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/

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/

Citizen Scientists

Thomas and Brown’s A New Culture of Learning highlights that teachers learn from their students. This reminds me that citizen scientists can make important contributions that benefit scientists. “Citizen science is a rigorous process of scientific discovery, indistinguishable from conventional science apart from the participation of volunteers. When properly designed, carried out, and evaluated, citizen science can provide sound science, efficiently generate high-quality data, and help solve problems” (USGS, 2017). I mention citizen science because it shares a similarity with the new culture of learning. “The new culture of learning gives us the freedom to make the general personal and then share our personal experience in a way that, in turn, adds to the general flow of knowledge” (Thomas & Brown, 2011, p.31). Both citizen science and the new culture of learning expand knowledge. It is worthwhile to note that citizen scientists make important contributions to environmental protection, conservation science, and natural resource management (USGS, 2017).

Thomas, D & Brown, J.S. (2011). A New Culture of Learning.

U.S. Geologic Survey (USGS). (2017). Citizen science can improve conservation science, natural resource management, and environmental protection. Retrieved from https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/70184968

Concerns for New Researchers

This week’s readings made me think about what may keep some new researchers from blogging. I agree with Hitchcock that “A lot of early career scholars, in particular, worry that exposing their research too early, in too public a manner, will either open them to ridicule, or allow someone else to ‘steal’ their ideas” (Hitchcock, 2014). I think such concerns can be addressed by remembering that research benefits from peer review. In addition, new researchers should not feel restricted to only writing about certain subjects. Thus, it is important not to “let ideas about propriety or academic silos limit you” (Perry, 2015).

Hitchcock, T. (2014, July 28). 3 Rules of Academic Blogging [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2014/07/28/twitter-and-blogs-academic-public-sphere/

Perry, D. (2015, November 11). 3 Rules of Academic Blogging. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from https://www.chronicle.com/article/3-Rules-of-Academic-Blogging/234139