Author Archive for Kyle Huwer

15
Apr
18

Stop asking children these seven questions (and ask these instead)

Original found at Ozan Varol.

A kindergarten teacher was walking around the room to check each child’s work as they drew pictures. “What are you drawing?” he asked one student.

The girl said, “I’m drawing God.”

The teacher, expecting to hear butterflies and rainbows, was shocked at this deviation from the standard curriculum: “But no one knows what God looks like.”

The girl replied, “They will in a minute.”

This is the typical juxtaposition: The curious and inquisitive child, and the conformist teacher. Our school systems were designed to churn out compliant industrial workers, not to inspire individuals to dream big and challenge the way things are. School taught us obedience and fitting in, so we could properly operate the assembly line in a dingy factory for six days a week.

The Industrial Age is long gone. This is the Information Age, but our school system is lagging far behind. The workers we’re still producing to thrive in the Industrial Age wither in the Information Age.

During a recent speaking engagement, I got a question from a parent on how to undo some of this damage caused by the education system. Specifically, he asked how he could cultivate curiosity and critical thinking in his children. I’m not a parent so, in one sense, I’m underqualified to say anything on this topic. But I’m a professor and, over the past seven years, I’ve learned a few things for encouraging students to think differently.

What follows is a list of seven questions parents typically ask their children. I’ll explain why parents should stop asking these questions and what they should ask instead.

1. “What did you learn today?” vs. “What did you disagree with today?”

The cliche question “What did you learn in school today?” reinforces the traditional conception of education: Put your mouth on the spigot of knowledge. Drink deeply and regurgitate it on demand.

Here’s the thing: A willingness to question knowledge is far more important than the ability to receive and retain it. Important dates in the Civil War and the capitals of the fifty states will all be forgotten soon enough. Once ingrained, however, the ability to challenge the status quo and to question confident claims—whatever their source—will remain.

2. “What did you accomplish this week?” vs. “What did you fail at this week?”

We live in a society that stigmatizes failure. Growing up, failure got us grounded or put us into the principal’s office. As adults, we fear failure to a pathological degree. Behind every canvas unpainted, every goal unattempted, every business unlaunched, every book unwritten, and every song unsung is the looming fear of failure.

Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx, is one of my heroes. She went from selling fax machines door-to-door to becoming the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire. She credits her success to one question that her father would ask her each week:

What have you failed at this week?

In asking his children what they failed at each week, Sara’s father gave them the breathing room to tackle interesting problems, and yes, to fail. To him, not trying was far more disappointing than failure itself.

This isn’t an endorsement of failure for the sake of failure. Failure, by itself, isn’t enough. You must reflect on it, learn from it, and improve on your next attempt. Hence the review question: What have you failed at this week?

3. “Here’s how you do that.” vs. “How would you solve this problem?”

When a child comes to us with a problem, our initial instinct is to step in to deliver a quick and efficient fix.

Resist that instinct. Don’t show your hand. Let them find a solution on their own. The process involved in finding the answer is far more important than the answer itself.

When you spoon-feed the solution to your children, you’re acting like a personal trainer who “helps” a client by lifting their weights for them. But when you let your children formulate a solution, you’re letting them exercise their critical-thinking muscles. And just like muscles, the brain must be exercised through reps and sets to grow and mature.

After your children solve the problem, ask them to solve it in a different way. Let them see that there’s often more than one way of framing the problem and more than one solution to it.

4. “Here’s your new kindergarten” vs. “What kindergarten do you want to attend?”

When I was five years old, my parents said it was time for me to go to kindergarten. Instead of doing what most parents do and simply make the choice of the appropriate kindergarten for their children, they told me that I would get to pick. What they didn’t tell me was that they had already vetted the kindergartens in our city and filtered them down to four suitable ones that they presented to me as my choices.

This was a formative moment for me, one that’s stayed with me to this day. It told me for the first time in my life that I’m in control of my destiny. It told me that I could think for myself, rather than depend on anyone else to do my thinking for me.

What’s more, having made the decision myself, I felt ownership over it. If the experience was anything less than stellar, I had only myself to blame.

I’ve heard from several friends that tacos are their children’s favorite food. Who doesn’t love tacos? Aside from their deliciousness, many children probably love tacos in part because they get to make them. Unlike a plate of carrots handed to them—peppered with guilt trips about starving children in Africa—tacos allow children to pick their own ingredients. Having built the taco themselves, the children take pride in it and enjoy it more.

5. “That’s just the way it is.” vs. “Great question. Why don’t you figure out the answer?”

Children are masters at asking questions. They’re moved, not by a desire to impress, but by genuine curiosity. They stare at the world, wrapped in awe, and take nothing for granted. They approach life, not with the assumption that they know (or should know) the answers, but with the desire to experiment and absorb.

Why do we stand still if the world is spinning?

Why does the ground feel cold if the Earth’s core is so hot?

Do butterflies poop? (I don’t know. Do they?).

These questions annoy many adults who believe that everything important has been settled already (That’s just the way it is).

Instead of stifling your children’s curiosity, nurture it. Encourage them to ask questions and remain curious about the world. It’s this process of open-minded inquiry that has resulted in every major human breakthrough. The longer your children can resist the strong temptation to replace curiosity with complacency, the better off they will be.

6. “You can’t do that.” vs. “What would it take to do that?”

Don’t tell your children that their ideas are crazy or infeasible.

Imagine if a young Einstein had been silenced when he posed this seemingly crazy hypothetical: What would happen if I chased after a beam of light? This question could have been reflexively dismissed as absurd by a busy teacher or an annoyed parent. Its resolution ultimately culminated in the special theory of relativity.

Open up possibilities instead of closing them off. Encourage seemingly crazy ideas by engaging with your children: “What would you need, young Albert, to chase after a beam of light?” “What would the beam of light look like when you arrived?”

7. “Did you make a new friend today?” vs. “How did you help someone today?”

The first question treats school like a superficial networking event (How many business cards did you collect?). The second one encourages forming meaningful connections and developing a spirit of generosity. It sends a far better message: Always be on the lookout for opportunities to help others.

* * *

It may have occurred to some of you that this post is a Trojan Horse. These questions are as much for you as they are for children.

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08
Mar
17

ASU Class Review – BSEE

Backstory: I went to DeVry Phoenix from 2001 to 2004. I obtained a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering Technology and have since realized that this is not the degree that I want. So a decade later I’ve decided that I need to go back to school and get a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering like I should have done from the very beginning. My end goal is to get a MSEE.

I know that a BSEET degree and a BSEE degree seem similar but they are not. DeVry may sell it as the same, but I assure you that they are not the same. The BSEET is probably closer to a technical degree than an engineering degree. You cannot transfer between a BSEET program and a BSEE program due to the differences in class, which in a nutshell BSEET classes are geared towards working with your hands (i.e. building circuits with your hands, using test equipment, etc) and a BSEE degree is geared towards using your mind (i.e. designing new products from scratch).

Another way to put it is – someone with a BSEE degree can probably do the job of a BSEET degree but a BSEET degree cannot always do the job of a BSEE degree.

Goal: I just want to document my journey in going back to school and giving my own unfiltered review of the classes I take. Maybe it will help someone know what to expect.

LEGEND:

  • DeVry Credit – Credit from my BSEET degree transferred to my BSEE. Do not have to retake if I don’t want.
  • ASU Credit – Took only at ASU.
  • ASU Audit – Audit credit awarded. Have a DeVry transfer credit but want to refresh before moving onto harder courses.
  • Completed – Completed either by applying transfer credit, auditing, or taking class for first time.
  • Heavy – I consider this class to be a heavy class. Meaning, it seemed more than the credit-hour indicated, either due to difficulty of material, professor, or organization.
  • Light – I consider this class to be a light class. Meaning, it seemed less than the credit-hour indicated.

FRESHMAN (9/12 complete):

  • ASU101 (The ASU Experience) ASU Credit Completed Light
    This was as easy as a class as one can get. One paper, the rest were just writing blog posts. It was actually fairly enjoyable tough. (Spring 2017, Susan Zapia & Philip Regier)
  • CHM114 (General Chemistry for Engineers) ASU Credit Completed Heavy
    Good class overall, albeit difficult and intense. I took AP chemistry in high school and this class went way beyond what I learned there. I had great class participation on the boards from students, TA, and the professor so that really helped. Be ready to put a lot of hours into this class and be fairly confused at times. (Spring 2016, Pamela Marks)
  • CSE100 DeVry Credit Completed Transfer credit
  • EEE120 (Digital Design Fundamentals) ASU Credit Completed Light
    Pretty fun class. It was one of those classes where I walked away telling myself that I could see myself directly using the skills learned in the class to make something for fun at home. (Spring 2016, Shamala Chickamenahalli)
  • ENG101 DeVry Credit Completed Transfer credit
  • ENG102 DeVry Credit Completed Transfer credit
  • FSE100 (Introduction to Engineering) ASU Credit Completed Heavy
    This was by far my least favorite class of all time. The entire class is one giant group project, which if you are like me generally bring forth painful memories. To make matters worse the group project’s main objective was to have you build a musical instrument. I felt that teaching me about making an instrument was kind of misguided. And to top all of that off – the class was severely disorganized. (Kristen Ward & Anoop Grewal, Spring 2017)
  • HU DeVry Credit Completed Transfer credit
  • MAT265 (Calculus for Engineers I) DeVry Credit ASU Audit Completed
    Seriously awesome class. Super laid out class that was easy to follow and had just the right amount of homework that let you learn it, but didn’t try to bury you in it. This class was so well put together that I actually reconsidered my original plan of going to a community college to take MAT266. (Ruowen Liu, Spring 2017)
  • MAT266 (Calculus for Engineers II) DeVry Credit ASU Audit
  • PHY121 (Univ Physics I: Mechanics) DeVry Credit ASU Audit
  • PHY122 (University Physics Lab I) DeVry Credit ASU Audit

SOPHOMORE (1/10 complete):

  • EEE202
  • EEE203
  • EEE241
  • HU DeVry Credit Completed Transfer credit
  • MAT267
  • MAT274/5
  • MAT342/3
  • PHY131 DeVry Credit ASU Audit
  • PHY132 DeVry Credit ASU Audit
  • PHY241

JUNIOR (1/8 complete):

  • Area Pathway
  • Area Pathway
  • Area Pathway
  • Area Pathway
  • ECN211/2 DeVry Credit Completed Transfer credit
  • EEE230
  • EEE334
  • EEE350

SENIOR (1/10 complete):

  • 300/400 BIO/CHM/PHY/MAT/ENG
  • EEE488
  • EEE489
  • HU/SB DeVry Credit Completed Transfer credit
  • SB DeVry Credit Completed Transfer credit
  • Tech Elective
  • Tech Elective
  • Tech Elective
  • Tech Elective
  • Tech Elective

Those of you who are fond of details will notice that only 13 classes transferred from DeVry. Of those 13 classes only 6 of them could be construed as core classes (Math, Engineering, Physics) with the rest being english and humanities classes. Kind of sad.

07
Jun
16

One person CAN make a difference

Don’t let anyone tell you that you alone can’t make a difference!

05
Jun
16

Why is Chewbacca Mask Lady so funny to Adults, but not kids?

I saw a post on Imgur about a Chewbacca mask that you could buy. I went and researched it and saw that it became famous because of a “Laughing Chewbacca Mask Lady.” I had to watch. (NOTE: just watch half way through, the first half isn’t the funny part).

I figured it would be funny… but not that gut-wrenching funny! I haven’t laughed like that in a very, very, long time. I literally cried. Cried. AT WORK!

I started watching other people’s reaction videos and most of them had the same reaction as me – cracking at the seams.

Then I came across a video where a dad watches it with his kids. Shown below:

And I found it interesting that the kids generally didn’t find it funny. I’d guess that if they watched it alone and didn’t have any laughing stimulus from dad then they would have barely cracked a smile. So I started thinking, what made this so incredibly funny to adults but almost irrelevant to kids?

The only thing I could think of is that the thing that is funny about this isn’t her laugh but rather the situation of the laughter and how crazy it gets. As adults we are always forced to be pillars of seriousness. Seldom do we just lose ourselves to laughter. Sure, we might laugh but never do we laugh so hard that we can’t stop laughing. So to see another adult find pure, unadulterated joy to where they couldn’t stop laughing over something as silly as a toy mask for a good 2 minutes is just pure joy to everyone. It doesn’t hurt that her laugh is contagious.

But for kids, they don’t quite have the life experience of “being and adult” so they don’t understand how silly this whole thing is nor do they understand how much adults probably envy her just losing it for once. To them it is just some lady laughing in a mask like a mad-woman.

Another way to think about it is if someone tells a joke you don’t get (either over your head or inside-joke) and everyone that is “in” on the joke thinks it is funny while you are lost on the outside because you don’t quite know what it means. You might chuckle a little at other people, but you don’t relate to the joke. I think the same thing is going on here with the kids – they just can’t relate to Chewbacca Mask Lady like adults do.

What do you think?

Also, on a side note… can you watch the video without laughing?

22
May
16

America, What is wrong with the Libertarian platform?

The nominations are not set in stone, but it appears that we will probably have Hillary Clinton as the DNC candidate and Donald Trump as the GOP candidate. As most would agree neither is a very good candidate and have very serious flaws. Which once again makes me wonder why so many hold their noses and chose from either party when there are others.

Take a look at the Austin Peters platform:

Taxes & Spending

1. Reduce economic inequality by lowering barriers to entry in the marketplace, licensing, taxation, and fees. Urge congress to adopt the “Penny Plan,” across the board spending cuts of 1% per program. Abolish the existing, complicated tax code that discriminates against the most productive Americans, and replace it with a simple, flat tax at the lowest rate necessary to support the core functions of government. Seek voluntary ways to fund public services where possible, lotteries, tolls, etc.

National Defense & Military

2. Strengthen national security by reducing/ending foreign aid to nations hostile to the USA. Reconsider overseas troop deployments in areas not important to US national security, and audit the Pentagon. Reform the Veteran’s Affairs administration.

The American people have sacrificed enough blood and treasure in the Middle East. No more nation building. Obey the Constitution, and only go to war if it’s declared by congress. Consider constitutional Letters of Marque and Reprisal to deal with terrorists.

Free Trade

3. Lower barriers to trade with foreign nations, and allow American companies the leeway they need to develop domestic energy production, in order to create good paying jobs at home.

Monetary Policy

4. Audit the Federal Reserve first. End it through competition last. Institute a Monetary Commission devoted to studying the implications of replacing central banking with “Free Banking,” and abolishing laws of legal tender. Allow gold and silver to circulate as a currency, removing them from the commodity list, and make precious metal coins free of taxation. Let digital currencies compete against Federal Reserve notes.

Immigration

5. Streamline our immigration system by following updated “Ellis Island” styled protocols. Security check. Disease check. Done.

Constitutional Priorities

6. Work with congress to institute new protocols that will protect national security while placing the balance of weight towards due process and individual rights. Rein in the NSA, and demand accountability in our security agencies so as to protect our 4th Amendment rights.

Crime & Punishment

7. Reclassify the war on drugs as a medical problem, not a criminal problem. Deschedule all drugs at the federal level and end the federal War on Drugs once and for all.

Reforming Entitlements

8. Allow young people to opt out of Social Security.

Restoring Health Freedom

9. Overturn Obamacare. Seek out market alternatives to problems of health and wellness.

Defending Life

10. Encourage a culture of life, and adoption, and educate Americans about the “consistent pro-life ethic,” which also means abolishing the death penalty.

The only thing I am not sure about on that list is the immigration.

16
May
16

Eleven Signs You’ve Stayed In Your Job Too Long

Below is an article by Liz Ryan entitled, Eleven Signs You’ve Stayed In Your Job Too Long (link).

We got a call from Adrienne, who told us her story.

“I started with this company when there were 140 employees here, and I stayed here during the big growth period while the company grew to 2,500 employees. Those days were fun.

“Sadly, the company stopped growing at that point and started to focus on saving money and cutting costs, above all other priorities,” said Adrienne.

“All the innovative ideas we used to have went out the window. The old CEO left and a new CEO came in.

“This company turned from a great place to work into a horrible place. People started leaving and then the company became a revolving door. I feel like an idiot for staying here so long. I’ve been in the company for 12 years, and most of my co-workers who walk in here don’t make it a year.”

“What do you want to do now?” we asked Adrienne.

“I want to get out of this company and remember how to use my brain and my creativity,” she said. Adrienne took a contract engagement just to get out of her company, and when the contract was coming to a close she launched a job search.

“I feel like a human being again,” she told us. “I was a fearful rabbit in my old job, because the environment was so bad. Now I have the confidence to get another great job. I’ll never get myself trapped in a toxic environment again!”

It is easy to lose track of the passage of time when your job feels secure. We can easily be lulled into a stupor. That’s bad, because when you fall asleep on your career you lose touch with the outside world and the market for your talents.

Your skills can fall behind the market. Whether you work in a toxic workplace like Adrienne’s or a wonderful workplace, falling  asleep on your career still does damage to your marketability.

Here are 11 signs that you’ve stayed in your current job too long!

You’ve stayed in your job too long when:

1. You can’t think of three other employers in your city who have people with skills like yours on their teams, because you’re out of touch with your local talent market.

2. Someone asks you, “What were you working on in 2012?” (or any year) and you can’t remember, because the years you’ve spent in your job blend together in your mind.

3. You can’t answer the question, “What are the three top skills that someone like you needs in order to be marketable today?” because you don’t know which skills people need.

4. Your resume is way out of date.

5. You are not working on any projects that excite or inspire you.

6. You look forward to events taking place outside of work — a wedding, a fishing trip or another occasion — but not to anything you’re doing on the job.

7. The minute you leave your workplace, your work-brain turns off. You don’t have good ideas about how to do your job anymore, either because you’re burnt out on the job or because you’re sick of pitching good ideas that no one wants to hear.

8. You’ve started to think, “Maybe every job is equally bad, and no one has fun at work.” (It’s not true!)

9. You’re way too young to think about retirement, but you think about it anyway.

10. You hate it when you meet new people and they ask you “What do you do professionally?” because you care so little about your job.

11. You hate to get up in the morning and go to work.

It is ironic that we grew up learning to seek job security but when we’ve got it, it can turn stale very quickly. Creative people need stimulation in order to stay awake and interested. Your brain needs a workout as much as your body does!

The job market is the best it’s been in years. You can launch a stealth job search and get into a new job that will bring your senses back to life. Start by thinking about your ideal next career move. Don’t limit yourself — it’s your career, and your reinvention!

Liz Ryan is the CEO and founder of Human Workplace. Follow her on Twitterand read the rest of her Forbes.com columns here.

16
Aug
15

Political Correctness vs. Freedom of Thought – The Keith John Sampson Story

This is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard.




Quotes:

"We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth... For my part, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst; and to provide for it." - Patrick Henry

"Politicians and diapers both need to be changed, and for the same reason." - Anonymous

"Right is right, even if everyone is against it, and wrong is wrong, even if everyone is for it." - William Penn

"Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country" - Hermann Goering

"I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do this I keep on doing." - Romans 7:18-19

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain

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