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We Can Stop Kids From Cheating in School By Eliminating the Need

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As a high school teacher, I’ve seen a lot of cheating. So much, that I’ve concluded most adults don’t realize how many kids, even otherwise good and honest kids, cheat in school.

If you think of cheating as simply acting unfairly or dishonestly to gain an academic advantage, many people reading this column might remember their own experiences cheating. Whether you actively sought to cheat, or the opportunity simply landed in front of you, many of us can recall at least one occurrence with vivid detail. Your heart raced, your palms sweated, and you felt that undeniable sinking in the pit of your stomach, all due to the fear of getting caught. Yet you still did it.

But why? Why continue the act even when the body sends all the signals identical to a near-death fight-or-flight response? For some, it may be for the sheer thrill. But I argue most people who are tempted to cheat choose the better of two evils, both connected to failure.

Today, more so than when you and I were teens, the pressure to excel is unbearable. From the parents who demand it and the peers competing for it, the colleges that require it and the “influencers” who embody it, the pressure to be perfect has become the driving force for many students. And when the need to maintain perfection trumps the actual learning that occurs, you’ll begin to override your body’s natural warnings.

Our kids cheat because they fear the consequences of failing. So many are raised in a bubble, completely protected from failure. Any time it may have approached, those around them, who love them very much, happily deflected that failure for them. So a disproportionate number of adolescents truly feel they are geniuses, that they can do no wrong.

Unfortunately, an educator’s job is to confront his or her students with challenging obstacles to overcome, and they won’t deflect that failure. This forces our inexperienced youth into a corner, and many react by ensuring their success by any means necessary.

I’m one of these educators, and I absolutely challenge my kids, but I made a decision a few years back that completely changed the culture of my classroom: I eliminated the need to cheat.

I made the decision that the goal of my science class was to learn and appreciate science. From that day, I recognized that to pull these anxious kids from the corner they’ve been trapped in, I had to entice them back to the center. I had to establish an environment that eliminated the fear of failing, and I did it with a few very basic but powerful methods.

First, I eliminated due dates within a unit and moved to a mastery grading model. There are many varieties of this, but in my model, the kids receive a list for the unit describing the tasks to be mastered by test day. For every activity, the kids were encouraged to copy from each other and work together, but their grades came from 30-second conversations I had with each student, when I’d ask a variety of questions to gauge their mastery on the topic. Completing an assignment meant nothing if it couldn’t be verbalized, so the kids quickly learned that copying without understanding was a waste of time in my class.

Then, I encouraged cheat sheets. I let students write or draw anything they’d like on the front and back of a 3-by-5 notecard. The card had to be hand-written and turned in with the test. Many teachers may argue that doing so would invalidate their tests, to which I say, if your kids can write the answers to your tests on a notecard, you write bad tests.

We’ve worked hard to build high-level questions that require students to expand beyond the basic content from a notecard, and the sheer process of internalizing and paraphrasing an entire unit into such a small space encourages that level of critical thinking for our kids; moving beyond comprehension and into application. Plus, I save their notecards and return them before semester and state exams, providing the most personalized, hand-written summative reviews they could ever create.

Finally, after taking the test once on their own, I let them take it again, this time in groups. After grading the exams, I assign them in homogeneous groups; As in one group, Bs in another, etc., but I don’t tell students their scores. Then, I hand them back their original exams to take again. They don’t know which questions are correct, so the intellectual debates that happen over each question are incredible. When they resubmit, the group score is averaged with a student’s individual score.

Of course, there are those who say we need to teach our kids responsibility, to prepare them for the real world by not allowing late work, cheat sheets or group corrections. But it’s these classrooms where cheating is rampant, and it’s specifically because no recovery is possible.

As for tests, consider what every major exam over the course of someone’s professional career has in common: SAT, ACT, CPA exams, MCAT, LSAT, teaching certifications. You can take all of these multiple times for full credit. So where did this fallacy begin that somehow my biology exam is more pertinent to their lives and future success?

In a world that’s constantly demanding risk-taking and creativity, we cannot continue to produce robots of compliance and task completion. As a young gymnast develops her technique, she rehearses in an environment developed to safely take risks, with balance beams low to the ground and foam pits into which she can fall.

So, too should be the goal of every classroom. When kids see that failure is recoverable, the demand to succeed the first time, by any means necessary, is eliminated, and they finally have the freedom to take a leap.

By: Ramy Mahmoud

Ramy Mahmoud is a lecturer at the University of Texas at Dallas Teacher Development Center, a high school science department head in Plano and a two-time TEDx speaker. He wrote this column for The Dallas Morning News.

Source: https://www.dallasnews.com/

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New Psychological Studies: How The Wealthy Really Are Different From Everyone Else

"The rich don’t go with the flow"

The author F. Scott Fitzgerald is credited with saying: “The rich are different from you and me.” And Ernest Hemingway is supposed to have responded: “Yes, they have more money.” In fact, the actual words Fitzgerald used in his short story “The Rich Boy” (1926) are: “Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft, where we are hard, cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand.”

People have always suspected that the rich are somehow ‘different,’ not only in terms of what they possess, but in their personalities. However, there are not many scientific studies that can either confirm or refute this thesis – neither in the United States, nor in Europe. Now, a team of six German economists and psychologists has conducted a large-scale study: They interviewed 130 wealthy individuals and used the results to derive a psychological profile, which they compared with the population as a whole.

Big Five Test

Of the various models developed by psychological researchers to describe personality types, it is the Big Five model that has largely come to dominate over the past few decades. This latest wealth study used a condensed version of the Big Five test to distinguish between five core personality traits:

Conscientious: Describes people who are thorough, meticulous, diligent, efficient, well organized,  punctual, ambitious and persevering.

Neuroticism: Individuals with a high degree of Neuroticism tend to be nervous and frequently worry about everything and anything that could possibly go wrong. They tend to react impulsively and, overall, are not particularly psychologically stable.

Agreeableness: Individuals with high levels of Agreeableness have a pronounced desire for harmony; they have a tendency to back down too quickly and are frequently too trusting.

Extraversion: Individuals with high Extraversion are talkative, determined, enterprising, energetic, and courageous.

Openness to Experience: Individuals with high Openness to Experience are imaginative, creative, and curious.

When you compare the personality traits of the general population with those of the researchers’ wealthy interviewees, the following patterns emerge:

  • The rich are emotionally more stable, and therefore less neurotic
  • The rich are especially extraverted
  • The rich are more open to new experiences
  • The rich are less agreeable, which means they less likely to shy away from conflicts
  • The rich are more conscientious.

In addition to the Big Five test, the researchers also investigated two other personality traits: narcissism and internal locus of control. Their findings:

  • The rich are more narcissistic
  • The rich exhibit a stronger internal locus of control. This means that they are more likely to agree with statements such as “I determine how my life turns out” than they are with statements like “What you achieve in life is mainly a question of luck or fate.”

What Makes the Superrich Tick

The results of this latest wealth study are consistent with those of my doctoral dissertation on “The Wealth Elite,” which was based on interviews with 45 wealthy individuals. With only a few exceptions, most of the interviewees were self-made millionaires, and the ‘poorest’ were worth between 10 million and 30 million euros. Most, however, were worth significantly more, between 30 million and one billion euros, and some even more.

This study on the psychology of the superrich also came to the conclusion that the rich are psychologically very stable (i.e. not very neurotic). It also showed that they are particularly open to new experiences, more extraverted, more conscientious – but not necessarily agreeable.

In contrast to the recent survey of 130 wealthy individuals mentioned above, the study of the superrich involved in-depth interviews of between one and two hours each. In addition, the superrich interviewees not only completed a condensed version of the Big Five test, they took the detailed version with 50 questions.

One of the key findings was that the superrich are frequently nonconformists. They enjoy swimming against the prevailing current and have no problem contradicting prevailing opinion. Another result: the superrich are more likely than others to make decisions based on gut feeling. They tend to rely more on intuition than on detailed analysis.

And, most importantly, they have a completely different approach to dealing with defeats and setbacks than most people. Across the population at large, people like to take credit for their successes while looking to assign the blame to others for defeats and setbacks. In this, the superrich are quite different, as the interviews showed: They seek to identify the causes of setbacks in themselves, not in external circumstances or other people. This gives them a feeling of power: “If the fault lies with me, I can change it. I am in control of my own life.” There are many reasons why some people succeed in becoming rich and others don’t, but the specific combination of personality traits that both studies identified is certainly one of the reasons. Rich people become rich because they act differently from others. And they act differently because they think, make decisions and react differently than most people. Apparently, Fitzgerald was right: “The rich are different from you and me.”

I was awarded my first doctorate in history in 1986 and my second, this time in sociology, in 2016.

Source: New Psychological Studies: How The Wealthy Really Are Different From Everyone Else

When Everyone Abandons You — The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog

A realization came to me in mid-December. Someone I was close to, had spoken to almost every day for a year and a half, began ignoring me. It was easy to notice. I stepped away from all social media not wanting to be reminded that I’m being ignored. Maybe I said something that bothered this […]

via When Everyone Abandons You — The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog

How Business Can Make An Exponential Difference In The Lives Of Students – Lisa Dughi

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We know how much of a difference one person can make in another’s life. But what if your goals are loftier than reaching just one person? What if you want to make a difference in the lives of a hundred, a thousand, or more? There are millions of young people across this country that need access to opportunity so that they can have successful futures after high school. What if you could play a pivotal role in providing that access? That’s the challenge NAF is working to solve. With over 100,000 students enrolled in NAF academies in underserved high schools across the country, reaching these students wouldn’t be possible without our business partners…………..

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/gradsoflife/2018/11/13/how-business-can-make-an-exponential-difference-in-the-lives-of-students/#33d522411227

 

 

 

 

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Why Singapore Is So Good At English – Isabella Steger

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Singapore keeps getting better at English. The city-state made the top three of an annual ranking in English proficiency conducted by English education company EF Education First (EF), the highest-ever ranking for an Asian nation. Though Singapore has for years ranked near the top of the list, this year, it leapfrogged Norway and Denmark to place behind Sweden and the Netherlands. Minh Tran, the Hong Kong-based co-author of the report who frequently consults on English education for foreign companies……..

Read more: https://qz.com/1441113/why-singapore-is-so-good-at-english/

 

 

 

 

 

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What Stress, Change, And Isolation Do To Your Brain – Christine Comaford

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Change happens. Adversity happens. Conflict happens. Then your brain and body tries to cope with it. Your brain releases stress hormones, like cortisol, which then fire up excessive cell-signaling cytokines which alter your physiology. Suddenly your ability to regulate your behavior and emotions is compromised. Your ability to pay attention is compromised, your memory, learning, peace, happiness are all compromised. Why? Because all that change has caused your system to be overloaded with stress…….

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/christinecomaford/2018/10/20/what-stress-change-and-isolation-do-to-your-brain/#2f51c4481940

 

 

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How To Stop Taking Things Personally – Frances Bridges

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When people disrespect you or do not treat you well, it is easy to take their behavior personally, to blame yourself and think you have anything to do with someone else’s behavior. Taking things personally is emotionally draining, and an unnecessary, constant reevaluation of your self-esteem. There’s a difference between being reflective and constantly taking slights personally, one is productive and lends itself to self improvement, the other is the opposite…….

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/francesbridges/2018/06/29/how-to-stop-taking-things-personally/#60a056b76726

 

 

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Teaching Kids About Boundaries and Consent – Bonnie J. Rough

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As a growing number of #MeToo and #WhyIDidntReport stories have put a new focus on childhood sexual abuse, parents may have an urgent sense that they should frame conversations with their children about their bodies as safety lessons. But doubling down on warnings is the opposite of what children really need. In researching my new book about how gender equality begins with great sex ed, I learned that teaching what’s good about bodies, sex and love is actually what gives children a secure sense of body sovereignty, boundaries and consent.Children who feel confident in their body knowledge may be quicker to identify when something is awry, and those who learn empathy and egalitarianism less likely to cross another person’s boundaries……

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/27/well/family/the-new-birds-and-bees-teaching-kids-about-boundaries-and-consent.html

 

 

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The 50 Best Ways to Start Improving Education Immediately – Lee Watanabe-Crockett

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Consistently revising and improving education for everyone is a journey, not just a goal. With things as vital as great teaching and effective learning, teachers and students can benefit from a positive mindset of constant growth and development. According to Folwell Dunbar, the founder of Fire Up Learning, there’s a whole list of things we can start doing anytime to see immediate results in improving education.

In the Edutopia article 50 Little Things Teachers, Parents, and Others Can Do to Improve Education, Folwell lists 50 things we can practice to begin improving education right now. It’s the little things, he says, that make all the difference.

“While big, bold initiatives sound good, look pretty (cost a lot), and usually grab all the press, it’s the unheralded acts that, in the end, deliver results …”

It’s true; the little things make a big difference over time. The small steps we take today can have a huge impact tomorrow. Learn more about the small things (and some bigger things) Folwell suggests for improving education in his full article on Edutopia.

Which things from Folwell’s list are you using in your practices? Which ones would you like to try? What do you think might be missing from the list? Share it with us below.

50 Little Things for Improving Education

  1. Serve kids a good, healthy breakfast. 
  2. Find out what your kids like and incorporate them into your instruction.
  3. Allow kids to explore topics that really matter to them.
  4. Use big words and encourage kids to do the same.
  5. Ask questions that involve thoughtful answers.
  6. Give kids time to answer those hard questions.
  7. Discuss paintings, films, books, plays, etc.
  8. In your discussions, expect more than “It was awesome!” or “That sucked.”
  9. Model the use of proper English (or Spanish, German, Chinese, etc.).
  10. Adopt efficient routines and procedures.
  11. Remove erasers: time spent erasing is time lost exploring creative ideas.
  12. When watching television, turn on the closed captioning.
  13. Make TV interactive by discussing the shows you watch.
  14. Post the name of the book(s) you’re reading on the door to your classroom or at home. Enthusiasm is infectious.
  15. Post things that inspire and ignite the imagination.
  16. Celebrate learning frequently.
  17. Create quiet and comfortable learning sanctuaries in school and at home.
  18. Provide feedback that’s constructive and actionable.
  19. Assign homework that is meaningful and engaging.
  20. Encourage kids to keep journals they write in every day.
  21. Tell and listen to stories.
  22. Be consistent with rules. Children flourish when they know their boundaries.
  23. Listen to and discuss all kinds of music
  24. Display student work, along with the criteria used to evaluate it.
  25. Use mnemonic devices and other learning “tricks.”
  26. Read with your child for at least 15 minutes every night, if not longer.
  27. Discuss, question, and debate what you read.
  28. Read and write just for fun.
  29. Keep pets and plants at home and in the classroom.
  30. Eliminate unnecessary distractions during the school day.
  31. Constantly relate what is being taught to the real world.
  32. Listen to audio books whenever and wherever possible.
  33. Allow kids time to reflect on what they’ve learned.
  34. Provide positive reinforcement whenever possible.
  35. Call on students in an equitable manner (popsicle sticks, playing cards, etc.).
  36. Find, bookmark, and visit great educational websites.
  37. Explore interesting areas in your community.
  38. Play intellectually challenging games like Scrabble, chess, and Sudoku.
  39. Take an interest in what children are learning.
  40. Eat well-rounded, healthy snacks.
  41. Have real conversations while dining. (Foreign Language tables can be fun!)
  42. Don’t stress out.
  43. Exercise regularly, and make it fun.
  44. Play sports of every kind.
  45. Don’t complain – it rarely does any good.
  46. Set high standards for yourself and your kids, and expect success.
  47. Travel as much as possible.
  48. Make sure your kids (and you) get a good night’s sleep.
  49. Practice what you teach.
  50. Smile a lot!

The Best Tool to Use

There’s nothing like a terrific platform for improving education in practice, and that’s what Wabisabi is all about. We’ve built an app and accompanying resources designed to make any teacher and student fall in love with learning again and again.

Wabisabi’s prime features include real-time reporting against standards, media-rich learner portfolios, a vibrant collaborative experience, quality lesson plans from teachers all over the world, and much more. Get started with it below and see the possibilities for yourself.

 

 

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Reclaiming a Sense of Joy – Quick Strategies for Easing the Stress of Teaching by Shane Safir

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It’s the end of the school year and I’m sitting with a young principal I coach who has deep expertise, heart, and know-how. Suddenly, she breaks down sobbing. “I’m miserable in this job,” she says. “I want to stay the course, but I don’t know how to get my head above water. I just don’t feel any joy in this work.”

When we live in constant stress, our brains start to downshift. According to scholars Geoffrey Caine and Renate Nummela Caine, downshifting is a psychophysiological response to threat that results in a sense of helplessness or fatigue. A downshifted person has a nagging sense of fear or anxiety and begins to lose the ability to feel excitement or pleasure.

The good news is that we can upshift our brains by actively infusing joy into our work life. Joyful experiences—even brief ones—flood the brain with chemicals like dopamine and serotonin that overwhelm our primitive stress responses. So how can we find more joy?

8 Ways to Reclaim Joy

Since my conversation with the principal, I’ve been practicing and modeling the reclamation of joy. Here are eight ways you can join me.

1. Get outside during the school day. Hold a collaboration meeting, coaching session, or class outdoors to shift the group energy. So many of us spend our days locked inside the school building—stepping outside for a five-minute walk or simply to feel the breeze or sun on our face can change our perception and our brain chemistry. Even a small dose of movement can release endorphins and provide a much-needed brain break.

Recently, I met an Oakland principal and her leadership team at a nearby lake to open their back-to-school meeting. The principal led three rounds of a community circle: “Share your favorite summer moment,” “share something we don’t know about you,” and “share an artifact that tells a story about your journey as a leader.” Afterward she randomly assigned partners for a lakeside walk and talk, inviting everyone to reflect on the legacy they want to leave behind. It was simple, mobile, and powerful.

2. Bring music. If your classroom or staff room feels solemn, enliven it with your favorite music. Better yet, invite students or colleagues to share their favorite song or artist on a rotating basis. Music releases positive neurotransmitters, calms the brain’s high-alert settings, and can build cultural proficiency as community members share their musical interests.

3. Model micro-affirmations. Researcher Mary Rowe defines micro‐affirmations as “tiny acts of opening doors to opportunity, gestures of inclusion and caring, and graceful acts of listening.” Micro‐affirmations can take many forms, such as offering a hug to someone experiencing a setback, giving a colleague some positive feedback, or facilitating an appreciations ritual that invites people to publicly celebrate one another.

4. Start class or professional development with a guided visualization. If people seem stuck in a downshifted state, help them access joy by leading a guided visualization. Ask participants to close their eyes or focus on a soft gazing point—not letting their eyes wander—and settle comfortably in their chairs. Then lead them to slow their breathing down and imagine a moment or place that brought them joy. Invite them to explore the colors, thoughts, and feelings that come up when they think of this place. Afterward, ask people to share how the experience felt and how they can bring those feelings into the school day.

5. Cancel a staff meeting. This might be my favorite joy hack, and it was my first piece of advice to that sobbing principal. Everyone’s feeling burned out? Don’t let your task list trump the reclamation of joy. Cancel a staff meeting and give the time back to teachers.

You might plan an alternative, just-for-fun activity like a hike or happy hour, but make it optional for folks who really just need a break.

6. Write a card to someone who’s had your back. It feels great to appreciate others. Think about a colleague in any capacity at your school who holds you up in ways big or small. This could be another teacher, the custodian who cleans your room, or the person who ensures that you’re paid each month. Write that person a card and tell them what you appreciate about them.

7. Practice three to five minutes of mindfulness. Consider starting your day with a few minutes of mindfulness. Just close your eyes, slow down your breathing, and notice the rise and fall of your chest, the sounds that typically act as background noise, the sensation of your heartbeat, your meandering thoughts.

8. Keep a joy journal. I often ask my own children, who are 9 and 12, “What brought you joy today?” Ask yourself that question at the end of each day, taking time to jot down your reflections in a journal. Writing is a form of story editing, as explained in the wonderful book Redirect by psychologist Timothy Wilson. When we take time to write or rewrite the stories we carry about our work life, we can change negative narratives into hopeful ones, and reconnect with our sources of joy and energy.

As you prepare to go back to school, remember that learning should be a joyful enterprise. Look for opportunities to laugh, breathe, and smile as an educator, and you’ll find your energy is contagious.

 

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