What is school for?

“What is school for?”, it sounds like a simple question, but what I had an answer is to learn some knowledge and do a good man, including obeying laws and moral rules. Seth Godin just broke my idea into pieces and dragged me into thinking about the question deeply. What is the real purpose of the school? He gave several points for the question. I can’t remember all of them. One of answers is to teach your kids how to connect dots but not ask them to remember the facts. The idea really helps me realize how you can get freedom in studying. Recently, I read a blog which talks about the freedom of schools. In that blog, the author advocates that students should be cultivated have independent thinking and skepticism spirits in learning. To be more essential, if we want to pursue the truth, we need to have the courage to challenge existing results in a rational way but not always follow up and only say “yes”. His another answer is to educate students to persist in your own idea in front of a skeptical authority figure. It may not be a short-term stand but be a long-term strategy to convince others about your opinions.

Based on the above arguments, we know school is not an engineer factory. For different students, there will be unique ways to guide them but not only in a stereotypical way. I knew it was impossible for school to implement the practice currently after considering the cost and effort. But for faculties, they can have the sense to help students open their mind to define themselves. For students, they should keep them being innovative and eager to the truth but not only the knowledge from the textbook.

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Innovation in Educations

After reading the article written by Dan Edelstein, I am really impressed by the role of humanities in innovations. The author suggests that humanities could offer students with the best chances for knowing how to innovate.

The traditional perspective in education considers humanities to cultivate a sense of enabling students to access criteria of human success, or developing some specific skills such as rational analysis, critical thinking and clear speaking skills and so on. However, authors gave three instances to explain the humanities can have important impacts on entrepreneurship. First, humanities could identify and evaluate opportunities to improve the existing situation. Second, the attributes of humanities can help innovation which is found from “whole-brain” research. Third, the statistics also can convince people who attend more humane classes will have more positive results than people who attend the lectures. These analysis presents humanities play an important role in our daily life.

The author also argues different cultures will have different preferences for innovation. He also highlights a framework that the productivity of new artworks or ideas can be thought of according to cultural transmission. This framework is very useful for understanding innovation in education.

Finally, the author conclude that humanities disciplines will not be sure of more innovative results than scientific disciplines. Only do students practice their innovative thinking early, which can help them build their ability to innovate. In another words, students should like to join such processes more often in humanities .

I agree to the author’s opinion. Only students can start to think about questions from their interests coming from humanities, they would like to put more effort in the questions. They will be more possible to have insightful findings and innovative results.

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Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is a rational way to face challenges in our daily life. It can help people to justify what they have done or never seen. The banking theory has listed the learning process for each person: receive, memorize, and repeat. Frankly speaking, I got these words just around two months ago. But now I have to refactor my belief.

From students’ perspective, students who have the critical learning will be eager to explore more in existing knowledge in order to make breakthrough. Usually we students only sit in class and follow teacher’s pace to learn some new things. They would not like students to challenge their opinions and prefer “quiet” response. Students are merely followers, which certainly guarantee the teachers’ perceived students as manufacturer.

From teachers’ opinion, teachers want to improve students’ performance based on different thinking ways. Teachers play an active role in transforming PPT files into real application. The way also keeps students curiosity and excited for what they learned. Critical thinking way definitely helps teachers’ transfer knowledge into the life.

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Digital Learners’ Dilemma in Information Era

With the proliferation of internet and web 2.0, more and more people get used to learning online. They are called “digital learners”. Although we know it is helpful for people to learn efficiently online, we still need traditional way to learn. Because even though we can learn some knowledge through these digital tools, people still need practice and face-to-face communication to make sure all understandings could be executable.

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Incentives for Learning

When I prepared the coming course, “Assessment” as a key word inspired lots of reflections for these materials. “The Case Against Grades” highlights the criticism of grading policy in the current educational policy. From a psychology literature, grading is an incentive system to motivate students to learn. Generally speaking, there are two types of motivations: intrinsic and extrinsic types of motivation (Ryan & Deci 2000). Grades are considered as an extrinsic motivations and have negative effects on students’ intrinsic motivation to learn. In the 1980s and 90s, educational psychologists systematically concluded the effects of grades system. All findings support that grades do harms to students’ intrinsic learning motivations. However, intrinsic motivations of learning play a more significant role in people’s behaviors than extrinsic motivations do.
Even though we know these traditional incentive systems can’t work as we expected, what kind of incentive systems we hope to have? In the video of “Dan Pink: The puzzle of motivation”, he clearly suggested a new approach from scientists. The approach is setup more based on intrinsic motivations. There are three elements for the approach: autonomy, mastery and purpose. Autonomy makes people pursue their what they want freely. They decide themselves to study what they want. Mastery means the competence to achieve the goal. In order to implement the goal, people would like to invest their efforts into building the capacity. Purpose is the goal that people want to reach. They would like to know the destination they want to go to. All these elements clarify the essential of intrinsic motivations.

Although we know extrinsic motivation systems like gold stars, honor roles and other reward-focused systems dominated long time in the currency of schools, we should clearly think about deeply the significance of intrinsic motivations. Intrinsic motivations are the only determinant for people willing to learn spontaneously.

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What is Learning?

Learning sometimes is difficult to define. In a traditional opinion, learning is just to simulate and practice. We need to observe others’ actions and start to take actions like them. If you practice may times, you finally master it. Although we can achieve something, it is costly in time, especially we could not find any evidence for inside feelings and ideas. Therefore, I want to say leaning is not only including simulation and practice, but also should include reflection and perseverance.

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First class in contemporary pedogogy

Dr.Nelson gave us a brief introduction in the first class of contemporary pedagogy course. Based on the introduction, I am expecting to know how to convert learning theories into practice in the coming courses.
After the introduction, I talked with my classmates around the same table. Fran is from Spain. How long his full name! And it has a fantastic story behind the name. Casey is from Richmond which I have been to for a couple of times. Yujun is from China and studies human development major. During the discussion, I had a good talk with Fran because he is also a crazy soccer fan. His father has been a fan of Real Madrid for more than 40 years. His major is horticulture that is a type of plant science. I really enjoy talking with all classmates around the table.
Then Dr.Nelson raised the connected learning concept. After she played two videos to explain what it is and why it is popular currently, all classmates joined the discussion about the topic. Some classmates agree that connected learning could lead students to concentrate on teacher’s instructions. Some others raise the question that what should be connected in connected learning. Someone points out connected learning is different online learning. This brainstorming way makes everyone think about more about the topic. This is the first time to hear about connected learning. I would like to spend some more time to know about it considering it maybe help me in mastering more ways to teach students in future.

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Open Access

Management Science is an elite journal in business school. If a PhD student can publish one article in the journal, you will have more opportunities to find a good job in academic area. The journal is located at the campus of University of Maryland. It is one of journals of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). Scientific research on the practice of management is the core focus of the journal. Its scope is related to all aspects of management such as strategy, entrepreneurship, innovation, information technology, and organizations as well as all functional areas of business, such as accounting, finance, marketing, and operations. It also contains research on organizational, managerial, and individual decision making, from both normative and descriptive perspectives. The goal of the journal is an analytical focus on improving our understanding of management. All kinds of disciplines of economics, mathematics, psychology, sociology, and statistics are fundamental research subjects. It encourages cross-functional, multidisciplinary research that reflects the diversity of the management science professions. The journal of Management Science is open access. It allows people to subscribe its publication free of charge. Because the value of open access can promote new research, thereby increasing a paper’s impact, and finally it may increase the visibility of the Journal.

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Being Faculty

Being faculty means that you will continue to expand your research topic further, teach students with your expertise knowledge, and participate into professional academic activities that contributes to mission statements of your organization. Different institutions have different philosophy for being faculty. Some are research intensive and they would like to recruit faculties who can conduct independent research studies. Some are teaching driven and most of workload is focusing on working on with students. Some universities would emphasize both of them. Being a faculty in them, you have to be not only a productive researcher, but also a respectful teacher from students. I would like to talk about more details from three perspectives about being faculty: research, teaching and service.
Being a faculty, your research topic is an important area where you can build the depth of your expertise knowledge and reputation. From a researcher perspective, You will be a multi-task taker and you have to structure your time very properly. You have to have a systematic theories to conduct your research behaviors and process your complex problems logically. One of the important implication is to establish your own independent research line which will affect the future research of your graduate students or Post doc students in your academic area. You have to encourage your followers to have unique contributions in their research topics.
Being a teacher, you will have to be an expert in your teaching course. You have to making sure what you are teaching is not only correct but also valuable. After your course, students will feel that the course will help me a lot in my life or career. Since you are a teacher, you maybe teach a course for a whole life. However, you will have to keep your knowledge updated. If possible, you can mentor several students to conduct some course projects which will help student explore their studies by themselves.
Being an participant of professional service, you have to take the responsibility to behave based the mission statement of your department. You will work on your research society which can give your or your organization high visibility in public.

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Code of Ethics

I found our business school’s statement of business conduct standard.

After I read the statement, I was impressed by following points.
1. In the citizenship chapter, how do we treat others in a professional behavior?

2. In the Professional and Personal Integrity chapter, what we should standardize our professional activities?

3. In the Stewardship of Resources chapter, what information or resources we can offer to others or students?

From the statement I can clearly know some what I should do in coming professional career area.

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