It’s a bright spot in an otherwise difficult year: student SJ just found out about his ACT 36.
Amy Coney Barrett recently delivered a speech in which she pronounces poignant as “POIG-nunt.” (Here’s the clip.)
Mispronouncing a word doesn’t make you “dumb” or “less than” or anything of the sort. But it does suggest that you are not routinely engaged in vigorous discussions with brainy sorts. And that strikes me as a real problem for someone whose job relies on good judgment and access to a wide variety of perspectives, and whose job performance directly affects the well-being of many.
It’s not a guarantee. But it’s a strong indicator. It’s hard to imagine that someone living a life of the mind, routinely debating or discussing with others, would get to age 48 without noticing a habitual mispronunciation of an 11th-grade word. It points to educational quality and more. A sort of dog whistle that gets blown for you. The only tricky part is noticing it when it happens.
This leads me to question her “fine legal mind” PR. Elitist? Sure, I’ll cop to that. Reading too much into one tiny thing? Maybe, sure. But what worries me is that maybe this is an early warning, a “canary in a coal mine.”
For my money, Amy Coney Barrett pulled back the curtain on something very important about her background and experience in the time it took her to say that single word.
What do you think?
(See also Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow.)
This summer, Julia Gooding of One Sky Education interviewed me in order to introduce me to her clients.
We had a much more powerful conversation than I expected! Find it here.
In particular, there’s a lot of valuable but hard-to-find advice here for parents who want to help but don’t want to helicopter, as well as parents of AMC competitors.
(It’s 26 minutes in all, so check the top comment to skip to the part that’s most interesting to you.)
Also, here’s a paraphrased transcript of the 21st-minute question that inspired this post today:
What guidance can you offer to parents who may feel uncertain about their child’s academic progress and how to support them effectively? Are there ways for parents to assess their child’s situation and determine how best to address any specific challenges they may be facing?
So, I want to start by emphasizing that a moderated conversation, especially in the initial session, can be exceptionally impactful. It’s challenging to make broad generalizations about every family because each conversation is unique. One of the main reasons for this, and perhaps some general advice I can offer, is that parents often face two, maybe even three, distinct challenges.
Firstly, they’re not just trying to support the student who lives in their household; they are also the parents of a nearly adult child. This dual role can sometimes lead to conflicts between the parent-child relationship and the student-helper dynamic. I’ve encountered situations where parents are fully qualified to assist with math, for instance, but due to their parental role, they can’t have the necessary conversations to foster academic growth effectively.
Secondly, parents often understand this intellectually, but deep down, they might lose sight of how much their child has evolved, even in just six months. Evolution happens in fits and starts, making it challenging to track in a linear fashion.
Another factor is that, generally, the parents of my students tend to be successful themselves. Much like their children, they’ve achieved success by leveraging their own unique strengths and working around their weaknesses. The issue arises when the parent’s strength and weakness profile differs significantly from the student’s. This can lead to frustration and the belief that “if you’d just listen to me, you’d succeed.” However, success depends on profile compatibility, which doesn’t always align.
Dealing with a child who has a vastly different profile can feel strange, especially since it’s your own son or daughter. Yet, it can and does happen. Additionally, we must remember that our success as parents with our specific profiles doesn’t make us masters of all possible profiles.
There’s no easy fix, but recognizing the complexity of the situation is a significant first step. In my experience, families that have succeeded in this dynamic share a common blend of patience, competence, and humility. Patience is crucial because when the student is ready, seizing that moment can lead to great success. Until then, we must lay the groundwork.
Competence is essential too, as we all have different strengths to offer the student, and we should be ready to assist as soon as they are ready to accept help. However, humility plays a critical role because, when done correctly, students will often pleasantly surprise us with their capabilities, even in areas we didn’t think they were prepared for.
This creates a harmonious dynamic where we all look toward the future while appreciating the present and the rapid progress being made. It’s a truly beautiful thing.
Other Key Takeaways from the Interview
These are mostly facts for our audience to get to know Wes Carroll Tutoring and Coaching:
Wes Carroll runs a small team specializing in tutoring high-achieving students in math and sciences, primarily high school level, with a STEM focus. We also help students develop essential skills beyond subject matter expertise.
We work with high-achieving, serious, and gifted students, often those who struggle to connect with traditional teaching methods. Our focus is on middle school through undergraduate education and we specialize in math and science subjects.
We assist students not only with subject matter but also with various skills like time management, motivation, and emotional engagement with the material.
I initially started tutoring because I personally experienced challenges in traditional education and wanted to help students overcome similar obstacles.
We also prepare students for competitions like the AMC (American Mathematics Competitions) but emphasize the importance of developing problem-solving and analytical skills beyond memorization.
Ready to unlock your full potential in math and science?
Whether you’re a high school student aiming for the stars or an undergrad seeking mastery, we’re here to guide you. We understand that you’re capable of high-level work, but you’re not getting the guidance or developing the specific skills you need to perform at that level. Reach out to us.
At first glance, the two might seem interchangeable. We certainly use them that way. After all, both relate to gaining knowledge and skills, don’t they?
What’s the first thing on your mind when you hear ‘Education’? You think classrooms, textbooks, strict curriculums. Learning, on the other hand, provokes a broader, more organic sense of discovery.
Learning vs. education isn’t a debate about which is superior but understanding their unique roles in our society instead. It’s about recognizing that while they overlap, they serve different core purposes and can impact our lives in varied ways.
Today Seth Godin posted:
Education is the hustle for a credential. It exchanges compliance for certification. An institution can educate you.
Learning can’t be done to you. It is a choice and it requires active participation, not simple adherence to metrics.
Learning is the only place to find resilience, possibility and contribution, because learning is a lifelong skill that isn’t domain dependent.
Most of the learning moments in our lives are accidental or random. A situation presents itself and if we’re lucky, we learn something from it.
But You Can Learn and Be Educated at The Same Time…
I agree that learning is where it’s at. While education undeniably provides a foundation, it’s the continuous journey of learning that you should aspire to. That is why we’re introducing a few new offerings in the coming weeks, designed, as always, to address diverse learning needs. If you’re on our mailing list, you’ll be among the first to get a glimpse of these offerings. If not, just let me know, and I’ll be happy to add you.
But while I push this, we must also recognize the benefits that formal education and credentials offer. Educational qualifications make the corporate world go round, and they serve as a benchmark of competence and expertise. Without them, you’ll find fewer doors to opportunities in your career of choice.
Thus, if you can get the educational credentials that lend you legitimacy in the adult world as part of the learning process, don’t miss out on it.
In Line With This…
We also continue to support students who are preparing for various academic challenges, whether standardized tests, math competitions, or regular class work. Our aim is to make sure that while students discover and nurture the joy of learning, they also equip themselves with the tools and credentials to succeed and be relevant in the traditional education system and their future careers.
It’s a balance, really, one we’ve perfected with thousands of students over several years of coaching. On the one hand, we want to foster a genuine love of learning, curiosity, and the ability to adapt in this ever-changing world. On the other, we understand the importance of formal education and the doors it can open.
In the end, we’re not about choosing between learning and education. We integrate both to create a comprehensive approach to personal and professional development.
So in the Case of Learning vs. Education, What’s the Verdict?
The ideal scenario is where learning and education converge.
Imagine a system where the pursuit of credentials merges with genuine, passion-driven learning. Where students are not just chasing grades but have an actual investment in understanding and applying their knowledge. That is the vision that we’re working towards, and we’ve seen great success so far.
If you decide to join us because you want the awesome STEM grades and test scores we can help you achieve, that’s great! But let me tell you, once you’re here, it’s the learning that’ll really blow your doors off!
While grades are a tangible measure, the real magic happens when passion meets knowledge.
So… let’s get to it.
Remote work is the new cool, and it’s easy to see why. With advancements in technology, improved digital communication tools, and a global mindset that’s increasingly valuing flexibility and work-life balance, the traditional 9-to-5 office grind seems almost archaic. More and more of us are embracing the freedom that comes with working from our living rooms, local coffee shops, or even from a beach halfway across the world. But as the saying goes, every rose has its thorn.
During this period of sequestration, those of us juggling work and parenting are facing more interruptions to our work than ever before. One moment you’re deep into a project, and the next, you’re helping with a math problem or attending to a household chore. And these interruptions seem to strike right when we need all our faculties in order.
This Isn’t a Recent Issue
Now, if you’re thinking that the challenges of remote work are a product of our current times, think again. This isn’t some trend birthed in 2020. In fact, there’s an article from way back in 2015 that delved into the very challenges of juggling remote work with personal life. What has changed, however, is the intensity and scale of the situation. The global shift to remote work has brought these challenges to the forefront, making them more palpable.
Just the other day, a friend remarked, “I’m still trying to get to the bottom of why it makes me angry.” And I thought, Wait. I know this one.
For those feeling this same frustration, I’d like to suggest the possibility that it’s because we like to feel that our thoughts and focus should be under our control. We like to believe that our thoughts, our focus, and our time are ours to command. But in the current landscape, it often feels like our mental space is shared property, with everyone and everything laying a claim to it.
It’s as if external factors, from family members to household chores, have a say in dictating the flow of our day.
You’re Not Alone in This
This intrusion into our mental sanctum isn’t just about the disruption of work and the effort it’ll take to regain that headspace; it’s a deeper violation of our personal space and autonomy. The constant interruptions, the background noises, and the unexpected demands all contribute to this feeling of invasion.
If you’re in this boat, know that you’re not alone. Many are grappling with the same challenges, and that feeling of violation is a testament to the deeply personal nature of our thoughts and focus.
We are all being called on to do more than we are used to.
- Schools are suddenly closed, and they are scrambling to figure out distance learning.
- Parents are figuring out how to juggle their own work and their kids’ education (to say nothing of their own self-care).
- Some students are trying to keep up with the new work. Some are struggling to make meaning from the new assignments. Almost no one yet knows how much they are learning.
For tutors, the job has always been understanding the student, and clearing away barriers to learning. It’s just that now, the barriers come in many more varieties besides just misunderstanding the material. Now students have more challenges:
- Teachers struggling with new tools
- Students’ need to manage their time more than they feel ready for
- Students trouble owning their own learning in the face of reduced testing and other checkins
For all of us, the challenge is figuring things out fast, and changing things fast as we figure out what works.
That’s how tutors can step up, because: the fastest learning team is a motivated student and an expert.