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About Carla Gerstein

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So far Carla Gerstein has created 19 blog entries.

Educate For Tomorrow

by Jacqueline Hicks

I recently attended a presentation at the 2016 Carl Rogers Annual Conference that both influenced me, and resonated with my own thinking. In her presentation, “Person of Tomorrow”, Maureen O’Hara shared research and examples from the book she co-authored with Graham Leiscester, Dancing on the Edge. The presentation inspired me to read their book and to review the essay “The World of Tomorrow and the Person of Tomorrow”, by Carl Rogers. I found it most interesting to consider that although we certainly have benefitted from, and still need the amazing technological advances and intellectual breakthroughs of the 20th century, they are not enough for people to enjoy success and satisfaction in the 21st century. The complexity of the world we live in now will continue to become increasingly more complex. The conditions that we deal with are changing constantly and rapidly. As a result, people are feeling high levels of stress in our society, and crisis in our institutions.

The challenges of the moment will continue into the future as complexity increases and chaos provides fertile ground for a paradigm shift that requires qualities we may not yet be developing in our future citizens. What are the necessary traits for navigating the 21st century? These are some competencies that seem important to me:

  • Authenticity, and trusting our own experience
  • Reflective
  • Creativity
  • Open to new experiences, ideas, concepts and ways of being
  • Ability to adjust to change, and deal with ambiguity
  • Harmonious in relating with others
  • Collaborative
  • Having integrity
  • Commitment to grow and learn
  • Able to live fully in the moment and enjoy life
  • Trusting of human nature
  • Spirituality and searching for meaning
  • Connection to nature
  • Questioning and challenging rules
  • Psychological literacy
  • Cultural awareness

Of course, I immediately began thinking about how this applies to educators and students. What we […]

By | July 31st, 2016|Education|0 Comments

Let Students Make Mistakes! by Serena Pariser

Making Mistakes Represents a Critical Element of Comprehensive Learning —Let Students Make Mistakes

Can you think of a time in school when you made a mistake? Was it a learning experience or just humiliating? The title of this blog may make some of you cringe, recalling some of your biggest mistakes in your own classroom experiences. Allowing for mistakes to be made is much different from how many of us were taught growing up. A friend once told me of a horrifying memory in 5th grade when she raised her hand to answer a question, incorrectly, and had to suffer the embarrassing laughter of her classmates. She remains fearful of raising her hand in a class-like setting to this day. Mistakes, handled improperly, can be scarring.

The flip side is that mistakes can also, should also, be opportunities to strengthen and empower students. When I say mistakes, I of course don’t mean letting them get the answer on a math problem wrong and telling them “good job”. Give your students a non-judgmental forum for trial and error.

Making an attempt at active participation should always be encouraged, and it is in the students’ trying where much of the learning happens. Let them feel safe and confident enough to leap knowing they may indeed fall. You’ll be surprised at how much student engagement and interaction will soar once they realize that nobody is going to laugh or be angry with them, including the teacher, if they get the answer incorrect.

How to make your classroom a safe-zone for making mistakes:

  • Teach your class that mistakes are part of learning. (You may wish to reference one of Thomas A. Edison’s more famous quotes: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 […]
By | January 7th, 2015|Congruence, Education, Empathy, Teacher|1 Comment

One Exceptional Math Teacher!

This post was first published on Glennon Doyle Melton’s blog, Momasteryon Jan. 30, 2014. In less than a day it was shared more than 1 million times. It is inspirational, and we wanted to share it with you.

Every Friday afternoon Chase’s teacher asks her students to take out a piece of paper and write down the names of four children with whom they’d like to sit the following week. The children know that these requests may or may not be honored. She also asks the students to nominate one student whom they believe has been an exceptional classroom citizen that week. All ballots are privately submitted to her.

And every single Friday afternoon, after the students go home, Chase’s teacher takes out those slips of paper, places them in front of her and studies them. She looks for patterns.

Who is not getting requested by anyone else?
Who doesn’t even know who to request?
Who never gets noticed enough to be nominated?
Who had a million friends last week and none this week?

You see, Chase’s teacher is not looking for a new seating chart or “exceptional citizens.” Chase’s teacher is looking for lonely children. She’s looking for children who are struggling to connect with other children. She’s identifying the little ones who are falling through the cracks of the class’s social life. She is discovering whose gifts are going unnoticed by their peers. And she’s pinning down — right away — who’s being bullied and who is doing the bullying.

As a teacher, parent, and lover of all children — I think that this is the most brilliant Love Ninja strategy I have ever encountered. It’s like taking an X-ray of a classroom to see beneath the surface of […]

By | December 10th, 2014|Bullying, Education, Empathy, PCA, Teacher|1 Comment

Where’s Waldorf?!

Education Transformations sat down with Lyra Matthews, a first grade teacher at Sparrow School, a Waldorf inspired charter school in San Diego, to find out what she likes about this method of education. Waldorf Education is a humanistic approach to instruction based on the educational philosophy of the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, focusing greatly on use of imagination, nature, hands-on activities, artistic and social expression, and fostering both creative and analytical modes of understanding.  One of the reasons Matthews likes it is because she has the freedom to teach in a way that allows her to take into account the developmental stages of her students. She says she takes a subject and comes up with her own way of presenting it, in order to find ways to pique the students’ interest and appeal to their natural curiosity. Also, she uses stories as a basis for lessons, with imaginative images that children can relate to, since they inherently have a pictorial way of thinking. Matthews has been teaching the Waldorf method since 1998 and, having had all of her own children go through and enjoy the Waldorf inspired educational approach, she is motivated to stay with this method of teaching.

Through years of classroom experience, she has discovered she can use music and rhythmic movement as ways to attract the interest of her first graders, and to have them work as a group. She has seen that starting a lesson with a song draws their attention to a subject, and presenting ideas in the form of stories makes it understandable to them. The subjects are further enhanced by incorporating art into the work, as the children draw directly into their own […]

By | April 9th, 2014|Education, From the Staff, Teacher|3 Comments

Hands On Turns the Fun On!

Can learning be fun for students and teachers?

Teacher of the Year, Heather Glanz, who has been teaching fourth grade in the Santee School District for the last 17 years, says a very enthusiastic yes to this!  She shared that thinking like a kid is how she does it.

How do you think like a kid?  Glanz says, “Start by putting your hands on everything!!”

The more hands on you can be, the more fun they, and you, will have.  What would a kid really enjoy?  That’s what Glanz asks herself when she is teaching, and for her that works.

We asked Glanz about implementing the new Common Core standards.  She says that most of what she’s already doing with her students, including developing critical thinking skills, is in alignment with the Common Core standards, so it will not be a big transition for her.  She continues to implement the “best practices” that she has perfected over the past 17 years. 

Glanz’s attitude towards students and learning helps her classroom stay fun and exciting.  Many of her students have come back years later to visit her.  They remind her how important her teaching is, and that she really makes a difference.  One such student claimed that Glanz’s passion about science developed in him a lifelong love of science, and inspired him to major in science in college.  How awesome is that?!!

To our question about one thing she would like to see change in education, Glanz answered, “More money and resources allocated for the classroom and the students.”  For example, science needs to be taught through hands on experiments, which requires materials.  “Students can’t learn how a rock forms just from a book,” says Glanz.  In her school, she shares only five […]

By | March 21st, 2014|Education, From the Staff, Teacher|1 Comment

Music Can Help Bring The Grades Up

Does music matter in schools?

Many students can’t even take a music class in school anymore, but for the ones that can and do, it matters a great deal.

Recently we had the chance to interview Spencer Caldwell, this year’s Teacher of the Year for Cajon Valley Union School District, a band and choral teacher at Hillsdale Middle School for the last 17 years.  Caldwell was also Teacher of the Year in 1996 and 2005.  Clearly he is doing something right!

One of the many ways Caldwell has made a difference for students is by founding a nonprofit parent organization called Hillsdale Music Department Parent Association, to help raise money to support his music program, as well as the district’s five feeder elementary schools’ programs.  They raise about $30,000 annually, which makes it possible for students to have music education and performance experiences that extend beyond the basic classroom curriculum, providing instruments and concert attire at no cost to students experiencing financial hardship, providing funding for an assistant band director, piano accompaniment and individual instrumental coaches, supplemental choral instruction, and more.  Some of the parents involved have kids who graduated from the program 5-6 years ago, but they have stayed on the board because of their dedication to the cause.

Spencer Caldwell Spencer Caldwell

When it comes to implementing the new Common Core standards this year, Caldwell feels like he doesn’t have to change much, because he already uses many of the strategies they espouse, and his students are all very engaged.  Also, when they tracked SAT scores, they found that kids who took music classes were ahead of the rest by an average of 60+ points. However, he […]

By | February 28th, 2014|Education, From the Staff, Teacher|0 Comments

Stop Bullying Flash Mob

We all need to be more aware of bullying and the effects it has not only on children, but on adults as well.

Just last week a freshman at Serra High School in Tierrasanta was arrested after it was discovered that he brought an unloaded semi-automatic hand gun to school to confront a bully.  The young man was expelled and arrested with felony charges, in his efforts to protect himself.  No one was physically hurt (in this instance), but clearly damage was done to all involved.

In an effort to raise awareness about bullying and encourage the community to get more involved, Daril Bonner will be presenting an epic Flash Mob at Horton Plaza Mall Square on Saturday, February 22nd, 2014 at 12:30 pm.  This performance will be a heart-wrenching dance drama designed to inspire people to be more than just silent bystanders, but to get involved.

As reported by the “East County Magazine,” San Diego actually has a higher suicide rate than the nation at large.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, suicide ranks tenth in causes of death nationwide.  Daril says, “If we remove the social stigma that comes from seeking help, we reduce the risks.  Stomp out bullying flash mob is designed to counterattack the social stigma that bullying is not that big a deal. The facts and statistics prove otherwise.  It’s vital that the community of San Diego get involved. We are exerting our efforts to help prevent teen suicide and reduce school violence related to bullying in San Diego.”

This flash mob will be a moving, eye opening experience.  If you can make it, please do, and share this […]

By | February 7th, 2014|Bullying, Empathy, From the Staff, Safety|0 Comments

“A Taste of Transformation!” Workshop Launched!

The first day of our six week mini-series is in the books and wow what a great group we have. The focus on this first meeting was empathic listening.

Active, or empathic, listening comes from the theories of Carl Rogers’ person-centered-therapy. This type of listening involves a person listening to another person, and then responding to that person using techniques such as paraphrasing. In this way, the listener restates what has been said, which demonstrates empathy, and shows that he/she was listening and understanding what was being said. This is very useful when a person feels they have something meaningful to say, because they will feel much better about, and be more likely to share it with you if they feel you are actively listening.

Overall the first day of this series went great, as the participants shared many useful things they had gotten from it. We look forward to the next 5 weeks as we explore even more ways the Person Centered Approach can be used in schools.

By | February 3rd, 2014|Empathy, PCA, Workshop|0 Comments