Archive for the 'Education' Category

Year-round school

      In a recent CNN article it was being discussed whether or not school should run year-round.  This was brought on by America’s low ranks of 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math out of 34 nation and nonnational region.  This study was down by the Program for International Student Assessment.  From the opinion of the author it seems that  “U.S. students are no longer ready to compete against the world’s brightest”.  Only 8 out of the 34 nations that participated in the study have a lower high school graduation rate than the United States.

     To fight this “declining” intelligence some think it would be good to have year round school since America has one of the shortest school years of only 180 days.  So by getting rid of the summer break they belive we could increase our rank.  It was also studied and discovered that during the course of the summer about 1 months worth of information is lost and has to be retaught the next year.  So it seems logical to just do away with summer break and have year round school.

    This problem needs to be fixed, but not by getting rid of summer break.  Summer break is when kids can be kids and have fun and enjoy life.  You can’t take that away from them because if you did they would be going to school for around 8 years straight with little chance to experience life.  Now that may be a little extreme because they will have periodic breaks just like they do now to get away from school.  By taking summer break away kids will just become agitated and won’ want to go to school.  School will become something that they hate and this would be counterproductive because if they hate school why would they try to do good in it.  

      We would also instilling the “knowing that” instead of the”knowing how” that Crawford talks about.  From out discussion in class it seemed that “knowing how” was more important, so why facilitate ‘knowing that”.  Most of my “know how” comes from personal experiences away from school.

     Teachers may not even want to work during the summers.  If they did they will want to be paid more and god forbid we pay teachers a reasonable salary for their work.  It may even push people away from being teachers because they lose one of the great benefits of being a teacher, summer break.  Teachers also need a break from the chaos of school and they would lose that.

    Students would also lose the real-world experiences that come from summer break like having a job or making decisions by yourselves, etc.  They would lose part of the growing up experience that they will need once they graduate from high school or college.  Without it they will just be lost in the world.

   All the blame can’t be put on the students.  The teachers and the system need to take their share of the blame since they are the ones that teach the students and if the students aren’t doing well than maybe the system isn’t working very well either.

      I have my opinions about year-long school and would like to hear your opinions.  For more information visit:http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/05/10/granderson.yearround.school/index.html

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Stressing a Test

We all know how stressful it can be to take a test. Finals are next week – and just the thought of have to study this weekend can be stressful. You load up your backpack with books and binders and go to the library for a full day of cramming.

Take a moment and ask yourself: are finals really that helpful or are they useless? A student spends the entire year learning information – and throughout the semester is given tests, quizzes, and papers to regurgitate information. Shouldn’t that be enough? Let’s face it – any student who is studying for a final, is wrapping their head around “what grade might I receive?” Are we even understanding the concepts, facts, figures….or are we simply training our brain to memorize, without really grasping the idea behind it?

School should be about going beyond the material – asking ourselves, what IS the point of what i’m learning? I understand that grades are necessary…but I feel that professors should really think about how to help students not only learn and understand the material, but also find a way to help them remember it in years to come. If we can relate what we are learning in school – to real life, wouldn’t that be more effective? How can I grasp an idea by simply circling in A,B,C, or D? Why not make our final something hands on? Those are the things that I will remember later on in life, and in turn, will be able to teach my children.

On another note, in light of finals week….

Here are some tips to REDUCE your anxiety on test taking! Hope this helps! Happy studying, everyone! 🙂

http://www.testtakingtips.com/anxiety/index.htm

The Future

We are now in our last week of classes, and finals are approaching. Graduation is right around the corner. It is hard to believe that I will be dressed in a cap and gown in only a few short weeks. With this thought – comes the ultimate stressor…what will my future hold? For many of us – whether we are nearing our last days of school, or contemplating our dream job in the middle of class- the thought of being independent and entering the working world is stressful. Being an Art major, can be overwhelming. Where do I take this degree? Do I want to go into advertising? Fashion? Design? Media? There are so many options – but how do I narrow it down? Is Graduate School the way to go? Or, should I try out a few jobs and see what interests me the most?

Taking the first step into the ‘real world’, I believe, will be the hardest part – not to mention the ‘letting go’ of the routine schedule we have been accustomed to for years in school. What am I the most afraid of concerning my future? Is it the fact that I am growing old, or not knowing what I want to do with my remaining years? Am I afraid that I won’t land my dream job, or find a career that I am passionate about? Or, what if I never get hired? What if nobody see’s the potential in me – that I see in myself? The answer – all of the above. It’s hard to grow up and grasp the concept of letting go of the familiar and diving into the future. A lot of risk is involved.

However, In some ways, I see myself as very lucky. I have a clean slate ahead of me. I can control my future and what it is that I want to accomplish. I may not know what it is that I am interested in now – but maybe that is the fun part. The planning, the searching, the wonder….of what lies ahead. Perhaps this ‘unknown’ is my palette, and I must paint my future with every bright color that I deserve. I see a bright, promising, and happy life ahead!

Building Stress

I have noticed, as I am sure others have, that in the last couple of weeks a buildup of stress has occurred. As a constant procrastinator it would seem that I have almost no worries the entire semester until either the end, in most classes, or at the drawing due date of a large assignment, much like the one approaching tomorrow. Does anyone else carry out their schoolwork like this? I find that if something is not due within a very short period then it simply will not be done until either it is due or perhaps not at all. Unfortunately, for my health, this results in a terrible buildup of stress in that period leading up to the end. I suppose I am simply wondering if it would be better to balance the stress throughout the semester and feel awful the entire time or just proceed as I do and deal with the hurdles as they approach. Interestingly enough my method works fine almost every class except for this one and another from the previous semester. It is hard for me to get in the same mindset as a final for group work or other assignments. In high school it did not seem to matter, but then again group work was not as big of deal. Stress works as a personal motivator and it simply cannot be generated mid-semester, for me anyway.

Library vs. Your Room?

With exams coming up soon, I have been spending a decent amount of time in the library because it seems like the studious thing to do. But I have noticed that I seem to not get as much work done in the library than I do in my own room. When I go to the library I usually go with a couple of friends, and we go sit upstairs in a group study room. It seems like the perfect situation to get a lot of work done in a timely manner, but I seem to get antsy about what else is going on outside of our study room. My friends call me crazy for saying I cannot get work done in that study room, but I can’t. Being in a secluded room makes me feel trapped and more stress to get my work done. Another problem I seem to have with the library is that it is too quiet for me, I am one of those people that need noise and action around them in able to study. Music doesn’t always help because I like to hear natural conversations between people and natural noises, that’s why I seem to get more work done in my room. Because I can hear people in the hall coming and going to and from class, conversing in the hall, I can hear the construction and I can get comfortable. I have yet to find someone with the same study habits as me so, that’s why I thought I would blog about it!

Put It Off

It’s 7:30 in the morning. And I still am yet to have slept. Not because I’m not tired, not because I don’t feel like sleeping, but because I’m a slacker. Yep, a slacker. I’ve procrastinated so much that I’ve had to spend the entire night doing homework for the 3 classes I have today and it all could have been avoided, had I actually done the work that I was supposed to do.

Procrastination is stressful. If I’ve learned anything this year, it’s the just because you try your best to avoid any stress immediately, doesn’t mean you can avoid it entirely. In fact, it worsens.

Farewell for now RMC!

I attended RMC from 1995-1999. During my first few years in college, I loved everything about the school, the campus, Ashland, and being away from home! Gradually, however, I grew comfortable with RMC and then bored with it. I longed to move on. In my senior year I feel like I spent more time off-campus than on it, between a J-term in ireland, student teaching through the spring, loads of interviews for grad schools all over the country, and just visiting family a lot more. I was thrilled to leave Ashland and move to Chicago, so ready for many new adventures. I never thought I’d return.

And yet, in 2008, I did return. This time it was to take a postdoctoral teaching/research position with my former mentor Kelly Lambert and to become a professor where I was once a student. It was awkward for about the first month, and then it just felt like home.  As a professor I go out of my way to see my dad (Professor George Lowry), whereas when I was a student I tried to pretend we weren’t in the same universe. For the past 3 years I’ve helped Dr. Lambert build a fantastic Behavioral Neuroscience lab and conduct loads of cool research. I’ve taught hundreds of amazing students. I’ve loved my time here. But for many reasons, the time has come to move on. New adventures are waiting for me. And I find myself saying goodbye to RMC again.

This time I am wiser and I know that RMC is in my blood. I never know when, but I’m sure I’ll return again, even if it is only to visit. Never say never again… at least not as it pertains to RMC! Somehow it soothes me to know that RMC will be here and that I’ll be back. Somehow I feel less stressed by the move. It isn’t “goodbye”, but “see you later”… and that makes all the difference.


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