On my way into work the other day I caught a bit of WAMC's interview with Goldie Hawn about her charitable foundation and its MindUP™ program, which is essentially a neural-based curriculum for students in kindergarten through seventh grade that stresses positive emotional support to enhance educational outcomes.
Think "Brain Chemistry."
Think "So much for dumb blond stereotypes."
Because in so much as I wish I could despise ideas that come from celebrity noggins, I can't really disagree with the principles of brain-based theories of education.
Teaching for the brain rather than the test seems like a pretty good way to do it.
Of course parents such as myself will have to get past what Hawn said to what she means.
For instance, in her interview Hawn commented that schools aren't really broken, our children are.
They feel more stress, less stability and are lacking in hope for the future. The reasons for this are numerous, and include technology (which she thinks is wonderful), the fact that both parents are often working and not available to children (though she'd never advocate mom stay at home), and that our culture isn't really kid-centric (despite the coining of terms such as "helicopter parents").
There really are no simple solutions to problems that fan out over the expanse of a society, but I think realizing the types of stress kids have, and then trying to reduce stress in general so that kids can focus on not only academic but social development, is a very good place to start.
We may not be able to eliminate the causes of stress (as we so often try to do with new rules and laws) but we should be able to teach ourselves and our kids better coping mechanisms.
We have nothing really to lose ... except maybe some angst.