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Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Feynman’s technique for efficient and effective study

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Essentially, he would get an empty notebook that would be dedicated to whatever he wanted to learn, and he would fill it with explanations of that, written in simple concrete language, as though teaching it to someone with no background in the field.

By doing this, it quickly became apparent when he entered an area he didn’t really know (though he may have thougtht he did) because he would find himself unable to explain it in simple terms, and unable to answer the “Why?” questions that the person to whom he was explaining it would ask.

This video is from an Open Culture post that’s worth reading, but don’t watch the video there. It has a long and obnoxious advertisement at the beginning.

And take a look at “Wynton Marsalis Gives 12 Tips on How to Practice: For Musicians, Athletes, or Anyone Who Wants to Learn Something New“.

Written by LeisureGuy

3 April 2017 at 6:45 pm

Posted in Education, Video

Learning about learning: A quiz about some common canards regarding how you learn

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Very interesting little quiz in NPR article by Anya Kamenetz. I got 100% on the 7-question test, but I read a lot about learning. I was pleased to see a reference to Carol Dweck’s research, since her book Mindset is one of my standard recommended books.

One takeaway: highlighters do not help in the least. Very glad to hear it. I hate buying secondhand books that have been victims of highlighting.

Written by LeisureGuy

26 March 2017 at 6:56 am

Good news: Former Lobbyist With For-Profit Colleges Quits Education Department

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UPDATE: It’s not so clear-cut after all. Jennifer Rubin explains.

Annie Waldman reports for ProPublica:

A former lobbyist for an association of for-profit colleges resigned last Friday from the Department of Education, where he had worked for about a month.

As ProPublica reported last week, the Trump administration had hired Taylor Hansen to join the department’s “beachhead” team, a group of temporary hires who do not require approval from the U.S. Senate for their appointments.

On the day Hansen resigned, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., sent a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, citing ProPublica’s reporting and requesting more information on Hansen’s role.

“Mr. Hansen’s recent employment history clearly calls into question his impartiality in dealing with higher education issues at the Department of Education, and raises alarming conflicts of interest concerns,” she wrote.

Jim Bradshaw, an education department spokesman, told ProPublica in an email that the department was “grateful for [Hansen’s] contributions.”

“He served ably and without conflict and decided his service had run its course,” said Bradshaw. Hansen did not immediately respond to ProPublica’s request for comment. Bloomberg first reported Hansen’s departure.

Hansen isn’t the only hire from the for-profit college industry to join the Education Department via the beachhead team. The New York Times reported that Robert S. Eitel, a former compliance officer at for-profit college operator Bridgepoint Education Inc., is working at the department. Eitel, a former deputy general counsel at the Education Department from 2006 to 2009, has been a critic of federal regulations on for-profit colleges.

Warren also criticized Eitel’s hiring in her letter to DeVos. She noted that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last September ordered Bridgepoint, Eitel’s former employer, to refund $23.5 million to students whom it had deceived into taking out loans that cost more than advertised. Bridgepoint is currently under investigation by the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the attorneys general of New York, North Carolina, California and Massachusetts, Warren wrote.

Until July 2016, Hansen worked as a registered lobbyist for the nation’s largest trade group of for-profit colleges, Career Education Colleges and Universities, or CECU. He lobbied to weaken a regulation known as “gainful employment,” which permits the education department to rescind federal funding from schools whose students fail to earn enough to repay their debts. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

21 March 2017 at 2:51 pm

These For-Profit Schools Are ‘Like a Prison’

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Sarah Carr, Francesca Berardi, Zoë Kirsch and Stephen Smiley report in ProPublica:

Teenagers at Paramount Academy sometimes came home with mysterious injuries.

An alternative school for sixth- through 12th-graders with behavioral or academic problems, Paramount occupied a low-slung, brick and concrete building on a dead-end road in hard-luck Reading, Pennsylvania, a city whose streets are littered with signs advertising bail bondsmen, pay-day lenders, and pawn shops. Camelot Education, the for-profit company that ran Paramount under a contract with the Reading school district, maintained a set of strict protocols: No jewelry, book bags, or using the water fountain or bathroom without permission. Just as it still does at dozens of schools, the company deployed a small platoon of “behavioral specialists” and “team leaders”: typically large men whose job was partly to enforce the rules.

Over six months in 2013 and 2014, about a half-dozen parents, students and community members at Paramount Academy — billed as a “therapeutic” day program — complained of abusive behavior by the school’s staff. One mother heard that staff restrained students by “excessive force” and bruised the arms of a female student, according to email exchanges between Camelot and the district. Another mother, Sharon Pacharis, said she visited the school to complain about manhandling and was told, “That’s just what we do.” Camelot’s own written reports to the district documented one incident in which a teenager was scratched and another in which a bathroom wall was damaged. Both resulted from “holds” — likely a reference to Camelot’s protocol for restraining students during a physical encounter.

Camelot tended to blame the students in its weekly reports to the district, calling them “out of control”; school officials referred several to police. It was, after all, a place partly for students whom the district had deemed too disruptive for a traditional school setting.

But an incident on April 24, 2014, abruptly shifted the focus to Camelot’s staff.

Ismael Seals, a behavioral specialist, walked into a classroom with several loud and boisterous students and commanded them to “shut the fuck up,” decreeing that the next one who talked would get body-slammed through the door, according to a subsequent criminal complaint. Moments later, Seals fulfilled his promise. After 17-year-old Corey Mack asked and received permission from his teacher, Teresa Bivens, to get up to sharpen his pencil, Seals pushed him repeatedly against a door and then shoved him into the hall, where a school surveillance camera recorded most of the rest of the incident. Seals, 6 feet 4 inches tall and 280 pounds, lifted Mack, 5 feet 8 inches tall and about 160 pounds, by his shirt and swung him into the wall headfirst, later pinning him to the ground as other staff members arrived, according to court documents.

Mack later showed a string of bruises and scratches on his back to a program director at a center for children with behavioral and mental health challenges. The program director called a juvenile probation official, who contacted the police.

Reached by telephone last fall, Corey Mack struggled to remember the details of his altercation with Seals, including what he had said just before the behavioral specialist shoved him, and the precise sequence of events. But he was clear on the essential point: “He beat me up,” Mack said.

Over six months in 2013 and 2014, about a half-dozen parents, students and community members at Paramount Academy — billed as a “therapeutic” day program — complained of abusive behavior by the school’s staff. One mother heard that staff restrained students by “excessive force” and bruised the arms of a female student, according to email exchanges between Camelot and the district. Another mother, Sharon Pacharis, said she visited the school to complain about manhandling and was told, “That’s just what we do.” Camelot’s own written reports to the district documented one incident in which a teenager was scratched and another in which a bathroom wall was damaged. Both resulted from “holds” — likely a reference to Camelot’s protocol for restraining students during a physical encounter.

Camelot tended to blame the students in its weekly reports to the district, calling them “out of control”; school officials referred several to police. It was, after all, a place partly for students whom the district had deemed too disruptive for a traditional school setting.

But an incident on April 24, 2014, abruptly shifted the focus to Camelot’s staff.

Ismael Seals, a behavioral specialist, walked into a classroom with several loud and boisterous students and commanded them to “shut the fuck up,” decreeing that the next one who talked would get body-slammed through the door, according to a subsequent criminal complaint. Moments later, Seals fulfilled his promise. After 17-year-old Corey Mack asked and received permission from his teacher, Teresa Bivens, to get up to sharpen his pencil, Seals pushed him repeatedly against a door and then shoved him into the hall, where a school surveillance camera recorded most of the rest of the incident. Seals, 6 feet 4 inches tall and 280 pounds, lifted Mack, 5 feet 8 inches tall and about 160 pounds, by his shirt and swung him into the wall headfirst, later pinning him to the ground as other staff members arrived, according to court documents.

Mack later showed a string of bruises and scratches on his back to a program director at a center for children with behavioral and mental health challenges. The program director called a juvenile probation official, who contacted the police.

Reached by telephone last fall, Corey Mack struggled to remember the details of his altercation with Seals, including what he had said just before the behavioral specialist shoved him, and the precise sequence of events. But he was clear on the essential point: “He beat me up,” Mack said.

The Seals incident is the best-documented example of staff-on-student violence at facilities run by Camelot, a company dogged by allegations of similar abuses. Thirteen Camelot students have alleged in interviews or documents that they were shoved, beaten, or thrown — assaults almost always referred to as “slamming” — by Camelot staff members, usually for the sin of talking back, in separate incidents that span 10 years and three states. (Six of the students were interviewed in 2009 in New Orleans.) Two additional students, and five Camelot staff members, say they have personally witnessed beatings or physical aggression by staff.

The abuse allegedly occurred in Camelot programs in Reading; Lancaster; Philadelphia; New Orleans; and Pensacola, Florida. Jandy Rivera, for instance, a former teacher at Camelot-run Phoenix Academy in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, says that on multiple occasions staff members, including administrators, “baited kids so they could hit kids.” For the most part, staffers who allegedly assaulted students have faced no criminal charges or internal discipline; some have even been promoted.

The Florida Department of Children and Families, which investigates reports of child abuse, is looking into an incident last week at Camelot Academy in Pensacola in which a behavioral specialist, while breaking up a fight between students, allegedly knocked a 13-year-old to the ground, causing a bloody abrasion and bruising near the teenager’s eye. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

8 March 2017 at 5:12 pm

In a Rust Belt Town Where Tuition Is Covered, Economy Begins to Revive

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Gabriel Ware reports in Yes! magazine:

Autre Murray, 24, never planned to go to college. He thought he couldn’t afford it—even with student loans. Besides, he wasn’t thrilled with the prospect of ending up in “debt up to the neck.” Instead, Murray planned to earn a high school diploma and find a job doing manual labor, maybe somewhere like a factory. He told himself he didn’t need a college education to become successful.

But now he’s on his way to obtaining a bachelor’s degree, as are other members of his Kalamazoo, Michigan, hometown. That’s thanks to the Kalamazoo Promise, a scholarship program first announced at a board meeting of Kalamazoo Public Schools in November 2005. The nonprofit of the same name provides scholarships that cover 65 to 100 percent of college tuition and fees for all graduates of Kalamazoo Public Schools who meet certain criteria. Students have 10 years from the day they graduate high school to use the scholarship.

“I might as well go now,” Murray says he told himself, when he heard about the Promise. “I’ll be stupid not to.”

Murray, the eldest of four children raised by a single mother, remembers his family relying on government assistance and bouncing from house to house in some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods. Murray’s newfound hope was shared by many in this economically troubled city, which lost about 4 percent of its population between 1990 and 2000. The Promise was intended to reverse that trend by creating incentives for residents to remain in Kalamazoo and for new families to move in.

“The donors believe that a community’s vitality—politically, socially, and economically—is closely related to the educational level of the community,” says Bob Jorth, executive director of the Kalamazoo Promise. “In the knowledge-based economy that we’re in, almost all good jobs require some kind of training and education beyond high school.”

By many measures, the program has succeeded. The population began to rebound almost immediately, while dropout rates declined, particularly among African American women. Over its first 10 years, the Promise invested more than $75 million in 4,000 students, and at least 90 other communities across the U.S. have created Promise scholarships based in some way on Kalamazoo’s program. Barack Obama even considered it a model for a federally funded free community college program.

Realtors even began posting yard signs featuring the Kalamazoo Public Schools logo and the phrase “College Tuition Qualified” in front of homes. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 March 2017 at 3:25 pm

600+ Massive Open Online Courses starting now

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Dan Colman has a post at Open Culture that lists some and provides links. From his post:

Heads up: This month, 600+ MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) will be getting underway, giving you the chance to take courses from top flight international universities, at no cost. With the help of Class Central, we’ve pulled together a complete list of March MOOCS. Below find a few courses that piqued our interest. You can also rummage through the complete list of MOOCs and find your own.

Note: The trailer for Introduction to Philosophy is featured above. View the complete list of MOOCS here.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 March 2017 at 1:27 pm

Posted in Education, Technology

Teaching Young Kids Philosophy Improves Their Academic Performance, Making Them Better at Reading & Math

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Josh Jones writes in Open Culture:

hould we teach philosophy to children? You’d have a hard time, I imagine, convincing many readers of this site that we shouldn’t. But why? It’s not self-evident that Kant’s ethics will help Johnny or Susie better navigate playground politics or lunchroom disputes, nor is Plato’s theory of forms likely to show up on an elementary school exam. Maybe it’s never too early for kids to learn intellectual history. But it’s less clear that they can or should wrestle with Hegel.

Perhaps the question should be put another way: should we teach children to think philosophically? As we noted in an earlier post, English educators and entrepreneurs Emma and Peter Worley have answered affirmatively with their Philosophy Foundation, which trains children in methods of argumentation, problem-solving, and generally “thinking well.” They claim that practicing philosophical inquiry “has an impact on affective skills and… cognitive skills.”

Peter Worley also argues that it makes kids less prone to propaganda and the fear-mongering of totalitarians. While one reader astutely pointed out that several philosophers have had “authoritarian tendencies,” we should note that even some of the most anti-democratic—Socrates for example—have used philosophical methods to hold power to account and question means of social control.

But while this noble civic motivation may be a hard sell to a school board, or whatever the British equivalent, the idea that philosophical thinking promotes many kinds of literacy necessary for children’s success has found wide support for decades in England and the U.S. as part of a movement aptly named “Philosophy for children” (P4C), which “began with the work of Professor Matthew Lipman, who founded the Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children at Montclair State University, USA in 1974.”

Inspired by an earlier American pedagogical thinker, John Dewey, Lipman and co-authors published Philosophy in the Classroom, under “the assumption,” writes Temple University Press, “that what is taught in schools is not (and should not be) subject matter but rather ways of thinking.” Lipman and his colleagues have had significant influence on educators in the UK, prompting a huge study by the Educational Endowment Foundation (EEF) that tracked nine and ten year old students in England from January to December of 2013.

As Jenny Anderson writes at Quartz, “More than 3,000 kids in 48 schools across England participated in weekly discussions about concepts such as truth, justice, friendship, and knowledge, with time carved out for silent reflection, question making, question airing, and building on one another’s thoughts and ideas.” The results were pretty astounding. “Overall,” the study concludes, “pupils using the approach made approximately two additional months’ progress in reading and maths.” This despite the fact, notes Anderson, that “the course was not designed to improve literacy or numeracy.”

Children from disadvantaged backgrounds saw an even bigger leap in performance: reading skills increased by four months, math by three months, and writing by two months. Teachers also reported a beneficial impact on students’ confidence and ability to listen to others.

The rigorous study not only found immediate improvement but also longitudinally tracked the students’ development for two additional years and found that the beneficial effects continued through that time; “the intervention group . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 March 2017 at 8:05 am

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