Tuesday, May 17

A Network of Micro-Schools is The Future of Learning

This weekend I co-curated and hosted the first Innovation Ed Conference which brought together parents, educators, entrepreneurs and investors to explore where learning can and should be going.  

Here's the transcript of my talk from the conference on The Future of Learning:

"Eight years ago I co-founded for Bay Area families who are educating their kids independently, outside of school.  The group has grown to include a couple thousand people and based on their experience...it's clear that radically customized learning is extremely effective and produces self-directed and engaged learners.

Yet whenever I hear from [Innovative Schools] like [Khan Lab School and especially Brightworks] I'm envious of the resources accessible to them; consistent community, physical space and learning structures.

So, I want to talk about the possibility of merging the benefits of school with the freedom, agility and customization enjoyed by independent learners.  I want to talk about the growing trend-- what I believe will be a massive explosion-- in the availability of micro-schools and independent learning centers.

A micro-school as I'm using the term today is a place where a small group of people gather to learn and create in highly customizable ways. 

Consider other recent entrepreneurial trends; The Co-Working Space has grown out of the need for adults to come together to network and share resources, where they otherwise might have had to choose between a 9-5 job and relative isolation as an artist, freelancer or entrepreneur.  Hackers Spaces allow people to share equipment and tools and to build things together.  Meet-up and General Assembly offer courses and gatherings for like-minded people to connect and learn together.  Amazing, effective and timely offerings!  And they're almost entirely geared towards ADULTS.

Why not apply these same principles to learning options for teens?

It's the perfect time. Research shows that the current generation of young people are used to individualization and customization and if given a choice they are not willing to stick around if they aren't receiving relevant personal benefit or growth.  And while the current trend of DIYL — (do-it-yourself learning) is strong and exciting, young people don't want to learn in isolation any more than adult freelancers want to work at home alone in their living rooms.

Add to that the fact that we live in time and place where there is simply not yet enough schools like the ones we've heard from today and independent learning spaces and micro-schools seem like an affordable, agile and customizable solution for young learners to come together, to build, to make, to collaborate, learn, study and to just be together.  And the beautiful thing is that there's no limit to how many can exist.  

All that's needed is an individual with a vision; It might be an teacher, or a parent, or an entrepreneur with the vision.  Guess what.  It could even be a student!  

Maybe you imagine something part-time, maybe you need a full-time program or maybe it's a series of specialty classes.  It could be in one location, at a home, a business or in a community center. Or maybe the micro-school of your dreams is a series of pop-up environments, or interactive experiences, or a roving field trip series.  The options are really unlimited.

But this is not a new idea; It's already happening.  Micro-learning environments exist in the form of parent-run learning co-ops for all ages, where a group of families come together, hire a teacher and design or commission the curriculum for their kids.  They exist when an enterprising teacher gathers small groups of students to learn together in one-room schoolhouses.  Educators are taking ownership of education and running small businesses offering modularized classes in various subjects at Quantum Camp and Share Path Academy (just to name a few) where kids and families can choose one a la carte class or sign up for a whole day or multiple days.  

Outschool has begun to aggregate the class offerings available for and by micro-schools, and Cottage Class is innovating around connecting spaces, teachers and families as well as exploring the possibility of accessing space in senior homes and libraries.

What's needed?  Simply more and better.  More collaboration; better connectivity. 

Imagine a network of micro-schools coming together to share the resources that are usually only available to larger organizations like sports and theater facilities or social events.  

Increasingly we need to find new ways to connect the people who are already creating micro-learning environments and to inspire more people to create new versions, with the sky as the limit.  Perhaps we can even collaborate and build relationships between micro-schools and some of larger schools represented here today.  

I think we're all in agreement that student-centered engagement based learning is what is needed.  If we really want to see it happen the way it could, we're all needed.  We need parents who really understand the degree of individualization possible, educators who are ready to take advantage of the agility a small organization offers, entrepreneurs who see the opportunity and growing market in direct-to-consumer learning...and kids who have the courage to step up and insist that we let them join the party.

We didn't plan this conference to provide all the answers...mostly because we don't have them.  Rather we know that so many of you have solved pieces of the puzzle.  We want you to talk to each other, today and going forward.  Make connections, challenge assumptions, brainstorm possibility!"

Wednesday, January 13

Bay Area Homeschooling and Independent Learning Resources

As is my way with this blog, when I'm asked for something repeatedly it's time to post it here.

So...in the nine years we've been pursuing Independent Learning the local scene has changed so much it's barely recognizable.  There are so many various types of learning opportunities for all ages and all interests using all different delivery vehicles and formats that it's hard for most people to truly get how many options exist.
For the purpose of getting something started here I'm going to begin with the tiniest tip of the iceberg and put down the offerings that first come to mind in the 30 minutes I have to spend today.  Here you go.  Look for updates as time allows.

Beyond the Box Learning - Writing Coaching/Classes (Royd Hatta & Shu-Hsien Ho (Mountainview but travel): Language Arts Tutors and Teachers) 

Mathnasium: (102 CA locations including Burlingame, San Mateo, RWC, Palo Alto, Mountainview and Sunnyvale): Franchised Math Small Group Tutoring; more progressive feeling and fun than Kumon or other traditional tutoring companies.  Some locations have Homeschooling Hours (like the San Mateo location; if you go there please say I referred you)...if not, ask them to open a day up.

Riekes Center: (Menlo Park): 
The Riekes Center, in Menlo Park near Redwood City, is a nonprofit organization that offers programs in Athletic FitnessCreative ArtsNature Awareness and Student Services.

Adventure Out - Adventure Out is California’s premiere outdoor school specializing in surf camps, rock climbing classes, backpacking trips, mountain biking, and wilderness survival skills instruction. Our mission is to share decades of wilderness experience while achieving our wildest adventures in the outdoors.

Thinkering School (San Francisco, Montara): Classes and workshops that encourage kids to Think, Make, and Tinker.

The Crucible - (Oakland) 
The Crucible inspires creative exploration and expression through welcoming, hands-on arts education and experiences for people of diverse ages and backgrounds. As an innovative hub built around the industrial arts, The Crucible is a catalyst for individual growth and vibrant community connections.

The Tech Shop - (Redwood City, SF, San Jose) - The TechShop is a playground for creativity. Part fabrication and prototyping studio, parthackerspace and part learning center, TechShop provides access to over $1 million worth of professional equipment and software. We offer comprehensive instruction and expert staff to ensure you have a safe, meaningful and rewarding experience. 

Communication Academy (Cupertino): 
Communication skills courses offering instruction and coaching from professionals in Public Speaking, Debate, Writing, and Math Olympiad.

The Young Socrates (San Jose and online) - I don't have personal experience with this but it looks interesting. Uniquely combine traditional class-room teaching and live webcast classes with online self-paced content and one-on-one tutoring sessions. 

Academic Antics is a core learning and enrichment program for homeschool families.  Found in 2010 by families in San Jose.

The A-Team - A community where homeschoolers come together to learn in a safe and fun environment.

Quantum Camp (Piedmont, SF, Palo Alto): Pioneering the micro-school customizable model.  Offering small group classes to independent learners during the academic year and summer camps off-season).  Science and math classes for Grades 1-8.  
Outschool (Various) Great Listing Service for Learning Experience Outside of Regular School

Rock-It Science - Fun science classes for kids and teens

School of Independent Learners (Mountainview): One on one classes

Kidizens (Los Altos/Palo Alto): Social Studies through hands-on Lego City Building

Monday, September 28


Leadership is more than assigning tasks.  Rather, great leaders bring people together in pursuit of a common goal or intent.  Some thoughts on the characteristics leaders can nurture in themselves and others (how Meta is that?):

  • Integrity: I consider Integrity to be when what you say matches what you do.  A person of integrity can be trusted and people are more likely to confide in, follow and support a person they trust to be true to their word. 

  • Courage: Sometimes being courageous means doing what is hard, saying what is unpopular or simply being first.  Other people will find more courage inside themselves when they see it modeled.  

  • Commitment: Follow-through!!!

  • Generosity: A great leader cares about others and goes out on a limb to listen, support and serve the goals and dreams of another.  The irony is that helping others often ends up with the biggest gift of all going to the giver.  The best leaders understand and model this principle.  The greater your ability to care and contribute to people, the more effective you'll be and the more you'll reap the benefits. 

This post started with a Leadership Skills focus, but the same can be generalized to Nurturing Qualities for Effectiveness.  

Thursday, March 27

Pioneer Nation - My evolving list of Ideas, Plans, Inspirations

Pioneer Nation is a two-day event and gathering of people who are entrepreneurs committed to living a life of freedom and independence.  

A Query at Pioneer Nation
It's two days of working together to improve our businesses and to focus on actions for the purpose of increasing income, impact and sustainability.

I'm capturing my ideas as the two days progresses here.  Many of these thoughts come from conversations I've had with the other participants.

Why I'm here: Even though I'm pretty much obsessed with dancing right now, I don't want to forget about my two other primary goals for this year.  In addition to 1) competing in a Ballroom Dance competition (which is about to happen at SFOpen in April), I've also committed to 2) converting my Rock Your Talk seminar into a video course version and 3) (finally) completing the first draft of my book, MetaLearning: Creating Lifelong Self-Directed Learners.  SO...I'm after:

-connecting with like-minded people and inspiration
-collecting ideas on marketing, productizing, pricing
-having time to work on stuff (since sometimes focus is hard to come by in my daily life)

Random and Specific Notes:

I loved Chris Brogan's opening talk and his emphasis on building more business sustainability through Service which completely matches my values and how I love to operate.

Other people I've loved connecting with:

I loved hearing the story of James Todd's 24 Hour Book project which resulted in the book Everyday Superheroes.  I am intrigued about the possibility of using a service like his evolving A Book One Day.  I think it could get me past the obstacle of writer's block I've been experiencing since my computer was stolen out of my hands a number of months ago.  Action Step: Get back to using the interview process for finishing book.  Consider an interview for each MetaLearning skill.

A conversation with Seth Haley got me thinking about the possibility of collaborating with a videographer to create a product "Rock Your Talk on Video" offer which would help others speak effectively on-camera and which would result in a set of video modules to communicate the story.  These modules could be used for marketing.  Action Step: Explore the possibility of collaboration (QS videographer?) and/or price out as a supplied service.

[Friday:  Of note is the fact that the day after writing the above I discovered by chance that James homeschools his three kids and Seth was homeschooled.  I should be surprised since this event explicitly attracts people who are thinking outside of the box.)

Jenna Bee:  Totally resonated with her focus on working through the body as a metaphor and practice and her commitment and love of community-building.  Action Step:  Connect Jenna with the Watson U people, especially Tessa Zimmerman.

Doug Neill:  Involved in the super interesting field of SketchNoting or Graphic Recording.  I first saw this process in action at an Institute for the Future session on Hacking the Future of Education and have been intrigued by the process ever since.  My conversation with Doug was interesting especially related to the idea of teaching the process of SketchNoting for learning.

Sukhneet Singh: Amazing and deep conversation about values-based living, changing thinking, personal bias, science and religion relationship, Sihk culture and so much more.  Looking forward to doing a podcast with Sukheet later today for his Art of Change Project.  Action Step: Reconnect!

Connected with interesting people who are into Disrupting Education.  Patrick Larsen (writes about entrepreneurship, learning and travel and is a fellow-Hapa), Caitlin Muir (who was also homeschooled and took self-directed learning to hack college), Marli Williams (who counsels first-generation college students and has great ideas for expanding her service as well as an awesome evolving talk about empowering students to reclaim agency), Seth Perler (who helps struggling students shine).

Thanks to Ross Lukeman who writes a blog called AlternativeHomeToday I will look for a skype recorder and finally take interviews to an online post-able format.  Here's an example interview he did with Brittany Yunker.  I have to compare the possible free programs to the one he suggested which is Call Recorder and $29.  He notes that 19:9 aspect ratio is best.  (Ross: thanks! And do go for that talk.  It was fun seeing it begin to evolve out of our conversation.)  If you have experience and thoughts on this please do share your opinion in the comments, pretty please.  Action Step: Decide on program and start interviews for book and for courses, which can also be something interviewees can use for their marketing.  

Will connect more with Azat Mardanov who is an entrepreneur, web and mobile developer, yoga + paleo enthusiast.  He's recently published a number of books including Express.Js Guide and knows a bunch about e-book publishing.  He's currently writing "How to Write a Book" and is building out some programs requiring presenting.  Action Step: Reconnect to give support for presenting and get insight on book launch and web support. 

Gary Hirsch's Yes Bot
Really enjoyed my conversation with Gary Hirsch of On Your Feet.  Gary co-wrote "Everything's An Offer" which completely speaks to my belief that acting and improv are super fun and experientially effective ways to better understand communication, work and LIFE.  Like so many folks here, these guys are out of the box.  Check out their alternative compensation offer of Wild Work.  Love it!   Gary's Yes Bot is pictured at right.


Strikingly.com: Gorgeous mobile-friendly websites in minutes
Call Recorder:  Records audio and video calls directly to your mac.
Time Trade:  Online appointment scheduling for individuals and teams.
From Jonathan Meade's Launch Anything:

  1. 40 Step Launch Checklist
  2. Trailblazer Movie Trailer
  3. Trailblazer Launch Blog and Sequence
  4. Trailblazer Affiliate Resource Center

In order to sustainably and effectively serve more people:

1) create clearer and differentiated product versions and multiple packages; (Great ideas from Nathan Barry and looking forward to reading his book, Authority which was just gifted to us all).  Action Step: Read book and Work on Packaging

2) Determine your Minimum Viable Product (which could even be an email sign-up giveaway).  Action Step: Put Speaker tip on email sign-up.  

3) Lots of push to outsource work.  Action Step: Consider outsourcing page design for products.

Action Item: Move testimonials around.  Weave them through content.

Reach out to Willo re: possible tech support.

SHOW that it works.  (Before and after video).

[The evolving story here]

How about you?  If you're at Pioneer Nation, what are your takeaways and inspirations?  If not, in the spirit of Chris's message what steps are you taking to be of service to your community?

If you're here at Pioneer Nation please say hello through twitter as I'd love to hear your story.  Or if your dance card is filled stay in touch by joining my mailing list.

Tuesday, March 18

Talk to Me First - Deborah Ruffman on Sex and Teens

Deborah Ruffman


March 18–19, 2014
Talk To Me First (Link to The BOOK)

Common Sense About Kids and Sex
Deborah Roffman is a nationally acclaimed educator and writer with over 30 years of experience working with children and adolescents. She urges parents to be the most approachable, reliable sources for our children’s sexuality education. Her advice for inviting natural, ongoing dialogs about sex is crucial to ensuring our children’s emotional health and countering the influences of a media-saturated culture. Ms. Roffman’s books includeTalk to Me First: Everything You Need to Know to Become Your Kids’ “Go-To” Person About Sex and Sex and Sensibility.  On March 18, Ms. Roffman will address her remarks to the parents of teens and present strategies for guiding young adults toward healthy sexual relationships

I loved this talk. It was a real call to get talking to our kids early and often about sex. My notes are unmassaged but I think the essential points are important enough that they should be shared in any form possible so until I'm able to package it more nicely, here they are in their roughest form.

Most important research finding is that parents really matter.  Children who grow up in families in which sexuality (gender, sex and reproduction) is openly discussed,  and children are assisted in learning how to think critically and deeply, those children grow up healthier in all ways.  

With every 6 months that children postponed getting involved in risky behaviors the healthier they are.  When they become involved they tend to do so with much greater foresight and insight.  Our culture tends to introduce sexuality in ways that are sensationalistic and reductionistic (reducing complicated people, experiences and lives) to stereotypes and characatuers.   

Hoop-ups, sexting...they are soundbytes made up by the media to grab attention.  

Talk about it at the dinner table.  Even if they don’t participate they are getting the message that it’s important and worth talking about.   The process of dialogue that teaches children how to think about sex, gender and reproduction.   It almost doesn’t matter what you talk about but  giving the message that this is important topic and is worth thinking about.

The eye rolling is just that they have to let you know that there is at least one part of them that doesn’t want to listen to what you have to say.

How to engage in dialogue:

What are the issues:

Pregnancy and STDs
Female empowerment and enjoyable sexuality
Notion of sex as an act of human intimacy
How to think deeply about sex in a culture that trivializes and simplifies it
Helping kids develop their own values and knowing if they’re ready (what do you really want!?)  (K?)

Q:What does a teenage girl want from her dad?  
A: Same as she wants from her mom.  Everyday people in their life.  The Five Core Needs!

Clear difference between who belongs in the category of child (including teens) and adult.  How do you make the transition from the child paradigm to the adult paradigm?  A: Children are totally dependent and our job is to take them from total dependence to independence.  They come into the world with five needs that they cannot meet on their own.  The nurturing adults meet them and then gradually teach them how to meet their own needs at which point they are adults.  

Five Core Needs and the Corresponding Adult Roles

Need #1: Affirmation

a. Unconditional Love and Acceptance for who your child IS.  This does not necessarily include their behavior.  

b. Simple Acknowledgement and Validation.  (ie Tongue-biting and instead reflecting back what you’re hearing).  

c. Remembering to look behind your child’s eyes and remember that they do NOT see the world in the same way as adults.

d. Developmentally-based responsiveness and knowledge of who our kids are

Tie this together and how it related to sex:

Brand new in history that people on average marry in their late 20’s and we have a delayed adolescents 14 years of sexual but not married as opposed to 150 years ago when boys finished apprenticeships, girls got their periods and people married at 16.

Educating for YES.  Lots of sexual decisions to make during that 14 years.

Under what circumstances might it be ok for you to say yes to certain experiences.  In what circumstances would it be in your best interest to say “no”.   Because we haven’t been teaching yardsticks that may be the reason

Need #2: Ongoing need for Information

Even our schools are 3-7 years late in teaching sexual content.   Need to be attuned to the way they think at certain ages.  

9th graders can understand probably (ie. you might die but you might not)...but emotionally they think statistics don’t apply to them.  Nature’s way of convincing teens that they are safe even if they separate from parents.  But they still need lots and lots of supervision.  Age 16 alcohol use increases at the same time as adult supervision decreases.  

Need #3: Ongoing Need for Crystal Clear Clarity about Values

There are no clear values about messages about sex in our culture.  Many are contradictory.  We have to NAME the values we want for our children.  Tend to give them rules but we need to name the VALUES we want them to bring to every sexual situation they confront.  Also a single standard for everyone, regardless of gender.  
Need #4: Ongoing Need for Limit Setting

These are the limits we use to keep our kids safe and healthy.  They need adult supervision and limits are the brackets we put around our kids for that purpose.  The art is knowing how to work with the limits and how to turn those brackets over to themselves over time.  The way you know how much to turn it over is based on track record.  Limits are not optional and increasingly there are more parents who don’t get that setting limits are not optional.  They need them even when they’re rolling their eyes.  

Re: Internet Devices.  Remember the public service announcement it’s 11 o’clock do you know where your children are.  Internet connection is unbridled independance and we’ve forgotten that in our love affair with technology.

I believe that all families should have an acceptable use policy for all screens based on the idea that Independance is Earned.  Once you’ve mastered x then you can have a bigger space.

Need #5: Ongoing Need for Anticipatory Guidance

What if x happened?  Walking them through possible scenarios that they may find themselves in.  If your child refuses to have this conversation they don’t go.  What if they can’t answer the questions?  They don’t go to the party.  

You cannot do this on your own.  You have to network with other parents.   We have to help eachother.  Also keep reading, reading, reading about development.  If you have 10 year old you have to be prepared for next year as well.  

Get yourself a mentor.  Help me keep ahead of the psunami.  FInd someone who have children older than yours, who have good relationships with their kids.  

Eric Ericsson

Resources for our Kids:
Heather Corrina books

Take apart the terminology: blowjob, handjob…which are prostitution terms.

Worldwide people say that relationship sex is the best sex.   What makes sexual behavior “sex”?  What makes a particular act sexual?  A: Arousal.  The behavior doesn’t matter.  It’s a spectrum of behaviors going from least intimate to most physically intimate.  

What are the Values that you want your child to bring to every situation (including every sexual situation)?

Respect (for self, others, boundaries, sex itself (happens to be the most powerful action on the planet...create life, change lives forever), all genders.

Challenge is that everything your kids are hearing about sex and the images are not supporing the message of those values.

NOTE on lecture:  The overarching perspective seemed to be that it’s not ok for teenagers to have sex.  I was one of only a few people in the audience who raised my hand that it might be ok.  That experience really made me want to further explore the question and made me wonder a little bit about the contextualization.  It did NOT change my opinion about the valuable information shared.     

Thursday, January 30

Dan Spiegel author of Brainstorm- Notes from his talk at Spirit Rock

Optimizing the Essence of Adolescence

Dan Siegel is a pioneer in the field of Interpersonal Neurobiology, a term he coined to describe the interdisciplinary study combining psychology, sociology, biology, neuroscience, anthropology and other fields in order to understand the mind, especially with regard to brain development as explained by science and shaped by interpersonal relationships.

I caught Dr Siegal speaking at the Spirit Rock Meditation Center this weekend and while I was only able to stay for the first half of the talk I took away some inspiring ideas as related to Discovering the Hidden Power & Purpose of the Adolescent Mind.

While a child’s brain operates like a sponge soaking up the world around, the adolescent brain has at it’s central pursuit a process Siegel compares to remodeling a house.  And like most remodeling projects, this one can be kind of messy.  “Pruning” and “Myelination” are two of the central activities going on as the adolescent brain rewires it's in “use-it-or-lose-it” brain changing process.  Pruning refers to the loss of synaptic connections and Myelination is the strengthening of others allowing nerve cells are able to more quickly transmit information allowing for more complex brain processes.  The teen brain goes through this intense remodeling and rewiring for the necessary purpose of preparing to leave home.  

During the tween and teen years, myelination occurs in the frontal lobe of the brain and impacts cognitive development.  Improved "executive functioning," planning, reasoning and decision-making skills result.1

If you want to learn more about the myelination process as it relates to specialization and abilities, The Talent Code website has some nice visual models of the process as well as ideas for supporting the myelination process. 

It's not all upside.  It's true that...

Risk-taking and Novelty Seeking are Responses of the Developing Teen Brain

Part of the developing teen brain is the orientation towards seeking novelty and risk, which are a vital part of the process of becoming adults.  Teens have to go through this stage in order to learn how to take risks and to navigate the world outside of the safety of home.   The risk of the teen years according to Siegel has less to do with sex hormones as the cultural myth suggests and more to do with changes in the structure and functioning of our brain’s dopamine reward system.  Teens tend to be intellectually aware of risks but they put more weight on the exciting potential outcomes.  And because baseline dopamine levels are lower in adolescence while dopamine release amounts are higher adolescents seek experiences that secrete dopamine.2,4

Three dangers the teen brain is more susceptible to are impulsiveness, vulnerability to addiction and hyperrationality.  If we are aware of the inclinations we can help protect adolescents and provide appropriate opportunities for risk-taking and novelty seeking that are have very positive applications.  Impulsiveness mitigated by self-awareness and reflection, or “cognitive control”.  


Because teens are 1) impacted by peer pressure 2) more likely to experiment with new experiences AND 3) more prone to respond with a strong dopamine release which can become part of an addictive cycle the adolescent stage of life 3,4

The reward systems and other areas of the subcortex such as those parts that process emotions, reach maturity relatively early (when people are in their early teens)6

Hyperrationality: Thinking in literal concrete terms.  examining just the fact of a situation and missing the big picture.  Creates the positive bias that is dominant during the teen years.

My husband suggests that the evolutionary motivation for rewiring with a strong response for dopamine rewards is related to increasing motivation to propogate.


Another one is what I call hyper-rational thinking, and this is where, it’s not the reward circuit, but what are called the appraisal circuits that change. And these appraisal circuits, basically, are weighing the pros and cons of the decision. So this would be relevant for drug use in that you may have people who are making choices about things where it isn’t in their best interest. The appraisal system, the upside is that it says, these are the exciting things going on, and this is why I want to do this, this will be really fun. It over-emphasizes the positive aspects of a choice, and it de-emphasizes the negative aspects of a choice. The overall result is you kind of rationalize it, and that’s why I call it hyper-rational.4

Pruning process reveals vulnerability plus stress increases pruning plus lack of sleep.  Give practices to grow integrated fibres to strengthen brain and protect from the danger of risks like mental breaks,  depression, schizophrenia.

Preventable accidents
-appraisal system weighs pros and cons and in teen brain this evaluation is skewed.  Why? To create rites of passage which is needed for the larger process of preparing them to get out of the house.
-pushing against the adult world...creating a whole new world.
-(childhood is sponging up the world of adults)
-major innovations in art science music come from adolescents.  Let's rethink this and capitalize on the courage and creativity of youth.  Instead tell them the truth.  Ue companies are motivated to get you addicted for their own benefit
-help adolescent to create an internal compass (my gut says don't do it)...empower teens with resource of deep internal compass

What Can Be Done

internal education, the kind of internal sense of yourself, the likelier you are to be able to regulate, for example, your emotions and clarify your thinking.

Essence of changes of remodeling

E Emotional spark (irritable and life has more vitality..optimize spark)

SE Social engagement (vulnerable and gets you ready to leave home with alternative influences)

Novelty (dangerous,  can't just do same old thing

CE Creative Exploration (new, all innovation comes from adolescence but can feel disoriented and identity confusion)

Top 4 things to keep brain young are the same four things

Cultural change means accepting this for adolescents and ourselves!

Approach world challenges in a way that engages those four things and creativity snd courage of adolescents tge opportunity to find solutions to the biggest problems is there.  How can you participate in taking this possibility and changing the cultural conversation to make this change.

The Essential Take-Away

I would what I took away from the first half of the talk as follows:

Our cultural tells an inaccurate story about teens which has us, and our teens, think of the time period of adolescence (roughly defined as 12-24) as something to get through; a period of ranging hormones and impulsiveness.  If we change our perspective and understand that the brain during those years is in a complex process of remodeling for the explicit purpose of leaving home and becoming autonomous we could better support the process; mitigate the risks that also come with the territory; and take advantage of the courage and creativity that are the gifts of that stage of life.  Further, if we as adults use some of the same techniques for developing and enhancing the implicit benefits in our own brains, we’d would have that much more to contribute and be more in line with and synergistic with our teens ability to challenge and innovate and solve big problems.  Adolescence is not a stage to get over, it is stage to cultivate well in order to enhance the vitally important developmental changes which are crucial for the individual and our collective.