"Why is it always so surprising when our initial impression of a student turns out to be mistaken?"
"The consequences of pigeonholing students
“Why is it always so surprising when students prove our initial impressions of them wrong?” asks David Gooblar for Chronicle Vitae, recounting many cases in which making wrong assumptions about a student’s ability or work ethic led to negative consequences.
The trouble, as Gooblar sees it, is that teachers often create narratives around certain students and have difficulty thinking about those students outside those narratives. “As we try to learn who our students are, we latch onto almost anything that will help us differentiate them,” adds the author.
“Sometimes we work so hard to figure out each student—this one is a good writer, that one has good ideas but needs help explaining her thinking—that it can take the better part of a whole semester to realize that our first impression was wrong.”
Gooblar goes on to cite research demonstrating the negative effects on both teaching and student performance that can come from teachers relying on such narratives."
“My message to President Trump today is that he has committed an immense atrocity against the Afghan people, against fellow human beings,” he said. “If the American government sees us as human beings, then they have committed a crime against fellow human beings, but if they treat us as less than human beings, well, of course they can do whatever they want.”
Karzai added that one of the fundamental reasons that he refused to sign the bilateral security agreement with the United States when he was the president was specifically to prevent such actions.
“I told the people of Afghanistan in the Loya Jirga (Grand Assembly) we must not sign the BSA with the U.S., that we must not give them bases till the day they bring peace to Afghanistan,” he said. “Why would the Afghan people want to give the U.S. bases? For what? To continue the war in Afghanistan, to become more insecure, to lose peace forever, to suffer, to receive more bombs, to receive a weapon of mass destruction? Or for security, for peace and for a better life?”
Summary from Academica Top Ten - Wednesday, April 19, 2017
"Failure is the most fulfilling part of being a professor: IHE contributor
“This may sound perverse, but for me, one of the most fulfilling parts of being a (sort of) professor has been not the successes, but what others might call ‘failures,’” writes John Warner for Inside Higher Ed.
While other professors might delight in seeing their students go on to find tenure-track jobs or achieve other academic successes, Warner notes that his favourite part of teaching has been the freedom to experiment, fail, and improve his methods through an iterative approach that Warner compares to that of writing.
“These are pursuits that feel worthy to me, failing and trying again,” Warner adds. “In fact, if I was granted a single wish, it would be to make failure more central to school and learning.” "
More than 40 years later, in 2003, an international group of scientists sequenced the entire human genetic code. Researchers can now find a gene suspected to cause a disease in a matter of days, a process that took years before the Human Genome Project. As of 2013, more than 2,000 genetic tests were available for human conditions. Forty years ago, I never dreamed scientists would have the knowledge and manipulative capabilities that have become standard practice today.
The information age has not ushered in an era of a more educated public, according to Tom Nichols. It has "created an army of ill-informed and angry citizens who denounce intellectual achievement and distrust experts." He joins The Agenda to discuss his book, "The Death of Expertise." - TVO
"Flipped and active learning truly are a better way for students to learn, but they also may be a fast track to instructor burnout."
Summary from Academica Top Ten - Thursday, April 6, 2017:
"Active learning can have hidden costs, writes professor
“I am an active learning college instructor and I'm tired. I don't mean end-of-the-semester and need-some-sleep tired. I mean really, weary, bone-deep tired,” writes Thomas Mennella for Campus Technology.
The author begins by arguing for the merits of active learning and the concept of the flipped classroom in particular, adding that “to teach in any other way, to me, seems almost unethical—especially given how much money today's college student spends on his/her education.”
The author adds, however, that teaching under this new structure can lead to grading as many as four assignments per student, per week, a workload that he believes is not accounted for in traditional teaching workload assignments.
“I still say I will never teach another way again,” the author concludes. “I'm just not sure for how much longer that can be.”"
Last week Steve Paikin wrote about a sense that some of Kathleen Wynne’s unpopularity has less to do with her policies and more with her identity. Many readers, it turns out, didn’t find that comfortable.
Some kind of poisoning event may have produced mass casualties on April 4, but the White House Intelligence Report did not accurately describe that event, a weapons specialist from MIT writes. - 2017/04/19
Summary from Academica Top Ten - Wednesday, April 19, 2017
"Some questions to ponder for those thinking about becoming department chairs
“One characteristic that distinguishes academics from professionals in the corporate world is the former don’t necessarily aspire to climb the management ladder,” writes Rob Jenkins for the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Jenkins notes, however, that there are many professors who want to become a department head or dean. For these individuals, Jenkins poses seven basic questions to help determine whether an administrative role might be a good fit.
These questions are: Why would I do this? Will I miss the classroom? Will I mind being chained to a desk? How much do I hate meetings? How much do I value my work friendships? Where do I see myself going from here? Are the money and the perks worth it?
Jenkins concludes that if a professor can answer these questions and if they think they have something to offer, “then by all means, apply for the job—or accept the position that’s been offered.”"
To resist radical evil is to endure a life that by the standards of the wider society is a failure. It is to defy injustice at the cost of your career, your reputation, your financial solvency and at times your life. It is to be a lifelong heretic. And, perhaps this is the most important point, it is to accept that the dominant culture, even the liberal elites, will push you to the margins and attempt to discredit not only what you do, but your character. When I returned to the newsroom at The New York Times after being booed off a commencement stage in 2003 for denouncing the invasion of Iraq and being publicly reprimanded by the paper for my stance against the war, reporters and editors I had known and worked with for 15 years lowered their heads or turned away when I was nearby. They did not want to be contaminated by the same career-killing contagion.
The Trump administration’s official narrative—produced by the National Security Council under the oversight of national security adviser H.R. McMaster—was produced without input from the professional intelligence community, a weapons expert from MIT writes. - 2017/04/14
Laurentian University students recently rejected the opportunity to pay more for increased counselling services on campus. Now some are questioning why something as fundamental as mental health care became a referendum topic.
Summary from Academica Top Ten - Tuesday, April 11, 2017:
"Laurentian students voice dismay after referendum rejects mental health services expansion
Laurentian University students are expressing disappointment after a recent referendum rejected a plan to increase student mental health services at the university.
The change would have required students to pay a $90 fee instead of $20, and would have supported the hiring of four new counsellors.
Some students have asked why a service as essential as mental health care would be subject to a referendum, yet Laurentian Student Life Director Erik Labrosse says that the referendum was necessary due to the nature of the school's partnership with student organizations.
Labrosse adds that in spite of the referendum’s result, the school will continue to look for ways to bring in more counsellors. "
Academic freedom is not absolute, nor is it the simple equivalent of “freedom of speech.”
"Still, there is too little understanding of what academic freedom means. It is not absolute and it is not the simple equivalent of “freedom of speech.” All citizens have, or should have, the latter, but only individuals who have specified educational and professional qualifications are entitled to academic freedom within universities. In the words of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), they are granted the “freedom to teach and discuss; freedom to carry out research and disseminate and publish the results thereof; freedom to produce and perform creative works; freedom to engage in service to the institution and the community; freedom to express one’s opinion about the institution, its administration, and the system in which one works.”"
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