Emma Zahren-Newman

Emma Zahren-Newman

Richmond now has the highest Hispanic dropout rate in Virginia. According to Vilma Seymour, many latino students fall through the cracks because the system is not set up in their favor. This is why we need to always question the power structures that exist...

Rajat

Rajat How does one confront the power structures? One at a time.. by becoming mentors. But how does one effect large scale change?

0

Emma Zahren-Newman

Emma Zahren-Newman On a few fronts, one might be to broaden the school system's concept of "education". Being an informed citizen is more than just being able to memorize answers for a test

0

Rajat

Rajat

As MOOCs continue to experiment with delivery models to achieve better student outcomes in order to bridge the gap between user intent and user behavior ( as reflected in low completion rates). One could perhaps think of two broad approaches:

1)Data/AI driven: As laid out in this Berkley piece on a machine learned approach "(by).... both tracking learners’ behaviors in real-time and dynamically adapting content based on each learner’s individual clickstream history." A variant of this approach is already seen in likes of Khan Academy.


2) Human driven : By populating an online classroom with adequate number of mentors and close involvement of professors or TA's along with cohort driven peer evaluations to effectively deal with the fundamental problem of lack of feedback and collaboration in an asynchronous learning environment.

Emma Zahren-Newman

Emma Zahren-Newman

After the Election: Ideas for Teachers of ELLs

As they have been throughout the entire presidential campaign, teachers are on the front lines when it comes to answering students' questions about the election and its results, giving them an opportunity to discuss what they see in the news, helping them think about how big decisions may affect their lives, and managing interactions among students representing different points of view and backgrounds.

Some resources for ESL/ELL teachers in light of the recent election:

Rajat

Rajat

Let's teach for mastery -- not test scores | Sal Khan
YouTube l https://www.youtube.com/

YES EVERYBODY IS REALLY CREATIVE-YES IT IS IN YOUR DNA:

Excellent TED talk by Sal on the quintessential mastery based concept of learning. He argues that just like you would not build a house without a solid foundation you could not learn something without mastering every step of it.

"In the industrial age, society was a pyramid. At the base of the pyramid, you needed human labor. In the middle of the pyramid, you had an information processing, a bureaucracy class, and at the top of the pyramid, you had your owners of capital and your entrepreneurs and your creative class. But we know what's happening already, as we go into this information revolution. The bottom of that pyramid, automation, is going to take over. Even that middle tier, information processing, that's what computers are good at.

All this new productivity is happening because of this technology, but who participates in it? Is it just going to be that very top of the pyramid, in which case, what does everyone else do? How do they operate? Or do we do something that's more aspirational? Do we actually attempt to invert the pyramid, where you have a large creative class, where almost everyone can participate as an entrepreneur, an artist, as a researcher? "

Vidushi Sharma

Vidushi Sharma

Here's a reflection this week on gender-based myths of innate brilliance and how they affect minority representation in subjects like math and philosophy---

I excelled in math in high school, rising to the top of the tiered class track and dabbling in multivariable calculus before college. I, however, immediately and subconsciously faltered in confidence when I reached Princeton. I was deterred from trying a proof-based math class by the thought that these were only for “math people” – students who had excelled in extracurricular math competitions from a young age or who already had exposure to “real math” beyond AP calculus. The kinds of students, who, when presented with a problem, could scribble across a blackboard and find the answer with a spark of genius.

That student wasn’t me, and so I decided that I must not be a “math person.” I still took college math, but instead of enrolling in a proof-based class, I pushed through Math 201 (multivariable calculus) and 202 (linear algebra), required courses for engineers. The exams were still notoriously difficult, and it wasn’t unusual for average scores to hover around 65%. This seemed to me like a strategy the department used to allow it to separate star students from “the rest of the pack.” Linear algebra during my freshman spring was the last math class I took in college.

Three years later, I’m studying philosophy – a subject with gender ratios comparable to mathematics. Many people know about the lack of females in STEM departments, but this issue slips under the radar in fields like philosophy and music composition. Philosophy professor Sarah-Jane Leslie’s research helps connect the dots.

Professor Leslie has shown that gender gaps are more prominent in disciplines where innate ability – a spark of raw genius – is perceived as a prerequisite for success. Departments like physics, philosophy, and math fit the bill. Using nationwide surveys of academics from 30 disciplines, Leslie and her colleagues demonstrated that people’s success in fields like biology and education is often seen as a result of effort and discipline rather than innate brilliance. These fields attract men and women in more equal ratios. Subsequent research also supports that such stereotypes take hold in children’s minds as early as the age of six. Women who don’t see themselves as innately brilliant mathematicians, musicians, or philosophers often do not give themselves the chance to pursue these disciplines. Since these views shape people’s career choices, women are more likely to choose careers in fields where hard work, rather than brilliance, is seen as the key to success.

Recognizing and stating stereotypes and fears helps me face them. Every time I feel like I am holding myself back in a philosophy seminar, I remind myself that ability is a reflection of effort, and effort entails active participation. After a wonderful time dabbling in proofs in advanced formal logic, I’m considering enrolling in another math class next semester – this time with an understanding that what leads to success is hard work and determination, and the empowering realization that I have what it takes.

Rajat

Rajat Never realized, do you mean there are more males than females in Philosophy! Quoting NPR "There's been no shortage of speculation about why. Perhaps, to quote Hegel, women's "minds are not adapted to the higher sciences, philosophy, or certain of the arts." This is so weird!

0

Adam Pryor

Adam Pryor Perhaps that "raw genius" emerges when a child is allowed to try and fail over and over. Soon they become good at it or christened as geniuses. Perhaps the problem also is that our method of teaching/learning does not facilitate enough of failure.

0

Anju Sharma

Anju Sharma I am happy that you are discovering more of your innate talents!

0

Vineet Gupta

Vineet Gupta Another reason why math, CS and physics departments may have fewer women is that these tend to be more "macho" --- in the intro courses, faculty are trying to weed out students rather than encourage them. So they tend to be less friendly, and women possibly get turned off more, but a lot of men are discouraged from taking them as well. This could be related to your observation --- teachers and students are asking "Are you good enough to be in this class", which assumes that there is an innate ability that a student may or may not have.

0

Vidushi Sharma

Vidushi Sharma ^ I find this to be very true. The faculty in these subjects, in my experience, have had a definite streak of pride in their discipline's inaccessibility. Fixing this requires a massive shift in both students' and teachers' attitudes.

0

Elizabeth Kimball

Elizabeth Kimball

How the Virginia Lottery funds our schools

Published: Richmond, Va. (WRIC) - Since 1988, the Virginia Lottery has funneled millions of dollars into education. Profits from the games go straight to schools. Central Virginia gets a lot of money from the lottery. Last year, Richmond got more than $850,000. Chesterfield received $16.2 million. Henrico scored $17.1 million.

When I heard this the other day from a teacher friend in Virginia, I didn't believe it. It turns out, that Virginia Public Schools are partially funded by the Lottery! Something about this is just appalling to me-- that the statistically unwise investment would be connected with teaching our children is absurd. Here's a quick article that's worth a glance. It's so interesting to learn about how the government budgets. Vote YES for your local school budget this year!!!

some noteworthy quotes:

"the money funds specific initiatives like the school breakfast program, special education, and early reading intervention."

"Right now, lottery profits make up about nine percent of Virginia’s $6.1 billion education budget. While some like to say education funding by the Commonwealth has risen, the amount it spends per student has dropped. Virginia ranks 41st in state per pupil funding."

Rajat

Rajat Unfortunate that turning a "vice into virtue" method has to be resorted to funding of Education. Clearly more State and Federal funding needs to come. The same applies to infrastructure. The government has to be there where private capital does not want to be.

0

Rajat

Rajat

Ask the past

India is perhaps the only civilisation of the ancient world that turned knowledge into a goddess. It was, in any case, regarded as sacred and so was its transmission: there was an old saying that a teacher, however great a scholar, who failed to find one student worthy of his learning, would have to go to hell.

"-When the knowledge systems took shape remains a matter of debate. Most of them go back two to three millennia, but a few clearly have roots in the Harappan or Indus or Indus-Sarasvati civilisation (2600 to 1900 BC for its urban or mature phase)
-Along with the Ganges civilisation, six darshanas or systems of philosophy emerge early in the first millennium BC, each giving rise to a primary literature that will, in turn, produce numerous commentaries, schools, sub-schools, and rich intellectual debates all the way to pre-colonial times. The six darshanas have been called astika (‘orthodox’ is a poor translation) because they were founded on the authority of the Vedas. Keeping in mind that equivalent English terms are approximate at best, they are:

(1) Vedanta or, broadly, the Upanishadic philosophical tradition;

(2) Nyaya or logic, which inquired deep into concepts of perception, inference, means of validation and categories;

(3) Vaisheshika, an atomistic inquiry into the nature of the physical world and its relationship with consciousness; it famously declared that ‘whatever exists is knowable and nameable’;

(4) Samkhya, which sees the universe as the result of the interplay of prakriti (nature) and purusha (the knower, a witness of pure consciousness);

(5) Mimansa or Vedic exegesis; and

(6) Yoga."

Anju Sharma

Anju Sharma

No more physics and maths, Finland to stop teaching individual subjects

Finland, one of the leading educational hotspots in the world, is embarking on one of the most radical overhauls in modern education. By 2020, the country plans to phase out teaching individual subjects such as maths, chemistry and physics, and instead teach students by 'topics' or broad phenomena, so that there's no more question about "what's the point of learning this?"

Finland plan to phase out teaching individual subjects and replace it with teaching concepts or topics as soon as year 2020. What are your thoughts on that?

Vidushi Sharma

Vidushi Sharma

The Project that Made Me a Researcher: Beatniks, Buddhists, and Me

Over the course of the semester, PCURs will explain how they found their place in research. We present these to you as a series called The Project that Made Me a Researcher. As any undergraduate knows, the transition from 'doing a research project' to thinking of yourself as a researcher is an exciting and highly individualized phenomenon.

I write about the project that made me a researcher for the Princeton Correspondents on Undergraduate Research!

Elizabeth Kimball

Elizabeth Kimball

Investing in Teachers Instead of Prisons

I want to tell you about something I'm not proud of. Early in my time as CEO of Chicago Public Schools, we set out to make our schools safer places for children and adults. We knew that too many of our students were going to jail.

"Yes, it's about educational and economic opportunity. But it's bigger than that. It's a fight to increase social mobility. It's a fight for social justice. For too many of our children today, it can literally mean the difference between life and death."

Elizabeth Kimball

Elizabeth Kimball

New Texas history textbooks will teach high schoolers that slavery wasn't all bad

Roughly 45 years after Alabama public schools used a textbook that focused on the benefits that slavery provided to slaves, a new textbook is being used in Texas that also appears to minimize the horrors of slavery. The books, which will be used in 7th, 8th grade, and high school curricula in Texas, are published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Pearson.

"The treatment of enslaved Africans varied. ​Some slaves reported that their masters treated ​them kindly. To protect their investment, ​some slaveholders provided adequate food ​and clothing for their slaves," is a quotation from the textbooks high schools in Texas have started using. In a time like this, do we still need to sugar-coat horrible things?

Vidushi Sharma

Vidushi Sharma Unbelievable! The South sometimes feels like a different world, with these kinds of things going on and then the Oklahoma senator throwing snowballs to "prove" the climate change doesn't exist.

0

Violet Grant

Violet Grant

The Town That Decided to Send All Its Kids to College

Residents of Baldwin, Michigan, pooled together their money to provide scholarships for everyone, and it changed the town profoundly. Please consider disabling it for our site, or supporting our work in one of these ways Subscribe Now > BALDWIN, Mich.-College was never much of an option for most students in this tiny town of 1,200 located in the woods of the Manistee National Forest.

"The story of Baldwin begins to answer the question: What does it look like if everyone in a community goes to college?"

Youngbin Yoon

Youngbin Yoon This is an amazing story! I wonder what attributes so strongly to the success of Baldwin? The idea seems controversial (it could easily be argued as a Communist policy and, for better or worse, thereby painted in a negative light) and so I think the town's success is based on more than just the idea that people contribute money for a collective goal. In my head, it stems to the belief in each other / themselves. Every student is made aware that they are given the opportunity to succeed and shown that a literal town of people believe in them, and then are asked to live up to this belief -- that strikes me as the defining pillar of the town's success. There's a lot of room to talk about this story, thanks for the AWESOME story!!!

1

Vidushi Sharma

Vidushi Sharma ^ I agree, this seems to connect with what you were saying about how a teacher/mentor's belief in a student is a huge motivation for him/her to try his/her hardest to succeed. In this case, it was the belief of an entire town! It certainly must help that it's a small town, so the kids probably personally knew everyone who showed some investment in their education.

0

Vidushi Sharma

Vidushi Sharma

Key & Peele - TeachingCenter

Boyd Maxwell and Perry Schmidt report on the latest developments in the exciting world of pro teaching. Watch more Key & Peele: http://on.cc.com/1RUEbiW

I find this really hilarious with its fair share of social undertones. Key & Peele parody Sports Center-type shows by replacing them with a segment on "pro-teaching."

It made me wonder: Why do we idolize sports stars so much? Is the pay gap between pro athletes and teachers, for example, fair?

I had an economics professor in my freshman fall at college who argued that this was a ridiculous question. "Of course it's 'fair'!" she said. Prices and payouts are a result of consumer demand. People care a lot more about watching NFL than documentaries about nature or going to talk to teachers, and the pay gap is the result.

There is no doubt that teachers should be paid more, given the importance of their work and the importance of incentivizing qualified people to apply for teaching jobs. But the question of "fairness" is a bit trickier. How much of a pay gap would be warranted, and how much is absurd? I find myself oscillating between the extremes.

Vidushi Sharma

Vidushi Sharma

I've been learning a lot about homeschooling recently, and am fascinated by different families' paths towards the choice to homeschool. Some people are motivated by religious reasons, others by the lack of education in a special subject that their child loves (i.e., ecology or philosophy).

It seems that many homeschoolers stop by the time high school rolls along (and certainly for college), and I'm wondering about the transition to "regular" schooling.

Has anyone experienced it, and what has it been like for you or your child? Susanna Olson?

Susanna Olson

Susanna Olson I think transitioning into a new environment is something quite a few homeschooling parents worry about. Funny my sisters and I were just discussing this last night. Me and my siblings were all homeschooled from pre-school all the way through 12th grade. For us the transition into "regular school" has gone pretty well so far. My oldest brother graduated summa cum laude from his university and is now working for a non-profit organization that he is passionate about. My second oldest brother dropped out of college when his iPhone app won an apple design award and started his own business. My older sister is about to graduate. She LOVED every bit of college and has very few complaints about the transition. She said the hardest thing was learning to follow instructions after being independent for so long. Also, she sometimes found that classes moved frustratingly slow as she was used to being able to move at her own pace all the time.

3

George Cohen Lee

George Cohen Lee I've had some homeschooled friends, and I'm always struck by how unique each of their experiences is. Telling that you mentioned that your sister's biggest problem was classes moving too slowly! Susanna, have you experienced the transition yourself? I wonder if people can tell at first who homeschooled kids are- I might expect their ways of thinking to go outside the box! But maybe not- maybe people's educational experiences are more similar than I think.

0

Ben  Glackin

Ben Glackin

All shall have prizes

Top 100 rankings of the best business schools. Find full-time MBA, part-time MBA, online MBA, and EMBA.

Grades at Ivy League schools have risen across the board since the 1950s. Today, it is easiest to get a high GPA at Brown, while it is most difficult at Princeton (which, just this year, ended its grade deflation policy).

Are students getting smarter, or are standards slipping? The Economist argues that it is a little bit of both. Should anything be changed about the current grading system?

Sofia Perello

Sofia Perello Students are definitely smarter, and better prepared for college. I think that a "B" is fine as an average grade. However, many of these schools go to excessive lengths in coddling their students and making the average grade an A- or A, so that there really isn't much room to grow. What a joke!

0

Ben  Glackin

Ben Glackin I agree! I'll be interested to see what happens at Princeton, which just ended its official grade deflation policy, in a few years. After Princeton took the step to end grade deflation, I doubt that other schools would step up and try to institute it for the first time.

0

Vidushi Sharma

Vidushi Sharma

The Science of Success

Most of us have genes that make us as hardy as dandelions: able to take root and survive almost anywhere. A few of us, however, are more like the orchid: fragile and fickle, but capable of blooming spectacularly if given greenhouse care.

Here is a thought-provoking article shared with me by Paul Fernhout.Francesca Felder, what do you think?

"Most of us have genes that make us as hardy as dandelions: able to take root and survive almost anywhere. A few of us, however, are more like the orchid: fragile and fickle, but capable of blooming spectacularly if given greenhouse care. So holds a provocative new theory of genetics, which asserts that the very genes that give us the most trouble as a species, causing behaviors that are self-destructive and antisocial, also underlie humankind’s phenomenal adaptability and evolutionary success. With a bad environment and poor parenting, orchid children can end up depressed, drug-addicted, or in jail—but with the right environment and good parenting, they can grow up to be society’s most creative, successful, and happy people.

Mehmood Faisal

Mehmood Faisal reposted Vidushi Sharma's Link

Princeton Correspondents on Undergraduate Research (PCUR)

This week, I was having a standard lunchtime conversation with friends about our classes. The conversation veered to next fall's course offerings, which will include the three legendary classes Practical Ethics, Constitutional Interpretation, and Politics of Modern Islam. Having recently read reviews of Constitutional Interpretation, I joked that it might be unwise to take all three simultaneously.

At Princeton, I'm a member of the Princeton Correspondents on Undergraduate Research, for which I write a post every week. Last week, I wrote about the academic biases on our campus, and what we can do to combat them. Here's an excerpt:

"This week, I was having a standard lunchtime conversation with friends about our classes. The conversation veered to next fall’s course offerings, which will include the three legendary classes Practical Ethics, Constitutional Interpretation, and Politics of Modern Islam. Having recently read reviews of Constitutional Interpretation, I joked that it might be unwise to take all three simultaneously.

“This might be a very B.S.E thing to say,” one friend said, “but I don’t understand how humanities classes can be hard.”

As a philosophy major, I felt shocked, and then defensive. How could an entire set of disciplines be “easy,” unless a student is uninformed or pursuing it incorrectly? I felt like retorting

Vidushi Sharma

Vidushi Sharma

Princeton Correspondents on Undergraduate Research (PCUR)

This week, I was having a standard lunchtime conversation with friends about our classes. The conversation veered to next fall's course offerings, which will include the three legendary classes Practical Ethics, Constitutional Interpretation, and Politics of Modern Islam. Having recently read reviews of Constitutional Interpretation, I joked that it might be unwise to take all three simultaneously.

At Princeton, I'm a member of the Princeton Correspondents on Undergraduate Research, for which I write a post every week. Last week, I wrote about the academic biases on our campus, and what we can do to combat them. Here's an excerpt:

"This week, I was having a standard lunchtime conversation with friends about our classes. The conversation veered to next fall’s course offerings, which will include the three legendary classes Practical Ethics, Constitutional Interpretation, and Politics of Modern Islam. Having recently read reviews of Constitutional Interpretation, I joked that it might be unwise to take all three simultaneously.

“This might be a very B.S.E thing to say,” one friend said, “but I don’t understand how humanities classes can be hard.”

As a philosophy major, I felt shocked, and then defensive. How could an entire set of disciplines be “easy,” unless a student is uninformed or pursuing it incorrectly? I felt like retorting that most of the engineers in my humanities classes did not read what was assigned, wrote papers the night before they were due, and failed to be productive precept participants. I bit my tongue. My thoughts were equally unproductive generalizations."

Do you see these at your college/school as well?

Anju Sharma

Anju Sharma Please post the complete article or a link to it. I'd love to read your views!

0

Anju Sharma

Anju Sharma Embarrassed to say that I grew up with this generalization. Science and math are tough and for smart kids while arts/ humanities are easy and for the lazy ;)

1

Vidushi Sharma

Vidushi Sharma

If you're currently in college, what do you miss most about high school? If you've graduated, the same question applies. I'm curious, and will share my own thoughts too. Even at Princeton, there is a lot I feel that colleges can learn from effective high school education.