Social Intelligence

Mid-Semester Musings…

Mid-Semester Musings…

Hurricane Sandy is, ironically, providing a short respite… the power is still on, classes are cancelled for two days, I have a moment to make updates on the sites I’m administering, and I can finally reorganize my winter clothes… well, while there’s still power and light…

Since September, I’ve learned and accomplished far more than I expected. For starters, statistical mathematics is much harder than I thought… but much more powerful than I imagined. Probability is a way of envisioning the separation of one potential event into all of its possible actualities, and the defining attributes of the players in this universe of events are definable “after the fact.” It’s actually quite incredible. I now understand why financial analysts think they’re smarter than everyone else, but I still can’t fathom the arrogance that usurps their morality. But to be honest, the difficulty of using these statistical algorithms to make good predictions are far more valuable than any public sector salary… so any true nationalist needs to do some introspection about their tax investment if they want smart people to assist in the reformation of this country. It’s no wonder that analysts would rather make 6 times more money for easier work. (Easier you ask? Yes… because statistical research for social science and psychology is still developing out of its infancy, but the research for finance is 45 years ahead.)

The election is almost over, thank heavens. I’m, admittedly, a politically vested person. I believe in the common good, the general welfare, prevention of warfare, promotion of education and healthcare… and it’s very sad that we can’t be sure that either candidate will push these efforts. What’s even worse is the insane amount of money that runs the PACs that support these two political parties that have a duopoly on our political system… and it seems that our population is far too immature and short-sighted, ignoring the tremendous oligarchical structure that holds our pensions, municipal bonds, college funding, mortgage banking, and our news organizations. Most believe third party candidates to be impractically naive personalities. They may actually be our only way to reform a broken government.

On a personal note, the edits for our book on Model UN Education and Social Intelligence for high school students is complete and finished. The website is ready for media content and our videos from the upcoming RUMUN and HMUN workshops will be available to members, as well as my upcoming presentation on “Presentation Skills: An Application of Social Intelligence” that I’ll be giving to the Rutgers Education Psychology faculty and graduate students. The youtube channel is up and running, the copyright is initiated, and the affiliates are being notified of their ability to make commissions. If you want to help sell our book for online commissions, let me know!

My wife is also beginning her work on her little website adventure. She will be launching her site called the Uneasy Yogini within the next two months. She’ll be promoting her classes, good products, healthy food and exercise, and some nice local spots. One day she’s hoping to have her second career take over her primary… but that is several years away, and we’ve got some parental basics to get through first.

 

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Who can change policy?

Who can change policy?

College work is in full swing.

(hilarious as I’m turning 34… am I smart or stupid? Will my wife still love me when it’s over?)

As I re-engage my creative mind within the collegiate terra firma of mental fertility, there is one glaring detail that lingers on the horizon as I simultaneously beseech myself to stay abreast of the national epidemic of political gridlock:

There is no shortage of interesting ideas!

Seriously… I hear good ideas everyday. Very few of them should be implemented with 100% faith and ubiquity, but they should be attempted nonetheless.

The Chicago teachers’ strike is a very good example of the final compromise that could have been entertained months ago while the details of the “initial” teacher assessment model could have been fine-tuned through the collaboration of the union AND the mayor’s office. If one employs the “golden axiom of social intelligence” [We are smarter than I] a successful strategy would reveal itself with minimal energy:

  1. Collaboratively discuss theoretical model that may prove accurate.
  2. Make predictions.
  3. Strategize implementation to answer the questions of BOTH parties (the union AND the administration).
  4. Implement for a provisional year.
  5. Employ third party expertise to THOROUGHLY analyze results.
  6. Present results to both parties and meet collaboratively to discuss & critique. Compare with predictions.
  7. Renegotiate steps 1, 2, & 3 before implementing within policy.

Mutual respect and mutual goals should be the new paradigm for local, state, and federal policy. When we acknowledge that we don’t have all the answers, we can finally have the open mind to attempt collaborative solutions.

A closing note: one interesting consequence of collaboration is the revelation of selfish spearheads of personal belief. Ardent figureheads of unyielding ideas are of more danger to our communal benefit than those who are willing to compromise. If democracy is a sacred idea, we must reduce the power of metaphoric monarchs. The union president doesn’t always support EACH of its members and the superintendent’s policy is RARELY a result of administrative consensus.

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A Modern Education

A Modern Education

There are a litany of modern skills that are passing directly over the heads of our current public schools.

If you’re reading this, you’re already using one mode of modern communication that is definitely used in modern classrooms, yet the mechanism of its use is rarely touched upon. The modern teacher often struggles with educating students on plagiarism and proper citations of wikipedia, but they would be highly unusual if they displayed the knowledge of using hyperlinks, blogging software, and search engine optimization. My ability to post my thoughts on this webpage is a product of modern technology and software of which few of my friends are even literate. Yet the basics of digital communication are being taught in first grade schools in such countries as India, China, South Korea, and even ESTONIA. But why not the United States?

Here, innovation is a significant piece of the economic puzzle but it is also necessary for us to advance the goals of education considering that the world’s technological changes are happening so quickly while our American schools’ curricula have been at a near standstill for 120 years. Globalization is requiring aggregate research, a larger pool of statistics, adaptive communication, fluency in data interpretation, and a modern concept of the word “social.” Yet most teachers would scoff at this skill set, demanding that students receive a traditional “encompassing” view of segmented subjects such as English and American literary classics, American history, mathematics, science, physical education, and a foreign language. They will rarely connect the literature with history, mathematics with science, and technology is utterly absent. Physical education glosses over nutrition and anatomy, and emotional health is a laugh among most gym teachers. And let’s not even get started on foreign languages and the kind of pseudo-patriotism in this country. Nor will I even attempt to opine over the legislation of Creationism in today’s biology classes. Euthanasia will surely follow.

Under the “globalization” foundation of our future, I will expound upon one single word that is evolving so rapidly that most academics are struggling to keep pace with both the definition of it, as well as the technology of it. This word is “SOCIAL.”

Social sciences have rarely been treated as “science.” If it were, the typical quotes such as, “the winner writes the history books” wouldn’t exist. Qualitative interpretations of historical texts and census data usually usurp the type of cause & effect logic that governs quantitative analysis. But in the last 20 years our scientists have begun to demonstrate that social behavior is consistent with neurology, that emotional response hinders neurological function, and that rapport is chemical!

Despite these sociological breakthroughs, the word “Social” is also a new underpinning of the most expansive communication platform on the planet, the internet. We are using “social media” and “social networking” in ways that most of the world could have never dreamed… in business, in journalism, in education, and even acdemics.

I started The MUNIVERSITY with the goal of teaching the modern ideas of “Social Intelligence,” starting from the students’ understanding of interpersonal skills, and then expanding their personal sphere of networking & influence and extending their mastered sense of personal communication into the technological sphere of the internet.

If you’d like to stay connected to The MUNIVERSITY and use some of our resources for your own benefit or use, sign up for our free newsletter and our forum!

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A week of preparation, culmination, and avoiding the RU Screw…

A week of preparation, culmination, and avoiding the RU Screw…

Virtual Classroom 1.0

The MUNIVERSITY officially opened this week. Although it is still an evolving project, the structure of the site is finally robust for members to join, and the content will continually evolve. We’ll be posting videos of our first workshop on the Inner Game techniques of Social Intelligence.

In the course of developing this SI framework, I had finally begun researching Social Intelligence experts… and it just so turns out that they began teaching Social Intelligence strategies to business leaders 14 years ago! A man named Daniel Goleman wrote about it in the Harvard Business Review in 1998 and even billionaire Karl Albrecht had written a book on its relationship to Leadership. Strangely, I also just discovered that there are some pioneers in SI Education in the Psychology department at Rutgers! Woohoo! Maybe there is a reason for all of this…

 

Rutgers 2.0

Transitioning into the fellowship at Rutgers is also an endeavor in and of itself. I’m discovering the new registration process (no more dialup…), they retained my email from 1996, “genotype” Rutgers University also had their Graduate Student Orientation on Monday. I learned that as a fellow, I am considered “Faculty/Staff,” my health insurance is covered, and my access to the University’s resources is greater than I remember.

Having been through 4 years of RU undergrad and 6 years of grad school already, obviously I was very prepared for my re-entrance into Rutgers. I called every person who had something important to do with handling my information, e.g. Payroll Account, Professors, RU Connection, Financial Aid, Health Insurance, Parking… etc. Needless to say, I was still “forgotten.”

Despite being in the system on every other measure, my Health Insurance almost slipped through the cracks. I called to ask pertinent questions about my term bill and the options for Health Insurance. Apparently, I was not on her “list.” I could tell that there was some immediate sympathy because she suggested coming in to talk to her. There were about 4 or 5 things on my checklist to complete on campus and there is no substitute for facetime, so I showed up to the heart of graduate operations, 25 Bishop Pl.

Simona welcomed me, told me the deal, confirmed my existence, and allowed me to log in and complete 75% of my on campus checklist through her computer! She guided me through the health insurance waiver and the printing of my term bill. She gave me a bag to keep my “Bible” of RU Literature that had accumulated since admission. Then she said her father’s name was Eugene, too. Needless to say, I have found an administrative ally.

 

 

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