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robertogreco : competency   15

Educator: In Finland, I realized how 'mean-spirited’ the U.S. education system really is - The Washington Post
"The public school system is free to all, for as long as they live. Compulsory education extends from age 6 to 16. After that, students can choose schools, tracks and interests. Students can track academically or vocationally, change their minds midstream, or meld the two together. Remember the goal: competency.

Though students are required to go to school only until age 16, those who leave before secondary school are considered dropouts. Programs designed to entice these youngsters — typically those who struggle academically for a variety of reasons — back into education address the national 5 percent dropout rate. We visited one of these classrooms where teachers rotated three weeks of instruction with three weeks of internships in area businesses.

We toured a secondary school with both a technical and academic wing. The teachers were experimenting with melding the two programs. In the technical wing, we visited a classroom where adults were receiving training to make a career switch. Free.

The fact that students can fail and return, or work and return, or retire and return had a palpable effect on the mood and the tone of the buildings. Surprisingly, considering their achievements, Finnish students spend less time in the classroom, have more breaks throughout the day, and benefit from receiving medical, dental, psychiatric care and healthful meals while in school. It was ... nice.

In comparison, the United States public school system (an idea we invented, by the way) seems decidedly mean-spirited.

Our students enter at around age 5 and have some 13 years to attain a high school diploma. Failure to earn a diploma is a dead end for most. In the United States, when students fail at school — or leave due to many other factors, sometimes just as resistant teenagers — we are done with you. Sure, there are outliers who are successful through luck, sweat, connections or all three, but for most, the lack of a diploma is a serious obstacle toward advancement.

Without a high school diploma, educational aspirations can be severely truncated. Students need a high school diploma to attend community colleges and many technical schools which provide access to advanced skills that impact the living standard.

With or without the needed diploma, any additional education is at the student’s expense in time or money — a further blow to financial standing.

The 13-year window of opportunity does not factor in the developmental level of students at the time of entry. Any educator knows that children do not arrive with the same readiness to learn.

There are many other differences. Unlike the Finnish competency system, ours is based on meeting a prescribed set of standards by passing tests of discrete knowledge. Our students face a gauntlet of tests, even though any standards can be woefully outdated by the time a graduate enters a quickly evolving job market. The Finns take matriculation tests (there is choice in these as well) at the end of secondary but all interviewed said the scores did not have much bearing on what students could do next.""
finland  schools  us  education  policy  unschooling  deschooling  schooliness  competition  competitiveness  marytedro  valeriestrauss  politics  economics  assessment  testing  standardizedtesting  competency  vocational  schooling  2018  readiness  standardization  standards  work  labor  opportunity  dropouts  care  caring 
november 2018 by robertogreco
When They Promise the Netflix for Education, Cover Your Wallet | Just Visiting
"According to education consultant Michael Horn,[1] college has a lot in common with “your cable TV package.”

Horn says, “You really want just the accounting degree and you also get the football team alongside it. You’re paying for things that you will never ever use. It’s not tailored to actual needs.”

Horn (and his disruptor ilk) maintain that education needs to be “Netflixed.”

Do we really need to run through these arguments again and point out that education is not merely a content delivery system? Did the great MOOC hype collapse not already expose this fiction?

We already have things that are the educational equivalent of Netflix. I call them libraries, and guess what? They’re even better than Netflix because rather than relying solely on algorithms, they come stocked with trained professionals who will help you fulfill your content needs.

But never mind, because like all things, education must be disrupted. I just wish for once, the disruptors spoke to actual, you know, students before engaging in their disruptory ways.

Someone who thinks that football is not important to college choice must not be aware of student attitudes at places like Alabama, Clemson, or University of Michigan, where you will find many non-athlete students who indeed chose the school because of the football team.

But remember that Horn is not an educator. These people are never educators. He comes out of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation Boogaloo. He is now a principal in something called Entangled Solutions, a higher ed consultancy that uses their “startup connections to bring cutting edge technology to the academic world.”

Interestingly, the principals at Entangled Solutions with their “let them eat competency” attitudes have degrees from U. Chicago, Yale, Harvard MBA, CalTech, and Wharton.[2]

Their enemy is accreditation, and so Horn and others have formed a “task force” to challenge the control accreditors have over which institutions get access to federal grant and loan money. If they are successful, they will “open the door for the Airbnbs and Ubers of higher education.”

Do you join me in wondering how the introduction of rent-seeking entities into higher education could possibly benefit the broader public?

I don’t doubt these people deep down mean well, and sincerely believe their own B.S., but let’s not lose sight of the fact that it is B.S., and these companies are indeed on the grift. If their ideas were so good, they wouldn’t need to attach themselves to the public teat to fund them.

Indeed, programming bootcamps have managed to thrive in the marketplace, with the chief strategy officer at Reactor Core, the parent of the successful Hack Reactor camps telling the Washington Post that seeking accreditation, “Seemed like a lot of overhead and no real benefit for the students.”

Hack Reactor and the bootcamps like it are filling an underserved niche and bringing benefit to their customers and the industries they serve. For now. It seems inevitable that this sector too will overshoot the mark of demand and some providers will fall by the wayside, as they should in a free and open market.

Not satisfied with nibbling at the underserved edges, the higher ed disruptor crowd flat doesn’t like how college works, not in terms of education, but as a marketplace, and want to take their own shot at the problem. They don’t want to compete with legacy institutions so much as wreck them so they can rise in their place.
It’s unfortunate then, that our futuristic saviors seem to know so little about actual human beings.

It’s true, many fewer people would be interested in a four-year college experience if it didn’t come bundled with a degree. And yet, when you talk to students they will name dozens of other reasons they are glad to be in college: to grow as a person, to figure out what they want to do, to make friends and connections, to learn, to have fun, and yes, to go to football games.

College is like life, something to be lived, experienced, and we can't really predict or quantify the outcomes.

If you talk to students (and I do) and ask them if they want or would benefit from an “unbundled” education, you will find very few who answer in the affirmative.
My students are somewhere between befuddled by (Why would anyone want that?) and terrified of (I would fail, hard) such a future.

I teach a very traditional cohort of students, and the traditional college and university structure doesn’t make sense for everyone pursuing post-secondary education. There is indeed a role for competency-based education serving industries where discrete, demonstrable skills are necessary.

Though, I remember a time when the business themselves provided this service and called it “training,” but never mind.

And I am not one to deny the very real problems institutions face. The cost of college to students is a crisis. Of course the cause of this crisis is the disinvestment of public money in education, a fact the disruptor crowd almost always ignores because to acknowledge it would mean casting doubt over the necessity for disruption.

They see public disinvestment as a fixed state of being, as opposed to a reversible policy choice.

The idea that we’ll technology our way out of this is a fantasy. Entangled Solutions should know this better than anyone, as one of its other principals, Paul Freedman, had his first educational venture, Altius Education, which was supposed to help people move from associates degrees to four-year colleges, go splat after underperforming, and attracting a Justice Department investigation.[3]

But the disruptors continue to push a narrative of broken institutions, failing students, and too much of the policy-making public is willing to accept that story.

I have a counter-narrative, the oldest one in the book: History repeats itself.

Just as the worst actors of the for-profit industry slink off the stage, followed by lawsuits and government fines, we see our techno-solutionists stepping into the breach, claiming that higher education is “over-regulated.”
Tell that to the former customers of Corinthian Colleges.[4]
Different players, same game. Let’s not be fooled."
2016  johnwarner  education  michaelhorn  highered  highereducation  claytonchristensen  publicgood  funding  unbundling  corinthiancollege  privatization  forprofit  disruption  technology  training  competency  policy 
february 2016 by robertogreco
Popular lecturer at Berkeley will lose job despite strong record of promoting student success | Inside Higher Ed
"Students at the University of California at Berkeley like Alexander Coward. A lot.

“He is not just one of the best math teachers, but one of the best teachers that Berkeley has ever had the fortune of having,” proclaims the Protest to Keep Coward at Cal Facebook page.

Coward, a full-time lecturer four years away from a more permanent "continuing status" (but very much off the tenure track), revealed recently in a public blog post on his website that the Berkeley mathematics department would not renew his contract to teach multiple sections of introductory calculus courses. Students immediately flocked to his support on social media. Some used the hashtag #IStandWithCoward, and nearly 3,000 signed up to attend the protest on Oct. 20 -- the day the university will formally review the nonrenewal decision.

Coward, who earned a doctorate in mathematics from the University of Oxford, used his blog post to detail years of combative interactions with faculty and administration in his department. He linked to pages of email chains and hundreds of student evaluations that collectively seem to paint the picture of a lecturer who is very good at his job, but not so good at doing it within the confines of departmental norms or expectations. Specifically, Coward opted to forgo standard measures of student progress such as graded homework and quizzes in favor of what he sees as a more natural approach.

"We all know hard work is important, but there's a question about how to motivate students to work hard," he said in an interview. Tangible rewards like better grades for better work are one option, Coward said, but piles of research -- some of which he references in an open letter he sent the department chair in December 2014 -- point to a more effective system: intrinsic motivation. Encouraging the "motivation that's bubbling up inside ourselves because we're curious and like to learn and like to improve is much more powerful than saying, 'I'm going to do this because it's 0.7777 of my GPA.'"

In his classes, Coward says, he works to foster a feeling of autonomy, competency and personal affinity rather than rely on humdrum grades to spark motivation in students. In his class sessions, he asks repeatedly if everyone understands concepts. He repeats explanations several times, which he says is important for teaching math. And students say he always has time for them.

Actual course grades are based on final exams, which he does give, so his students do receive formal, traditional assessment at the end of the course.

That strategy spurred sweeping approval in the student evaluations he posted, many of which point to his enthusiasm, accessibility and outgoing demeanor in class. "He genuinely cares about his students," one student wrote. "And his love for learning and teaching really shines through his work."

Coward noted, and documentation he posted including an internal “Report on A. Coward” appears to confirm, that his students performed at or above average in subsequent mathematics courses -- a key piece of evidence that his teaching works. But even though students love him and go on to succeed in other courses, the department still found his approach to be problematic.

Arthur Argus, former chair of the math department, wrote a 2013 email, Coward says, “I do think it [sic] that it is very important that you not deviate too far from the department norms.” The sentiment came up again in emails and memos in the following years.

“This raises the question,” Coward writes in his blog, “What does it mean to adhere to department norms if one has the highest student evaluation scores in the department, students performing statistically significantly better in subsequent courses and faculty observations universally reporting ‘extraordinary skills at lecturing, presentation and engaging students’?”

“In a nutshell: stop making us look bad. If you don't, we'll fire you,” says Coward.

“We cannot address individual personnel matters, as they are confidential,” university spokeswoman Janet Gilmore said in a statement emailed to Inside Higher Ed. “However, many lecturers have appointments that may be for a single term or up to two years. They often fill in for regular faculty who are on leave, provide additional teaching to cover surges in enrollment and teach large undergraduate classes. Lecturers do not receive a commitment to ongoing employment until after they have taught for six years and have undergone a rigorous academic review of their teaching.”

Emails Coward received and subsequently posted include similar statements, but taken with the evaluations and other data Coward put online, they portray a man beloved by students.

A letter from a teaching evaluation coordinator about Coward’s student evaluations says, “Both of Dr. Coward's Math 1A scores were markedly higher than those of any of the regular faculty who taught Math 1A during the six-year period ending in spring 2013.” He averaged 6.4 and 6.5 on a seven-point scale, and both sections attracted nearly four times as many students as another section of the same course taught by another faculty member. In fact, the letter goes on to say, “Dr. Coward's scores are higher than any of the scores earned by regular faculty for at least the last 18 years."

More than 500 actual student evaluations follow the letter. Most of them are entirely positive.

“Professor Coward is by far the best professor I have ever had at Cal so far,” writes one student. “He has an extremely positive attitude when it comes to math, which makes the course really enjoyable.” Asked about his or her instructor’s weaknesses, that student wrote, “no weaknesses; his teaching is perfection.”

Some students do mention the same critiques the department raised, though -- that they wished he assigned more homework or kept a clearer schedule and record of progress.

Coward also alleges that administrators suppressed his glowing reviews and watered down statistical evidence that his students go on to perform better in other classes. In an open letter he sent to the department, Coward also revealed he had been admitted to a psychiatric hospital for suicidal depression, saying, "The entire faculty in the mathematics department should introspect on this fact. Bullying is something that affects adults as well as children, and where it occurs it should be addressed very seriously."

He added, “I absolutely love teaching the students at Berkeley, but I cannot in good conscience follow the instructions you have given me. I am unwilling to go to work and feel ashamed of what I am doing any more.”"
2015  teaching  learning  howweteach  alexandercoward  autonomy  assessment  rules  norms  ucberkeley  bullying  academia  highered  highereducation  pedagogy  homework  testing  motivation  math  mathematics  competency 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Margaret J. Wheatley: The Irresistible Future of Organizing
"Why do so many people in organizations feel discouraged and fearful about the future? Why does despair only increase as the fads fly by, shorter in duration, more costly in each attempt to improve? Why have the best efforts to create significant and enduring organizational change resulted in so many failures? We, and our organizations, exist in a world of constant evolutionary activity. Why is change so unnatural in human organizations?

The accumulating failures at organizational change can be traced to a fundamental but mistaken assumption that organizations are machines. Organizations-as-machines is a 17th century notion, from a time when philosophers began to describe the universe as a great clock. Our modern belief in prediction and control originated in these clockwork images. Cause and effect were simple relationships.   Everything could be known.  Organizations and people could be engineered into efficient solutions. Three hundred years later, we still search for "tools and techniques" and "change levers"; we attempt to "drive" change through our organizations; we want to "build" solutions and "reengineer" for peak efficiencies.

But why would we want an organization to behave like a machine? Machines have no intelligence; they follow the instructions given to them. They only work in the specific conditions predicted by their engineers. Changes in their environment wreak havoc because they have no capacity to adapt.

These days, a different ideal for organizations is surfacing. We want organizations to be adaptive, flexible, self-renewing, resilient, learning, intelligent-attributes found only in living systems. The tension of our times is that we want our organizations to behave as living systems, but we only know how to treat them as machines.



This faith in the organization's ability and intelligence will be sorely tested. When there are failures, pressures from the outside, or employee problems, it is easy to retreat to more traditional structures and solutions. As one manager describes it: "When things aren't going well, we've had to resist the temptation to fall back to the perceived safety of our old, rigid structures. But we know that the growth, the creativity, the opening up, the energy improves only if we hold ourselves at the edge of chaos."

The path of self-organization offers ample tests for leaders to discover how much they really trust their employees. Can employees make wise decisions? Can they deal with sensitive information? Can they talk to the community or government regulators? Employees earn trust, but leaders create the circumstances in which such trust can be earned.

Because dependency runs so deep in most organizations these days, employees often have to be encouraged to exercise initiative and explore new areas of competence. Not only do leaders have to let go and watch as employees figure out their own solutions, they also have to shore up their self-confidence and encourage them to do more. And leaders need to refrain from taking credit for their employees' good work-not always an easy task.

While self-organization calls us to very different ideas and forms of organizing, how else can we create the resilient, intelligent, fast, and flexible organizations that we require? How else can we succeed in organizing in the accelerating pace of our times except by realizing that organizations are living systems? This is not an easy shift, changing one's model of the way the world organizes. It is work that will occupy most of us for the rest of our careers. But the future pulls us toward these new understandings with an insistent and compelling call."

[via: https://twitter.com/JosieHolford/status/394627503668461568 ]
systems  systemsthinking  margaretwheatley  myronkellner-rogers  1996  organzations  management  humans  humanism  machines  modernism  organizing  resistance  self-organization  administration  leadership  structure  dependency  initiative  competency  rigidity  livingsystems  life  rules 
october 2013 by robertogreco
Standards-Based Grading: The End | ThinkThankThunk
"The idea of remediation is a serious hang-up for those that like to have hang-ups about new ideas. At BIG, we’ve left this whole idea of scheduled learning–and therefore hacking scheduled learning–behind, which is all SBG really is, a nice hack of a broken system. Like sending Internet packets down phone lines.

Our students work towards a competency for the following reasons:

• Faculty take an enormous amount of time learning about the student’s passions, interests, and current projects.

• Our goal is to produce a resume-building experience and product the student can take with them long after they graduate.

• The student co-designs the projects, competencies, and work.

• Students seek out faculty time, and have significantly less required “seat time” than in a traditional environment.

• The pedagogy at BIG is wildly student centered

• Notable absence: for a grade

The last couplet of points is the most important. We’re seeing an insurrection of grading initiatives around the country, which almost by definition means that the whole thing is going to implode under the weight of poor implementations. Sad, but education is as education does.

So, why is SBG a gateway drug? Because the minute you admit that you’ve been grading ineffectively, you end up admitting all sorts of things are weird about school. Like schedules, like cookie-cutter assignments, like students doing work to be “done with it.”

It’s a gateway to student-centered pedagogy. It’s a gateway to asking what kind of projects can be done that envelope multiple standards. It’s an exercise in creating deadline-murdering, interesting projects."
remediation  grades  grading  education  teaching  learning  standards-basedgrading  assessment  competency  pedagogy  2013  schedules  standards  experience  shawncornally 
july 2013 by robertogreco
What I Learned in my First Week of Running a School | ThinkThankThunk
[Highlighting 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 12, and 13]

"1. Competency-based education is really attractive to a certain group of parents and students; those that know their kid needs a real CV to compete coming out of the gate.

2. No one has any idea what a project is.

3. If you start a project without an external audience in mind, it’s probably going to be sucky.

4. If you start a project with a genuinely interesting question, it’s probably going to be legit. (How different are the proteins in blue, green, & brown eyes? vs. the much crappier: How does DNA make proteins?)

5. Middle school students can’t drive.

6. There’s an astonishingly small number of students who gravitate towards (and are properly served by) book-first learning. BIG is operating at 10% of students really flourishing this way. <implications implied implicitly>

7. Blurred Lines is a fun tune, but wildly inappropriate.

8. Ripping off Piet Mondrian for your logo makes you look like a fop, and minimizes time in Illustrator.

9. Writing competencies should be individualized to the student and needs to map back to at least 3 curriculum standards, or you’re just never going to stay at a good pace (just below Grueling/Meager Rations.)

10. No one talks about grades at BIG. It just doesn’t come up.

11. Keep a Google Doc for every student that has all of the crazy good ideas that pop up. You won’t remember everything, and the kids won’t either.

12. The context upon which you can hang content has a surprisingly wide latitude for most students.

13. Symposium time is necessary. (When 5-10 students get together to share progress, failures, successes, and ideas with each other)

14. We really need a mascot and colors. Currently we’re The Fighting Whalephants."
competency  competency-basededucation  middleschool  projects  projectbasedlearning  teaching  education  learning  schools  bigideasgroup  bigideasschool  shawncornally  2013  audience  parents  context  content  reflection  sharing  standards  pbl 
july 2013 by robertogreco
The Big Ideas Group » Philosophy
Our pedagogy centers around the following tenets:

• Learner Co-Designed Coursework: Our kids state the target of their learning before a teacher ever begins to design a lesson. We believe the path towards reaching a student’s target will be littered with ancillary and contextual learning that can only be found when the student is driving the bus.

• Competency-Based Education: Learners do not receive grades, they demonstrate their ability to learn and do. Learners work to produce a portfolio and resume showing how they have mastered common content standards. Unlike traditional school, learners do not finish working until they have the content.

• Intense Community Integration: Community resources are tapped as a necessary part of nearly every student project and learning cycle. Our learners develop the “soft” skills associated with working in diverse situations while nurturing professional connections and relationships; all the while deepening the validity of their learning through community context.

• Art & Design: Our learners experience design and art thinking in everything they do. We embrace failure and iteration as the actual process of learning.

• The Information Revolution: The Big Ideas School believes in the Internet. We believe in using the web as a leveler and an inspirational tool. The tepid and often confrontational relationship traditional schools have with the Internet is as mind boggling to us as it must be to you and your child.
thebigideasschool  shawncornally  iowa  education  educationalphilosophy  art  design  internet  technology  community  competency  curriculum  coursework  schooldesign 
june 2013 by robertogreco
Sal Kahn Out To Disrupt Education | O'DonnellWeb
[Kahn:] we should “decouple credentialing from learning.” Instead of handing out degrees, standardized assessments would be measure of employee competence.

While I’m 110% behind idea of separating education & credentialing, I’m not sure standardized assessments are the answer. Human beings are not standardized…we should stop pretending a test score or diploma has any real predictive ability regarding human behavior. A teacher that is passionate is far more valuable than [one] that aced test & got diploma. But you can’t measure passion, you can only observe it.

[Kahn:] lectures would become homework & teacher tutoring would occur during class time.

Is there any larger waste of time in the education establishment than making 20-200 students assemble in room to listen to instructor ramble on from memorized notes? If you can’t interact w/ instructor there is no reason to bother being in the same room…"
chriso'donnell  teaching  learning  education  standards  standardization  standardizedtesting  passion  schools  memorization  lectures  unschooling  deschooling  homeschool  diplomas  credentials  assessment  truelearning  lcproject  tcsnmy  competency  khanacademy  salkhan  salmankhan 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Microsoft Education Competencies: All Competencies
"Individual Excellence: Building Effective Teams, Compassion...Humor, Integrity & Trust, Interpersonal Skill, Listening, Managing Relationships, Managing Vision & Purpose, Motivating Others, Negotiating, Personal Learning & Development, Valuing Diversity"

[via: http://stevemiranda.wordpress.com/2010/06/28/what-big-companies-like-microsoft-are-looking-for-in-job-applicants/ ]
microsoft  development  education  training  hr  standards  competency  competencies  leadership  21stcenturyskills  management  skills  ambiguity  qualities  tcsnmy  learning  unschooling  deschooling  lcproject  whatmatters  administration 
june 2010 by robertogreco
The Anosognosic’s Dilemma: Something’s Wrong but You’ll Never Know What It Is (Part 1) - Opinionator Blog - NYTimes.com
"Dunning & Kruger argued...“When people are incompetent in strategies they adopt to achieve success & satisfaction, they suffer a dual burden: Not only do they reach erroneous conclusions & make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of ability to realize it. Instead...they are left w/ erroneous impression they are doing just fine.”
decisionmaking  culture  education  intelligence  incompetence  ignorance  psychology  errolmorris  epistemology  neuroscience  behavior  brain  confidence  mind  competency  tcsnmy  awareness  self-awareness  dunning-krugereffect  possibility 
june 2010 by robertogreco
College Admissions and the Essential School | Coalition of Essential Schools
"When schools change curriculum and assessment practices, everyone worries that students will suffer in the college selection process. But most selective colleges say they're used to unusual transcripts, and big universities are looking for new ways to work with schools in change."
education  change  reform  admissions  colleges  universities  highschool  tcsnmy  transcipts  grades  grading  evaluation  assessment  science  physics  biology  chemistry  sequence  committeeoften  curriculum  habitsofmind  kathleencushman  1994  tedsizer  coalitionofessentialschools  competency 
june 2010 by robertogreco
Media Literacy: Making Sense Of New Technologies And Media by George Siemens - Nov 28 09
"Grading is a waste of time. We only do it in schools and universities. It is a sorting technique, not truly an evaluation technique. Iterative and formative feedback is what is really required for learning. This is achieved through active engagement with and contribution to networks of learners.
grading  evaluation  assessment  teaching  learning  schools  history  williamfarish  laziness  tcsnmy  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  competency 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Un-humble opinions - The Irish Times - Sat, Jun 20, 2009
"This goes some way towards explaining why a characteristic shared by many of these wrong-headed “experts” is an overweening self-confidence. All those brass-necked pundits whose self-assurance seems inversely proportional to their wisdom are merely the inevitable result of free markets, because selling certainty is easier than selling nuanced opinions that embrace complexity and doubt.

At first, this quirk of human psychology sounds like an interesting nugget of pop science, until you consider the cumulative cost of this cognitive error. If the result of this psychological quirk were restricted to football commentators embarrassing themselves before a Champions League final, no harm done. Unfortunately, the implications are rather more profound, and dangerous. ... The triumph of the competent over the confident, it would seem, is far from assured."
psychology  human  confidence  doubt  opinions  nuance  complexity  experts  certainty  competency 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Real Advice Hurts | 43 Folders
"We can’t get good at something solely by reading about it. And we’ll never make giant leaps in any endeavor by treating it like a snack food that we munch on whenever we’re getting bored. You get good at something by doing it repeatedly. And by listening to specific criticism from people who are already good at what you do. And by a dedication to getting better, even when it’s inconvenient and may not involve a handy bulleted list."
practice  learning  doing  tips  competency  43folders  merlinmann  life  advice  criticism 
december 2008 by robertogreco

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