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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…

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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 But the specific job skills I teach a freshman or sophomore may be out of date by graduation day.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…

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College is not a commodity. Stop treating it like one.

If we are going to treat college as a commodity, and an expensive one at that, we should at least grasp the essence of its economic nature. Unlike a car, college requires the “buyer” to do most of the work to obtain its value. The value of a degree depends more on the student’s input than on the college’s curriculum. I know this because I have seen excellent students get…

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Technology won’t fix America’s neediest schools. It makes bad education worse.

[N]o matter how good the design, and despite rigorous tests of impact, I have never seen technology systematically overcome the socio-economic divides that exist in education. Children who are behind need high-quality adult guidance more than anything else. Many people believe that technology “levels the playing field” of learning, but what I’ve discovered is that it does no such thing. —The Washington Post

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Caroll “Big Bird” Spinney was originally to be on NASA’s doomed Challenger flight

And he was even offered a seat as Big Bird on the ill-fated Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986 in a bid to get children more interested in the NASA program when Star Wars was all the rage. | But there wasn’t enough room for the costume, which is more than eight feet tall, sparing Spinney from the tragedy that saw the Challenger break apart 73 seconds into its flight, killing all seven people…