• My Meaning of STEAM



    Education (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

    Amidst a modern world that seems to exponentially increase its demands for instant gratification, STEAM.org endeavors to become a think tank and applied research leader in diligently shifting the instructional paradigm through an educational movement. STEAM is rooted in strategically integrating the Arts into Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math curricula. We want to emphasize that to us STEAM, as a concept, is about application and putting STEM content in context while constantly iterating contextual narratives based on student response.


    In doing so, secondary and post-secondary students can actually identity and develop viable skill sets towards expertise and eventual mastery within their own world of passion. Hence, STEAM: Create Your Passion! STEAM is about designing a dynamic and responsive system of education that experientially teaches not only how to live but make a living and thereby fostering responsible student-citizens for life. Our organizational objectives aim to go beyond impacting education in itself, but moreover how society functions at large. Members of society can collectively perceive that life-long learning is catalyzed by mindfully processing life experiences.


    Simply put, we aim to deinstitutionalize the idea of learning only when in school, but that life experiences, and resulting key emotional triggers, are true causes of effective learning. While schooling is supposed to allow us to process and better internalize future interactions so that we can organize, catalogue, reproduce, reapply, and effectively communicate such experiences; the proverbial meaning of STEM; a backbone. The “A” puts things in context; and creates the proverbial omniscient STEAM that is equally as abstract, yet undeniably strong, as love.


    Keeping this in mind allows us to recognize that true measures of individual success are based on human impact and acceptance, camaraderie, and increasing relative quality of life within one’s respective social circles; which are increasing due to the effects of technology on globalization and is ironically leading to a loneliness phenomenon.


    The results of such systematic reform can be so immense that generations from now the very notion of school shootings, public bombings, suicide, and even rape will seize to formulate and no person will ever be shackled to debt for pursuing a higher education, let alone happiness.


    On a cognitive basis the arts elicits emotions which develops empathy and leads to intrinsic motivation, thereby enhancing long-term memory, leading to skills identification due to repetitive application, leading to critical thinking, meta-cognition, problem solving, emotional intelligence, expertise, mastery, harmonized group dynamics among master apprentices which leads to heightened social intelligence and eventually a balanced and responsive society.

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  • Educatocracy…What Should Education Reform Really Like?


    All education systems are not created equally and there is no such thing as a perfect system, but consensus is that our educational infrastructure is in need of reform; this is becoming increasingly evident as research continues to indicate our poor performance nationally, growing gaps along socioeconomic lines, increasing drop out rates, and high unemployment among recent graduates. In essence: a failure of our educational system. It is no wonder then, that education reform has become such a dominant issue in today’s social conversation.


    The question of what “education reform” means, however, is entirely up for debate and often contested. This is because education reform is a wide array of bureaucratic, social and institutional steps, rather than a single action. Common solutions generally suggest revising budgets, addressing rising costs and student debt, and better preparing students to enter and succeed in the workforce. While targeted efforts are sensible, they have been piecemeal and sustained few real improvements. Fundamentally, education reform refers to improving the system in such a way that it contributes to broad economic prosperity, greater individual and societal self-reliance, and a healthy civil society.


    There is little consensus on how to best achieve these objectives, however. I propose a transformative change, a movement that addresses more than test scores, teacher accountability, or high school graduation rates. I propose a reform that cultivates a culture of wisdom and intellect based on accurate communication and knowledge. In other words, a new system that emphasizes critical thinking; that empowers every individual to form educated opinions and make informed decisions; and that allows individuals to effectively communicate these opinions. This is a movement of educational empowerment in which students are equipped with the skills necessary to succeed and contribute to society, leading to an educated citizenry- an Educatocracy.


    We have unfortunately come to categorize “educated” in terms of institutional qualification wherein we are taught to complete mundane tasks of memorization and recitation, when we should ultimately pursue an education whose purpose is to increase our relative quality of life and maximize our contribution to society; we must seek an education that allows us to learn how to live as well as enables us to make a living. Education must address the practical issues that present themselves in a modernized world; it should teach us how to stay out of debt, illuminate more efficient ways of collaboration, and show us how to cultivate mastery in a certain area while still maintaining diversity in application. Education, when correctly implemented, allows us to make more accurate and informed decisions while maintaining awareness of how our decisions can affect others. Empowering students with economic responsibility, accountability and the potential for social impact is key, in addition to a focus on emotional intelligence that allows individuals to properly express and channel emotion into actionable change. This is what Educatocracy aims to accomplish.


    On a large scale, many of the world’s problems arise from a lack of equal access and exposure to useful knowledge and critical skills training; modern education standards lack the intrinsic motivation that drives humanitarian benefits. We have instead been taught to value greed through institutions that prioritize only extrinsic motives for performance; this methodology of purely capitalist output has not worked. I propose that a society that is inspired to work, think, and produce, will perform optimally. In this way, people can understand one another better and collaborate to solve problems-instead of competing solely for the gratification of possessions-thereby developing a sense of empathy and camaraderie at a community level. Creating continuity and synergy between life and learning is a key necessity in an Educatocracy. This synergy enables students to recognize that education is not simply an institutional process but also a lifelong pursuit that provides tools for coping with life’s demands; it provides meaning, context, and purpose to education, and thus an intrinsic motivation to learn.


    For such a transformative movement in education to occur, we must race towards a call to action that communicates the holistic desire for social change via education reform. There is no better platform for this type of call to action than media productions that inspire truth, creativity, and positive impact through thought-provoking narratives that will promote understanding and sow the seeds of Educatocracy. At the2012 Clinton Global Initiative University, Jon Stewart joked about starting a TV show as a means of reaching a large audience for promoting social change. I propose a documentary series on comparative education, so that an audience can see the variations in educational systems around the world.


    Like with anything else that informs important decisions, we need to dig deep into the pros and cons of various forms of pedagogy in order to develop a well-reformed system. Using film as a platform for communication, we can document our research and convey our findings to the public, thereby raising awareness on a large scale and essentially lobbying for an effective overhaul of our current educational system. Following the example of documentaries like Waiting for ‘Superman,’ this film project would examine individual case studies and showcase different instruction methods across select school systems around the world as a means of seeking to understand other countries’ initiatives in youth engagement and empowerment.


    Educatocracy is a movement towards a more harmonious globalization and a collective increase in quality of life through an “organic” education system. Through an Educatocracy, we can achieve a comprehensive system that allows empowered, well-informed, emotionally aware individuals to complementarily utilize their skills and collectively have positive impact on society. It is a solution to the ailments of our current state of education and largely, to the maladies of society.


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    English: Detail of Preamble to Constitution of...

    English: Detail of Preamble to Constitution of the United States Polski: Fragment preambuły Konstytucji Stanów Zjednoczonych (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


    Reforming education has been a hot topic for some time now. The term relates to the effects of budget cuts for public schools, to recent college graduates not being able to find adequate work to pay off their debts from student loans, to not enough skills within a specific field for companies to hire for the expertise they require. Education reform refers to reducing drop out rates and, at large, allowing society to maintain itself economically and be self-reliant on its resources while maintaining awareness of proper use of its resources.


    What is being well educated? Is it about having endless knowledge? Is it about maintaining creativity? Is it about reciting things we memorize? It can be all this, but as a society we ultimately seek education to increase our relative quality of life. We seek an education that allows us to learn how to live, as well as make a living. An education should show us how to stay out of debt, how to collaborate with others, how to develop mastery in a field but enough diversity to be able to transfer our mastery into other fields or trades. Education should show us how to communicate effectively, and filter between a wise decision and a futile decision, not just for ourselves but also for those that could be affected by our decisions. We live in an information age, but are so overwhelmed with information that we spend most of our time just filtering through and minimally learning how to specifically use it based on the task at hand. Our brains become as scattered in thought as the plethora of information that we are constantly bombarded and have to keep up with and then blame the lack of focus on some disorder; ADHD perhaps?

    On a large-scale, much of the world’s problems come from a lack of an equal access and exposure to useful knowledge and critical skills training. Not just useful in the sense being able to balance a business’s finances but in the sense of making decisions and solving problems in pressured situations, or merely when there is a call to action. It comes from a lack of intrinsic motivations that drive humanitarian benefits versus greed by prioritizing extrinsic motives for performance. Simply put, a society that is inspired to work, think, and produce will work optimally rather than a society driven to produce by manipulation and special privileges, whether monetary or otherwise, placed on them by some third-party for specific performance. In this way people can understand each other, and diplomatically solve each other’s problems instead of competing for possession and pride.

    These variations of motives take place regularly in society, and are regularly portrayed in the media.  In fact, society places considerable dependence on media for their knowledge. We are exposed to the biases of politics and therefore choose our sides based on the amount of exposure we specifically have to a bias. It is okay to take sides, and have competition, but the sides we take must be made on decisions that are rationalized by means of weighing in a truthful source not just a series of subjective opinions. Subjective opinions that often come from media are sources of fuel; emotional instigators that we must learn to use as a catalyst to further our research on what specifically sparked our attention. Yet people so often take sides blindly, with little explicit knowledge of why they chose a specific argument and simply discredited the other.

    Using religion as an example, how many people who have read the Bible, have also read the Quran, or vice versa? Myself included, no doubt. We are born into a religion, and unless something happens in our lives that make us question what we are born into, we accept it as truth. Yet, most of history’s religious feuds have come from political intervention and radical assumptions versus a devote understanding of the intrinsic values of the “counter-religion”. Many religions preach about forgiveness and love. How about we take it a step further from forgiveness and teach them what they do? At least so that their successors won’t make the same mistake.

    A movement for educational empowerment should be a governmental bylaw. As we have a democratic system where the people can voice their opinion freely, [where the people are] created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as the U.S Constitution so eloquently states it. However, this democratic system is seriously flawed if the people have no common denominator for useful access to information and the ability to effectively communicate what they learn. John F. Kennedy is known for stating:

    And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your countryMy fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

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  • Draft on Creativity, Problem Solving, and Transfer

    A depiction of the world's oldest continually ...

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    Creativity is key for developing an imagination strong enough to solve problems, and science and math are the tools that must be used to execute and organize the solution. If we don’t know that a tool exists and how to use it, then we can’t apply it. A sound creative mind will allow the individual to know when and why to use the tools that they have learned about. In regards to schooling, I’m referring to scholastic skills like reading, writing, math, and science as the tools. The biggest issue in education is that there is no sense of why students are learning what they learn when they are learning it. It’s something they have to do and must have faith in the system that eventually they will really need it. Yet, “for now” and the convenience of our educational administration we can tell the students they need these tools in order to pass the class and move on to the next class. A mere get-by, as so many students do…do what it takes to get by.

    Needless to say, cramming, and getting by is a skill in and of itself, but what if we could foster an environment that truly allowed for an application for a need to be creative. A sense of pressure driven by a call to action that derives an intrinsic motivator out of student? This takes place on a regular basis in acting conservatories, actors in training must be truthful in an imaginary circumstance, and in doing so their skills in memory and literary analysis are passively fine tuned in order to perform under the greatest pressure…to an audience; while still “forgetting” about the technicalities of blocking, or if they got the lines right. Cognitive embodiment and emotional elicitation is key to fostering creativity and having something to work on that is of passion for the student and will thereby will develop problem-solving skills because they will actually care to solve the problem. Today’s students are spoon fed information, no wonder why they are having a hard time being creative…they don’t need to be.

    Transfer is a matter of being exposed to enough skill sets and specialties so that they can apply concepts from one specialty to the setting of another. Again the teaching of transfer skills cannot be technically derived, it must be simulated passively and anecdotally. An example of this is in a theatre rehearsal an actor is having a hard time projecting his voice. So the director approaches him and instead of saying you’re not being loud enough, he changes the circumstance and tells him that your acting partner is partially deaf. Naturally, the actor would have to raise his voice and he convinced himself to do this based on past experience in real life with people who are hard at hearing. The hard part is training teachers to instruct in this manner and understand that the best way to convince someone of something is to have them believe that what you are trying to convince them of was their original idea.

    Once this, the student will build momentum for drawing on other disciplines and personal experiences to solve a particular problem at hand and the act of combining multiple disciplines and experiences will foster creativity as they have to envision the end result of their combination at an abstract level. … like a dynamic spatial game (i.e.: envisioning cubes rotating in one’s mind) using abstract principles that are based on a keen understanding of concepts, simplified for communication by their labels. This is why language learning is so important, because when we learn skills we are learning the labels that are used to communicate those skills. In medicine we may talk about the range of motion, or the systolic pressure vs the diastolic pressure, or hypo vs. hyper prefixes, in business we may talk about return on investment and say out ROI or Cap Rate to cover those concepts and come back with a proposed profit margin on an idea. Todays students need a depth in a particular skill but “linguistic” ability to communicate with those of other skills. Content learning isn’t as important anymore, because of our information highways, it’s how to use the content we are exposed to and creatively apply it with our scholastic tools to solve life’s problems is what’s important in education. Therefore a new emphasis on collaboration and life simulation by project learning is what will drive a well educated and meta-cognitive future generation.

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  • Cultural Diversity and Linguistic Integration Part 1


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    One of the first theories that come to mind when I think about Language and Diversity is the Sapir-Whorf theory. The idea that the language that we speak shapes the way that we think, and therefore the more languages we retain the more diverse or dynamic our thought process can be. If our perception of our physical world is limited by the capacity of our senses then the perception of our abstract world is limited by the capacity of our language, our ability to explicitly express how we feel about our world and the experiences it belays upon us.

                From that philosophical note, as a native bilingual speaker of Arabic and English, I experienced that there are words and expressions in Arabic that don’t exist in English and vice versa. This mere case depicts that there is a way to express meaning that may not exist in all languages, and by simply being aware of a certain type of expressive existence allows pondering over that expression when it is appropriate in the random situations that occur in our lives. As such, it can be inferred that every culture raises a certain pattern of life situation that may be different to similar to another. So a language is developed to be able to describe the situations that are common to a culture, which may be driven by various factors such as life style (basic i.e.: hunter, gatherer, farmer), climate, or tradition.

                The relation of all this to our application of cultural diversity in our educational system is in that by creating diverse environment we create a better overall awareness of social possibilities. This thereby creates tolerance, understanding, diminishes ignorance, and increases meta-cognitive ability as students start to be able to adopt other perspectives by the constant exposure to conspicuous characteristics of varying cultures. However, there is a strategy for everything and although research hasn’t unlocked the ideal strategy for cultural integration, referring to the arguments between full single language immersion versus the pros and cons of being multilingual, we may still infer based on a majority of multilingual education in most of the eastern world that there is an overall benefit to integrating multiple languages in schools. The big question is when? Is it best to start learning multiple languages simultaneously or consecutively? Why for each and how does one affect the onset of the other?

    To be continued…


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  • Why Study Acting 1

    Lincoln Center, New York. June 7, 2007.

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    To be or not to be, oh so infamous an expression but where does the meaning lie? Yet, the very question and format of the sentence belays the essence of art…to bring meaning to life. Emotions are what keep us alive, what inspire us, what motivate us to live and let live, and to endure the strongest experience of all…love. Acting is not only a form of expression, it is not only the eliciting of behavior, but it is a fulfillment of our natural curiosity, each other, humanity.

    I want to study acting, not only because it makes me feel alive, it gives me practical insight into human nature. It feeds into my curiosity of the essence of connection, human interaction, and camaraderie. Furthermore, only through common vulnerability does organic camaraderie arise, part of the reason cast members become so close to one another. In today’s conventional schools systems, they push the STEM programs, being Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Yet, as the acronym implies, it is a stem, a skeleton, and a well-organized set of bones but what do these bones support? The arts bring context to humanities’ drive for achievement; the arts are the meat on the bones. Only when emotions are elicited does true inspiration arise, do we truly remember what we experience, do we truly learn…in all facets of life.

    To become a trained master in the art of expression, of innate response, of keen listening, of natural awareness of intercellular rhythm, with the analogy that just as cells come together to make tissue, and tissue come together to make organs, etc. human beings can be magnified to the extent of cells that have natural affinity to those that serve the same function. Acting heightens our awareness of human interpersonal affinity, chemistry, and rhythm. These skills are priceless, and where better to learn them than through the safe and trustworthy environment of a professional acting conservatory? Acting makes me feel alive, and the skills I gain from the training I receive as an actor can transfer to applications in life that go well beyond the stage and in-front of the camera. It is a craft that only few choose to dive into holistically, but those who do have the advantage of patience, acceptance, and understanding of humanity in the raw. This I could never pass up even if I were given a billion dollars to sit in the highest tower atop a Wall Street thriving conglomerate. As there is no greater reward in life than the true experience of another human being.

    For more information please read the following article:

    What Studies of Actors Can Tell Us About Memory and Cognitive Function

  • Personal Experience in a Round Table on Global Entrepreneurship: Confidence, Speech, & Ego

    New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street in New ...

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    This weekend I attended an amazing entrepreneurial summit in New York City, which allowed me to hear and collaborate with leaders at the most prestigious venues in the city, United Nations and the New York Stock Exchange. On Saturday afternoon, after seeing an exposition on upcoming student ventures we broke out into round-table discussions about various social and economic issues in society. The first one I chose to attend was on Global Entrepreneurship that was attended by prescient and intelligent students and lead by executives and university professors. One particular professor was an Entrepreneur Professor from USC, which I will refer to later.
    During the open discussions there was a lot of talk about getting ideas out and how to collaborate work across countries to develop those ideas. After hearing a student from China talk about education, I wanted to further the details as they related to philanthropy as a whole and the barriers with doing so without proper financial stability. How could I skip the process of worrying about getting a financial return on investment and just focus on the social benefit as the main output, not the money that comes from it? How can I convince venture capitalists to donate to the cause for the cause and put their financial return on the back burner? Analogously, how can I create the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation without having to build the Microsoft Empire to fund it?
    Now, surely I know that there are philanthropists that do donate a plethora of money without the expectation of a financial return, but I wanted to pose the question to the group that I was with. The discussions persisted, but the next question raised was the ability to lead such an organization. To induce the leadership barriers to entry I decided to present a personal take on the matter.
    So I used personal accounts to explain the hardships of being a philanthropic entrepreneur. Often times, becoming a social entrepreneur is seeded by a profound amount of empathy to the hardships of society. This profound empathy is not only due to a “big heart” but arises from personal hardship and experience in fighting the odds, whether by choice or circumstance.
    To depict this concept I tried to describe a little of my own situation growing up as a first generation American. I referenced my father, and explained to everyone that there’s something that he told me that I will never forget… “It’s true that one day you’ll die, but if you do something great, if you leave a legacy behind…you’ll live forever”. Then I proceeded to explain how I’m taking risk with my own well being to work on developing the educational system of the future. I’m not creating a product or service, but I’m attempting to recreate a system. That requires a lot of patience, confidence, organization, social observation, communication, creative analytical skills, and the list goes on…
    Getting engulfed in the requirements to create a system can sometimes leave you behind the ball on your personal health. So I referenced the necessities from philanthropic entrepreneurship to be the ability take care of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, essentially food and shelter. I said that I would be willing to dedicate my life to the cause if those meets could be met, they are hard because I have a lot of student loans that need to be paid off and instead of worrying about the cause and building a team to execute a plan to tackle the problem; I am distractedly worried about the money and keeping up my health. That is merely what I was trying to express while describing personal hardship as the barrier to entry in venturing into philanthropic entrepreneurship.

    Personal Reflection during the Discussion:
    After I voiced my opinions, as the discussion moved on, I kept thinking about my father and how much of my inspiration comes from his need to be proud of his sons living the American dream. How all he cared about was my brother and I not having to run away from wars, or having the opportunity to finish our education and not need to stop half way, not having to worry about putting our own children in debt to get an education, not having to fight with our spouses for lack of having a social life, financial stability, and constantly being stressed because of being overworked and not having enough time to spend with your family. Finally, not having to be obligated to see our children grow up too fast and essentially raise themselves because the time passed by your vary eyes from the long hours at work. I started to get emotional with all these thoughts racing and I fought to hold back my tears.

    My family thoughts continued, and I prayed that my father would not only have his dream come true but live to see it. Live to see his grandchildren, live long enough so I that I can make sure he can stop working, not worry about mortgage payments, and get a personal health coach so his diet and exercise can get on track again. Of course there’s my mother, every day she worries about me and holds back her weakness to give me support, although she is scared out of her mind because I can’t even explain to her what I’m doing.

    How can I tell my mother that I’m not getting a job or chasing a career because I’m trying to intelligently martyr my life in an attempt to create a system that will redefine the way human beings learn and communicate with each other? Where her only conditioned way of measuring success is by seeing that I haven’t lost weight, I don’t have circles under my eyes and that I am making a steady stream of income to support myself and the rest of my immediate family. Is she alone in this notion? Absolutely not, I’d say every middle class parent in the US follow the same notion whether immigrant or not. But, hey, that’s just my hunch.

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  • Cellular Magnification 1

    This is an isolated Follicular Dendritic Cell ...

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    We are a composition of cells, therefore the way cells act to each other we, as individuals, act to other people in our community. Ergo the idea of chemistry and resonance, we live a life through rhythm if we can find that rhythm in all our interactions and actions we will flow in society.

    Analogously, society works in powers of magnification and multiple tiers of a networks to create a system. Much like cells create tissues, tissues create organs, organs are part of a system, and systems work together to balance the way our body works as a whole. Human beings can be looked at as cells on the large scale, we need to find our tissues and those tissues create the organs that function in society; when there is no harmony between the systems then…we’re sick.

    • When someone judges another individual based on superficial standards or ignorance…the system is sick.     i.e. How many Christians who have judged Islam have actually read the Koran, and vice versa?
    • If one were to stubbornly insist that they are right about something without pondering over the other side then the communication is sick.
    • If someone is not listening to a partner because they’re too stuck on what they want to say…the chemistry is sick
    • And the list goes on…


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  • Education Theory Brainstorm 1

    The Socratic Method

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    I was sitting in my Cognitive Learning Class today (2/2/11) and my lecture notes turned into these notes half way through, just thought I’d share:

    Side note:
    Everyone is waiting for someone to give the answer and then writing them down so they can study for the test…the info won’t be retained, it’ll be studied, not applied.
    Potential Solution: have open discussions, where no notes are allowed, without the pressure or concern of having to take the exam or any kind of testing. The people are in the course because they want to be there, so the information is of genuine interest so the contributions are emotionally driven…therefore committed to memory.

    Raising interest in other topics: Every student has a dynamic; for example, one may like baseball and biking whereas the other may like baseball and rock climbing. The biker may not have been introduced or compelled to try climbing, but because his personality resonates with that of the biker they may be compelled to try the activity together. This concept can transfer to other domains within a course structure and having students do core studies that they are often required to do. To answer the notorious question: Why do we have to learn this or when will we ever use this? You find someone who genuinely uses and applies it (besides the teacher; that’s like a child not listening to a parent vs. retaining the same advice from a friend or “favorite uncle”) and you expose them to the students experiencing the notorious question. Suddenly the topic is interesting and genuine motivation for diversity sets in.

    Study Direction: A pool of people with one common interest must have a second major interest that no other person in the pool has and let the Socratic discussions begin! Test: have a caveat where the students must at some point in the discussion express the other hobby or interest that they have within the context of the main topic.

    Proactive vs reactive…being able to internalize information and see multiple applications versus honing in on one application respectively. Always compare the arts’ reactivity to practical proactivity!

    As I’m sitting in class, I get bored with the material and go off in my own world based on a seed that was given to me in class…pro: If I weren’t in class I would not have been funneled into a creative mentality that allows me to go off on my creative tangent while in class. The con: I am in class and missing the material that is to be applied to class exams-hence I fail the test and have to chase the professor to give me an incomplete so I can sleep ten hours a week to make up all the work! = Practical problem based on social condition/ or diamond in the rough if the creative circumstance is extracted and used properly!

    Random Thoughts:

    • ADHD Physical needs for heightened attention: origami and drawing?
    • Make class like going to the theatre, you expect to be entertained so you get drawn into the experience without waiting for the thrilling moment.
    • Math = step functions (get or don’t get it at various points in time, feels like you’re making no progress but all of a sudden you get it (practice)
    • Organic Chemistry: maybe a combination but essentially needs linear mastery learning
    • Practice in a domain can be hindered by fear so one should be trained to fight the fear or laziness or both (i.e.: public speaking
    • Understand human emotions in order to understand human functionality-how? Meisner and Cognition = holistic cognitive embodiment
    • Learning to trust yourself and what you know, and having the confidence to push forward regardless of the hurdles in front of you
    • Finding a rhythm
    • Classes and life need lanes on the roads but no train tracks or training wheels necessary
    • The training wheels are used during exposure to the “tools of education”.
    • Knowledge should be retained fluidly, dynamically, rhythmically not compartmentalized…let the body function as a whole.


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  • SNB Performer


    IMDB Link
    This is high on my list because it brings us back to our roots. Art and performance to me is human expression of life in the raw, expression of the soul, and most importantly (on a practical note) the foundation of good communication. Bottom line, people listen when they are entertained. Half, if not more, of the quotes that we hear from people in conversations come from some sort of public media. Whether it be Rocky saying it’s “not about how many hits you take, but how many hits you can take and keep on moving forward” or Borat saying “very nice”…our minds like to pay attention when the message can spur our emotions.

    So I believe I owe it to myself to learn how to communicate effectively, empathetically, and expressively. It’s also a lot of fun to be an artist, you get to trust yourself, try new things, take risks, and understand the world around you. As the beauty of being artist is that we can be reactive to our environment, express ourselves subjectively but society always tends to judge the art not the artist. However the artist has to seek to understand what is to be judged.

    Best of all, the performing arts is a great way to test a market. If we bring a far fetched concept to a market it would be hard to accept and adopt by society. Yet, if we make a movie about our ideas, about education reform, about injustice, about coming of age, we can see if people can relate, if they keep talking about it. That entertainment kept society safe from the effects of the concept but now I know that since you are interested, the “far fetched” idea may actually work in real life. I know some may be thinking about the negative effects of media, but that is whole other topic that has to do with balance that I may address in my blog.

    So what do I do and how can I keep up?

    I’ll address the keeping up part first, as one can see I have a lot of projects going on at once. Initially the thought is simple: if Ronald Reagan can go from Hollywood to president, if Arnold Schwarzenegger can go from Terminator to Governor of California, if Bill Cosby can do stand up and get his Doctorate in Education, if George Clooney can make movies be a Goodwill Ambassador and advocate for justice in Darfur, and if John Travolta can act and pilot a 747, then I do not see why I can’t do business, advocate for educational reform and perform music and act. I just need to strategize a little bit and the best way I can describe that is analogous to stop reading a book after a chapter before going to another book versus stopping in the middle of a chapter to read another book. (I’ll talk more about this concept of multi-tasking in my blog).

    As for my mission in communication and performing. I am on a mission to learn how to speak well and I’m not stopping until satisfied. I used to be a nervous reck, to the point that my teeth would tingle whenever I had to do anything in front of a live audience. Yet, the more I push myself the easier it gets and gets. What I’ve realized is that people often don’t have the tolerance to keep pushing forward during a difficult period, I seek to keep raising my threshold and fighting my fears. If I screw up for one audience (audience is used figuratively and literally) then I learn from the mistakes of that screw-up and apply them in the next presentation. Currently I joined to Columbia University debate to get me to think quick on my feet, I train with the Meisner technique at the William Esper Studio, and I perform monologues with The Actor’s Project NYC. The goal is to grow and grow as the years go by with my ability to speak effectively and express honestly.

    Oh yea, and I love music and love to dance and play my drums…

    To get more about my artistic side (right brain) go to my website. You can click on the link above or here: ShafikNabil.com. (This site will be redone as soon as I finish the website you are on now) Also you can find me on the Internet Movie Database.