“I don’t view Shakespeare’s work as intimidating anymore.” — midterm reflection from college freshman

“It has made me more confident in myself, and I don’t view Shakespeare’s work as intimidating anymore.” –freshman student reflecting on the first half of my “Shakespeare in Context” course. In lieu of reading comprehension quizzes, I have students post informal responses. They respond to an orientation lecture and each act of the play as they read, and finally they write a brief synthesis paper. That cycle usually takes about…

The difficulty is the point (teaching critical thinking skills differs from teaching facts to memorize)

In the past few years I have seen more students who are very bright, hard-working, and grade-conscious, who are very comfortable when they have a list facts to memorize, or a formula to follow. Rather than thinking of a revision as an opportunity to develop, these students think more transactionally than organically about their learning, and prefer to see revision as a punishment for not getting it right the first time. I see it instead as an integral part of the critical thinking process.

Earth doesn’t need more ‘successful people’.

The plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage wiling to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these qualities have little to do with success as our culture has defined it.…

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…