Startup Grind Guangzhou Hosts Greg Bernarda (Value Proposition Design)

Greg Bernarda is a thinker, creator and facilitator who supports individuals, teams and organizations with strategy and innovation. He works with inspired leaders to (re)design a future which employees, customers, and communities can recognize as their own. His projects have been with the likes of Colgate, Volkswagen, Harvard Business School and Capgemini. Greg is a frequent speaker; he is a co-author of Value Proposition Design (Wiley, 2014); he co-founded a series of events on sustainability in Beijing; and is an advisor at Utopies in Paris. Prior to that, he was at the World Economic Forum for eight years setting up initiatives for members to address global issues. (more…)

Education, English as Second Language Languages, Translation Travel, Culture

Angry Birds, Angry Words

http___web-assets.angrybirds.com_abcom_img_games_223_Icon_download_ab_223x223“What if instead of tabbing over to the web browser in search of some nugget of gossip or news, or opening up a mindless game such as Angry Birds, we could instead scratch the itch by engaging in a meaningful activity, such as learning a foreign language?”

Enjoyed this post.

Angry Words

Travel, Culture

Little Emperors

This article first appeared on Technorati: China Blocks WikiLeaks

They call them Little Emperors. They are the over-indulged toddler tyrants who seem to rule the roost in many Chinese households. These half-pint dictators appear to be an unintended consequence of Chinese one-child policy and traditional preference for boys.

Even in households with more than one child, little brother (Didi in Mandarin) is often the beneficiary of much affectionate head shaking. As an ESL teacher in The Middle Kingdom since 2004, I’ve graded more than several student essays containing the phrase “my younger brother is very naughty.” Meimei is almost always lovely, but Didi is definitely the naughty one.

The reference is often mockingly applied to China’s relationship with neighboring North Korea. Now, however, it would appear Elder Brother may be growing weary of the antics of Younger Brother. This, according to the latest round of purloined documents recently released by Internet sensation WikiLeaks.

China has moved quickly to block the information behind their great firewall. The U.S. State Department has also done what it can to prevent further embarrassing leaks. Nevertheless, the so-called damage is done.

One has to wonder if there isn’t a certain amount of suppressed glee accompanying this particular revelation. After all, the Korean truce began in 1953. That would, in essence, make Younger Brother the same age as I.

Why has this situation gone on so long? In effect, it’s a 57 year old war without end. It would be naïve to think the reason is one-sided. Certainly the United States has much to gain from a strategic land base in the heart of Asia and literally in Elder Brother’s backyard.

What would happen if America simply declared victory and brought the boys home?

Education, English as Second Language

How to Teach Children to Think Outside the Box

Teach Kids to Think Outside the Box

Here is a great lesson plan from my “bag of tricks.”

By Ron Hendricks

This is one of my favorite lesson plans because it can be adapted to just about any age and skill level. It can also be used for small or large groups.

Materials: Cardboard box, whiteboard and marker, or blackboard and chalk.

Objectives: Students will explore and expand their English vocabulary, listen and participate in a story about facing challenges, use their thinking skills to solve puzzles, and learn and understand the American idiom “think outside the box.”

Introduction: (1-2 minutes)
Begin by placing a cardboard box on a desk. The children are usually curious, so show them the box is empty. Write the word “box” on the board and have the children say it with you.

Next, draw a stick figure of a little girl on the board and ask the children to help you give her a name. Then, begin the story…

Story: (5 – 10 minutes)
Once upon a time in China there was a little girl. She lived in a very small village at the foot of a very tall mountain. (Draw village and mountain and ask children to repeat the words.) In fact, this mountain was so tall that nobody from the village had ever bothered to climb to the top.

This mountain was so tall that the clouds (draw clouds) always circled the mountain and blocked out the sun (draw sun). The people of the village had never, ever seen the sun. In fact, the people of the village did not even know the word for “sun!”

One day, the little girl woke up very early. (For young groups or groups with little or no English, pantomime the girl waking up, etc.) She yawned and stretched. And then she had an idea. She said to herself, “Today I will climb the mountain. Today I will see what is at the top!”

She jumped out of bed and before anyone else in the village was awake, she began to climb the mountain. She climbed and she climbed and she climbed. And she climbed and she climbed and she climbed. She grew very tired and sat down to rest. “Maybe this is a bad idea” she thought. “Maybe I should just go home to my warm little bed and forget about climbing.”

But then, she stomped her foot and said “No, I said I would climb to the top and that is what I will do!” So on she climbed. The path got steeper and steeper, but still she climbed.

Soon she came to the beginning of the clouds. She stopped for a moment and thought. “Maybe I should just go home to my warm little bed and forget about climbing.”  But then she stomped her foot and said, “No, I said I would climb to the top and that is what I will do!” And on she went.

Now, inside the clouds it was very cold and quite hard to see. It was strange and scary, but the little girl kept on climbing. As she climbed through the clouds she thought about her warm little bed, about her village and about her family. She started to worry about her Mother and Father.

“Oh! I better go back right now because my family will be looking for me,” she thought. But then she stomped her foot and said, “No, I said I would climb to the top and that is what I will do!” And then something wonderful happened…

As she stomped her foot, the clouds began to part and the little girl saw a beautiful blue sky! But that was not all, no, that was only part of it. Right in the middle of that beautiful blue sky was a big, round, orange, bright and warm…. ball!

She stood staring for a moment. She could not believe her eyes. She ran the rest of the way to the top of the mountain. And then she lay down in the warm glow of that bright, orange ball and fell fast asleep.

When she woke up, she was afraid. She had dreamed that her family and the people of the village were looking for her. So she jumped up and started to run. Down, down, down the mountain she ran as fast as she could.

When she reached the village, there was a large crowd of people gathered around her house. She saw her mother and father in the middle of the crowd and ran up to them. “Oh! There you are daughter! We were so worried! Where have you been?”

But the little girl did not stop to answer their questions. Instead she shouted, “Good news! Wonderful news! In the sky there is a big, round, orange, bright, warm, beautiful…ball!

The End

Questions: (3 to 5 minutes)
1. What do you think the people of the village said to her?
2. What do you think her parents said to her?
3. Why do you think they reacted this way?
4. Why do you think no one from the village had ever climbed the mountain before?
5. What do you think it means to “think inside the box?”
6. What do you think it means to “think outside the box?

Exercises: (10 to 15 minutes)
Draw a square on the board and ask the students “What is it?” They will probably say “a square” or “a box.” Write their answers on the board. Now challenge the students to “think outside the box.” Go around the room asking each student “What is it?” Write each answer on the board. (e.g. a book, a TV, a desk, a piece of paper, etc.)

Repeat the exercise with other shapes (a triangle, a circle, a rectangle, etc.). Ask the children to explain their answers.

If there is time, divide the class into small groups. Have each group draw an everyday object, but from a completely new angle. For example, what would a door look like from a side view? What might a bus look like from underneath? What does a pencil look like from the pointy end? Have someone from each group draw their picture on the board.

Puzzle Handout: (5 to 10 minutes)
Alone or in pairs, have the children solve the puzzle on the handout. There are many printable handouts available on the Internet. Adapt the handout to the age and skill level of your class.

There is a classic “think outside the box” puzzle involving nine dots and four lines. It is sometimes called the Christopher Columbus Egg Puzzle.  Look for it on the Internet.

Hold the cardboard box in the air and ask “What is it?”  Yes, it’s a box, but maybe it is more than that! Remind the students of the little girl who climbed the mountain and discovered the sun. Challenge them to “think outside the box” whenever they encounter difficult problems.