Category Archives: UNL / College Teaching

Why People Do Things

Humor and College Teaching,” by Howard Pollio, , The Teaching of Psychology: Essays in Honor of Wilbert J. McKeachie and Charles L. Brewer, 69-80, http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=6Bp0zsdGTkQC&oi=fnd&pg=PR7&sig=P3wab6vQ4aMT208w2IGKSiEe-7c&dq=%22Humor+and+College+Teaching%22+Howard+Pollio&prev=http://scholar.google.com/scholar%3Fq%3D%2522Humor%2Band%2BCollege%2BTeaching%2522%2BHoward%2BPollio%26hl%3Den%26lr%3D%26safe%3Doff%26sa%3DG.
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Self-Regulated Learning in College Students: Knowledge, Strategies, and Motivation,” by Paul Pintrich and Teresa Garcia, Student Motivation, Cognition, and Learning: Essays in Honor of Wilbert J. McKeachie, 113-133, http://www.amazon.ca/Student-Motivation-Cognition-Learning-McKeachie/dp/0805813764.

Frames, Biases, and Rational Decision-Making in the Human Brain,” by Benedetto De Martino et al, Science, 4 August 2006, Vol 313 pp 684-687, http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/313/5787/684.

Articles from both main classes appear below, and it is neat when they overlap. For instance:

In general, students who use more deep-processing strategies like elaboration and organization are more likely to do better in the course in terms of grades on assignment, exams, and papers, as well as overall course grade. In addition, students who attempt to control their cognition and behavior through the use of planning, monitoring, and regulating strategies also do better on these academic performance measures. (Pintrich and Garcia 121)

and in neurobiology:

Our data raise an intriguing possibility that more ‘rational’ individuals have a better and more refined representation of their own emotional biases that enables them to modify their behavior in appropriate circumstances, as for example when such biases might lead to suboptimal decisions.” (De Martino et al 687)

Just as fun is when Evolutionary/Genetic theories invade Educational Psychology outright.

After all, college faculty deal with whole students, not an array of motivational and cognitive constructs. Bereiter (1990) argued that a focus on the individual is too large and not context-specific enough. He suggested the use of “modules” that are “carried” by the individual, thereby allowing for individual differences and avoiding problems of strong contextualism; but at the same time, he noted that these modules are assembled and activated differentially depending on the situation. (Pintrich and Garcia 125)

(hmm… experiential and genetic individuality… hmmm)

Modules, additionally, are also at the root of fingertip-feeling and multiple intelligences.

The rest of the notes appear below the fold:


Does humor facilitate learning? The answer is ‘yes’ if we look at recall a month and a half after learning. The answer is ‘no’ if we look at recall tested immediately after presentation. (Pollio 76)

In contrast, Bill [McKeachie] has always taken a more cognitive view of learning and as he observed in Teaching Tips, (McKeachie, 1994), “human beings are learning organisms — seeking, organizing, coding, storing, and retrieving information all their lives; building on cognitive structures to continue learning throughout life, (certainly not losing the capacity to learn);; continually weeking meaning” (p. 289) (Pintrich and Garcia 114-115)

First, it has become commonplace in cognitive psychology to note that students’ prior knowledge influences their learning. In some ways, this general principle has probably replaced the law of effect and law of exercise as a basic principle of learning.” (Pintrich and Garcia 118)

Donald (1990, this volume) showed that university faculty do think and reason somewhat differently about the nature of evidence and the logic of argument, depending on their discipline… It appears that students who are less committed to an absolutist view of knowledge (e.g., “there is only one right answer and authorities should tell it to me”) are more likely to be mastery-oriented and use deeper processing strategies (Schutz, Pintrich, and Young 1993)… Most faculty members believe that by teaching the content and methods of their discipline, students will develop the appropriate epistemic beliefs and thinking frames, but Donald’s work (this volume) suggests that this may not be the case.” (Pintrich and Garcia 120)

We believe that one of the major contributions of his work for the field of college student learning is its reliance on a theoretically-based model of the active, constructive learner as well as its focus on the actual cognitive and metacognitive stratgies that students might use when they try to learn and study, rather than generaly learning or personality styles (e.g. introversion-extroversion, field dependend or independence; Myers-Biggs profiles). Much of the research on college student learning has concentrated on these general personality styles and it is not clear how they are linked tos tudents’ actual study behavior or their cognitive processing of lecture and text information. (Pintrich and Garcia 121)

Besides these general substantive findings, a second more practical contribution of this research has been the development of a self-report instrument for assessing learning strategies and motivation, the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire or MSLQ (Pintrich, Smith, Garcia, & McKeachie, 1993). (Pintrich and Garcia 122)

Traditionally, cognitive research has focused on learners in an experimental setting and not dealt with motivation, thereby portraying a ‘motivationaly inert’ learner.” (Pintrich and Garcia 123)

In contrast, the strategy of defensive pessimism is a pattern in which individuals use anxiety to fuel effort (Norem & Cantor, 1986). Defensive pessimism involves setting unrealistically low expectations that create anxiety; this anxiety is then used to promote greater efforts whose dividends are generally superior performance. (Pintrich and Garcia 126)

As Zimmerman (1989, this volume) and others like Corno (1993) pointed out, students’ ability to control their cognition, motivation, and volition can have a dramatic influence on learning. (Pintrich and Garcia 126)

Theories of decision-making have tended to emphasize the operation of analytic processes in guiding choice beahvior. However, more intuitive or emotional respons. (De Martino et al 684)

We investigated the neurobiological basis of the framing effect by means of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and a novel financial decision-making task. Particpants (20 university students or graduates) received a message indicating the mount of money that they would initially receive in that trial (eg, “You receive 50”). Subjects then had to choose between a “sure” option and a “gamble” option presented in the context of two diferent frames. The “sure” option was formulated as either the amount of money retained from the intiial amount (eg keep 20 of the 50; “Gain” frame) or as the mount of money lost from the initial amount (eg lose 30 of the 50; “Lose frame). The “gamble” option was identical in both frames and was represented as a pie chart depicting the probability of winning or losing (Fig 1.) (14) (De Martino et al 684)

Consequently, we could identify brain areas that were more active when subjects chose in according with the frame effect (ie Gsure + Lgamble) as opposed to when their decisions ran counter to their general behavioral tendency (Ggamble + Lsure). (De Martino et al 686)

Using the overall susceptibility of each subject to the frame manipulation as a between-subjects statistical regressor, operationalized as a “rationality index” (14), we found a significant correlation between decreased suscepctibility to the framing effect and enhanced activity in the orbital and medial prefrontal cortex (OMPFC), specifically in the right orbitofrontal cortext and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. (De Martino et al 686)

Consequently, our findings indicate that frame-related valence information is incorporated into the relative assessment of options to exert control over the apparent risk sensitivity of individual decisions. (De Martino et al 686-687)

Curriculum Development (with Thoughts on Genetic Factors)

Teaching Through the Curriculum: The Development of a Comprehensive Honors Program,” by Anthony Lisska, in Inspiring Teaching, October 1996, http://www.amazon.com/Inspiring-Teaching-Carnegie-Professors-Speak/dp/1882982142.

Formulating and Clarifying Curriculum Objectives,” by John Biggs, Teaching for Quality Learning at University, 1 February 2003, http://www.amazon.com/Teaching-Learning-University-Research-Education/dp/0335211682/sr=1-1/qid=1158611440/ref=pd_bbs_1/002-0625372-8333634?ie=UTF8&s=books.

Multiple Intelligences After Twenty Years,” by Howard Gardner, Paper Presented at the American Educational Research Association, 21 April 2003, http://www.pz.harvard.edu/PIs/HG_MI_after_20_years.pdf (from Wikipedia).

Mark of ZenPundit‘s recent call of autotelic education kindly listed both Howard Gardner and myself as inspirations. Happily, an online paper by Howard shows that, hopefully, we are inspiring in different ways. On genetics, for example:

Second, from the start, one of the appealing aspects of MI [Multiple Intelligences] theory was its reliance on biological evidence. At the time, in the early 1980s, there was little relevant evidence from genetics or evolutionary psychology; such speculations were mere handwaving. There was powerful evidence from the study of neuropsychology for the existence of different mental faculties; and that evidence constituted the strongest leg on which to justify MI theory.

At the time that MI theory was introduced, it was very important to make the case that human brains and human minds are highly differentiated entities. It is fundamentally misleading to think about a single mind, a single intelligence, a single problem-solving capacity. And so, along with many others, I tried to make the argument that the mind/brain consists of many modules/organs/intelligences, each of which operates according to its own rules in relative autonomy from the others.

Happily, a piece I have to read for college teaching this week also includes an excerpt from Gardner on page 44:

The greatest enemy of understanding is coverage — I can’t repeat that often enough. If you’re determined to cover a lot of things, you are guaranteeing that most kids will not understand, because they haven’t had time enough to go into things in depth, to figure out what the requisite understanding is, and be able to perform that understanding in different situations

Which he repeated in the same public speech, on page 9:

Efforts to cover too much material doom the achievement of understanding. We are most likely to enhance understanding if we probe deeply in a small number of topics. And once the decision is made to “uncover” rather than “cover,” it is possible to take advantage of our multiple intelligences. Put concretely, we can approach topics in a number of ways; we can make use of analogies and comparisons drawn from a range of domains; and we can express the key notions or concepts in a number of different symbolic forms.

The rest of my notes for the week’s reading are below the fold:


“In fact, the longer most undergraduate students… stay in most tertiary institutions, the less deep and the more surface oriented they tend to become, and the more their understanding is assessment related.” (Biggs 2003 34-35)

“The Harvard Project Zero Team (Garder 1993; Wiske 1998) focused on the higher levels of understanding in high school science. They came up with the idea that if students ‘really’ understood a concept they would act differently in contexts involving that concept, and could use the concept in unfamiliar or novel contexts.” (Biggs 2003 35)

“This distinction between knowing more and restructuring parallels two major curriculum aims: to increase knowledge (quantitative: unistructural becoming increasingly multistructural); and to deepen understanding (qualitative: relational, then extended abstract).” (Biggs 2003 39-40)

“In sum, functioning knowledge involves declarative knowledge (the academic knowledge base), procedural knowledge (having the skills), and conditional knowledge (knowing the circumstances for using them).” (Biggs 2003 41)

“What level of understanding are the students to achieve? The following steps are needed. 1. Decide what kind of knowledge is to be involved [and] 2. Select the topcis to teach [as well as] 3. The purpose for teaching the topic, and hence the level of knowledge desirable for students to acquire.” (Biggs 2003 44-45)

“High-level, extended abstract involvement is indicated by such verbs as theorize, hypothesize, generalize, reflect, generate, and so on. They call for the student to conceptualize at a level extending beyond what has been dealt with in actual teaching. The next level of involvement, relational, is indicated by apply, integrate, analyze, explain, and the like; they indicate orchestration between facts and theory, action and purpose. Classify, describe, list, indicate a multistructural level fo involvement: the understanding of boundaries; but not of systems. Memorize, identify, recognize are unistructural: direct, concrete, each sufficient to itself but minimalistic.” (Biggs 2003 46)

“The following questions need addressing: Why [for what student benefit] are you teaching the subject? [and] Is it an introductory or advanced subject?” (Biggs 2003 47)

“Quantitative definitions of a grade make true criterion-referencing extremely difficult.” (Biggs 2003 50)

“To meet these [Honor Program] needs required, we suggested the accomplishment of several goals as articulated int he following propositions: … 5) a physical space was required that would be devoted to honors students and their work.” (Lisska 1996 93) (compare to importance of geography in creativity)

Social Teaching Strategies

The College Classroom from the Perspective of Cognitive Psychology,” by Rogert Bruning, in Handbook of College Teaching: Theory and Applications, 1995, http://www.amazon.com/Handbook-College-Teaching-Applications-Collection/dp/0313281424.

“Teaching Dialogically: Its Relationship To Critical Thinking in College Students,” by Susan Reiter , in Student Motivation, Cognition, and Learning, 1994.

Notes on two chapters, including one by a UNL faculty (and a co-academic of the man I profiled Coming Anarchy under). While reading these articles, I was especially curious for any similarities to evolutionary psychology or to classroom democracies.

“Social communities are perhaps the only effective way in which ‘dispositions for thinking’ can be shaped.” (Bruning 1995 4)

“A community-of-learners approach to developing cognitive abilities also adds to the motivation to perform intellectually. Until very recently, research in cognitive psychology had emphasized ‘cold cognition’ — the processes of learning, comprehension, problem solving, and decision making. Newer models include not only purely cognitive processes but also motivational ones (e.g. Ames & Archer 1998, Dweck and Legget 1989, Pintrich 1990, Schallert 1991).” (Bruning 1995 5)


“Unlike the associationist-behavioral view, which focused on environmental influences on behavior or “conditions of learning. cognitive psychology seeks to understand the mind’s structures and processes (Bruning 1995 3)

“Just as there was faith in the ability to generalize from simple to complex learning, there was faith in the continuity between animals and humans — that principles derived from study of the former would contyribute to our understanding of the latter.” (Bruning 1995 5)

“This recognition has come from pedagogical trial and error than as a deducation from cognitive theory; the most successful programs for developing critical thought have been those involving social interaction.” (Bruning 1995 4)

“Large domain-specific networks of knowledge are necessary, but not sufficient, for effective problem solving. Knowledge becomes fully functional only when it is linked to actions — proceduralized — and these actions become automatic. In our college classes, we need to aim beyond simply imparting knowledge. Teachers need to help students discuss and clarify meaningful information, critique their own and others’ thinking, and express their thoughts in letters and papers.” (Bruning 1995 8)

“Schemata are hypothesized mental frameworks that give organization to incoming information, that guide attention and perception, and that limit or enhance the leaner’s ability to understand information.” (Bruning 1995 8)

“Rumelhart (1991) has outlined several features of schemata. First, schemata can contain a wide variety of information, from simple to highly complex. Second, the information in schemata is organized in hierarchical fashion. Third, schemata drive the interpretations that individuals make of their experiences. And fourth, schemata contain slots, some of which have fixed values and some of which have optional values,” (Bruning 1995 8)

“In a prototype of empirical research that used the framework of schema theory, Pichert and Anderson (1977) had individuals read a description of a house from either the perspective of a prospective home buyer or a burglar.” (Bruning 1995 9)

“No general problem-solving approach, no matter how potent, appears to be able to substitute for specific knowledge about the topic in question — that is, for so-called domain-specific knowledge.” (Bruning 1995 9)

“Domain knowledge often is further grouped into two subcategories: declarative knowledge (knowledge of the semantic information about the domain, or “knowledge of what”) and procedural knowledge (knowledge that links declarative knowledge to specific performances of domain-related tasks, or “knowledge of how” — the ability to turn declarative facts and concepts into action).” (Bruning 1995 10)

“On the other hand, cognitive research has made it clear that our cognitive systems have severe limitations. Humans can basically pay attention to only one thing at a time.” (Bruning 1995 10)

“We interact with the world in a very flexible, adaptive way, not on the basis of inflexible, computer-like algorithms. Our cognitive system, we find, is at its best in helping us adapt to a world in which information often is imprecise, sometimes even conflicting.” (Bruning 1995 2-3)

“Using cooperative learning and shared work may require a fair degree of readjustment in our thinking; college teachers have traditionally honored individual achievement, and individual achievement only. However, many cognitive processes — such as thinking strategically, giving reasons, clearly expressing ideas and justifying them, and writing and speaking effectively — can only develop in a social context, in a community of learners that applies community-process criteria.” (Bruning 1995 19)

“Educational research has yet to substantiate which specific types of direct critical thinking methods are most effective for college students.” (Reiter 276)

“It incorporates mayn specific recommendations in the critical thinking literature, including (1) electing multiple perspectives through instructor questioning [refs] (b) requiring that students weigh various alternatives through role-playing techniques [refs] and (c) asking students to devise arguments against positions that they favor (Brookefield, 1987, Deloz 1986).” (Reiter 276)

“In summary, the two-way interaction data suggest that the treatment works only with students who report that they are highly motivated.” (Reiter 299)

“Therefore, underling beliefs in course task value may shape a student’s decision to engage in dialogical instruction, and enhance or diminish its effect on his or her critical thinking.” (Reiter 301)

“The perception by students that course tasks used in dialogical instruction have little utility or value may lead to student apathy and disengagement. Instead of creating dissonance within the student, the student may simply remain disengaged and unmoved by stimulus.” (Reiter 302)

“Quellmalz (1987) suggests that in order for classroom inquiry approaches (like dialogical instruction) to be succssful, student smust be engaged in ‘sustained inquiry,’ if they are to acquire ‘strategic patterns’ in critical thinking (p. 95). Sustained inquiry may entail infusing dialogical instruction, at some level, as part of every class period (eg, asking students to being ecah class period by stating a position and then articulating an opposing one).” (Reiter 302)

“Extrinsic rewards for demonstraing critical thinking should be carefully considered when using direct critical thinking interventions like dialogical instruction. Clearly, it sends one message to students to encourage dialogical thinking in class discussions. It sends quite another to also require dialogical thinking skills ont he assignments, papers, projects, and exams that constitute a student’s final grade.” (Reiter 303)

“Based on instructor logs and videotypes of treatment semester instruction, student participation seemed to rise rather than fall after role modeling sessions, whether handled awkardly or well.” (Reiter 305)

On Teaching and Learning

Self-Regulation Behaviors in Underprepared (Developmental) and Regular Admission College Students,” by Kathryn Ley and Dawn Young, Contemporary Educational Psychology, 1998, Vol. 23, 42-64, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=9514688&dopt=Abstract.

Self-efficacy: An Essential Motive to Learn,” by Barry Zimmerman, Contemporary Educational Psychology, 2000, Vol. 25, 82-91, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=10620383&dopt=Abstract.

Conceptions, Styles, and Approaches Within Higher Education: Analytic Abstractions and Everyday Experience,” by Noel Entwistle, Velda McCune, and Paul Walker, in Perspectives on Thinking, Learning, and Cognitive Styles, 1 January 2001, http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0805834311?v=glance.

Academic Self-Efficacy and First-Year College Student Performance and Adjustment,” by Martin Chemebers, Li-tze Hu, and Ben Garcia, Journal of Educational Psychology, 2001, Vol. 93 No 1, 55-64, http://eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/Home.portal?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=RecordDetails&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=EJ638726&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=eric_accno&objectId=0900000b8007adca.

Do Psychosocial and Study Skill Factors Predict College Outcomes? A Meta-Analysis,” by Steven Robbins et al, Psychological Bulletin, 2005, Vol. 130 No. 2, 261-268, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=14979772&dopt=Abstract.

Do Psychosocial and Study Skill Factors Predict College Outcomes? Comment on Robbins et al (2004),” by Norman Weissberg and David Owen, Psychological Bulletin, 2005, Vol. 131 No. 3, 407-409, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=15869335&dopt=Abstract.

Promiting Successful College Outcomes for All Students: Reply to Weissberg and Owen(2005)“,” by Seteven Robbins, Huy Le, and Kristy Lauver, Psychological bulletin, 2005, Vol. 131 No. 3, 410-411, http://scholar.google.com/url?sa=U&q=http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi%3Fcmd%3DRetrieve%26db%3DPubMed%26list_uids%3D15869336%26dopt%3DCitation.

Note for class discussion. Just a couple really interesting ones

“The latter self-concept measures emphasize self-esteem reactions by posing self-evaluative questions, such as ‘How good are you at English?’ By contrast, self-efficacy items focus exclusively on task-specific performance expectations, such as ‘How certain are you that you cna diagram this sentence?'” (Zimmerman 2000 84)

I became skeptical of linguistic self-reports after my study of Coming Anarchy revealed no “Identity” correlation but found other commonalities.

“Interestingly, the variables ‘available financial resources’ and ‘hours planned on working during school’ are key predictors of admissions decisions and of academic performance in ACT’s enrollment management prediction services for 4-year postsecondary institutions.” (Robbins et al 2005 275)

Huh?


“Self-regulation occurs when one uses personal (self) processes to strategically monitor and control his or her behavior and the environment.” (Ley and Young 1998 43)

“A meta-analysis with participants across K-16 revealed that improved learning outcomes resulted from learning skill interventions but, that improved outcomes were less likely when the intervention targeted a selected deficit.” (Ley and Young 1998 46)

“Study skills measured by self-report Likert items failed to predict achievement among 71 developmental students, while it did predict achievement among 168 regular admission students.” (Ley and Young 1998 47)

“An unanswered question is, can instruction be designed to compensate for poor self-regulation among underprepared or academically weak college students? A related but different research question is, what instructional interventions improve self regulation skills rather than only compensate for them?” (Ley and Young 1998 58)

“In the late 1970s, a number of researchers began to assess self-beliefs in a more tasks-specific way, and one of the most important of these efforts focused on self-efficacy.” (Zimmerman 2000 82)

“Although self-efficacy and outcome expectations were both hypothesized to affect motivation, he suggested that self-efficacy would play a larger role because ‘the types of outcomes people anticipate depend largely on their judgements of how well they will be able to perform in given situations.'” (Zimmerman 2000 83)

“Math self-efficacy was more predictive of problem solving than was math self-concept, or, for that matter, perceived usefulness of mathematics, prior experience with mathematics, or gender.” (Zimmerman 2000 85)

“Bandura (1986) has questioned the value of general control beliefs because students may feel anxious about controlling one type of subject matter or performance setting (e.g. solving mathematical problems in a limited time period) but not others.” (Zimmerman 2000 85)

“To facilitate improvements in perceived efficacy, researchers have trained students with learning and motivational deficiencies by modeling specific self-regulatory techniques, describing their form, and providing enactive feedback regarding their impact.” (Zimmerman 2000 88)

“In introducing this research area, a clear initial distinction should be made between the notion of a ‘concept,’ as an agreed category, and a ‘conception,’ as an individual construction from knowledge and experience.” (Entwistle, McCune, and Walker 2001 104)

“The five categories [of learning] originally identified can be described as follows:
building up knowledge
memorizing by rote; Reproducing
acquiring facts and methods for future use
abstracting meaning for oneself; Transforming
seeking to understand reality” (Entwistle, McCune, and Walker 2001 105)

“Stenberg (1997) has argued that an ability indicates what a person is able to do, whereas a style describes the way someone prefers to do it.” (Entwistle, McCune, and Walker 2001 106-106)

“Matson’s (1976) naturalistic experiment produced just the deep-surface distinction, but interviews about everyday studying brought out the pervasive influence of assessment procedures on learning and studying. It was necessary to introduce an additional category — strategic approach — in which the intention was to achieve the highest possible grades by using organized study methods and effective time management.” (Entwistle, McCune, and Walker 2001 108)

“The concepts identified in describing student learning have parallels in the ways academic staff teach. At the most general level are conceptions of teaching. Below that level comes styles of teaching, which indicate consistency in preferences for particular ways of teaching, rooted in personality. Approaches to teaching are more affected by specific purposes and individual teaching contexts, whereas teaching methods and techniques cover specific classroom activities.” (Entwistle, McCune, and Walker 2001 122)

“I developed the practice of my teaching on the basis of my more developed view of learning and began, for example, to design and use questions in class to foster engagement, rather than as a token gesture, obtaining the ‘right answer’ from those who already know it.” (Entwistle, McCune, and Walker 2001 127)

“Bandura (1997) described self-efficacy as ‘the belief in one’s capabilities to organize and execute courses of action required to produce given attainments… Self-efficacy has been related to persistence, tenacity, and achievement in educational settings” (Chemers, Hu, and Garcia 2001 55)

“Bouffard-Bouchard (1990) and Cervone and Peake (1986) manipulated efficacy beliefs of students by providing ficticious performance norms during feedback. Students in the positive feedback (i.e., high self-efficacy) condition set higher aspirations, showed greater strategic flexibility in the search for solutions, achieved higher performance, and were more accurate in evaluating the level of their performance than were students of equal ability who received less positive feedback.” (Chemers, Hu, and Garcia 2001 56)

“There was compelling support for the role of self-efficacy and optimism in 1st-year college students’ success and adjustment.” (Chemers, Hu, and Garcia 2001 61)

“We know that a combination of high school grades and standardized achievement test s cores account for approximately 25% of the variance when predicting first-year college GPA.” (Robbins et al 2005 262).

“Harackiewicz, Barron, Tauer, and Elliot (2002) highlighted this point by finding that mastery goals predicted continued interest in college whereas performance goals predicted academic performance.” (Robbins et al 2005 265)

“Moreover, lest one think this is a minor distinction, the most recent best estimate for the number of 4-year commuter colleges as a percentage of the total number of senior colleges is 32%.” (Weissberg and Owen 2005 407)

“For example, Lichtman et al. (1989) cited a correlation between high school average and college GPA of .143 for Black students and .446 for White students, whereas Weissberg et al. (2003) found a similar disparity with a correlation of .24 for Blacks and .56 for Whites.” (Weissberg and Owen 2005 308).

“Moreover, both the College Board and the ACT have published ata in their research report series showing that there are limited, if any, racial and ethnic differences between the correlation of a standardized test score and college grades, whereas there are significant differences between high school grades and college grades.” (Robbins, Le, and Lauever 2005 411).

On Teaching (and Maps of Fantasty Lands)

A number of articles (listed below the fold) with notes that ranged form brilliant to Marxist clap-trap. So-so. I want to highlight one because I know it will be of special interest to Catholicgauze

I asked him if he worked with maps in geography. He did. So I suggested that he do his paper on maps and fantasy, and I brainstormed ideas with him. Maps, like fantasy, are neither objective nor value-free. They are someone’s vision of reality, a combination of the imagination and the intellect. I had read a fascinating book on maps by Peter Whitfield (1994). He argued that the act of representing reality in maps was not too different form the act of representing it in art or literature. It was the same impulse to crystallize, comprehend, and therefore to control aspects of reality.

A number of fantasy texts in the course had maps or theories voyaging — for example, Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, the film Casablanca, and a discussion of Galileo. The geography student’s essay included Gulliver’s Travels. He argued that maps mirror the minds of the society or the individual from which they spring. The visual space of maps reflects a navigational, scientific, religious, political, national, or colonizing cosmology. He connected the rationality and irrationality of maps to central themes in the novel and the fantasy course. He analyzed the ways in which the implication of voyaging in maps related to the transformation of character, whether individual, scientific, or national, Gulliver, the Royal Society, or England. ” (Cooper-Clark 172)

The rest are, of course, below the fold.


Cooper-Clark, D.(1996). A story waiting to be told: Narratives of teaching, scholarship, and theory. In J.K. Roth (Ed.) Inspiring Teaching: Carnegie Professors of the Year Speak. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing Company, Inc. (pp. 166-175).

Dawson, J.D. (1996) Relations of mutual trust and objects of common interest. In J.K. Roth (Ed.) Inspiring Teaching: Carnegie Professors of the Year Speak. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing Company, Inc. (pp. 44-53).

Halonen, J.S. (2002). Classroom presence. In S. Davis & W.Buskist (Eds.). The teaching of psychology: Essays in honor of William J. McKeachie and Charles Brewer. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. (pp. 41-55).

Halpern, D.F. (1994). Rethinking college instruction for a changing world. In D. Halpern (Ed.) Changing College Classrooms. San Francisco, CA.: Jossey-Bass. (pp. 1-10).

Roth, J.K. (1996). What teaching teaches me: How the Holocaust informs my philosophy of education. In J.K. Roth (Ed.) Inspiring Teaching: Carnegie Professors of the Year Speak. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing Company, Inc. (pp. 199-210).

Royse, D. (2001). The mental groundwork. In D. Royse (Ed.). Teaching Tips for College and University Instructors: A Practical Guide. Needham Heights, MA.: Allyn & Bacon. (pp. 1-24).

Ruiz, T.F.(1996). Teaching as subversion. In J.K. Roth (Ed.) Inspiring Teaching: Carnegie Professors of the Year Speak. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing Company, Inc.(pp. 158-165).

“Creating a Sense of Community: Students have a more enjoyable and more profitable learning experience when they feel connected to each other and to the faculty member. To build a community of learners, students need to know something about each other.” (Royse 6)

“d. Use role-playing, simulations, or hands-on experiments.” (Royse 11)

“In a very real sense, teaching must be subversive; that is, it must include a willingness to question and criticize, and at times even undermine, established orthodoxies.” (Ruiz 159)

“This approach to learning reflects the values of a capitalist economy, of the market place: How well can I do by working and learning as little as possible?” (Ruiz 160)

“True, good teaching depends on the spoken words, but inspiring teaching also depends on silence, on sensing when not to speak, on recognizing that in some times and places keeping silence is the best one can do.” (Roth 203)

“Students need to write in different ways, but my teaching introduces students to the discipline of writing short, reflective essays. In a less-is-more-style, these essays encourage students to gain mastery and perspective on the substantial reading we always do, to explore their own angles of vision, and to see that every answer leads to other questions, which is a discovery that can teach us, among other things, to take nothing for granted.” (Roth 207)

“Teacher and learner help one another actualize their potentialities in their relationship with one another. All teaching is collaborative learning; all learning is collaborative teaching.” (Dawson 47)

“Intense scrutiny by the members of the class is not disturbing to extroverts. These teachers see a class as a perfect vehicle by which they can relax and connect with their students. For them, there is a seamless connection between the self that they experience in the classroom and the self in other contexts; class is simply a comfort zone.” (Holonen 45)

“Students also expressed appreciation for teachers who make a point to appeal to a broad range of learning styles. The liberal use of visual aids, the incorporation of learning strategies that encourage participation and reflection, and other learner-centered practices (cf. McKeachie, 1999) can help students stay connected to the important ideas offered by teachers.” (Holonen 49)

“Of the many obstacles to moving teaching ahead, the antiteaching prejudice that pervades higher education is the most pernicious. This prejudice is particularly deleterious because it confers second-class citizenship on professors who work ‘too hard’ on their teaching. University professors are rewarded for visible and easily quantifiable activities such as publishing, making presentations at scholarly conferences and societies, receiving grants, consulting with private industry, or engaging in other activities that bring money into our cash-strapped universities.” (Halpern 5)