21st Century Skills

By John EsterleMark Wilding, Executive Director of The PassageWorks Institute (a TWI grantee) has written an insightful post on “21st Century Education from the Inside Out” that makes the case for moving beyond polarized debates within education (e.g. skills vs. content, discipline vs. an open heart; ends vs. means) if all of our kids are going to be able to participate in schools that “are safe and intellectually challenging environments — so that they have the cognitive, physical, emotional, and social skills to be successful and ethical citizens in the 21st century.”Mark touches on a couple of themes present in my recent posts (how emotion affects learning and thinking; the importance of working with people who think differently than you) …   Read more

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Harvard Decision Making Lab

By John EsterleI had a fun “aha” moment when I was noodling around and discovered The Harvard Decision Making Lab, which was founded less than a year ago. They’re studying all kinds of interesting stuff around the science of decisions, with a particular interest in the role of emotions in decision making. And the favorite emotion to study for the Lab’s director, Jennifer Lerner, is anger. For more about her interest in this topic and her ideas about the Lab I recommend reading this introductory profile. In the meantime, here are some statements from her that popped out at me:”We have approximately 3,000 executive education students come through each year — over and above the enrolled students. The executive …   Read more

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Social Media Storytelling: Seeing and Thinking Differently

By John EsterleContinuing the thread about the power of stories, check out Kari Dunn Saratovsky’s brief interview with Mark Horvath on the Social Citizens blog at The Case Foundation. It offers a brief, compelling, primer of how social media can be a powerful storytelling tool to make the invisible visible (in this case homelessness).Mark’s line about the importance of organizations losing their “lone ranger” mentality is instructive. What especially pops out for me are his comments about the value of helping people that think differently in terms of expanding your own thinking and increasing your impact in relation to the causes you’re standing up for. With that, he’s certainly preaching to the choir here at TWI. As …   Read more

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Inside Stories

By John EsterleIt seems more and more of us in the public benefit sector are thinking and talking about the power of stories to connect and inform, to spark dialogue and action, to shift perspectives and policy. And with this talk comes familiar questions: How do we tell our story? How do we get it out there? What will break through and stick in our media saturated environment?A new blog and podcast, Inside Stories, offers an intriguing and wide-ranging vehicle for exploring these and a host of storytelling related questions. In his introductory post and podcast, writer and researcher, Paul VanDeCarr, says:When I say “storytelling” I’m talking about everything from fairy tales, to psychotherapy, to sermons, to gossip, to …   Read more

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Re-Launching the TWI Blog

By John EsterleWhen we first launched our blog* in the fall of 2006 I dipped my toes in the water with a few reflections, but seeing consistently zero comments gave me pause. Writing is usually a struggle for me, so when doubts — who was reading, whether anything I was saying was of interest, blah blah — predictably raised their heads, I pulled back. Indeed, it’s been over two years since I posted anything.TWI Fellow, Edd Conboy, however, didn’t lose hope that the blog might be a source of connection, conversation, and community and has faithfully contributed occasional posts. I’m grateful for his perseverance. And zero comments is still the norm for what he posts….Edd recently wrote to me “that …   Read more

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