Monthly Archives: September 2012

“Practical Wisdom” excerpt on the Differences between a Job, a Career and a Calling

Source: Amazon, Sep 2010
(page 282 onwards)

People who see their work as a “job” enjoy little discretion and eperience minimal engagement or meaning. People with jobs see work as a necessity of life, they work for pay, they would switch jobs if given the chance to earn more money, they can’t wait to retire, and they would not encourage their friends or children to follow their footsteps.

People who see their work as a “career” enjoy more discretion and are more engaged, but find little meaning in their work. They enjoy what they do, but they see the heart of their work as following a trajectory that leads to promotion, higher salary, and better work.

It is people who see their work as a “calling” who find it most satisfying. For them, work is one of the most important parts of life, they are pleased to be doing it, it is a vital part of their identity, they believe their work makes the world a better place, and they would encourage their friends and children to do this kind of work.

What, then, determines how people think about their work? The kind of work one does is a major factor. …

To some degree, the differences are explained by the attitudes these people brought to their work – who they were, not what the work was.

… Wrzesniewski found that their attitude towards work depended on how their seemingly similar work was organized and integrated into the mission of the larger unit of which they were a part. If the workers had a sense of organizational purpose, and it was a purpose they could be proud to contribute to, if they had a sense of partnership, and if they had a fair degree of discretion and control, they were more likely to view what they did as a calling.

There is a virtuous circle here. We are happiest when our work is meaningful and gives us the discretion to use our judgement. The discretion allows us to develop the wisdom to exercise the judgement we need to do that work well. We’re motivated to develop the judgement to do that work well because it enables us to serve others. And it makes us happy to do so.


Innovation in Education Social Think Tank

Source: Livestream, Sep 2012

Children as Pawns: The Politics of Educational Reform

Source: Amazon, Sep 2003

In the first book to bring together the recent history of educational policy and politics with the research evidence, Timothy Hacsi presents the illuminating, often-forgotten stories of these five controversial topics. He sifts through the complicated evaluation research literature and compares the policies that have been adopted to the best evidence about what actually works. He lucidly explains what the major studies show, what they don’t, and how they have been misunderstood and misrepresented. Hacsi shows how rarely educational policies are based on solid research evidence, and how programs that sound plausible simply do not satisfy the complex needs of real children.

What’s it like to study at MIT?

Source: The Guardian, Sep 2012

If you are considering studying at the best university in the world, you’d better be prepared to work your socks off. The pace of learning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been likened to “drinking from a fire-hose”.

The science and technology university, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has just been named number one university in the world in the latest QS league table.

Of course, it’s very tough to get in. In 2012, just 9% of 18,109 applicants received an offer. Exceptional students are drawn to the institute.

Take Michael Plasmeier. He built GridView, a Facebook app that let users make a photo mosaic using their friends’ pictures, when he was 15. The app had 1.3 million installs and made about $16,000 in revenue.

But even he admits that when he first came to MIT, he did “very poorly”: “MIT is like bootcamp for your brain. You are given all these hard problems and you need to figure out how to solve them.

From the Comments section


13 September 2012 1:54PM

 Honestly, this sounds not dissimilar to Oxford in the 70s, when I studied maths there.

However, one point occurs – I watched an MIT lecture on Fourier series online a week or so ago, and it was entirely superior to any lecture I ever attended at Oxford. Great blackboard skills, lucid presentation, and actually addressing the audience! Our lecturers spent most of their time with their back to us writing endlessly on the board. Like a Tridentine priest.


Science Confirms the Obvious: Literature is Good for Your Brain

Source: Popular Science, Sep 2012

… critical, literary reading and leisure reading provide different kinds of neurological workouts, both of which constitute “truly valuable exercise of people’s brains.”

… by asking the readers to alter their method of reading–from “leisure” to “analytical”–they could drastically alter the patterns of neural activity and blood flow within their brains.
One of the comments 🙂

Books are vitamins for the brain.
Feed the brain, read a book!;)

Yummy, chomp, chomp, chomp!
Burp, excuse me, too many vowels, lol.

Estonia Teaches Computer Coding Skills from Standard 1


Source: Forbes, Sep 2012

Estonia, a small country with a population of 1.3 million people, punches above its own weight when it comes to advancements in tech. It was the birthplace of Skype, one of the first countries to have a government that was fully e-enabled, and now it has launched a nationwide scheme to teach school kids from the age of seven to 19, how to write code.

The idea isn’t to start churning out app developers of the future, but people who have smarter relationships with technology, computers and the Web.


Giftedness requires …

Source: Academic Talent Development Program, Dec 2011

  1. Giftedness requires a lot of hard work—it is a label that is earned, not granted.
  2. Earning the label gifted requires ability and practice and teaching among other things. In other words, giftedness does not come from any single variable.