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Wanted in College Graduates: Tolerance for Ambiguity

“What answer do you want?” “Just tell me what you want me to write, and I’ll write it for you!” I once had a student in a literature class who almost had a panic attack when she found out, from the mock final exam, that the final exam would contain poems and prose passages that we hadn’t gone over in class, so that there was no way for her to…

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Essay on how much a professor learned about teaching from his mentor

I had a similar experience, with a mentor who very rarely praised my work. But when he read my first full draft of my dissertation, and along with his notes told me to schedule my defense, I knew he wasn’t being polite or friendly or sympathetic — I knew he was treating me like someone who had finally met the expectations he had set for his colleagues. Every single paper…

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How Finland Keeps Kids Focused Through Free Play

Normally, students and teachers in Finland take a 15-minute break after every 45 minutes of instruction. During a typical break, students head outside to play and socialize with friends while teachers disappear to the lounge to chat over coffee. I didn’t see the point of these frequent pit stops. As a teacher in the United States, I’d spent several consecutive hours with my students in the classroom. And I was…

Key Speakers At The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC)

Don’t Give Apple Too Much Credit for Bowing to Taylor Swift

Apple is skilled at attracting praise. Often, it deserves that praise. This isn’t one of those times. […] For Apple to prove it truly stands with artists, Rabhan says, it would have to fundamentally change the way these contracts are negotiated, striking deals directly with the artists instead of music labels. Until that happens, he argues, Apple has done little more than “put a Band-Aid on an open wound” that cuts…

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4 Skills to Help You Stand Out In Any Job Interview

An employer will never ask you to write a five-paragraph essay, but your employer will expect you to demonstrate the critical thinking skills that you will develop while mastering the college essay. How will you set yourself apart from all the other job applicants who have also passed freshman comp? These are all specific skills I expose my students to through working on their academic weblogs and the online student newspaper.…

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A Robotic Dog’s Mortality

Fascinating video journalism from the New York Times. They didn’t shed, chew the sofa or bite the postman, but for thousands of people Sony’s Aibo robotic dog was the closest thing to a real canine companion. So when the Japanese company stopped servicing the robots last year, eight years after it ended production, owners faced a wrenching prospect: that their aging “pets” would break down for good. —The New York Times

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In an Unpredictable Job Market, How Should People Think About College Majors?

I tell my students that if what they want is specific job skills, they should learn how to lay cable or get a Class-2 rating to drive a P-5000 Power Loader. But the specific job skills I teach a freshman or sophomore may be out of date by graduation day. Rather than teaching students how to use a particular piece of software, I want to teach self-sufficiency and critical thinking; I want to…