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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Curiosity Inspired the Kid

Jay Matheson

What Inspires a Students' Passion?

...the journey to find out.

Passionate teachers and role models grab children's attention, engage their interest. There are so many stimulations competing for a child's interest and attention these days. It's a wonder they can focus on or become engaged authentically in anything.

A colleague inspired me to write the book, Connecting Students to STEM Careers. We worked together on a project of his invention to help rural students gain awareness of potential career fields through meeting and talking with role models, mentors, and other professionals, from a distance, by using the new digital tools.

As an online facilitator and teacher trainer for this federally-funded project, I became aware of the issue of isolation, not only isolation in the classroom, but isolation from the world as a rural student. I also became aware that it's not necessary for these students to be cut off from the world any longer because of the wealth of distance learning tools and programs, because of all the generous professionals willing to share their time with classroom students.

Jay built a successful career awareness program around the belief that " have a natural curiosity about people," he says. "I don't know if kids are really very curious about jobs, but they are curious about adults and what adults do, so we're tyring to play on that. The content might have been science or math related, but then to spend some time allowing kids to do that natural kind of chatter with the presenter....There's a natural curiosity that young people have...because in their minds they're going to be doing some of those things. You never know when you're going to come across an interest in a child."

He is one of those special educators who has, over the years, come to understand the workings of the brain of a child. He is one of those special educators who get it and apply it with amazing innovation and care. Recently, Jay started a blog telling his story as a 40-some year educator, from his days as a student teacher to his time as an administrator at one of Oregon's Education Service Districts.

Check out the beginnings of the story. I can already tell it's one I'll follow with interest:
one educator's memoir........ 

You can also learn more about the Extending Career Options for Rural Students project in the book.

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