Welcome to Heads Up, a blogging experiment that aims to:
- connect the people, parts, and principles of Durham Academy;
- share ideas about learning and human development;
- spotlight a few of the many wondrous things I get to see every day at Durham Academy.
Thanks for reading the posts below — and sending news, links and ideas worth sharing.
Michael Ulku-Steiner, Head of School
How not to be ignorant about the world
This morning I wished I spoke Mandarin.
This evening I was reminded how ignorant we all can be about the big world we inhabit.
In an eerie stroke of serendipity, two unrelated groups of Chinese visitors arrived at our Lower School this morning at 9:15.
The first was a delegation of elementary school principals from Jiangsu Province - here with UNC's Center for International Understanding to study American schools. A group of high school principals visited our Upper School last year. This morning's group asked dozens of perceptive questions and took hundreds of photos and video clips. Above: several principals capturing images of our math manipulatives. Click here to see a fuller story and more pictures of the visit.
We were also glad to welcome the co-founders of the Chinese Cultural and Education Center (CCEC), Dr. Jianli Wang (Ph.D. in Chemistry, Virginia Tech and MBA, Duke University) and Ms. Huaiying Kang. In recent years, CCEC has established and funded a variety of scholarships and programs to benefit students, teachers, and administrators from the US and China through strategic partnerships with their home institutions. Having already partnered with Duke University, Duke TIP, and the NC School of Math and Science, Dr. Wang and Ms. Kang were eager to learn more about Durham Academy. After campus tours with Lee Hark and me, they expressed eagerness to build a sustainable and profound partnership with DA. Stay tuned for details as we work with our Mandarin Teachers Taylor Smith and Abby Finkel (both with extensive teaching and living experience in China) to consider options.
This evening I watched a TED talk that was at once fun, depressing, and full of hope. It seemed the perfect bookend to match the morning’s pair of intercultural experiences. Below is the preview text from ted.com. The video (click here) is worth your time.
How much do you know about the world? Hans Rosling, with his famous charts of global population, health and income data (and an extra-extra-long pointer), demonstrates that you have a high statistical chance of being quite wrong about what you think you know. Play along with his audience quiz — then, from Hans’ son Ola, learn 4 ways to quickly get less ignorant.
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