Matt Andresen

Former mascot, banker, co-owner of web analytics co. and financial advising co. Currently PR, content and analytics marketing dude with Cleland Marketing.


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With A Little Help From My (Community) Friends…

Scientific Method - DougIn all of my schooling (from Kindergarten through my bachelor’s degree in college and continuing through current life learning) the successful epicenter of it all came from one man whistling “Dixie.”

“Over 20 years ago, teacher Doug Eldon was having his sixth grade students work from a big, beautiful, new, thickly illustrated textbook. The problem was too many students couldn’t remember or understand what they had just read, even though they used the materials with hands-on activities. Students were overwhelmed by the amount of information. So Doug started whistling “Dixie” one day in the shower and soon came lyrics all about the scientific method. Eventually he had a nine verse song which he offered to those who were having difficulty learning, and to make a long story short, they understood and remembered the information, as demonstrated by the improved test scores (and their confident smiles).” – Lyrical Learning Website

Doug Eldon was my six grade teacher and I was one of the students having difficulty learning. Science quickly became one of my favorite subjects.  If only finance was too.  Now, while most parents want want their kids to make their own mistakes, I am sure running up huge credit card debt (like I did) wasn’t what they had in mind. Mr. Eldon was only one man and he developed this one great idea.

What I am asking for here, is not to have teachers simply step up their creativity (by cloning Eldon’s creativity), but for community members (such as financial institutions) to supplement teachers in their efforts to provide life lasting moments.  These community partners could easily help provide helpful financial content.  Think of it this way; teachers  are like a 747 airliner traveling through the sky without time or money to land for gas.  Now what if there was a community partner acting as a refueling plane, that can provide gas in mid-flight? I think you get my drift…

It has been over 20 years since I first participated in Mr. Eldon’s lyrical science learning, but I remember nearly every word to those songs.  Its direct science benefit ended in my singing under by breath in my college science classes.  I never had a community partner help in the way I suggested above, so all I can do is wonder what I could of avoided if Mr. Eldon had taught economics.

A musical excerpt of the scientific method: http://lyricallearning.com/songs/scimethod.mp3

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All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Montessori

M is for MontessoriIt seems the education in this country isn’t getting any better, yet there is a constant: Montessori.  Montessori is in at least 120 countries and this manifested itself best when I was on the Corvallis Montessori Society (CMS) board.  Corvallis isn’t exactly an ethnically diverse town and take Oregon State University away and Corvallis might as well be renamed Anglo.  I found that CMS had a lot of diversity, partially because of the open mindedness Montessori fosters and since the teaching around the world are congruent.  The curiosity of learning that Montessori fosters creates a better community and really has made me a much better marketer.

So what did I learn while I was in Montessori?  According to my title, everything, but let’s get more specific. My Montessori experience (although brief) has helped mold me into the person I am today in part because those were my first vivid memories growing up.  Many years later I would join the Montessori board in my hometown of Corvallis.  One of the requirement of sitting on board was doing classroom observations, which I loved.  Since Montessori education has remained virtually unchanged for more than a century, it felt more like the Ghost of Christmas Past took me on a journey of my own past.  To be honest, I was always nervous about these visits because when a Montessori child ask you a question, they truly were interested in how you crafted your answer.  Learning was a privilege to them and curiosity; the catalyst.

Me - I'm This Many

APPARENTLY I’M 4 HERE. I PROMISE I LEARNED MORE THAN JUST THE “I’M THIS MANY” GAME IN MONTESSORI.

Do you remember your first traumatic experience?  I do!  I bet millions of people share the same cause of their traumatic experience, but not the same reason.  Kindergarten was a scary time and for many their first big social experience, so of course it is going to be traumatic.  I was a VERY shy child and so this type of social experience scared learning out of me.  The really traumatic part came from the transition from Montessori to public school.  In Montessori, guides (teachers) fostered my shy curiosity and I was rewarded for the person I was, while in Kindergarten (RIP Mrs. Stone) I was rewarded if I followed everyone else.  I am not saying the public school is terrible; the best teacher I ever had was Mr. Eldon, a public school 6th grade teacher.  I got lucky, but so many don’t get lucky.  Montessori, because of its structure, is much less of a crap shoot as the importance it put into the curiosity of one’s environment and less on the teacher.  The teachers were called guides  for a reason; they guided you to unlock your curiosity of learning and didn’t simply teach.  Don’t get me wrong I do have a lot of appreciation for teachers as most of my family at one point in time were public school teachers (this is not the same as saying I am not racist because I have a black friend).

The majority of the work we do here at Brass Media, centers around creating engaging personal finance content to help the ADD generation find their love of learning in an entertaining fashion. The benefits of this content in social media can be seen in the conversations that are happening, instead of the majority of information that is best served behind  a lectern. In the end I am not advocating that every child should attend Montessori, but as Maria Montessori once said, “We cannot create observers by saying “observe,” but by giving them the power and the means for this observation and these means are procured through education of the senses”