Sad Reality of Education Based on Socioeconomic Status

I saw this article in the New York Times today. I think the most powerful and compelling parts of this article were “The United States is one of few advanced nations where schools serving better-off children usually have more educational resources than those serving poor students” and “As income and wealth continue to flow to the richest families in the richest neighborhoods, public education appears to be more of a force contributing to inequality of income and opportunity, rather than helping to relieve it”.

We discussed this topic in class, but I still feel like more discussion and action is needed to address this issue. Do we need to move funding around? At what cost? Can public schools enlist donor help, like universities do? How would that work? Should those from affluent areas contribute more personal donations to schools, perhaps with an incentive?



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No Grades!!

I thought The Case Against Grades was a compelling read and something I would love to be able to do. I do think students worry too much about grades and only focusing on “plug and chug” and then forget rather than application and retention. My main worry is that it could not feasibly be done at a university. We are expected to have grades in some form, so students are naturally going to focus on that. Further, without grades, I am not sure college students would be motivated enough. Any ideas for how we could incorporate “no grades” into a college setting.

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Financial Backing Down

I found this article posted yesterday that I thought was extremely relevant considering our recent discussion on diversity issues in education and inclusive pedagogy. It is sad to think that students who are more qualified but have applied for financial aid are not as “competitive” as those who are wealthier. Our department is currently in the process of identifying how we want to be more inclusive of diversity and disadvantaged students, and those coming from a lower socioeconomic status is on the top of our list. But seeing this article makes me wonder how many people who do have financial needs are not applying, out of fear. We do want the best, but maybe we aren’t getting all the best.

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Psychological Evidence for PBL

I found an older review article discussing the psychology behind PBL. First, more empirical research is needed in order to understand if PBL is superior to other forms of learning. But, the evidence seems to suggest that PBL results in some long lasting learning. In the short-term, PBL may actually inhibit learning. This seems to be due to the effectiveness of short-term recall related to memorization, while PBL tends to be more difficult to assess gains. In the end, however, PBL helps with retention and generalization to other contexts, as it is meant to be a way to critically think about a topic or issue.

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Grad Student Mental Health

I saw this blog posted on a friend’s Facebook page, and thought I would share it

Also, some mental illness facts Fact Sheet

I think it addresses a lot of the issues related to mental health in graduate students and how it is important to have a frank discussion about it. There is still to much fear related to mental illness and what it means. And just because you may not be “as bad” as somebody else doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to seek help. Questions to ask yourself: Do you know what mental health services are available to grads? Could you speak with somebody in your department about seeking counseling or therapy without judgment?

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Diversity Denotation

I found the readings this week to be especially interesting since I have actually been serving on the recruitment committee for my department, and one of our main focuses right now is diversity recruitment. We’ve been having debates about what diversity means (e.g., race, ethnicity, veteran status, sexual orientation, lower-SES, etc.) and what is ethical in terms of recruiting and retention. For example, do we want to post stats about our graduate student’s sexual orientation in a public way? Yes, we are considering diversity and letting others see that (with the hopes of showing we are a welcoming department), but are we invading privacy and potentially making people nervous about feeling they need to report (while we wouldn’t force them to, it might drive people away). It raises more questions rather than answers when it comes to how we want to define diversity, how we want to show we are accepting of diversity, but how we can do that in an appropriate way?

As an aside, I found this Article to be really interesting and revealing about the physical  health consequences of stigma toward LGB individuals.

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Predicting Violent Behavior

So, part of my research focuses on psychophysiological factors that predict aggression and violence. For example, one of the most replicated findings is that low resting heart rate predicts higher aggression. For another great article, please see this Adrian Raine article. I also teach a class where we explore ethics in psychology. I posted this article the other day in my class and we discussed it.

The quote that really struck me is

“I can tell you the common characteristics of people who engage in mass shootings: It’s a picture of troubled, isolated young men that matches the picture of tens of thousands of other young men who will never do this.”

If we had the means to predict aggression accurately, what should we do with this information? What issues do you think might emerge? What benefits would you see?

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Fast Paced Learning

After watching the Tad Suiter video, I must say I completely agree that online lectures just do not work. A stationary camera is no better than a stationary lecturer. I do like the idea of intense, fast-faced media. One of my favorite Youtubers is C.G.P. Grey.

I’ve always found his Youtube clips to be really engaging and interesting. After watching them, I realize that I might not remember all the specifics of what he says, but I have a better appreciation for subjects that I am not usually interested in. I realize that what he does takes a lot of time and energy, and as students we may not have time to sit down and create these videos. Plus, he explains one concept, while we are often trying to teach a lot. I think if we were able to have a very specific topic we are teaching, then these types of videos could work. Otherwise, I am not sure it is realistic. Though, if we learned how to do these videos in an easy way, I think we may be able to speed up the process and do it more often. How much time do we currently spend on our lectures and could time spent be replaced by creating these videos?

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Free Anxiety and OCD Support Group

I just wanted to highlight one of the services provided at the Psychological Services Center. On the last Tuesday of every month (next meeting September 24), there is a free support group at 7 PM for those experiencing any form of anxiety. Here is a Flyer  with more information if anyone is interested.

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Pay Attention to Attention

While watching the PBS Documentary I was struck at the comments starting at 14:00. That we reward people for staying up all night reading, but chastise them for video game playing. Both people are driven and attending to information, but one is more “acceptable.”

At times, we will have parents bring their child into our clinic for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) treatment. And more times than not, the parent will say their child can’t concentrate in school, or on homework, but they can play video games for hours and hours and hours. I like to remind the parent that their child seems to have good attention skills, it’s just through video games. I think this is a good reminder for therapists, parents, and really everyone that we need to always remember to reframe what attention looks like.

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