When I was interviewed for the Childhood Elsewhere documentary by journalist Zhou Yijun about education in Israel, I was filmed as my alter ego, Oshi the clown. My message, however, was one I regularly speak about in the innovation talks I give: the culture of failure. Failure is a buzzword in entrepreneurship and education today. Zhou Yijun dedicated a whole series to Israeli education and looked at how different educational methods – from elementary school to university and
For just over one year, I have spent a few hours a week as an educational clown in schools around Israel. It doesn’t matter at which school I clown. I meet the same types of kids – although each unique in his or her own way, of course. There are the popular kids and the super popular ones. There are the followers and leaders. There are the loners and the socially awkward kids. There are well-spoken and rude kids. The outspoken and silent ones. And every day – except for Satur
Killer clowns are way more popular than their therapeutic counterparts. Although that shouldn’t be surprising. It’s been shown that people respond better to negative stimuli. I typed the words, Killer Clown, into Google search. The result: About 53,600,000 results (0.76 seconds). I then typed the words, Therapeutic Clown, into Google search. The result: About 1,580,000 results (0.46 seconds) In Yahoo search, Killer Clowns offered 15,100,000 results while Therapeutic Clowns li
Two years ago, I crossed the lines of writing about the arts -- which I’ve done for over 20 years as a journalist -- to being in the world of the arts. At first, it was a very strange, curious and out-of-my-box experience to be on the other side.
It was Oshi, my clown alter ego, who took me to the other side. Of course, that’s one of the key things an alter ego is good for: to do something completely out of your box. And clowning – medical, educational, social – was definit
Twice a week, I work as an educational clown. The rest of the week, I work as an innovation journalist and give talks on the culture of innovation. So, this morning, when I went to the TV studio for an interview it could have been a typical outing. But today, I was being interviewed – and not the other way around. Moreover, I was dressed as Oshi, my educational clown alter ego. Upon walking into the waiting area of the studio, however, my eyes nearly popped out from excitemen
For the past five years, I’ve focused my public speaking on the innovation stories I’ve covered as a journalist. I love speaking to groups about the Israel of today: a tiny country out in the Middle East and yet one of the most important sources of pioneering ideas for the world. As a journalist and speaker, I take the role of storyteller seriously. That’s not to say my talks are solely serious-minded. I’ve always included humor in what I do. I inherited a healthy dose of sar
As an educational clown, adding humor to the school day impacts the openness to learning. Sometimes, being silly and offering another perspective is just that: fun. At a primary school recently, my clown alter-ego, Oshi, was asked to help find a broom. Oshi found a chair. The two first-graders looked at Oshi like she didn’t understand. In Hebrew, chair and broom almost rhyme. So, she explained that if they took her to their classroom, she’d explain to the teacher that althoug
Back-to-school season is underway. For teachers that means lesson plans, learning students’ names, teaching strategies, classroom guidance. For school counselors that means alternate frames of reference, classroom guidance, defiant kids, building self-esteem. For parents that means navigating jitters, providing emotional support, easing anxieties, setting a homework tempo. For Oshi, my alter-ego educational clown, back-to-school means adding humor to the school day. It means
Niv Morgenstern, an educational entrepreneur who is on a mission to creating a relevant learning experience in the 21st century, runs a podcast on education. He invited me -- and my alter ego, Oshi -- to come and talk about my forays in education innovation. Usually, I speak and write about the innovation and creativity taking place in Israel and where it can be seen in the global community. Today's podcast focused on my role as an educational clown in the Israeli educational
Inevitably, at least once a day at school, Oshi is called a killer clown. Of course, take one look at Oshi – an educational therapeutic clown – and it is obvious that her fashion sense of dots, stripes, bright colors, flowers, no face makeup or wig and goofy facial expressions aren’t exactly killer clown material. Yet, the students at the schools at which Oshi works use the name-calling to strike up conversation. And Oshi is only too happy to play along. The “game” begins wit
Google’s new report on what makes the perfect manager will get everyone who has had a great boss – or a terrible one – nodding or shaking her head. Unsurprisingly, the 10-year study shows that managers with top emotional-intelligence skills make for a better boss than those with superior technical skill. I say ‘unsurprisingly’ because today’s educational curriculum is all about focusing on EQ soft skills – as a way to ensure the next generation for education and career succes
1. Therapeutic clowns work in schools at all levels – high school, middle school, elementary school. 2. Therapeutic clowns work with students in mainstream education. They can also work with special needs pupils but for the most part you can find them in mainstream schooling systems. 3. Clowns are not students or teachers; they are friends and confidants to the former and helpers, an extra eye and ear to the latter. 4. Clowns thrive on bridging the student-teacher and student
Educational clowning is still making its mark in Israel. Of the thousands of schools in the country today, 11 have taken part in piloting educational clowns in schools. So, how did a Chinese documentary film crew even know the initiative to create a more joyful, colorful and happier school setting is underway? Backtrack to May 15. An email arrived in my inbox from Ryanne Hsu, a Hong Kong-based content coordinator for Childhood Elsewhere, a six-part documentary series on educa
It was bound to happen. My journalist, public speaker and educational clown personalities were all vying for space on this blog. My work as a journalist and public speaker work in harmony. They complement one another. So, they get to keep this blog space. Oshi, my clown alter ego, was politely urged to set off on her own social media course. As such, this blog will now host (mostly) posts on innovation, creativity, ingenuity and how they all connect. I'm sure an educational c
Learning from failures is important. Being able to fail, to really embrace a failure, is even more significant if the experience is to be learned. I preach it to my kids. I tell it to myself. Oshi, my alter ego, breathes this motto every moment. I envy her joy of failing; her ability to be so unsuccessful at so many different undertakings. Oshi, an educational clown, is all about bringing pleasure to people she meets. But in order to create this joy she usually needs to fail.
The Passover holiday break ended... so, Oshi, went back to school for educational clowning. First day back after so much family time also meant the pupils felt somewhat homesick. At the elementary school where Oshi works, children from grades one through six used the day to create dozens of imaginary pains and aches. They congregated in the secretary’s office every recess break. Oshi came to hear about the amazing, creative and fantastic ailments. She wanted to help make the
“You’re so lucky. You get to do what you love,” a mother from my son’s class recently told me. We were sitting on beach chairs, finishing off our picnic lunch. I sat in my chair. I listened to what she had to say. “Yes, I am lucky,” I agreed. “It took me a long time to get here, but I’m here.” Here is being an independent/freelancer. Here is being a journalist, educational clown, speaker and content writer/editor. Here is doing more than one type of work. Being creative in wh
“I don’t want to talk to you,” a sixth grader recently told me.
“Good. Cuz I don’t want to talk to you either,” I replied. “I only want to talk to the girl sitting beside you.” He loved my response. He knew we had just begun the “Yes, And!” game. And he couldn’t wait for my next move. My sparring partner for this match of “Yes, And!” was a kid with a lot of drama in his life. He is a kid who needs boundaries to function but hates limits set upon him. We meet once a week. He