Friday, April 29, 2016

High School Graduation Speech

On June 25, I'm speaking with 50+ high school juniors and seniors at the 2015 Summer Leadership Academy at Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA.  Here's what I would say to them if I were their teacher:

Your Graduation Inspires Me

Good morning teachers, staff, students, friends, and family members.  And to the graduates:

Every one of you is special.
Every one of you is a productive member of society.
Every one of you is what inspires ME - because…
Every one of you has a story to tell.
I just wish I had the time to hear every one of them, and to be there as your career paths unfold.

You have already accomplished a huge milestone on that journey.  The biggest step though was just showing up.  That’s it.  The secret most people don’t get until it’s too late.  Just showing up as young freshmen was a threshold event.  Trying something which may be hard for the first time.  Experiencing new things, even if it’s unknown whether the objective is attainable.

To me, the greatest barriers to success, however you define that, are a fear of the unknown, a fear of change, and a fear of failure.  But you need a game plan, and hopefully you can lean a little on what you learned in school to figure out that route.  No matter what you do in life, you always will have your education.

I hope you made some lifelong friends here.  Frankly, I learned more about life from my peers than from my teachers.  And I hope you got more than knowledge from your teachers because you can get that from a book.  I’m hoping you gained insight on whatever subject, and then stamped your own original perspective on how to resolve issues and solve problems.

Many times the things you do won’t work.  And you will fail at some things you try.  That’s just a fact of life.  Abraham Lincoln once said:  “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.” 

And you will make mistakes.  A lot of them!  Both in your careers and your lives.  That’s just another fact of life.  But that’s okay.  The trick is figuring out how to deal with setbacks.  Your family and friends will always be there for you.  And your education will continually serve as a foundation to get you back on track.

Franklin D. Roosevelt said: “We are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of our own minds.”  Graduates, each of you must unlock your mind and blaze a path built on reason and purpose.  Life is too short to spend it bouncing around like a random and aimless ball in a game of Pong.  And whether you are 18, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, or 80 years young, it is never too late to test the boundaries of your dreams. 

Finally, I want all of you gathered in front of me to please lose the title of “former” student, because you will be my students for many years to come.  And I expect in return that I can become your student, as I learn about your college experience, professional successes, trials, and tribulations.

Every one of you is special.
Every one of you is a productive member of society.
Every one of you is what inspires me – because...
Every one of you has a story to tell.

What will your next journey be?

c 2009-2015 Perry Binder, LLC

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Signed Book Giveaway: 99 Motivators for College Success



Three (3) Signed Books!  Makes a great high school graduation gift.
Free Giveaway: 99 Motivators for College Success

Enter here at Goodreads by May 1, 2016


Thursday, March 10, 2016

High School Graduation Gift Book



Pictured below is me at age 25, playing against that year's NBA Defensive Player of the Year.  This pic is the basis of Motivator #4 - Don't let anyone crush your dreams.
Perry

Click here to purchase on Amazon:

99 Motivators for College Success


Click here to purchase on Amazon:
99 Motivators for College Success

Friday, February 5, 2016

10 Classroom Tips for Your First College Semester


High school seniors will be starting their college careers before they know it!  I wrote this article with them in mind:

10 Classroom Tips for Your First College Semester

As a freshman, it is not only okay to have no idea what to major in, it's also a sign of an open mind to the diverse menu that college has to offer. Hopefully, you are choosing courses which seem interesting to you rather than classes that parents or peers say you have to take immediately.
To me, a college class is just like a Hollywood screenplay, with peaks, valleys, and escalating conflicts along the way. Your professor may be the writer, director, and critic, but you are the lead actor and protagonist who must navigate the obstacles and perform well on each test thrown at you. Try to keep in mind though, that professors are actually rooting for you to succeed. When you fail, they fail.

1- The first day of class is the most important session because it sets the tone for the semester. Rather than grabbing a syllabus, tuning out, and leaving, expect more from yourself that day. You have the power to stay in or drop the class, so intently gauge the course relevance, workload, and potential deliverables.
Continue Reading Here

Friday, January 15, 2016

New Year's Motivation: Never Crush Anyone's Dreams (Including Your Own)

Dr. J at the James L. Knight Center in Miami, before an exhibition game to attract an NBA team (Miami Heat)

CAREER PATH MOTIVATOR #4
(99 Motivators for College Success)
Don’t let anyone crush your dreams.  However, the riskier your dream, the better your backup plan must be.

Never crush anyone’s dreams
When I was a little kid, I dreamed about playing professional basketball.  In third grade, we had to write an essay on what we wanted to be when we grew up.  I wrote that I wanted to be 6’10” and play in Madison Square Garden.  When the teacher handed back my paper, she laughed out loud and said: “You can’t do that!”
That was the first time someone had crushed my professional dream.  The teacher may have been right about the 6’10” part, but this molder of young minds lacked the understanding of what negative reinforcement can do to little kids.  She also lacked the understanding that height isn’t everything for a basketball player.  Teachers, especially in the impressionable K-12 years, are my personal heroes.  Yet they need to be dream builders, not dream destroyers.  It’s healthy to discuss rational backup career plans, but why spoil youthful exuberance which could flower into the unexpected?
            Postscript:  When I was 25 years old, I met the great Dr. J and got to play one-on-one with 7’4” center Mark Eaton of the Utah Jazz, that year’s NBA Defensive Player of the Year.  I’ll leave the game results to your active imagination.

Monday, November 23, 2015

What is Your Biggest Fear about College? (Finals are around the corner)


I asked this question to some readers and got the following responses:

What is/was Your Biggest Fear about Starting College?

My biggest fear was failure.  Finding certain material too hard and not being able to find the right help.  I am about to start my third year in college and I still have the fear of failure. 

My biggest fear is not doing as well as I did went I was younger and had less responsibility; as a single mother, it's just hard to pick a up a book to read.

I have always had a fear of failure since all I ever heard from people in my family was you will never amount to anything.  I am now in college, married, children, and I am enjoying life.  Classes are going great.  My oldest son graduates in four years.  The same year I do.  I am not letting fear get in the way of something that has been my dream for the last 10 years.

Quote from my former student:
Two essential lessons that Perry's class taught me are: important information is everywhere if we spend the time to look closer; and it's more meaningful to find humor in our daily lives than to live with fear, pessimism, or divisiveness. Those lessons go a long way toward finding happiness and reaching the success that we all imagine.

My Thoughts on Fear and Education:
        To me, the greatest barriers to success, however you define that, are a fear of the unknown, a fear of change, and a fear of failure.  But you need a game plan, and hopefully you can lean a little on what you learned in school to figure out that route. No matter what you do in life, you always will have your education.
        You have already accomplished a huge milestone.  The biggest step was just showing up.  That’s it.  The secret most people don’t get until it’s too late.  Just showing up as young freshmen is a threshold event.  Trying something which may be hard for the first time.  Experiencing new things, even if it’s unknown whether the objective is attainable.
        Many times the things you do won’t work.  And you will fail at some things you try. That’s just a fact of life. Abraham Lincoln once said: “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.”  And you will make mistakes. A lot of them! Both in your careers and your lives. That’s just another fact of life. But that’s okay. The trick is figuring out how to deal with setbacks. Your family and friends will always be there for you. And your education will continually serve as a foundation to get you back on track.
        Franklin D. Roosevelt said: “We are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of our own minds.” Students, each of you must unlock your mind and blaze a path built on reason and purpose. Life is too short to spend it bouncing around like a random and aimless ball in a game of Pong.  Whether you are 17, 18, 19, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, or 80 years young, it is never too late to test the boundaries of your dreams. 

Wishing you a great Thanksgiving and a motivated Final Exam week.

Excerpt: 99 Motivators for College Success

Friday, November 20, 2015

Hank Aaron Given IP Legends Award




I was proud to be a part of the GSU IP Legends Award ceremony, in which Hank Aaron and others received this prestigious recognition for their business contributions.  I was a little kid when Mr. Aaron hit homerun number 715.  Here I am, feeling like a little kid once again.

Monday, November 2, 2015

FLIPPING A LAW CLASS SESSION: CREATING EFFECTIVE ONLINE CONTENT AND REAL WORLD IN-CLASS TEAM MODULES


I'm speaking at an academic conference on this topic soon.  This article details my experience flipping a class last year.  It is available in Volume 17 of The Atlantic Law Journal (click link).
Abstract

This paper discusses the teaching and learning experience of flipping a business law and ethics class session in a hybrid format.  While this experiment was done at the graduate level, the lessons are easily applicable to and adaptable for use at the undergraduate level.  Part I discusses the online video content; the coordination of university technology personnel to create the video; the software platform to capture material and password protect it; and the intellectual property issues relating to that content.  Part II provides a description of each team module, the tasks that students completed outside of class for the modules, and specific instructions on team presentations in class. 

Tips for Ensuring a Successful Video Capture Session in an Empty Classroom:

-          Dress as you would for a typical class;
-          Look directly into the camera as much as possible;
-          Do not stand behind a computer podium (For PowerPoint, use a remote clicker to advance slides.);
-      Understand that there is a different dynamic when speaking to a camera, without the synergy presented by an inquisitive audience;
-          Slow down;
-          Aim to be as natural as you are in class; and
     Edit the presentation with the assistance of the IT staff if you stumble during the session



Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Case for Humor in the College Classroom


I wrote this Op-Ed in 2009 for The Atlanta Journal Constitution's Education section (2009), which was reprinted in The Huffington Post (2010).



The Case for Humor in the College Classroom
c 2009-2015 Perry Binder


As college professors nationwide prepare for a new academic year, my message for them is simple: Lighten up! Your students just might engage and learn.
I never dreamed of being a college professor. Does anybody? When my third grade teacher asked us about our dream job, Molly said an astronaut; Evan, an actor. Perry: Obtain a terminal degree and lecture on legal morasses.
Whether the subject is law or nuclear physics, every student wants a good laugh. As teacher accountability objectives collide with shorter attention spans, laughter is the secret ingredient to keep everyone on task. Humor can even be found in the most stressful situations. For example, I tell students that I can't offer legal advice. But that didn't stop "Steve" from calling me after class in a panic: The judge gave me ten days for speeding; they're taking me away! So that night, I drove to the county jail, where the innkeeper ushered me into a tiny drab room facing glass. Steve appeared on the other side, looking weary and wearing an ugly orange jumpsuit. I never practiced criminal law, so I just put my hand up to the glass and spread my fingers apart because I saw that done on TV. Steve finally smiled and put his hand up to mine. He told me what happened, but all I could do was stare at our mitts and think: Hey, this TV hand thing really works!
While Steve's dilemma was no laughing matter, I use that story on the first day of class to set the tone for the semester: Understanding the law is serious business and applied unequally to funny, young college students without counsel. But we will laugh and learn a lot together.
To me, humor in the classroom mixes audience participation with storytelling about the quirky world around us. The professor and students form an improv troupe, working on the day's subject. Here are my rules of classroom engagement:
Exaggerate to Illustrate. Paint an implausible mental picture to reinforce a topic. When we study "self defense," a limping crazy man wields a lumberman's axe and approaches a student track star limbering up for a run. If the wild man is 200 feet away, does the student have a duty to retreat or can she pick up and use a submachine gun conveniently left on a park bench?
Expect the Unexpected. When a cell phone rings, the classroom rule is that I get to answer it. And when MY phone rang once, the students got to answer it. Another time, students were nervous for an exam, so I asked a student to stand up as I gave her my whiteboard marker. I then ran to the front of the classroom, back to the students, and instructed her to wing the marker at my head (missed me, wide right). One time I wore a pair of Sketchers to class but was skeptical on how they looked. I asked for student opinions by jumping on the computer console table and placing a sole on the document camera, which projected an Imax theater-size image. The original 360° Tour.
Now you might be thinking that your college won't let profs be jailhouse lawyers, encourage students to fling objects, or stand on expensive technology. That's not the point. The most important rule is to always be yourself in the classroom. You don't need to have a funny bone; the world around us is a gold mine of material. Consider this recent headline, Man pleads guilty to DUI in Motorized Recliner. If the law is funny, so is any subject and thus, an opportunity to humor up classrooms.
Postscript. I referred Steve to a criminal defense lawyer but my student still spent three days in jail for speeding. It would've been zero if he had an attorney at the outset, which shows that maybe nothing is funny about the law after all.

Monday, July 6, 2015

10 Tips for Picking a Career Path in College



I recently spoke at Georgia State University's Summer Leadership Academy for high school students on:

10 Tips for Picking a Career Path in College