Teachers Are Not Prepared For Students With Special Needs

Students in Montclair State University’s dual-certification program (Jackie Mader / Hechinger Report)

Strong progress has been made to integrate students with disabilities into general-education classrooms. Educator instruction hasn’t kept up. When Mary Fair became a teacher in 2012, her classes often contained a mix of special-education students and general-education students. Placing children with and without disabilities in the same classroom, instead of segregating them, was a growing national trend, spurred by lawsuits by special-education advocates.

But in those early days, Fair had no idea how to handle her students with disabilities, whose educational challenges ranged from learning deficits to behavioral disturbance disorders. Calling out a child with a behavioral disability in front of the class usually backfired and made the situation worse. They saw it as “an attack and a disrespect issue,” Fair said.

Over time, Fair figured out how to navigate these situations and talk students “down from the ledge.” She also learned how to keep students with disabilities on task and break down lessons into smaller, easier bits of information for those who were struggling.

No one taught her these strategies. Although she earned a bachelor’s degree and teaching certificate in math instruction for both elementary and middle school, she never had to take a class about students with disabilities. She was left to figure it out on the job.

Many teacher-education programs offer just one class about students with disabilities to their general-education teachers, “Special Ed 101,” as it’s called at one New Jersey college. It’s not enough to equip teachers for a roomful of children who can range from the gifted to students who read far below grade level due to a learning disability.

A study in 2007 found that general-education teachers in a teacher-preparation program reported taking an average of 1.5 courses focusing on inclusion or special education, compared to about 11 courses for special-education teachers. Educators say little has changed since then.

A 2009 study concluded that no one explicitly shows teachers how to teach to “different needs.” Because of time constraints, the many academic standards that must be taught, and a lack of support, “teachers are not only hesitant to implement individualized instruction, but they do not even know how to do so,” the report stated.

Fair says teacher-preparation programs should be doing more. At the very least, “You should have a special-education class and an English language learner class,” she said. “You’re going to have those students.”

Between 1989 and 2013, the percentage of students with disabilities who were in a general education class for 80 percent or more of the school day increased from about 32 percent to nearly 62 percent. Special-education advocates have been pushing for the change—especially for students who have mild to moderate disabilities like a speech impairment—in some cases by suing school districts.

Some research shows as many as 85 percent of students with disabilities can master general-education content if they receive educational supports. Supports can include access to a special-education teacher, having test questions read aloud, or being allowed to sit in a certain part of the classroom.

Students with disabilities who are placed in general-education classrooms get more instructional time, have fewer absences, and have better post-secondary outcomes. Studies also show there is no negative impact on the academic achievement of non-disabled students in an inclusion classroom; those students benefit socially by forming positive relationships and learning how to be more at ease with a variety of people.

Alla Vayda-Manzo, the principal of Bloomfield Middle School about 30 miles outside of New York City, said she’s seen the benefit of inclusion for students. The school serves about 930 students, nearly 20 percent of whom have a disability, according to state data. When students with disabilities are included in classrooms with their peers, Vayda-Manzo said the high expectations and instructional strategies “lend themselves to those students being more successful than they would be had they been in a separate, self-contained environment.”“It’s not just getting a child included … that is only a small portion of the battle.”

But as more districts move to make classrooms inclusive, they’ve been caught flat footed when it comes to finding teachers prepared to make the shift. Academic outcomes for students with disabilities have remained stagnant for years, even as more students with special needs are integrated into general-education classrooms. Students with disabilities are less likely to graduate and more likely to earn an alternate diploma that is not equivalent to a general diploma in the eyes of many colleges and employers. And year after year, they score far lower than their peers on standardized exams.

Experts say the problem is that it takes much more than just placing students with disabilities next to their general-education peers: Teachers must have the time, support, and training to provide a high-quality education based on a student’s needs.

Mike Flom, a parent and co-founder of the advocacy group New Jersey Parents and Teachers for Appropriate Education, said many factors impact inclusion’s effectiveness. His twin sons, now in seventh grade, were placed in an inclusion classroom beginning in fifth grade. Initially, Flom said his sons had “mixed reviews” on whether inclusion was beneficial.

“I think the teachers were really motivated to be helpful,” Flom said. “I don’t know the extent to which they were permitted to do the things, or had enough training to do the things, that were required to be more effective.”“It’s not just getting a child included … that is only a small portion of the battle,” he added.

These days, Mary Fair navigates her classrooms with ease. She has learned through experience how to teach students with a variety of disabilities and works with a veteran special-education teacher to modify lesson plans and tests.

On a recent morning in a seventh-grade math-inclusion classroom at Bloomfield Middle School, Fair and her co-teacher, the special-education teacher Christina Rodriguez, started a lesson on the order of operations.

Fair stepped up to the front of the classroom as Rodriguez circulated to make sure students were on task.“We’re starting order of operations,” Fair said. “It’s something you did in sixth grade, but today we are doing it differently.”“Ms. Fair, I want to see if they remember,” Rodriguez said to Fair, who smiled and nodded.“Put your hand up if you remember what the order of operations is,” Rodriguez said.More than half of the students raised their hands

“Who remembers ‘PEMDAS’?” Rodriguez asked, referring to the mnemonic device used to remember order of operations (Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication and Division, Addition and Subtraction). More students eagerly shot their hands in the air.

Fair cut in and explained that although they learned PEMDAS in sixth grade, they were going to learn a new rule about the order of operations today. “Take your yellow paper and fold it horizontally,” Fair said, referring to a yellow sheet of paper that sat on each student’s desk.“Like this,” Rodriguez said, holding up a piece of paper and demonstrating how to fold it horizontally.“Like a hamburger,” Fair added.

To an outsider, it’s impossible to tell who is the general-education teacher and who is the special-education teacher. Both Fair and Rodriguez have desks at the front of the room. They switch off during lessons, effortlessly picking up where the other has left off. They both give directions and explain content. They are careful not to fall into what educators say is a common trap: seeing general-education students as the responsibility of one teacher, and special-education students as the responsibility of the other.

That’s how a good inclusion class should be, Rodriguez said, but it takes practice and time. Like Fair, Rodriguez didn’t receive any training in special education before she entered the classroom. She became a teacher through an alternate program. When she got a job teaching special education six years ago, she relied on strategies she learned while working as an aide in a class for students with autism. In 2014, she received her master’s degree in teaching students with disabilities from New Jersey City University; she now teaches a class for Montclair State University’s dual-certification teacher-preparation program.

Although most traditional teacher-preparation programs nationwide do include some training on students with disabilities, usually in the form of one course over the entirety of the program, educators say this course is often generic and perfunctory. Aspiring teachers also may be given assignments in other classes that require them to adapt a lesson for a hypothetical special-education student.

Fair said she had some assignments like those, but “we didn’t really know what we were talking about, because we weren’t taught it.” Her colleague, the science teacher Jessica Herrera, said she was only offered one class in special education—called “Special Education 101”—when she went through a traditional teacher-preparation program in New Jersey.

“A lot of my training was for that ‘middle of the road’ kind of kid,” Herrera said. “I was prepared for the regular ed student.” In her 13 years as a teacher, Herrera has taught some inclusion classes; she said she picked up strategies from working with “good special-education teachers.” When she earned her master’s degree from Montclair State, she was finally taught how to teach a “range of learners,” she said.

Fair and her co-teacher Rodriguez say there are certain things they wish were included in all teacher-education programs, like an explanation of the different kinds of disabilities and ways to address the various struggles students may encounter. They also say teacher preparation should include more classroom management and “subtle ways” to keep students focused and on task.

Mimi Corcoran, the president of the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), said teacher preparation should better address topics in special education. “We do a disservice to the teachers we’re sending [to schools] in the way we’re training, and we’re doing a disservice to kids,” Corcoran said. “We’ve got to step up to the plate and think differently and act differently, and that’s hard because everybody gets comfortable and systems are hard to change.”

Some teacher-preparation programs are trying to better prepare graduates to teach students with disabilities, especially in inclusion classrooms. At Syracuse University, George Theoharis, a professor and the chair of Teaching and Leadership, said the school’s elementary special-education program has been one of the leaders nationwide in training educators for inclusive education.

Every teacher who graduates from Syracuse’s Early Childhood or Elementary Education program is dual-certified in special education and spends time in inclusion classrooms. Theoharis says it’s an approach that more preparation programs should take. “All of our programs need to be inclusive,” Theoharis said, referring to teacher preparation. “Regardless of what job teachers get, people need to be prepared to work with all children and see all children as their responsibility.”

At Montclair State, students can receive a dual certification in special education and a subject-level or grade-level range. The school also offers a unique concentration in “inclusive iSTeM,” which specifically prepares science, technology, engineering, and math teachers for inclusion classrooms. Students in the program receive a Master of Arts in Teaching, a certification in math or science, and are endorsed by the state as a teacher of students with disabilities.

Jennifer Goeke, a Montclair State professor and the program coordinator, said the dual-certification program prepares teachers to be hired as either a general- education or special-education teacher. “They know how to perform both roles easily and effectively,” Goeke said.

On a recent afternoon, Goeke was holding class in the Bloomfield Middle School media center. She asked her 17 students to first discuss issues they were having in their “fieldwork classrooms,” where they are currently observing and working with general- and special-education teachers. She listened to a few descriptions of struggles and then reminded her students that part of their job is to be an example for other teachers.

“I’m not trying to minimize or trivialize what you might be learning in your content area,” Goeke said. “It’s very important that you have a strong grounding in the methodology and the philosophy of your discipline … and know how to teach your content.” But, Goeke added, “You have to remember that most people do not have any diverse learners in mind. Their training did not teach them to take those students into account.”

In Montclair’s program, students work with two mentor teachers for a year in an inclusion classroom and in small-group settings. They receive extensive training in how to work with students with disabilities as well as how to effectively teach content, like math and science, or grade levels, like early education or elementary education.

Bloomfield chose to partner with the iSTeM program in 2012, and has hired two graduates of the program, and offered teaching positions to several more, who eventually chose jobs in other districts. The Bloomfield Principal, Vayda-Manzo, says the graduates of the program are “like unicorns in the field,” as it’s rare to find teachers who are dual-certified in general and special education.

Current teachers at Bloomfield have also benefited from iSTeM, Vayda-Manzo said. The program provides professional development for inclusion teachers at the school who agree to be mentor teachers for iSTeM students, and those teachers also observe each other and work with professors from Montclair State. Vayda-Manzo said the school makes sure co-teachers have the same planning periods so they have time to plan lessons together each day.

Herrera, who mentors iSTeM teachers, said the professional development provided through the program has improved her ability to teach students with disabilities. “I feel like I got a lot of additional strategies through that,” Herrera said.

On-the-job training is essential to ensure teachers have the skills needed to teach all students in their classroom, especially those teachers who may have attended teacher preparation years ago or missed out on training about disabilities, according to Mimi Corcoran of NCLD. “We have to be fair for the educator,” Corcoran said. For “many that are already in field, the concepts of special education and how to include kids has shifted, and [teachers] need the supports.”

Vayda-Manzo said it has been an easy choice to continue the program.“I saw the impact that it made in our inclusion classes,” Vayda-Manzo said. “We saw tremendous gains.”

By Jackie Mader

Source: Teachers Are Not Prepared for Students With Special Needs – The Atlantic

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Mark Zuckerberg’s Fortune Dropped $11 Billion Thursday–And Is Down $100 Billion Since Meta’s Stock Peaked

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg pauses while speaking as he testifies before a joint hearing of the ... [+] Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth fell $11 billion on Thursday to $36 billion as the company’s shares plummeted a day after it reported dismal quarterly earnings. Meta shares fell 25% to $97.94 on Thursday, pushing the stock to its lowest point since December 2016. In its third quarter earnings released late Wednesday, the social media giant reported a 50% decline in profits and revenue sliding by 4%, far below analyst expectations.

To make matters worse, Meta’s virtual and augmented reality division has lost a whopping $9.4 billion this year through September 30 trying to create the metaverse. On that front, Meta appears to be failing miserably.

“Look, I get that a lot of people might disagree with this investment. But from what I can tell, I think that this is going to be a very important thing, and I think it would be a mistake for us to not focus on any of these areas, which I think are going to be fundamentally important to the future,” Zuckerberg said in the company’s earnings call on Wednesday after the U.S. stock market closed.

The stock decline knocked Zuckerberg down from the 25th richest person in the world as of market close Wednesday to the 29th richest as of market close Thursday, according to Forbes’ Real-Time Billionaire tracker.

It hasn’t been a great year for Zuckerberg. Meta stock was flying high during the pandemic and reached its peak on September 7, 2021, bumping Zuckerberg’s fortune to $136.4 billion. Since then, Meta’s stock price has cratered by 74% and Zuckerberg has lost $100 billion, nearly three-fourths of his fortune at its peak.

Beyond the losses in its metaverse unit, Meta is facing fierce competition from TikTok for ad dollars—the source of the majority of its revenue—as well as a broader advertiser pullback amid concerns about an impending recession. Adding to its advertising woes, the social network is still reeling from privacy changes made by Apple last year that make it harder for tech companies to track users across apps, which has cut into its ad revenue.

I’m a San Francisco-based reporter covering wealth at Forbes. Follow me on Twitter @rachsandl or shoot me an email rsandler@forbes.com.

Source: Mark Zuckerberg’s Fortune Dropped $11 Billion Thursday–And Is Down $100 Billion Since Meta’s Stock Peaked

.

Critics by Natalie Sherman

It comes as investor doubts about Mark Zuckerberg’s vision for the future grow, and revenues and profits decline. Meta’s sales shrank by 4% in the three months ending in September to $27.7bn (£24bn), while profits halved.

The fall in shares is set to wipe $78bn off the firm’s market value if the losses hold until the end of Thursday.

What’s gone wrong?

A year ago, Mark Zuckerberg declared virtual reality the next frontier to drive Facebook’s growth. But so far, there has been very little of it.The company, which also owns WhatsApp, is struggling as companies cut advertising budgets in the face of economic uncertainty, changes to Apple’s privacy settings hurt its targeted ads, and competition from rivals such as TikTok heats up.

Mr Zuckerberg, who founded Facebook at university almost two decades ago, acknowledged the firm faced “near-term challenges”.He said the company was focused on becoming more efficient and hinted at job cuts, saying the firm may be a “smaller organisation” next year.

But on a conference call stacked with sceptical analysts, he also maintained that the company was on the right path, as it invests in ways to keep people on its apps and stakes a claim in the emerging world of virtual reality, also known as the metaverse.

“There are a lot of things going on right now in the business and in the world,” he said. “We’re going to resolve each of these things… I think those who are patient and invest with us will end up being rewarded.”

Investor confidence plunged in February, when the company revealed it had lost daily users for the first time ever. Then in July, the company reported its first quarterly decline in revenue, as companies spooked by the economic outlook cut their advertising budgets.

Prior to the firm’s update, the value of Meta’s shares had fallen 60% since the start of the year, wiping hundreds of billions off the company’s value. They slid further on Thursday, after executives warned that recovery would take an improvement in the wider economy.

Analyst Debra Aho Williamson of Insider Intelligence said the company was on “shaky legs when it comes to the current state of its business”.”Mark Zuckerberg’s decision to focus his company on the future promise of the metaverse took his attention away from the unfortunate realities of today: Meta is under incredible pressure,” she said.

Meta continues to generate large profits – nearly $4.4bn in the three months ended in September – and it has also fended off a decline in users.The company said 2.93 billion people were active on one of its platforms daily in the three months ended in September, up from 2.88 billion in the quarter before.

Although the core Facebook platform is not adding users in the US or Europe, it continues to grow in other parts of the world.Despite its strengths, many investors fear the company has lost its way……

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How To Be Less Self-Centered

Jan Buchczik

Thinking of yourself as an observer is better for your happiness than obsessing over being observed.

How to Build a Lifeis a weekly column by Arthur Brooks, tackling questions of meaning and happiness. Click here to listen to his podcast series on all things happiness, How to Build a Happy Life. One night several years ago, after filling up my car at a gas station and pulling away, I noticed a strange sound behind me in traffic—sort of a metallic clanking noise. It sounded to me like someone was dragging a muffler or bumper, so I started looking for the car to alert the driver.

But no matter how fast or slow I moved, or where I turned, I couldn’t locate the car. At this point, I noticed people on the sidewalk pointing and laughing—at me. I stopped and found the gas hose still attached to my car. I immediately pulled out the hose and drove back to the gas station, where I was educated on the economics of breaking a gas pump.

My memory of that night is odd because I was judging the behavior of another person, who then turned out to be me. The absent-minded professor was some other guy. Philosophers might say that in these rare minutes, my “I-self” (the seer of things around me) and “me-self” (the one seen) were mentally separated.

This kind of separation is unnatural. Making it your permanent state of mind would be difficult and perhaps even undesirable. Each of us can, however, purposely change the balance of time we spend as observers and as the objects of observation—even without doing something as ridiculous as I did. And working to observe more than you think about being observed can be an excellent way to get happier.

When you look into a mirror, you see yourself almost as if you were two different people—one who sees, and one who is seen. That may sound confusing, but bear with me here, because both versions of you are important. As the philosopher William James explored in depth, you must be an observer of things around you to survive and thrive, but you must also observe yourself and be observed by others to have any consistent sense of self-concept and self-image. Without observing, you would get hit by a car or starve. Without being observed, you would have no memory, history, or sense of why you do what you do.

The trick for well-being is balancing your I-self and me-self. But most of us spend too much time being observed and not enough time observing. We think constantly about ourselves and how others see us; we look in every mirror; we check our mentions on social media; we obsess over our identities.

This brings trouble. Research has shown, for example, that focusing on the world outside yourself is linked to happiness, while focusing on yourself and how others see you can lead to unstable moods. Your happiness goes up and down like a yo-yo, depending on whether you see yourself positively or negatively in a given moment. This instability is hard to bear; no wonder self-absorption is associated with anxiety and depression.

Seeing yourself as an object rather than a subject can also lower your performance in ordinary tasks. Researchers have found in learning experiments that people are less likely to try new things when they are focused on themselves. This makes sense: When you pay too much attention to yourself, you ignore a lot about the outside world.

The idea that people should spend more time thinking about the world than about themselves predates modern science and philosophy. For example, it is a core focus of Zen Buddhism, which is fundamentally an attitude of pure outward observation. “Life is an art,” the Zen master D. T. Suzuki wrote in 1934, “and like perfect art it should be self-forgetting.” My colleague Robert Waldinger, a psychiatry professor and Zen priest, explained it to me via email in this way: “When I’m aware of the self I call ‘Bob,’ it’s me in relation to the world. When that falls away (in meditation, or when I’m standing in awe of a waterfall), the sense of a self that is separate from everything else subsides and it’s just sounds and sensations.”

In some traditions, the I-self is not just a ticket to happiness but a connection to the divine. Hindus seek to reveal their atman, which is characterized by an innate state of awareness in which one witnesses the world but does not get embroiled in it. Atman is considered a direct link to Brahman, the ultimate divine reality. This is consistent with Jesus’s teaching that “anyone who wishes to follow me must deny himself.”

You will never eradicate your me-self, nor should you want to. But you can certainly increase your happiness by adopting conscious practices that lower the amount of time you spend in an objectified state. Three conscious habits can help us transcend this tendency.

1. Avoid your own reflection.

Mirrors are inherently attractive, as are all mirrorlike phenomena, such as social-media mentions. But mirrors are not your friend. They help even the healthiest people objectify themselves; for people with self-image-related maladies, they can be sheer misery. In 2001, researchers studying people with body dysmorphic disorder (those who think obsessively about perceived flaws in their bodies) found that the longest time the participants spent looking in the mirror (and thus focusing on the source of their distress) was 3.4 times longer than the longest mirror-gazing session of those who didn’t have the disorder.

Take steps to make the version of yourself that the world sees less likely to pop up in front of you. You might consider literally removing all but one or two mirrors from your home and making a rule to not look at yourself more than once in the morning. I would also recommend turning off your social-media notifications, adopting an absolute ban against Googling yourself, and turning off self-view on Zoom.

2. Judge not.

To judge is to take observation of the world and turn it inward. For example, if you say, “This weather is awful,” you have just made a judgment about your own feelings—meaning you are now observing yourself (and assigning a negative mood to something outside your control).

Making judgments about the world is normal and necessary; we need to do it in order to make cost-benefit decisions. However, many judgments are unhelpful and gratuitous. Do you really need to decide that the song you just heard is stupid? Try instead to observe more around you without regard to your opinions. Start by making more purely observational statements rather than values-based ones. Reframe “This coffee is terrible” as “This coffee has a bitter flavor.”

3. Stand in awe.

In his research, the UC Berkeley psychologist Dacher Keltner focuses on the experience of awe, which he defines as “the feeling of being in the presence of something vast that transcends your understanding of the world.” Among its many benefits, Keltner has found, awe diminishes the sense of self. For example, in one study, he and his colleagues asked people to consider either an experience in nature that was very beautiful or a time when they felt pride. Those who thought about nature were twice as likely as those who thought about pride to say that they felt small or insignificant, and nearly a third more likely to say that they felt the presence of something greater than themselves.

Spend more time enjoying things that amaze you. My friend and fellow happiness specialist Gretchen Rubin visits the Metropolitan Museum of Art almost daily. I listen to Bach’s music every single day and never fail to feel awe. Incorporating awe into your daily life might mean making sure you see the sunset as often as you can or studying astronomy—or whatever it is that blows your mind.

One last exercise you might try if you have a free day: Use it to wander. In one famous Zen koan (a story that requires philosophical interpretation), a junior monk sees an older monk walking and asks him where he is going. “I am on pilgrimage, following the wind,” the senior monk says. “What are you on pilgrimage for?” the junior monk asks. “I don’t know,” the elder answers, adding, “Non-knowing is most intimate.”

Some of the most intimate experiences in life come when you can observe your journey without expectation of some external payoff. Dedicate just one day to being like this senior monk. Start the morning by saying, “I do not know what this day will bring, but I will accept it.” Go through the day focusing on things outside yourself, resisting judgment, and avoiding anything self-referential. You could get in your car and go on a day trip with no set destination. But if you buy gas, do remember to put the hose back on the pump.

By: Arthur C. Brooks

Arthur C. Brooks is a contributing writer at The Atlantic, the William Henry Bloomberg Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School, and a professor of management practice at the Harvard Business School. He’s the host of the podcast series How to Build a Happy Life and the author of From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life.

Source: How to Be Less Self-Centered – The Atlantic

Critics by By Sarah Regan

A self-absorbed person is someone who is only concerned about themselves and shows little interest in or care for others. As licensed marriage and family therapist Shane Birkel, LMFT, explains to mbg, these people “have a hard time with empathy and compassion for other people and other people’s perspective, and they’re much more focused on getting their own needs and wants met.”

According to clinical psychologist Perpetua Neo, DClinPsy, we see this behavior in children between the ages of 2 and 6, who are going through something called the pre-operational stage, which is very egocentric. It’s to be expected in children, she notes, but for adults who are self-absorbed, “it’s almost like they never outgrew that stage—even if they have great scripts and can mask their self-absorption.”

While there are many types of narcissism (and varying degrees), a lot of qualities and behaviors of a narcissist will overlap with someone who is self-absorbed. For starters, Neo says, narcissists are very entitled, as are self-absorbed people. “You have to be pretty entitled to always want to bring everything back to you,” she adds.

And even if a self-absorbed person may not qualify for the diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), Birkel says, they can still have narcissistic tendencies like manipulation, controlling, and a general lack of empathy or concern for others. Just as a square is a rectangle but a rectangle isn’t a square, a narcissist is self-absorbed, but a self-absorbed person isn’t necessarily a narcissist.

7 common signs to look out for:

1.They call all the shots.

One of the more obvious signs of self-absorption is when someone is always calling the shots. Whether it’s where you’re going for dinner or when you have sex, Birkel says this kind of person wants everything their way and will probably not appreciate your thoughts, ideas, or recommendations.

2.They make everything a competition.

Is this person always trying to one-up you? Or in some cases, “one-down” you? Neo explains that self-absorbed people always make everything a competition. They may brag about an accomplishment right after you shared your own exciting news, or in the case of “one-downing,” she adds, “they’ll want to compete with you about how they’re suffering more” when you’re upset about something.

3.They use manipulation to get their way.

As Birkel notes, things like emotional manipulation and controlling behavior are certainly signs someone is self-absorbed because someone who cares for the people in their life won’t be constantly exhibiting those types of behaviors. This is where you want to look out for other signs of narcissism, such as gaslighting and emotional abuse.

4.They always respond to your problems with toxic positivity.

There are some self-absorbed people who know what they should say in certain situations, even if they don’t really mean it. Keep an eye out for toxic positivity, Neo says, in those moments when someone says something that seems nice but isn’t really helpful and is actually dismissing your concerns or problems.

5.They know how to mask their selfishness.

Similar to toxic positivity, there are other ways a self-absorbed person can “mask” their self-centeredness. According to Neo, a lot of people like this “tend to be able to pick up the right things to say or know to praise you.” But once they’ve said the right things, she adds, they’ll weasel in some competition or bring the conversation back to themselves.

6. They’re always the center of attention.

Simply put, “They want to be the center of attention,” Birkel says—and they’ll make it so. Neo echoes this, adding that a self-absorbed person knows how to tailor the conversation to them and can always bring it back to them. And when they’re not the center of attention, she adds, they may appear visibly bored or uninterested with their body language.

7. Their openness might be charming at first.

Self-absorbed people can be very charming or interesting at first, Birkel notes. “They can come across as emotionally intelligent initially,” he explains, adding that because there’s a lot of closed-off people out there, it can be refreshing to hear someone talk openly about themselves. But you want to be mindful of this, he says, and pay attention to whether they show interest in you, too, by asking questions and simply listening.

.

Related contents:“Egocentrism in Adolescence”. Child Development. 38 (4): 1025–1034. doi:10.2307/1127100. ISSN 0009-3920. JSTOR 1127100. PMID 5583052.

Onishi, K. H., Baillargeon, R. (2005). “Do 15-month-old infants understand false beliefs?”. Science. 308 (5719): 255–258. Bibcode:2005Sci…308..255O. doi:10.1126/science.1107621. PMC 3357322. PMID 15821091.

“Perspective taking in children and adults: Equivalent egocentrism but differential correction”. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. 40 (6): 760–768. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2004.02.002.

“Beliefs about beliefs: Representation and constraining function of wrong beliefs in young children’s understanding of deception” (PDF). Cognition. 13 (1): 103–128. doi:10.1016/0010-0277(83)90004-5. PMID 6681741. S2CID 17014009.

Adams, G. R., Jones, R. M. (1982). “Adolescent egocentrism: Exploration into possible contributions of parent-child relations”. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. 11 (1): 25–31. doi:10.1007/BF01537814. PMID 24310645. S2CID 24937196.

Keysar, B., Barr, D. J., Balin, J. A., Brauner, J. S. (2000). “Taking perspective in conversation: The role of mutual knowledge in comprehension”. Psychological Science. 11 (1): 32–38. doi:10.1111/1467-9280.00211. PMID 11228840. S2CID 10659981.

Encyclopedia of Human Development. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Reference. pp. 441–442. Retrieved 20 Oct 2014.

“Egocentrism in Adolescence”. Child Development. 38 (4): 1025–1034. doi:10.2307/1127100. ISSN 0009-3920. JSTOR 1127100. PMID 5583052.

“Does the chimpanzee have a theory of mind?”. Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 1 (4): 515–526. doi:10.1017/S0140525X00076512.

Bornstein, Marc; Arterberry, Martha; Lamb, Michael (2013). Development in Infancy: A Contemporary Introduction. New York: Psychology Press. p. 170. ISBN 9781848726581.

Advanced Applied Psychology, Volume II. New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers & Distributors. p. 93. ISBN 978-8126903559.

Butterworth G Harris M (1994). Principles of developmental psychology. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

“Preoperational Stage”.Pronin, E., & Olivola, C. Y. (2006). “Egocentrism”. In N. J. Salkind (ed.). Encyclopedia of Human Development. Vol. 1. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Reference. pp. 441–442. Retrieved 20 October 2014.Berger, Kathleen Stassen (2014). Invitation to the Life Span, Second Edition. New York: Worth Publishers.

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Sammons, A (2010). “Tests of egocentrism” (PDF). Psychlotron.org.uk. Retrieved 19 February 2012.

Goossens L.; Seiffge-Krenke I.; Marcoen A. (1992). “The many faces of adolescent egocentrism: Two European replications”. Journal of Adolescent Research. 7 (1): 43–58. doi:10.1177/074355489271004. S2CID 143870640.

Elkind D (December 1967). “Egocentrism in adolescence”. Child Dev. 38 (4): 1025–1034. doi:10.2307/1127100. JSTOR 1127100. PMID 5583052.

Vartanian LR (Winter 2000). “Revisiting the imaginary audience and personal fable constructs of adolescent egocentrism: a conceptual review”. Adolescence. 35 (140): 639–661. PMID 11214204.

Peterson K. L.; Roscoe B. (1991). “Imaginary audience behavior in older adolescent females”. Adolescence. 26 (101): 195–200. PMID 2048473.

O’Connor B. P.; Nikolic J. (1990). “Identity development and formal operations as sources of adolescent egocentrism”. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. 19 (2): 149–158. doi:10.1007/BF01538718. PMID 24272375. S2CID 32381808.

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What Is Really Driving “Inflation” Today

Roughly speaking — very roughly – there are five theories, and two subsidiary theories, proposed by different groups of economists and others to explain rising prices, or “inflation” so-called:

  1. Bad monetary policy – the central bank “printing too much money” which effectively devalues the currency relative to the value of real goods and services, driving prices up
  2. Corporate Greed – companies exploiting the public, squeezing higher profits and driving prices up
  3. Rising Inflation Expectations – a psychological explanation, which strangely holds that if the public thinks prices will rise, that alone can cause prices to rise
  4. Supply Constraints – bottlenecks in the economy that create shortages of key goods (e.g. energy and other commodities), driving prices up
  5. Demand Pressure – an economy that is running “too hot” with excessive demand that leads buyers to be willing to pay more, driving prices up – which is often explained as the result of… [these are the subsidiary theories]
  6. Loose fiscal policies that give consumers too much “extra” cash to spend, like tax cuts or stimulus checks
  7. Wage increases driven by workers’ demands for excessive compensation

These are more than mere theories. They represent distinct and comprehensive worldviews, expressed in broad economic philosophies and partisan political platforms.

Which explanation, or worldview, is correct? The question is important, because different theories lead to different and often mutually incompatible policies. A full answer would call for a book-length treatment. But two general points underscore the complexity of the problem:

“Inflation” – which, to be clear, refers very specifically to a measured rise in posted prices of the items in a market basket of goods and services defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics – seems like a simple symptom, but it can be and likely always is very complicated with multiple contributing causes; in other words, several of these factors may be causally relevant at the same time

“Inflation,” so defined, is not the same “always and everywhere” (pace Milton Friedman) – just as a fever in a person can arise from many different causes – some innocuous, some annoying, some lethal – a rise in prices can issue from various sources of stress in the economy, not all of which should carry the same weight in spurring public policy

In the concrete present moment, however, “all of the above” is not a satisfactory answer. Policy-makers – at the Federal Reserve especially, but elsewhere in government – as well as investors, trying to anticipate the direction of the financial markets – need to decide which of these factors – supply, demand, the money supply, psychology – is likely to predominate today, as the immediate guide for action.

The Federal Reserve – following a prevailing fashion in economics – appears to have decided that the psychological explanation carries the greater weight right now. Fed officials have resorted to tough talk, and performative interest rate rises, to try to knock down our inflationary expectations going forward. If they can somehow calm our feverish expectations regarding future inflation – Fed policy folks speak of preventing our expectations from “de-anchoring” – and if it brings actual current inflation down, that will constitute the much-desired “soft landing.”

But there is a harsher tone now emerging from the chorus. If (we are told) throwing cold water on the public psyche is insufficient, it may become necessary to inflict damage on our standard of living, to reduce actual demand. How? By raising the unemployment rate for example – as Larry Summers has urged:

“‘We need five years of unemployment above 5 percent to contain inflation—in other words, we need two years of 7.5 percent unemployment or five years of 6 percent unemployment or one year of 10 percent unemployment,’ Summers said during a speech at the London School of Economics.”

We need 10% unemployment? This is what a “hard landing” means? According to this view, it will be necessary to inflict actual economic pain on millions of people.

To support this explicitly nasty policy, the sainted Paul Volcker is invoked – he who “broke the back of inflation” 40 years ago – although Larry Summers is more than ready to claim credit for this grim insight.

Frankly, this is an obscene recommendation. But it is worse than that — it is also wrong.

It’s The Supply Chain, Stupid

Step back even a little from last month’s CPI headlines, and the first important Hard Fact to acknowledge is the obvious one: The world economy has been slammed and shaken by three once-in-a century external shocks in the space of less than two years.

  • Covid, the worst global pandemic in 100 years
  • The Invasion of Ukraine, the first major war in Europe in 75 years
  • Monetary stimulus on a massive scale, unprecedented since World War II

Like tossing that boulder into a small pond, the effect is chaotic disruption of all important trends. The chart for almost every economic measure, whether demand-side, supply-side, or monetary, shows whiplash.

The Big Picture is a carnage of dislocation. All the normal trends and relationships are broken. Beginning one fine day in March 2020, Consumer Demand shifted violently down, then violently up, and always and especially “sideways”– i.e., consumers, in lockdown, or working remotely, unable to pursue many normal activities, or simply becoming cautious as the pandemic spread uncertainty everywhere, altered their buying patterns dramatically. As has been widely noted, there was a major displacement of spending away from the consumption of services, and in favor of the consumption of goods (durable and nondurable).

In dollar terms, over a 30 month period, consumer spending on services fell about $1.5 trillion from the trend line while purchases of durable and nondurable goods increased by about the same amount.

What all this amounts to is a recipe for putting the supply chains that serve our economy under extreme, but temporary stress. Consider the implications of the shift to goods over services.

Many services are entirely performed in a defined location (e.g., restaurants, hair salons, healthcare) – where there really is no physical supply chain as such (although the service providers may be hampered by supply problems for the goods used in performing the service). Many other services have migrated online (e.g., banking, or streaming media).

“Goods,” however, are physical objects – boxes of cereal, automobiles, microchips – that must be assembled or manufactured (from other physical inputs, with their own supply chains), inventoried, packaged, trans-shipped (often from a great distance), delivered to the end customer, tracked and cared for all along the way.

When one speaks of supply chains, one is speaking about the “goods” side of the ledger. Greater spending on goods rather than services puts a much heavier burden on real supply chains. Suddenly injecting a trillion dollars of additional demand for all sorts of physical products ripples through these tightly-coupled networks. Small glitches can derail or delay the process of “fulfillment.” For want of a nail, etc. –

In addition, there is the information deficit created by the shocks described above. Physical supply chains rely on accurate information flow from customers to manufacturers and vice versa (and all the intermediate parties). But the chaotic nature of the past 30 months has disrupted this process. It has blown up the forecasting models that customers use to place orders and manufacturers use to prepare for them.

The auto industry is a case in point, where the initial impact of the pandemic triggered classic defensive responses from the car companies, which quickly cut back orders to many parts suppliers on the assumption that the auto industry was about to enter a severe recession. When the opposite happened – consumer demand quickly surged above pre-pandemic levels – the automakers were unable to restock the parts they had canceled. The drastic losses in revenue they suffered, especially from the inability to procure semiconductor components, have been well documented. (More on that in an upcoming column).

Sheer complexity is another problem. Physical supply chains have ramified enormously, in scale and geographical dispersion (i.e., globalization). The example of the moment is the semiconductor industry, which comprises a vast eco-system with tens of thousands of critical or near-critical suppliers, reaching across the entire world. A White House report recently underscored the boggling intricacy of the supply network that underlies the digital economy.

“The Semiconductor Industry Association notes that one of its members has over 16,000 suppliers, more than half outside the United States, and that a semiconductor may cross international borders as many as 70 times before reaching its final destination.”

Then there is “science” – specifically, the science of modern logistics management, as it is taught in leading universities and disseminated through international standards bodies. Doctrines of “lean manufacturing” and “just-in-time inventory management” have been widely adopted, and they have squeezed the margin of safety out of the system in pursuit of mere efficiency.

All across the manufacturing world, traditional “shock absorbers” (e.g., physical inventory) have been stripped down to bare minimum levels. All this leads to the crisis which is now driving the price trends in the global economy. The New York Federal Reserve has recently developed a measure of supply chain stress. That stress level has exploded.

This is the primary cause of the inflation today: the supply constraints. Inflation is not being driven by “excess demand” in any permanent sense (once the stimulus checks are spent). At this point, it is certainly not being driven by growth in the money supply(which has fallen now back to levels below the long term average). [Two large questions related to the monetary causality theory are to be noted:

The efficacy, or more generally, the wisdom of aggressive money supply expansion in response to the pandemic crisis in the Spring of 2020

The nature of the lag between the money supply expansion, or now, its return to normal levels, and the effect on prices

Those issues will be sidestepped for now, with this passing comment: whatever the merits of the expansive policies in 2020 – and I think they were well-justified by their chief objective, properly realized, i.e., the avoidance of a severe recession at the time – the growth of M2 has been declining rapidly for at least 18 months, which means it is approaching the point where it should begin to show a deflationary effect.]

As to the Expectations theory of inflation, which the Fed seems to be hanging its hat on for now, that is also a large topic for another day – but available measures of inflation expectations are not showing the surge in public concern for future inflation – the dreaded “de-anchoring” – that the theory looks for as the root cause of price instability.

And finally, as for the Corporate Greed theory, this too finds no real support in the realm of factuality (although it has plenty of political voltage in some precincts).

Good News & Bad News

“It’s the Supply Chain” – has become the answer to everything, it seems. But it really is the answer to the question of what is driving “inflation” right now. Supply chain stress comes in many forms – shortages, bottlenecks, dislocations geopolitical (Ukraine), medical (China’s Covid-Zero policy and the shutdowns), and more pedestrian cases, like –“One of the world’s most legendary companies has run out of trademarks – that little blue oval emblem that reads ‘Ford.’ Reports say that their supplier cannot deliver the right number of blue emblems like the ones that Ford puts on the back of its F-150 trucks…

The average car has over 30,000 parts. The F-150 comes with six engine options, seven trim levels, and so many options that some estimates say there are over 20 million possible configurations. But, that little badge, that nameplate, that trademark, has to be there. Reports say that Ford thought about alternatives like laser etching or retrofitting the trucks when the badges become available. Doubtless some people would have bought the car without the Ford badge affixed. Many or perhaps most would just wait. With all of the supply chain issues, we have really hit the end of the road with this one.”

It’s a great little vignette, but then, it’s not so little. “Ford on Monday said it expects to have about 40,000 to 45,000 vehicles in inventory at the end of the third quarter that couldn’t be shipped to dealers because they were awaiting needed parts. Many of these vehicles are high-margin trucks and SUVs and the shortages primarily involved parts other than semiconductors, the company said.”

The Good News is that supply constraints of this sort are almost alway self-correcting. Businesses and consumers don’t sit in limbo. They respond, build new capacity, fix transportation problems, expedite shipments, increase supply; customers defer purchases, find substitutes, wait it out or work around, innovate. The market mechanism does actually function, even if imperfectly and with a lag. The shocks suffered in the last two years have been severe, but the supply chains are beginning to clear. (More on the specifics in a future column.)

The Bad News is that policy makers seem to have panicked (along with the media, who gave up hope almost immediately). I thought for a while that Fed Chairman Jerome Powell had the backbone to stand against the chorus of bad advice he was getting from so many quarters, and allow the system to find its footing again. But the pressure to “Do Something” has prevailed.

We have now entered the chapter of “performative monetary policy” – taking measures which everyone knows will (1) have no positive effect on supply chain problems – there is nothing the Fed can do to speed up the delivery of those blue oval logos – but (2) may well cause real economic havoc. Fighting inflation by “reducing demand” – which, perversely, means raising prices (like on your mortgage), and throwing millions out of work (as Volcker did) – is one of those ideas John Maynard Keynes warned us about

“Practical men who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.”

My first career: I spent 25 years in the high-tech segment of the wireless technology industry, involved in the early development and commercialization of digital wireless

Source: What Is Really Driving “Inflation” Today

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Not Quietly Quitting But Quietly Returning, Older Workers Are Changing Work And Retirement

“I thought you retired,” I say teasingly to an old friend. He turns swiftly and in a somewhat irate tone, responds, “I am retired!” The 66-year old ‘retired’ engineer goes on, “I simply do what I want, when I want.” Pausing, he says, “And, for now, I want to work a bit.”

His words sum it up. For many, today’s retirement looks a lot like work. The difference? Work in their retirement years is now on their terms, not their employer’s or even on society’s expectations. My friend is not alone. Many recent retirees are saying they want to work at least “a bit“ in retirement. More than 2 million people retired during the first 18 months of the pandemic. They now appear to be heading back to work in what might be best described as quiet returning.

Today, data shows that the quiet return to work of onetime retirees are at higher levels than before the spring 2020 alarm bells caused many to run for the exits. At a time when “quiet quitting” — doing just enough to meet your job’s position description, but no more, has become a strategy for some to maintain their idea of quality of life, why would people who have worked decades and achieved what has been sold as nirvana, a.k.a. retirement, come back to work?

In part, the reasons for return includes what many might assume, money worries and the looming threat of inflation. Survey data from Joblist do indicate that 27% of those quietly returning to work were doing so because they needed the money and another 21% feared that inflation was eroding their retirement nest egg. However, the data identify the primary reason for quietly returning to be neither money nor inflation woes.

A full 60% of retirees returning to work said they were simply “looking for something to do.” According to Joblist CEO Kevin Harrington, “Many people struggle with how to spend their time after they retire and miss the social connection that work provides.”

While many scoff at the idea of work being more than a means to pay for living, work serves other critical functions that go well beyond money. We are very likely to spend more waking hours with our work colleagues than with our family and friends; consequently, work is a large part of our social world. Work structures our days, if not always to our liking. But while life may seem short, days with nothing to do or without a sense of purpose can feel endless.

And, as I observed in a previous article, socially isolating during the pandemic effectively became a fire drill for retirement planning. Unfortunately, during that time many of us discovered that we were far from prepared for unstructured days, weeks, and years no matter how long our ‘to do’ list was for retirement.The Joblist data show that more than half (52%) of those quietly returning were happy to be going back to work, 42% even said they were excited to clock back in on the job.

Similar to younger workers, retirees heading back to work were looking for flexibility. The vast majority (79%) wanted to work part-time. And, half of respondents might make many employers’ hearts sing — saying that work could either be in-person or remote. Moreover, as Joblist’s Harrington comments, older workers quietly returning, “Could be good news for employers. Retirees are an overlooked talent pool that companies can and should engage in order to combat labor shortages.”

That said, returning to work is not without some trepidation. Nearly 30% of retirees surveyed by Joblist expressed nervousness, stress, and frustration about returning to work. Getting back into the rhythm of work after being retired can be challenging. Just consider how difficult it has been for many people of all ages to go back to the workplace after the pandemic. Retirees may have multiple and compounding concerns. These might include feelings of being ‘rusty’ after being away from work for a year or many years.

How do you write a resume with several decades of varied experience? How to prepare for an interview with someone your child’s or even grandchild’s age? What is appropriate compensation? And, sadly, many will confront valid fears of not being accepted by employers and younger colleagues in workplaces that may be rampant with ageism.

Some call those making this quiet return back to work ‘unretired.’ Not incorrect in phrasing, but incomplete in capturing the full impact of what those quietly returning may have on our social narrative of retirement. They are not simply unretired, they are pioneers. These older adults are inventing something that is neither our current idea of retirement or of work. They are quietly creating something else — a new life stage altogether that sees the retirement age of today as a mile marker, not an exit.

I lead the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab (agelab.mit.edu). Researcher, teacher, speaker and advisor – my work explores how global demographics, technology

Source: Not Quietly Quitting But Quietly Returning, Older Workers Are Changing Work And Retirement

Critics by Cheryl Winokur Munk

Start with those that have publicly pledged to level the playing field for older workers. More than 1,000 companies, including Humana, Microsoft, Marriott International and McDonald’s, have signed on to the AARP Employer Pledge program. Eligible companies can’t have had discrimination lawsuits within the past five years. They must also agree to recruit across diverse age groups and consider all applications equally, regardless of age. AARP also offers a jobs board to help match experienced candidates with companies who have committed to having an age-diverse employee base.

The Age-Friendly Institute also certifies companies that are considered best-in-class for workers aged 50 and above. Applicants go through an extensive review and certification process, which includes committing to “meaningful employment, development opportunities and competitive pay and benefits for employees 50+.” The list, last updated in April, includes Aetna, Home Depot, Macy’s, Starbucks and Wells Fargo.

Just be aware that these lists can change, and don’t give you the whole picture, so be sure to do your due diligence on any company you are considering, said Lance Robertson, a former U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Assistant Secretary for Aging, who is now a director at Guidehouse, a global consulting and IT services provider.

Older job candidates should look at a company’s job ads, which can offer insights into the company’s culture and if it’s really age inclusive, said Paul Lewis, chief customer officer at Adzuna, an online job search engine. Older job seekers should look for language that specifically states the company doesn’t discriminate based on age, he said.

Conversely, seniors should be wary of companies that use the term “digital native” in a job description or set a cap on the number of years of experience as a job requirement, said Karina Hertz, strategic communications director of AARP.

Additionally, websites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Glassdoor can be helpful in finding resources and information about a company’s employment practices, including its commitment to older workers. And talking to current and former employees is also a good opportunity to gather information, Robertson said.

It’s also worth checking out what tools, if any, a company offers to help older workers find jobs. Humana, for example, has a career site, with a section on “jobs after retirement” where seniors can search for jobs, learn about popular roles for older workers, and get answers to FAQ, including what the impact of working could be on their Social Security benefits.

Workers who are younger than what the Social Security Administration considers their full retirement age and earn more than the yearly earnings limit, $19,560 in 2022, may have their benefits reduced. This means a deduction of $1 from your benefit payments for every $2 you earn above the annual limit, for those who are under full retirement age all year.

After doing your basic research, be sure to talk to a company’s human resources department to get a deeper understanding of the company’s policies, Robertson said.

Seniors should ask about the kinds of support the company provides to family caregivers and what flexible work options exist in the event an employee needs to take on or increase existing responsibilities. This can include an array of options including job-sharing, compressed work weeks, remote work, hybrid work and project-based work, said Chantelle Johnson, associate vice president of workforce and culture at Humana.

It’s also important to find out whether the company offers networking groups for seniors, which is a good way for mature workers to connect and benefit from shared experiences, she said. Approaches to team collaboration, and learning and development opportunities, are important to know about in advance, said Ronni Zehavi, CEO of HiBob, an HR tech platform.

“Even if someone has been in the workforce for 30 years or longer, it doesn’t mean that they have acquired all the wisdom they possibly want,” he said. It’s equally important to inquire how this learning is accomplished, since many older adults aren’t as tech-savvy as their younger counterparts. Find out whether the company offers other options beyond online and app-based training, Robertson said. And health-care options, including dental, vision and pharmacy benefits, become even more important as people age, so that’s a must to understand, he added.

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