Studying STEM Isn’t The Career Boost We Think

Turns out, getting a STEM education may help you get a good job early but if you want a good career, you’re better off in liberal arts lane.  In other words, even if you’re only measuring money, a liberal arts education is probably worth a ton more than most people may think. […] [B]y the time STEM degree holders reach 40 years of age, more than half of them aren’t in…

Scarecrow, Tin Man, Dorothy, and the Cowardly Lion approach Emerald City in this still from The Wizard of Oz

The Hidden Subversive Messages of [MGM’s Screen Adaptation of] The Wizard of Oz

When I tried teaching The Wizard of Oz in a literature class, I was a little frustrated with myself that I couldn’t bring the class discussion much farther than “how this book is different from the movie” and lists of one-to-one symbolism (“the yellow brick road represents the gold standard,” or  ‘the scarecrow represents agriculture, the tin man represents industry, and the cowardly lion represents the military”).  Part of my…

Students say they prefer lectures, but “active learning” is more effective

A recent study measured differences in student learning, comparing the results of traditional lectures (where the students sit passively while the instructor connects all the dots for them) and active learning (where the students get guidance, but have to connect the dots themselves). Students gave lower ratings to instructors who made them think harder and taught them more. They preferred an instructional method that actually taught them less. In a…

Inverted Pyramid, #SharpieGate edition

Context: Sunday, President Trump tweeted a supportive message for people in the path of Hurricane Dorian; however, he included Alabama in the list of states in the path of the storm. Within minutes the National Weather Service posted a statement asserting that Alabama would not be affected. As usual, Trump doubled down when facing any opposition, and variously asserted that he was operating on new information, and that he was…

What Critics of Student Writing Get Wrong

  [T]o improve as writers, students need to write frequently, for meaningful reasons, to readers who respond as actual readers do — with interest in ideas, puzzlement over lack of clarity or logic, and feedback about how to think more deeply and write more clearly to accomplish the writer’s purposes. There is no shortcut… When opinion columnists opine that “our students can’t write,” they mean that students can’t put together…