The Future is Coming On

The band “Gorrillaz” being their song “Clint Eastwood” with the following two verses:

Hey, I’m happy, I’m feeling glad,
I got sunshine in a bag.
I’m useless but not for long:
the future is coming on.

Finally, someone let me out of my cage.
Now, time for me is nothin’ ’cause I’m counting no age.
Nah, I couldn’t be there. Now you shouldn’t be scared.
I’m good at repairs and I’m under each snare.
Intangible, bet you didn’t think so,
I command you to, panoramic view:
look I’ll make it all manageable.
Pick and choose, sit and lose.

All you different crews,
chicks and dudes, who you think is really kicking tunes?

Earlier, I compared the narrator of the song to the Shia militias in Iraq.

neither_shall_they_be_caged

In particularly, I highlithed four main similarities

  1. Current US policy makes Iraqi democratic built on the demographic majority of the nation into enemies, instead of friends
  2. Current US policy is unsustainable, and America will inevitable embarece their naturla friends, the Shia (Iraqi) militias
  3. The Shia Iraqi Militias form the spine of the natural SysAdmin reconstruction force in Iraq
  4. The Shia Iraqi Militais have the ability to defeat our enemies, the Baathists and the Qaedists
  5. Defeat can only come from recognizing our natural alliance with the Shia militias.

Yet another story in the New York Times confirms my initial judgements:

American forces have already shifted some forces to new high-violence sectors and may make further adjustments. Shrinking the military zone controlled by the American Baghdad-based division, which now extends south to the cities of Najaf and Karbala, has also been discussed as a way to increase the density of American troops in the capital.

Erecting more barricades to section off parts of the city has been proposed by some officers. So has legitimizing some neighborhood watch ["militia" -- tdaxp] organizations. That idea cuts against the policy to abolish militias but has been advocated by some military officials as a useful expedient.

We will win. So will the Iraqi people. The good guys will kill the bad guys.

The only losers are the Iraqi Sunni Arabs. We fought for three years to save them for the fate they, like the extrainsular Japanese and the European Germans, sowed.

Student Nature, Part III: Nature and Her Consequences

This series doe not argue that only genes matter. The emergent rules of complex systems (Bloom, 2000; Johnson, 2006, 2), in addition to more mundane matters such as instructional processes (Beins, 2002, 308; Fels, 1993, 365; Zubizarreta, 1996, 126), detailed syllabi (Barker, 2002, 382), and perhaps classroom size (Lisska, 1996, 93), effect education and classroom enjoyment in obvious ways. Still, genes interact with the environment, so both are important to educators. Just as series life decisions are correlated with an interaction between environment and genes (Capsi, 2003, 386), so education is as well. Next I outline how our genetic heritages should effect how we teach. Controversy should not keep us from the truth. A highly successful method of peer teaching, Cooperative Learning (see, for example, Slavin, 1999, 74)), is often not used because of aversion to the use of rewards that are external to the student (Slavin, 1996). Similarly, if genetic knowledge is ignored because it does not fit our pre-existing biases, shame on us.

Rationality may be overrated. Lieberman, Schreiber, and Ochsner noted that “”Because behavior is often driven by automatic mechanisms, self-reports of mental processes are notoriously unreliable and susceptible to many forms of contamination” (2003, 682). Yet many texts argue that reflection and self-reports are valuable tools (Moshman, 2005, 43) instead of dubious, context-specific guesswork (see, for example, Bower, 2006; Kurzban & DeScioli, 2005, 20-21). For instance, when asked to give as much force as they received, subjects will inadvertently hit harder than they were hit because of evolved quirks in our nervous system (Shergill, 2003, 187). This is because, literally, people do not know what they are doing. Further, people put much more value on losses than gains of equal magnitude, when logically there is no reason to do other than emotional predisposition (Jervis, 2004, 165-167). The emotional system is tied up with the logical thinking in the brain (McDermott, 2004, 693; Spezio & Adolphs, 13) so much so that “those who were instructed to think of reasons why they liked or disliked [a chose made in an experiment] ended up, on average, less happy with their choice… than subjects who were not asked to provide reasons” (Camerer, Lowenstein, and Prelec, 2003, 23). Does this call rational discourse into any doubt?


Likewise, group deliberations must be rethought. Constructed group identities lead to conflict (Maalouf, 2003, 21) because xenophobia and ethnocentricism are often genetically adaptive (Hammond & Axelrod, 2006, 10). Though it is clearly possible to reduce actual conflicts (Sapolsky, 2004), group aggression is a function of environment and genes, after all, the capacity for violence is in our genes. What to do with this? What to do with the fact that fear seems conducive to learning (Lupia & Menng, 2006, 3-4,7). We get nowhere if we do not ask.

Politics, too may be a concern. The finding that people like those who have similar attitudes to themselves (Mutz, 2006, 8) immediately strikes us as a problem for socialization, but learning that not only attitudes but also, and seperately (Alford & Hibbing, 2006, 13), political beliefs (Alford & Hibbing, 2004) are generally heritable shows us that socialization may have limits. Compound this with the historical politicalization of education (Fass, 307) as well as that differences are as conflicting as they are “enriching” (Taylor, 1996, 137), or even a world where terrorism is positively correlated with educational achievement (Atran, 2003, 1536) and you have a recipe for trouble.

In other papers, for other classes, I have argued for deliberative proceedings and group work. I believe these are effective tools and that student empowerment is vital for proper classroom education. I also believe that evolutionary theory and population genetics will give us educators important clues about how to best teach our students, whatever their age. But if we shirk from hard work because we are uncomfortable with some of the possibilities, or retreat with disgust as the questions raised we are like a farmer who, too lazy to reach his hands high, never picks the tastiest fruit.


Student Nature, a companion series to Learning Evolved
1. The Nature of the Student
2. The Natures of Our Students
3. Nature and Her Consequences
4. Bibliography

Quick & Dirty Literature Review on Students with Learning Disabilities

Like my q&d lit review for the ultimatum game, this post is for my own benefit. If you want something actually interesting dealing with learning, read “Nature and Her Consequences” (part of my series on student nature), or Mark of ZenPundit‘s “Horizontal Thinking at Cooperative Commons” (which links to “Remember Lateral Thinking?). Or even check out my older series on learning — Classroom Democracy, Learning Evolved, and Liberal Education.


Identifying learning disabled students have been troublesome (Rechly, 1996; Scruggs & Mastropieri, 2002), as have been identifying learning-disabled adults (Adelman & Vogel, 1993, 227). Learning disabled students appear to be cluster into language-defecit, visual-deficit, reading-deficit, behavioral-deficit, and unknown defecits (Bender & Golearning disableden, 1990).
Teachers judge high-achieving students, with or without learning disabilities, positively while they view low-performing learnig disabled students less favorably than low-performing, non-learning-disabled students (Meltzer, & Katzir-Cohen, Miller, & Roditi, 2001) though this does not negatively effect l-d social confidence more than that for n-learning disableds (Vaughn & Haager, 1994) . Low-performing learning disabled students also face disproportionate social problems (Nowicki, 2003), though generally l-d boys do not have less friends than non-l-d boys (Bear, Juvonen, & McInerney, 1993). Low-performers are also associated with depression and suicide (Bender, Rosenkrans, & Crane, 1999).
Categorization of teacher-l-d interaction is complex but predictable (Cook, 2004). Likewise, perceived preperation of teachers appears to very, with some classes of teacherse feeling prepared (Guay, 1994) and others believing they are skill enough to adjust cirrcula to meet l-d’s needs (Simmons, Kameenui, & Chard, 1998). Interestingly, teacher preference and peer social status appear to be highly correlated (Garrett & Crump, 1980), perhaps as a result of widespread teacher ignorance of the best strategies in educating l-ds (Scruggs & Mastropieri, 1994).
Students with l-d may, especially, in writing, have more self-efficacy than they have skill (Klassen, 2002).
Interestingly, a student’s perception of acceptence by peers correlates with depression only for the learning disabled (Heath & Wiener, 1996).
Still, l-ds generally have more classroom behavior problems than nl-d students (Bender & Golearning disableden, 1988). Some of this may be due to the presense of ADHD in many l-d students (Tabassam & Grainger, 2002; Wiener, 1998).
While milearning disabledly learning disabled students tend to be more isolated than average students, generally mixing does occur: prosocial learning disabled students have prosocial peers, while antisocial learning disablede students have antisocial peers (Pearl et al., 1998). This isolation may involve the fact that l-d students perceive themselves to be less skillful than their peers, while most Children have an exagerated sense of their own skills (Scarpati, Malloy, & Fleming, 1996).
Perceptions of students have been judged through questionaires (Conderman, 1995). This reveals that beliefs about learning disabled students change with exposure (Kavale & Reese, 1991)
Asking learning-disabled adults to define learning-disable students has been done before (Reiff, Gerber, & Ginsberg, 1993).
More and more learning-disabled students are attending college (Stage & Milne, 1996) and the transition from dependency to independence, of which college is a part, has recently come into focus (Reiff & deFur, 1992). It is possible that the effect learning disabilities increases as time goes on (Bender & Wall, 1994). Students with learning disabilities looking for their first professional job, especially women, are likely to be more indecivie and have lower aspirations (Rojewski, 1996).
Perhaps a better way to view learning disability is as a risk factor, whose effect depends entirely on its interaction with other factors (Morrison & Cosden, 1997). A somber argument against this, however, is that “no intervention has been designed that eliminates the impact of having a disability” (Hocutt, 1996, 77) — a feat which shoulearning disabled be possible if l-d only acts as an interaction effect.
These findings are combined in exciting research that shows that l-ds in college view themselves as more socially accepted than non-l-ds (Cosden & McNamara, 1997) and display higher levels of resilience (Hall, Spruill, & Webster, 2002). Collegiate l-ds are as smart or smarter than the general population, though, which implies low-functioning l-ds may be selecting themselves out (Hughes & Smith, 1990).
Rojewksi states that students “with learning disabilities shoulearning disabled be prepared to deal with chance events and encounters in a purposeful and proactive manner” (1999, 274). The feasibility of this is problematic, however, as social interaction training seems to be only modestly useful (Forness & Kavale, 1996). Explicit problem-solving strategies were used less by learning disabled students than average students or gifted students (Montague & Applegate, 2000).
The effects of modular cognition is unclear. Learning-disability happens in specific domains, and is not global unless it actually occurs in all of the domains (Lyon, 1996). For instance, students who believe that their learning disability is limited in scope do better than those who believe it is nonchanging and global (Rothman & Cosden, 1996). However, a recognition of internal modularity — ascribing success to “luck, intense hard work, well-developed social skills, and perception” can be described as the “imposter syndrome” and can be viewed negatively (Shessel & Reiff, 1999, 312). Transition programs which focus on specific skills, rather than the more domain-general class of all students with -learning disabled, more adequately address the real need (Phelps & Hanley-Maxwell, 1997; Rojewski, 1992). On a more theoretical matter, than understanding of one’s own disability effects school competence but not global self estteem (Cosden, Elliot, Noble, & Kelemen, 1999) makes sene, as competence relates to practice while esteem relates to language,
Place matters for l-ds. Both state and region effects the school services that l-ds receive (McKenzie, 1991).
Peer teaching (Mastropieri, Scruggs, & Graetz, 2003) and assistance are effective processes for increasing learning comprehension among l-d students (Mastropieri & Scruggs, 2001) .
Computerized interaction between Children, both l-d and nl-d, has been studied before (Jellison, 2002).

Adelman, P.B. & Vogel, S.A. (1993). Issues in the Employment of Adults with Learning Disabilities. Learning Disability Quarterly 16(3): 219-232.
Bear, G.G., Juvonen, J., & McInerney, F. (1993). Self-Perceptions and Peer Relations of Boys with and Boys without Learning Disabilities in an Integrated Setting: A Longitudinal Study. Learning Disability Quarterly 16(2): 127-136.
Bender, W.N. & Golearning disableden, L.B. (1988). Adaptive Behavior of Learning Disabled and Non-Learning Disabled Children. Learning Disability Quarterly 11(1): 55-61.
Bender, W.N. & Golearning disableden, L.B. (1990). Subtypes of Students with Learning Disabilities as Derived from Cognitive, Academic, Behavioral, and Self-Concept Measures. Learning Disability Quarterly 13(3): 183-194.
Bender, W.N., Rosenkrans, C.B., & Crane, M. (1999). Stress, Depression, and Suicide among Students with Learning Disabilities: Assessing the Risk. Learning Disability Quarterly 22(2): 143-156.
Bender, W.N. & Wall, M.E. (1994). Social-Emotional Development of Students with Learning Disabilities. Learning Disability Quarterly 17(4): 323-341.
Conderman, G. (1995). Social Status of Sixth- and Seventh-Grade Students with Learnign Disabilities. Learning Disability Quarterly 18(1): 13-24.
Cook, B.G. (2004). Inclusive Teachers’ Attitudes toward Their Students with Disabilities: A Replication and Extension. The Elementary School Journal 104(4): 307-320.
Cosden, M., Elliot, K., Noble, S., & Kelemen, E. (1999). Self-Understanding and Self-Esteem in Children with Learning Disabilities. Learning Disability Quarterly 22(4): 279-290.
Cosden, M.A. & McNamara, J. (1997). Self-Concept and Perceived Social Support among College Students with and without Learning Disabilities. Learning Disability Quarterly 20(1): 2-12.
Forness, S.R. & Kavale, K.A. (1996). Treating Social Skill Deficits in Children with Learning Disabilities: A Meta-Analysis of the Research. Learning Disability Quarterly 19(1): 2-13.
Garrett, M.K. & Crump, W.D. (1980). Peer Acceptance, Teacher Preference, and Self-Appraisal of Social Status among Learning Disabled Students. Learning Disability Quarterly 3(#): 42-48.
Guay, D.M. (1994). Students with Disabilities in the Art Classroom: How Prepared Are We?. Studies in Art Education 36(1): 44-56.
Hall, C.W., Spruill, K.L., & Webster. R. E. (2002). Motivational and Attitudinal Factors in College Students with and without Learning Disabilities. Learning Disability Quarterly 25(2): 79-86.
Heath, N.L. & Wiener, J. (1996). Depression and Nonacademic Self-Perceptions in Children with and without Learning Disabilities. Learning Disability Quarterly 19(1): 34-44.
Hocutt, A.M. (1996). Effectiveness of Special Education: Is Placement the Critical Factor?. The Future of Children 6(1): 77-102.
Hughes, C.A. & Smith, J.O. (1990). Cognitive and Academic Performance of College Students with Learning Disabilities: A Synthesis of the Literature. Learning Disability Quarterly 13(1): 66-79.
Jellison, J.A. (2002). On-Task Participation of Typical Students Close to and Away from Classmates with Disabilities in an Elementary Music Classroom. Journal of Research in Music Education 50(4): 343-355.
Kavale, K.A. & Reese. J.H. (1991). Teacher Beliefs and Perceptions about Learning Disabilities: A Survey of Iowa Practitioners. Learning Disability Quarterly 14(2): 141-160.
Klassen, R. (2002). A Question of Calibration: A Review of the Self-Efficacy Beliefs of Students with Learning Disabilities. Learning Disability Quarterly 25(2): 88-102.
Lyon, G.R. (1996). Learning Disabilities. The Future of Children 6(1): 54-76.
Mastropieri, M.A. & Scruggs, T.E. (2001). Promoting Inclusion in Secondary Classrooms. Learning Disability Quarterly 24(4): 265-274.
Mastropieri, M.A., Scruggs, T.E., & Graetz, J.E. (2003). Reading Comprehension Instruction for Secondary Students: Challenges for Struggling Students and Teachers”>. Learning Disability Quarterly 26(2): 103-116.
McKenzie, R.G. (1991). Content Area Instruction Delivered by Secondary Learning Disabilities Teachers: A National Survey. Learning Disability Quarterly 14(2): 115-122.
Meltzer, L., Katzir-Cohen, T., Miller, L., & Roditi, B. (2001). The Impact of Effort and Strategy Use on Academic Performance: Student and Teacher Perceptions. Learning Disability Quarterly 24(2): 85-98.
Montague, M. & Applegate, B. (2000). Middle School Students’ Perceptions, Persistence, and Performance in Mathematical Problem Solving. Learning Disability Quarterly 23(3): 215-227.
Morrison, G.M. & Cosden, M.A. (1997). Risk, Resilience, and Adjustment of Individuals with Learning Disabilities. Learning Disability Quarterly 20(1): 43-60.
Nowicki, E.A. (2003). A Meta-Analysis of the Social Competence of Children with Learning Disabilities Compared to Classmates of Low and Average to High Achievement. Learning Disability Quarterly 26(3): 171-188.
Pearl, R., et al. (1998). The Social Integration of Students with Milearning disabled Disabilities in General Education Classrooms: Peer Group Membership and Peer-Assessed Social Behavior. The Elementary School Journal 99(2): 167-185.
Phelps, L.A. & Hanley-Maxwell, C. (1997). School-to-Work Transitions for Youth with Disabilities: A Review of Outcomes and Practices. Review of Educational Research 67(2): 197-226.
Reiff, H.B. & deFur, S. (1992). Definitions of Learning Disabilities from Adults with Learning Disabilities: The Insiders’ Perspectives. Learning Disability Quarterly 16(2): 114-125.
Reschly, D.J. (1996). Identification and Assessment of Students with Disabilities. The Future of Children 6(1): 40-53.
Rojewski, J.W. (1992). Key Components of Model Transition Services for Students with Learning Disabilities. Learning Disability Quarterly 15(2): 135-150.
Rojewski, J.W. (1996). Occupational Aspirations and Early Career-Choice Patterns of Adolescents with and without Learning Disabilities. Learning Disability Quarterly 19(2): 99-116.
Rojewski, J.W. (1999). The Role of Chance in the Career Development of Individuals with Learning Disabilities Learning Disability Quarterly 22(4): 257-278.
Rothman, H.R. & Cosden, M. (1995). The Relationship between Self-Perception of a Learning Disability and Achievement, Self-Concept and Social Support. Learning Disability Quarterly 18(3): 203-212.
Scarpati, S., Malloy, T.E., & Fleming, R. (1996). Interpersonal Perception of Skill Efficacy and Behavioral Control of Adolescents with Learning Disabilities: A Social Relations Approach. Learning Disability Quarterly 19(1): 15-22.
Scruggs, T.E. & Mastropieri, M.A. (1994). Successful Mainstreaming in Elementary Science Classes: A Qualitative Study of Three Reputational Cases. American Educational Research Journal 31(4): 785-811.
Scruggs, T.E. & Mastropieri, M.A. (2002). On Babies and Bathwater: Addressing the Problems of Identification of Learning Disabilities. Learning Disability Quarterly 25(3): 155-168.
Shessel, I. & Reiff, H.B. (1999). Experiences of Adults with Learning Disabilities: Positive and Negative Impacts and Outcomes. Learning Disability Quarterly 22(4): 305-316.
Simmons, D.C., Kameenui, E.J., & Chard, D.J. (1998). General Education Teachers’ Assumptions about Learning and Students with Learning Disabilities: Design-of-Instruction Analysis. Learning Disability Quarterly 21(1): 6-21.
Stage, F.K. & Milne, N.V. (1996). Invisible Scholars: Students with Learning Disabilities. The Journal of Higher Education 67(4): 426-445.
Tabassam, W., & Grainger, J. (2002). Self-Concept, Attributional Style and Self-Efficacy Beliefs of Students with Learning Disabilities with and without Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Learning Disability Quarterly 25(2): 141-151.
Vaughn, S. & Haager, D. (1994). Social Competence as a Multifaceted Construct: How Do Students with Learning Disabilities Fare?. Learning Disability Quarterly 17(4): 253-266.
Weiner, J. (1998). The Psychiatric Morbidity Hypothesis: A Response to San Miguel, Forness, and Kavale. Learning Disability Quarterly 21(3): 195-201.