinking of as sources for Jewish philanthropic inspiration (such as Dolly Parton).

Discovering adjacent possibilities demands that we learn, with an open mind, what different players in the community are doing; it requires openness to sharing information and resources, and a flexible approach to organizational structures and processes.

Above all, it demands that we break down intellectual echo-chambers and create cognitive diversity in our organizations, with lots of opportunities for marginal voices to speak and be heard—because, usually, it will take somebody on the margins of a system to discover the possibilities that lie precisely at those boundaries.

Funders need to encourage this attitude both in the organizations they fund and among themselves. We must leave behind the childish idea of a lone genius making a sudden discovery and remember what Edison himself admitted, in a rare moment of candor: innovation is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.
 
To read the complete article, go to:

http://ejewishphilanthropy.com/the-next-big-thing-or-the-next-near-thing/?utm_source=Feb+17n**&utm_campaign=Wed+Feb+17&utm_medium=email


~~~~~~~~~


3.	Internal locus of control:  How people learn to become resilient


Writing regularly on psychology and science for the New Yorker, Maria Konnikova asks the question: What protective factors or elements of peoples’ backgrounds or personalities enable success despite the challenges they faced?

In a longitudinal study conducted by developmental psychologist Emmy Werner, researchers learned the following:

From a young age, resilient children tended to “meet the world on their own terms.” They were autonomous and independent, would seek out new experiences, and had a “positive social orientation.” “Though not especially gifted, these children used whatever skills they had effectively,” Werner wrote. Perhaps most importantly, the resilient children had what psychologists call an “internal locus of control”: they believed that they, and not their circumstances, affected their achievements. The resilient children saw themselves as the orchestrators of their own fates. In fact, on a scale that measured locus of control, they scored more than two standard deviations away from the standardization group.

Konnikova also cites Martin Seligman, the pioneer of positive psychology, who credits an internal locus of control as one key to resilience; and internal locus of control can be taught.

Konnikova writes:
Seligman found that training people to change their explanatory styles from internal to external (“Bad events aren’t my fault”), from global to specific (“This is one narrow thing rather than a massive indication that something is wrong with my life”), and from permanent to impermanent (“I can change the situation, rather than assuming it’s fixed”) made them more psychologically successful and less prone to depression. The same goes for locus of control: not only is a more internal locus tied to perceiving less stress and performing better but changing your locus from external to internal leads to positive changes in both psychological well-being and objective work performance. The cognitive skills that underpin resilience, then, seem like they can indeed be learned over time, creating resilience where there was none.

Read the unedited version of this article at http://www.newyorker.com/science/maria-konnikova/the-secret-formula-for-resilience


~~~~~~~~~


4.	The sands of history seem to continually shift: What does this mean for Israel?


Canada’s National Post featured an article by Robert Fulford on March 14, 2016 where the author shows how politics intrudes on the telling of history.  History is continually re-written and revised.  Old villains become today’s heroes.  

Fulford’s is an important and relevant essay. Left unsaid here, but in the foreground everywhere else, is the shifting sands of Israel's history (past and present) that our students will have to contend with in the future after they graduate.

Here’s how Fulford lays out the problem:

In 1885 Canada executed Louis Riel for leading the North-West Rebellion. After that, much of Canada began to see him as a religious fanatic who believed God had chosen him as a leader of the West. But by 1992, history had so thoroughly rehabilitated him that Parliament unanimously declared him “a founder of Manitoba.”

….As a child, during the Second World War, I believed that France was populated by free and democratic citizens who maintained a heroic Resistance against the German occupation. That was the way people on the radio described them. I was well into adolescence before I heard a different story: The Vichy government of France, supported by Hitler’s troops, was sympathetic to fascism, not at all anxious to revive pre-war French democracy.

But it was another three decades before I learned the darkest side of this story from a 1981 book, Vichy France and the Jews, by Michael Marrus of the University of Toronto and Robert Paxton. They revealed that the anti-Semitism of the Vichy government was not imposed by the Nazis but reflected much French opinion. The French took an active role in deporting French Jews to death camps.
In 1980, a Francois Truffaut film, The Last Metro, depicted theatre people shielding a Jewish director from the Nazis. A friend of mine, reacting to my high opinion of The Last Metro, told me he simply didn’t buy it. “The French hiding a Jew in every basement?” he said. “You can’t believe that any longer.” At that moment my friend knew much better than I did.

Read this important essay at:
http://news.nationalpost.com/arts/books/the-shifting-sands-of-history-just-as-the-words-we-use-to-describe-our-past-change-so-too-does-our-understanding


~~~~~~~~~


5.	Marshall Memo: Questions Principals Might Ask in the Hallway


In this article in Edutopia, Newark assistant superintendent Mitch Center says he understands the super-hectic life of school principals and the tendency for on-the-run conversations to be superficial (“How’s it going?”) or task-oriented (“Don’t forget the meeting after school”). Center suggests three questions for colleagues and students that go deeper and might serve to further a school’s overall mission:

• What are you reading? This question reinforces the idea that everyone is a reader and encompasses the overall literacy curriculum as it affects students and adults. “Books are a school’s oxygen,” says Center, “and the more we read and share words, the healthier our school communities are. If reading is not yet a top priority in the school, this question can spark an important conversation and can lead to tangible next steps, like a staff book club or schoolwide reading time.”

• I’ve been thinking about ----. What do you think? This might involve querying a cafeteria worker about a way to improve the flow of students getting their lunch, or asking a teacher for input on a scheme to increase student movement in classrooms without losing instructional time. When leaders ask for input, help, or advice, they model openness and encourage staff members to feel part of a team effort.

• If you were me, what would you change? The goal of this open-ended question is to get staff and students to speak freely about what’s most important to them. “You’ll learn a lot from this question,” says Center, “so only ask it if and when you are truly ready to listen.”
 
“Talking in the Hallway: 3 Questions Principals Should Be Asking” by Mitch Center in Edutopia, February 26, 2016, http://edut.to/1U1hwSc; Center can be reached at
[log in to unmask]


The Marshall Memo is a weekly digest of important research in K-12 education. Individual subscriptions are $50 for the school year at http://www.marshallmemo.com.

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