Factors Affecting Teaching

This week’s readings made me think about factors that can affect teaching. For example, Deel stated “I was nervous about teaching and had a lot of doubt about whether or not I was doing the best job I could” (Deel, p.1). In a separate example, Papert mentions progressive education experimenters that “were too timid; the experiments failed just as the test of any medical treatment would fail if the treating doctors were afraid to give the drugs in effective doses” (Papert, 1993, p.14). I decided to find out about additional factors that can affect teaching. I learned about demands that some academic institutions can place on instructors. “These instructors face intense pressure to push students to graduate more quickly and to do it more efficiently, even as public funding for higher education, especially in California, has yet to fully return to pre-recession levels” (Rivera, 2015). I think it is important to acknowledge academic institutions can influence how instructors teach.

Deel, S.E. Finding My Teaching Voice. Retrieved from http://cte.virginia.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Deel.pdf

Papert, S. (1993). The children’s machine: Rethinking school in the age of the computer. New York: BasicBooks.

Rivera, C. (2015, August 26). Professors have ‘happy anxiety’ before classes begin. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from http://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-me-faculty-column-20150826-story.html

Fear of Failure

Kohn’s article mentions that grading is detrimental to students. “Psychologists worry because grades fix students’ attention on their performance” (Kohn, 2011, p.2). In addition, grading systems “promote a fear of failure even in high-achieving students” (Kohn, 2011, p.2). I decided to find out how this fear may impact performance. Jennifer Crocker is “a psychologist at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research” (Dittman, 2002). According to her, worrying about grades may impact memory (Dittman, 2002). Dr. Crocker “speculates that students who base their self-worth on academic performance might become anxious and distracted and threatened by feelings of failure, and, as such, their anxiety might then interfere with their memory” (Dittman, 2002). This is important because worrying about grades (fear of failure) may negatively impact memory, which may lead to low grades.

Dittman, M. (2002). Self-esteem that’s based on external sources has mental health consequences, study says. Monitor on Psychology, 33(11), 16. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/monitor/dec02/selfesteem.aspx

Kohn, A. (2011). The Case Against Grades. Educational Leadership. Retrieved from https://www.alfiekohn.org/article/case-grades/

Mindfulness improves health

My post is related to health because I am interested in that subject. According to Langer, “Mindfulness results in an increase in competence; a decrease in accidents; an increase in memory, creativity, and positive affect; a decrease in stress; and an increase in health and longevity, to name a few of the benefits” (Langer, 2000, p.220). I decided to find out more about the connection between mindfulness and health. Mindfulness can be described as “living in the moment” (Schwarb, 2012). A University of Utah study examined three techniques: mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and Zen meditation (Schwarb, 2012). “The treatments were found to be effective weapons against depression, anxiety and psychological distress. And in healthy people, some mindfulness techniques helped manage stress and improve psychological health and well-being. Other recent research has suggested that these mindfulness practices can improve brain function and structure, which could help explain their benefits to the human psyche” (Schwarb, 2012). I think it is important to recognize connections between our ways of thinking and our health, which can impact learning.

Langer, E. (2000). Mindful Learning. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 9(6), 220-223. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20182675

Schwarb, A.W. (2012, October 18). Practicing mindfulness improves physical and mental health. University of Florida Health Podcasts. Retrieved from http://news.health.ufl.edu/2012/20140/multimedia/health-in-a-heartbeat/practicing-mindfulness-improves-physical-and-mental-health/