Conversations Across Cultures: A Brief Intro to Training Across the Globe

At Fierce, we're often asked about how our programs translate across countries and cultures. At times, there's a false assumption that content can't translate across global markets without major customization. This is a misnomer. We've been training internationally, partnering with multi-national organizations and local re-sellers who service small...
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Leading Business Problem #4: No Purpose

In our latest eBook, we call out no purpose as a leading problem in business. The reality is that nearly every organization is inherently purposeful. The intention of the company, or the reason why it exists, is its purpose. But internal communication around this "reason for being," why it matters, and how it can be made an integral part of daily o...
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Social Change and Employee Empowerment: Why Leaders Need to Embrace the Times

Our recent Fierce survey revealed that conversations around current social movements, including #blacklivesmatter, #metoo, and #TimesUp, are happening. Unfortunately, most of these conversations are not happening at work. The survey also revealed that while employees still experience and witness discrimination, there has been a shift the past year ...
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Hiring and Firing: When Work and Social Media Don’t Mix

I'm sure you've heard some of the crazy stories about employees being fired for what they posted on social. Take for instance…. The Taco Bell employee who was fired for posting a picture of himself on social licking a stack of taco shells at work. The day care attendant who was let go when she posted, "I start my new job today. But I absolutel...
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360 Feedback Questions

Tips & Templates for Gathering 360 Degree Feedback This week’s Friday resource comes from Quantum and discusses what employees want (and need) from feedback gathering processes. Annual (and even bi-annual or quarterly) feedback is outdated. When it comes to feedback, one thing is clear: continuous employee feedback is the most effective approach. In your organization, there are multiple methods you can use for gathering feedback. Unfortunately, some of these methods create more problems than they solve. Outdated processes can create hostility, lower morale, decrease engagement, and have a negative impact on workplace culture. So what are some of these problematic methods, and what are the alternative ways to request feedback? Take a look at these easy fixes, per Kourtney George, Quantum: The Problem: Once-A-Year Feedback Lack of frequency gives managers an excuse to avoid giving feedback and addressing performance the rest of the year, whether good or bad. The Fix:...
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3 Ways Leaders Can Increase Empathy

This week’s Friday resource comes from Forbes and lists ways leaders can grow in empathy. Research reveals that today’s most successful leaders all have a trait in common: empathy. Empathy allows a person to step into another person’s shoes and understand their perspective. This trait is beneficial because it allows whomever is in the position of leadership to approach the needs of their team members with genuine concern, which creates trust and strengthens relationships within teams and organizations. In conversation, empathy shifts how a leader will guide and respond to the discussion. A conversation with an empathic leader often leaves people feeling seen, heard, and cared for. Per Teri Citterman, CEO of Talonn and Forbes contributor, here are some ways you can increase empathy as a leader. 1. Know more. “Do you know what’s most important to each of your team members? Not what you think is, but what actually...
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One Unconscious Bias is Keeping Women Out of Senior Roles

This week’s Friday resource comes from Business Insider and calls attention to a common bias preventing women from being promoted to leadership roles. A number of biases can impact our decisions in the workplace when it comes to hiring and promotion, but one bias in particular often prevents women from receiving the roles they’re seeking: affinity bias. Affinity bias is present when we show favoritism for people who are like us. If the majority of the people within an organization who hire and promote are men, affinity bias can lead them to choose candidates who are also men, even if the men being selected are not actually the most suited candidates. Per contributors Melissa Wheeler and Victor Sojo, here are some ways companies can overcome this bias: 1. Implementing gender targets and quotas to increase gender equality in leadership 2. Increasing awareness, which can mitigate the effects of affinity bias...
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An Easy Trick to Reduce Workplace Biases

“I may think I see you as you are, but in truth, I see you as I am.” - Susan Scott If you’re human, you’re guilty of having biases. We all plead a bit of insanity. We tend to see things through our own filters. Sometimes we make conclusions about a person or situation only to later realize the conclusion was unfair or lacked any basis in reality. In case you need a refresher, cognitive bias creates prejudice, skewed perception, or preference to show up in ways (and in places) where our work and the people around us end up marginalized, misunderstood, or otherwise negatively impacted. They often consist of conclusions or assumptions that in some way veer from the reality of the situation, leading us to make decisions that also disregard reality. Our workplace is affected by bias because we hire, interact with others, and even fire based on...
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Leadership Tips: Hold Yourself Able

At Fierce, we believe that accountability is a bias towards action: an attitude, a personal, private, non-negotiable choice about how to live your life. The reality is, as much as you may want to, you can’t hold someone accountable. In Fierce Accountability , we talk about the difference between holding someone accountable and holding someone able. When you hold someone able, you choose to recognize the capacity of each person you are connecting with to achieve the goals you agreed upon. Where can you take a more accountable position in your life? At work? On certain projects? With your partner? With your kids? This week’s tip is to hold yourself able with your commitments. Trust and make the choices you need to make for the important relationships and objectives in your life right now. You are the only one who can.

Why Women Entrepreneurs will be the Economic Force to Reckon with in 2017

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by CNBC and explains why women entrepreneurs will be an economic force to be reckoned with in 2017 and moving forward. This past Wednesday we celebrated International Women’s Day across the globe and celebrated the ever-growing success of women in business. CNBC’s inaugural Upstart 25 List , featuring promising young start-ups, included 10 women-owned businesses. This only looks to increase as female-owned companies are growing at a rate of five times the national average and increased a whopping 45 percent over the last decade, eclipsing over $1.6 trillion in revenue. This trend is not exclusive to the United States either, as rates of women’s entrepreneurship have grown 10 percent over the last two years compared to only 5 percent for men across 51 different global economies. Per Elaine Pofeldt, CNBC, as the gender gap continues to decrease, women can look to other female...
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Women Leadership: A Reason, a Caution, and a Bottom Line

On this International Women's Day, I want to celebrate women all around the world. This day makes me reflect on the strong women leaders in my life who have propelled my career and have forever changed me—for the better. I am so grateful to you. You know who you are. Based on recent articles that struck me, I want to offer some considerations for propelling women into leadership roles. Let’s start with the current February 2017 stats. According to Catalyst, of the S&P 500 companies, 5.4% of CEOs are women, 9.5% of top earners are women, 19.9% of board seats are women, 25.1% of executive officers are women, and 36.4% of middle management are women. Given that the total employee base is 44.3% women, there is continual opportunity for women to rise to the higher managerial and leadership levels. These numbers have increased significantly in the last few years. This...
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Leadership Tips: Create Diversity of Thought

All you have to do is turn on the news to see that there is a lack of diversity of thought around us, from our grid-locked Congress to our arguments about anything under the sun.  There is never one simple solution to the challenges we face, and we need, more than ever, diversity of thought. In order to get there, we need to focus on two things: getting curious and expanding our thinking. To dig a little deeper, I want to share a relevant excerpt from our white paper:  A Perspective on Diversity, Building a Culture of Curiosity : The metaphorical phrase “you can’t judge a book by its cover” has endured as long as it has for a reason.  In a similar vein, an employee should not be judged by the generation they represent, the religion they practice, or the socioeconomic status they were raised in. Because the combination of experiences and...
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Taking Responsibility Is the Highest Mark of Great Leaders

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by  Forbes and describes why leaders with a track record of taking responsibility – for both individual and team actions – are more likely to be promoted than candidates with similar qualifications. Forbes Contributor, Zack Zenger, believes that a leader’s demonstrated willingness to behave responsibly is one of the most undervalued leadership characteristics. This often overlooked aspect in leadership literature is the driving force for many promotional decisions within organizations. Zenger asserts that responsibility extends far beyond accountability. Being accountable means you are willing to accept the results of a team project or activity as your own. A responsible leader understands that they are the person who must make things happen. They set their own agenda and personal goals aside, and continually pursue goals that benefit the company as a whole. “Responsible behavior includes doing things for which there is no immediate reward,...
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Why Work-Life Balance Isn't Just a Women's Issue Anymore

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published on Forbes and explores how men and women have similar priorities when it comes to valuing work-life balance. Work-life balance has been a hot-button topic for years and conventional wisdom tells us that women struggle the most with juggling work and personal responsibilities. But a recent national study by Bain & Company is bringing new issues to light. Researchers found that nearly equal numbers of women and men want to prioritize family and life outside of work over career progression. How successful is your organization at integrating work and life? Source: http://www.forbes.com

Advice to Young Women

We’re a women-owned business. And proud of it. As part of our work, we focus on developing, training, and investing in young women and girls around the world through corporations, non-profits, and education systems. When we look at issues for young women today, bullying comes to the top of the list. We are not neutral about how to solve for this. We believe that children and young adults need to learn the skills to navigate their lives – with advocates and adversaries to their success. So what does our staff want to share with young women today? Fellow Fierceling, Ashley Wolf, has interviewed some of our staff about advice they have for young women, and two major themes arose. Speak Your Truth. At Fierce, speaking your truth is about being authentic. With media and many other influences pushing against them, it is especially important for young women today to learn...
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How Women Can Show Passion at Work Without Seeming 'Emotional'

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published on Harvard Business Review and explores why women are often labeled “too emotional” in the workplace. Even with gender equality initiatives, women are still underrepresented in most senior leadership positions across corporate America. Women account for less than 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs, less than 15% of executive officers at those companies, and only 6% of partners in venture capital firms. Why does gender imbalance still exist? It’s partially due to the way women are misinterpreted at work. According to How Women Can Show Passion at Work Without Seeming “Emotional” , certain gender biases lead to women being labeled “too emotional” in the workplace. Studies have shown that when women passionately argue against the consensus, their male colleagues view them as “emotional” rather than credible. How do we make sure communication isn’t lost in translation? “Combining passion with logic, specificity, creativity, and experience...
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Advice to Young Girls

While thinking about this blog, I turned to the best source for advice to young girls – other young girls who are happy and thriving - so I asked my granddaughters and the daughters of one of our leaders here at Fierce what advice they would give a freshman girl in high school. Clara, 15 : “Do not judge someone until you know them well enough, talk to as many people as possible, wear things that make you love your body and make you feel beautiful, attend as many sports games as you can, join clubs or sports, go to homecoming because there are only 4 in your life! Don’t be afraid to ask your teachers questions if you are confused, be nice to everyone.” Maizy, 17: “Be nice. To everyone. People aren’t as scary as you imagine and making someone’s day is so worth it. I would agree with...
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The Generational Divide: Recruiting Millennials and Boomers

In this current landscape, the talent war is on. So we ask you: What are you pretending not to know about recruitment? We often hear from clients and partners about assumptions they have about talent. So Chris and Stacey came together to debunk four myths about recruiting millennials and boomers. Two common recruiting myths about millennials – debunked by a millennial. 1. Millennials want to only work with other millennials. I often hear people make comments about how millennials only want to work at places like Google, Facebook, and Uber, where the average employee age is below 30 aka millennial mecca. While it may be attractive in the way that it is for any other generation to work together, it is a gross exaggeration to think millennials only want to work with millennials. As a matter of fact, one of the core desires in most generational research is millennials’ desire...
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Tapping the Potential of Boardroom Diversity

This week's Fierce Resource was originally posted on Huffingtonpost.com and was written by Debra Walton. Tapping the Potential of Boardroom Diversity highlights the need for acquiring diversity among leadership teams and boardroom members. Although a simple idea, the complexity of finding the right mix can be a challenge. While this article focuses on gender, the idea is to gather multiple realities. Think: millennial, boomer, new hire, or tenured employee... you get the picture. So, how does your team or organization gather multiple perspectives or diversity of thought? What could you do differently to gain variety? "Businesses should no longer see equal opportunity as a matter of choice, but as a matter of good governance. The female perspective is not necessarily better or more insightful than the male perspective, but it is different." Read the full article.

The Forgotten Generation: Reflections from a Gen Xer

Uh, hello? Remember us? The ones commonly referred to as “latch key kids”? {ahem} Okay, sure. Even though we like to come off as tough, we may feel forgotten and voiceless in this battle between generations. And, yes, we can come off as self-absorbed as our desire for change occasionally trumps relationships. But “slackers”, we are not. We hunger for diversity, for changing the system, for achieving some sense of balance in a lop-sided world. We have utmost respect and gratitude for our parents who worked themselves to the bone so we could enjoy a richer life. And we appreciate the younger set as they continue to push the momentum for a more connected world forward. We want to work with both of you, Boomers and Millennials, to help bridge any gaps of skillset and mindset so we can all come out on top. We found our way, Millennials, so...
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How to Manage Different Generations

This article was originally published on The Wall Street Journal  can be found here . How to Manage Different Generations is still a common theme throughout the leadership and development space and has been for several years. The question still exists, how do you manage a multigenerational workforce? Well, the answer may be more simple than it appears. How about a spoonful of communication, prompted with a big question: how do we connect and what should we be talking about? Start with the question- what knowledge do we need to retain for our company to exist? Think: history of the company, strategic decisions, and what the future holds. " Facilitate mentoring between different aged employees to encourage more cross-generational interaction . Younger employees should learn to seek the experience and wisdom offered by senior employees. Older employees should learn to be open to the fresh perspectives offered by younger employees."...
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Millennials: Creating a New Workforce

Generation Y isn’t working to survive or to bring home a paycheck. They seek fulfillment and active participation in a bigger, more important organizational vision. They’ll pay their dues, put in their time and even take less pay as long as they feel they are contributing to an organization’s big-picture goals. But when they feel marginalized, millennials walk out the door without hesitation. The impact of this attitudinal shift is being reflected in the ways Gen Y leaders are beginning to create a new workplace culture. Here are three changes they’re inspiring: Connectivity: The workplace is becoming a social organism. Call it the Facebook effect. Gen Y employees and their leaders are building cultures that foster stimulation and creativity through constant contact with others. Co-workers no longer connect at the annual office party. They connect professionally and socially every minute of every day.   Collaboration : The old maxim that...
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The Generational Divide: Who Will Win?

Lately the generational divide has been a topic front and center, in conferences, the press, blogs... We are surprised, and a little concerned with the assumptions about millennials that are being offered up as the “capital T” truth. If you look at the press and commentary you’d think that Millennials (insert zombies) are coming in mass to get us. They will soon take over business as we know it, booting out boomers, trampling Gen Xers, and demanding every entitlement under the sun. So we thought we’d add to the chatter a different perspective, from both sides of the generational divide. From Stacey, the Millennial: Sure some millennials can be needy at times - wanting feedback on a weekly basis. And yes, some millennials think they deserve their promotions before they have shown impact in their roles. Others not so much. As a generation, we do love our technology and continually improving our devices and toys. The thing is - there are...
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What Companies Are Getting Wrong About Every Generation

This week's Fierce resource was originally published on FastCompany.com and was written by Stephen R. Fussell. What Companies Are Getting Wrong About Every Generation  addresses the idea of multiple generations that make up today's organizations. Over the past year we've seen a fifth generation enter the workforce and now more than ever companies are challenged with how to manage this diverse workforce.  Instead of thinking about each generation as different, change the way you look at generations by asking yourself- what makes us the same? Have a conversation, you may be surprised what you find. What commonalities do you share with those in your workplace? "But in the actual workforce, the picture is more nuanced, and honestly, more important than one single workforce generation. Successful companies are woven from individuals working together in teams whose makeup spans the generations. They don’t revolve around one employee subgroup, despite what the headlines...
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What It Means To Lead

Fierce CEO, Halley Bock, is currently writing a column for  Business 2  Community . We wanted to share with you her  most recent article , published Wednesday, June 11th.  Recently in May, I was honored to present at the Women in Real Life (WiRL)  Leadership Summit  on the topic of “Leadership Beyond Title.” As an executive myself, I’ve seen my fair share of those who lead  through  title (borrowed authority) and those who lead  free  of title (earned authority). The former typically run a short-lived course with hit-or-miss results, the latter a long-term life cycle with predictable success. Always the curious type, I dove deeper into exploring the differences between these two leaders and what sets them apart. As a first stop, I hit up the dictionary to see what we are telling ourselves about leadership and came across a gem. While the definition of “leader” was a bit rigid...
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Leadership Tips: Assume Good Intent

Have you ever had a time that you assumed a person was intentionally avoiding you and then later learned that the situation had nothing to do with you at all? Most of us have. A year after graduation, I was working for the University of Washington and was leading a group of students for a study abroad program. There was a young woman, Laura, who continually did not respond promptly to emails and phone calls. I started to assume that she didn’t care. Not only that, but I gave opportunities to other students instead of her, because I thought she wouldn’t want them. In a long overdue one-on-one meeting, I asked her questions about it and learned that her family was going through a crisis. She didn’t know how to juggle. It was a major smack in my face. How could I have made those assumptions about her? Why on...
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8 Ways to Successfully Manage a Multi-Generational Workforce

This week's Fierce Resource was first published on the work intelligent.ly website and was written by David Raymond , a Practice Manager at Ricoh’s Output & Distribution Consulting Practice. 8 Ways to Successfully Manage a Multi-Generational Workforce gives insightful tips on how to engage the different generations represented within your organization. The truth is, we're more alike than we are dissimilar. The goal for leaders is to encourage conversations among the different generations, and to realize that what motivates one might not motivate the other. "At Ricoh, the development of a successful multi-generational workforce is a key priority. That’s why we have built an entire corporate council, known as the Generational Diversity Council, around the idea of attracting and retaining the best talent, making strategic investments to foster a mobile workforce; and most importantly, striving to become a preferred employer for workers of all generations." To read the full article,...
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What Motivates Us at Work? 7 Fascinating Studies That Give Insights

This week's Fierce Resource was first published on the TED blog and explores Dan Ariely's TED talk:  What makes us feel good about our work? What motivates us at work? 7 fascinating studies that give insights breaks apart Dan Ariely's fascinating TED talk which details seven studies about how we feel at work, what makes us happy, feel appreciated, and motivates us. He challenges commonly held beliefs about what drives people and where they gain the most satisfaction. "When you look carefully at the way people work, he says, you find out there’s a lot more at play—and a lot more at stake—than money. In his talk, Ariely provides evidence that we are also driven by meaningful work, by others’ acknowledgement and by the amount of effort we’ve put in: the harder the task is, the prouder we are." To read the full article, click here . To watch the...
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Does Becoming a Leader Make You a Bad Listener?

I once worked for a manager who, when I was first hired, shared that she prided herself on being a great listener and that her door was always open. Early in my training, other managers shared her sentiment, and told me how lucky I was to work for her - she was such a great listener. Then, I spoke with my teammates, and they had a very different opinion. They told stories of rushed meetings and clip responses. They told stories of going to her with an issue, and then she would throw her hands up with frustration. They shared that she always had time for other managers and very little for her own team. It wasn't long after hearing these stories that I experienced firsthand my new manager's "great" listening skills. In our first touch base, she asked me how I was liking my new position and what I...
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Leadership Tips: Listen Fiercely

To kick off the New Year, please join us in being intentional with the skill of listening. The Ask: Think of a time when someone’s listening impacted your life. In 2014, how will you pay it forward and listen like never before for someone else? We want to hear from you! Share your stories on on Social; we can be found on Facebook , Twitter , and LinkedIn . Comment here on the blog. Five people will win a copy of Fierce Conversations signed by author, Susan Scott. Use the hash tag: #listenfiercely

3 Commitments to Speak to People Rather Than About Them

In partnership with Fierce in the Schools, the Learning Forward Blog publishes an exclusive article for our Fierce blog. Our guest writer is Stephanie Hirsh , the Executive Director of Learning Forward , Please visit the Learning Forward Blog , hosted by Education Week , to read more of their blog posts. Lately, I have experienced several challenges that have made me reflect on one of the staff agreements we list at Learning Forward: Speak to people rather than about them. Do not say something about someone who is not present unless you intend to share it with them and are seeking help in clarifying your request. Given my recent challenges, I asked myself - what can I do, as a leader, to build a climate where all people feel comfortable in sharing their point of view, and would not consider it necessary to represent the views of others? I...
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Why Is Accountability An Issue?

Fierce Accountability : A desire to take responsibility for results; a bias towards action. An attitude, a personal, private, non-negotiable choice about how to live your life. I would venture to guess that most people, when directly asked, say they wan t to be accountable for their actions, decisions, and commitments within their organization. So why is accountability an issue for organizations? First, accountability can be a messy topic, and so people avoid talking about it. Many organizations' cultures have developed around the idea that it is easier to just not say anything. As a leader, it can seem difficult to approach the topic with those on your team who are not fulfilling their responsibilities. It can often become a blame game. Regardless, it is necessary to have the conversations. Second, too often accountability is something we try to legislate. Accountability is not a process or a tool. It is...
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How to Shift Your Leader’s Opinion

It is common to hear things like “if my leader was different, then my job would be easier.”  Or “you know who really needs this stuff is our company’s executives.” Although this may be true, opinions and beliefs are strong at play here – yours and theirs. So how do you shift your leader’s opinion or context about a situation? Well first, it begins with you. You must make the first shift and believe that a skillful conversation with your leader does have the potential to drive change.  If you don’t believe it’s possible, then it won’t be. Once you are confident in your ability to be influential by offering up your perspective or unveiling a viewpoint that has yet to be considered, you are then empowered to shift your leader’s context. Consider these three items upon entering into this conversation: 1. Recognize that your leader’s context is valid and...
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Leadership Tips: Hold Each Other Able

In Fierce Accountability , we talk about the difference between holding someone accountable and holding someone able. Often we talk about accountability in a legislative matter. Something we can impose on others. Many of us associate accountability with blame. At Fierce, we prefer to view accountability not as a process or a tool, and instead view it as a context that makes every tool and process more effective. When you hold someone able, you choose to recognize the capacity each person you are connecting with has to achieve the goals you agree upon. It is a bias towards action: an attitude, a personal, private, non-negotiable choice about how to live your life. The reality is, as much as you may want to, you can’t hold someone accountable. Shifting the mentality away from holding others accountable to holding each other able builds a culture of engagement, trust, and creativity versus disengagement,...
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Taking a Cue from Kids on Creating an Environment of Personal Accountability

Can you imagine a school where kids are responsible enough they get to make all the rules? They get to choose what they study, when they study and for how long they study. Moreover, as a collective, they make all the decisions that impact their school. Are you picturing mayhem? Recently I heard a story on one of my favorite radio programs, This American Life , about a school that operates just like what I mentioned above. The Brooklyn Free School (BFS), located in Brooklyn New York, is modeled after the democratic process this country was founded on. According to their mission statement; “BFS is a true democratic school for children of all ages. Each child and staff member will have an equal voice in major decisions (and minor ones) affecting the day-to-day running of the school.” The radio program focuses on how BFS operates, and what really struck me...
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