Archive for the Education Category

Gender and Education

Posted in Education, Mathematics on March 14, 2008 by weirleader

This interesting article brought to light some interesting statistics that I wouldn’t have guessed on my own.  I’m not really sure what to make of it just yet, but I’m hoping that I might at least use the information to encourage my students, especially girls that might not see themselves as capable of going into an engineering-related filed.

Part of the program I work with encourages students to choose a path as they enter their junior year: the Biomed path, or the Engineering path.  Overwhelmingly, the girls tend to prefer Biomed.  That’s not necessarily a problem (before I get flamed for insinuating otherwise) – I just want to make sure all students feel they are capable of either choice.  Last year, for instance, out of about twenty students, only two were girls.

…and STILL so little time!

Posted in Books / Movies / TV, Education with tags , , , , on March 12, 2008 by weirleader

Way back at the beginning, I confessed that I do the procrastination thing and, as you can probably tell from my three blog entries today, I’m very, very busy!  😉

One of the ways I cope with stress is to clean my In-Box.  Before I began this cleaning session, I had accrued 30 “New” messages (mostly these are old ones that I leave new so I remember to do something with them) as well as other, less-important “keepers” that I leave in the In-Box, yet labeled “Read”.  Am I confusing you, yet?  It works well, yet gets unwieldy once I reach a critical mass of about 60 messages lounging around.

Anyhow, in the process of cleaning I come across this list pointed out to me by my brother that I would absolutely LOVE to read, yet have practically no time for at the moment…  and I think to myself “Self, what are you going to do here?  Are you going to archive this message and never again peruse this list (unthinkable!)?  Are you going to leave it cluttering your life (and, consequently, providing fuel for more episodes of distractability)?  A-ha!  You’re going to blog it, so that it’s preserved for posterity’s sake!” And here we are, folks…

okay – I’d really better get back to writing my Geometry test.

Deliberate Practice

Posted in Deep And Profound Brain Things, Education with tags , , , , on March 12, 2008 by weirleader

I’ve written before about this topic, both here and here, but I thought this article from Freakonomics relates well and shows that the process of becoming expert at something can apply as easily to sports as it can to music or chess.

And it was good for me to revisit this concept – too often the day-to-day grind wears away at the idea that “effortful study” can outweigh natural talent, and the feeling that I’m struggling against the tide sets in.  But, according to this concept, it’s the effort that my students put in that matters most!


Posted in Education, Things that make you go Arrgh! on February 22, 2008 by weirleader

So I asked a girl to move to her assigned seat today… she was one seat removed (and thus occupying someone else’s seat), and apparently this was just too much to be asked of her.  She instantly blew up – complaining, muttering under her breath, and in general just causing a stink because of my temerity.

I caught the words “…only one tripping about these stupid-ass seats…,” and quickly realized that this was only going to grow worse (Not to mention, I would soon lose my temper right back.  Not a pretty picture.) , so I told her she should leave.  Standard protocol calls for me to fill out paperwork and process her through our in-house detention, but this class is full of a dozen more just like her who will lose it if I don’t keep them occupied every waking moment.  So I just let her disappear and trust she’ll not get into too much trouble, wherever she’s going.

As she walks by me, she’s still muttering – I catch, “… your four-eyed ass.”  Well, that makes me feel better. 😡

I’ll process her on Monday (now that I’ve had a moment’s silence to process the requisite paperwork) and hopefully will have a day or two more sans said student.  But I’m wondering if I can somehow keep her out until I get an apology.  I mean, she just lit into me like I’d verbally assaulted her or something.

The funny thing is (and I don’t mean hilarious)  that I just had another incident with her earlier this week (milder, however) and tried to explain to her that she should keep silent until she’s calmer and then discuss with me whatever has her so irate.  Somehow, I’m figuring she didn’t catch my drift.

TGIF?  I wish it was summer!

Shoot the Man Who Invented Neckties

Posted in Deep And Profound Brain Things, Education, Meanderings on February 14, 2008 by weirleader

I’m actually going to post this in reverse of how I discovered it. I came across this article suggesting that college professors pay more attention to their level of dress, which alone makes for a pretty interesting read. I’ve always been of the opinion that if clothes are having an effect on the learning going on in a given class, then there’s a deeper problem somewhere. I can recall many courses with quite casually-dressed profs that I enjoyed, learned a great deal from, and never once questioned the “authority” of my instructor. In fact, in some circumstances, I’d say that I enjoyed seeing professors “dressing down”, just because it humanized them a bit. Continue reading

Opportunity Cost 101

Posted in current events, Education, Meanderings on February 14, 2008 by weirleader

Geez, you’d think I’m getting some sort of kickbacks for all my references to Freakonomics lately, but, to be honest, there are just so many interesting things they discuss.

Take this article on over-enrolled classes and how one enterprising student attempted to sell her seat! Man, that’s gotta be good for the ego (of the professor, I mean) – assuming the demand is due to the “greatness” of the class as opposed to it being some sort of prereq.  It makes me really curious what it’d be like to sit in on a lecture by Prof. Levitt.

Be sure you read through all the links as well, because some are as interesting as the original article!

Answer once, Answer twice, Answer Vocab questions for rice

Posted in Education on February 6, 2008 by weirleader

Daniyel pointed me to this site wherein lies a ‘rice-a-thon’.  😉

According to the site, for every vocab question you get right 20 grains of rice are donated through the United Nations.  It sounds a bit odd, but can be addictive for people like me.  As if I needed an excuse to blow large chunks of my day quizzing myself!

Incidentally, my highest vocab level (as rated by the site) is 47.  So consider the gauntlet dropped! 😛