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Employers unhappy with new generation of workers

Show up, prepared and on time, not just when you feel like it. Take directions gratefully — and this means not being offended if you’re corrected in public. Knowing a particular skill or craft is not as important as knowing how to learn new things — and that means a willingness to step out of your comfort zone, into a scary new place where there is no step-by-step YouTube tutorial…

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Don’t worry: It’s not just art!

Before a school play, a principal worries parents will complain about all that lost test-preparation time. [T]his principal assumes I will be alarmed that my child takes a weekly visual art class, a dance class, and a music class. She is pretty sure I’m going to think there’s something fishy going on, that Real Learning is not happening, because here are kids singing and dancing in costumes they made, on…

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English Major: Working as student journalist “helped me get the job” of technical writer

I just got this email from a student who graduated in May. I’m the adviser to The Setonian, the student newspaper. I think it’s safe to say that working with the Setonian helped me get the job. Several of the tests I took with the company involved me compiling given information into paragraph format, which was pretty similar to writing news articles! The teamwork and leadership experience with the Setonian was…

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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…

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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…