18 August 2014

Items to Share: 17 August 2014

Education Focus
  • Motivating Students: Should Effort Count? | Faculty Focus '[H]ere’s what’s troubling me. Most students want to get grades with the least amount of effort. If they can get an A or B with an hour or two of studying once a week, or by doing nothing until the night before the exam or paper is due, that’s how much effort they’ll make. Unless students fall madly in love with the content, most won’t expend any more energy than they need to.'
  • The Beef with Personal and Social Development | Sam Shepherd 'I’m not averse to changing behaviour: it could easily be argued that that is the whole reason for education. I’m not averse to telling students things they need to do in order to become better language learners, nor to requiring behaviour change in the context of an ESOL classroom. However, PSD seemed, both explicitly and implicitly to be about conscious lifestyle changes based on a specific socio-cultural viewpoint.'
  • Students learn more if they'll need to teach others | Futurity '“When compared to learners expecting a test, learners expecting to teach recalled more material correctly, they organized their recall more effectively, and they had better memory for especially important information,” says John Nestojko, a researcher in psychology at Washington University in St. Louis.'
  • First impressions in the higher ed classroom [teachinginhighered.com] 'First impressions in the higher ed classroom are crucial. There is even some indication that students’ perceptions on the first day will be almost identical to how they will eventually assess the professor on the final course evaluation. Here are a few ideas for starting the semester strong:'
  • Brain training games won't help children do better at school [theconversation.com] 'Darren Dunning and colleagues at the University of Cambridge gave seven to nine-year-olds up to 25 sessions of either CogMed working memory training or active control tasks. Then they measured whether training improved performance on additional measures of working memory, and broader skills including mathematics, reading, writing and classroom-based skills (such as following instructions). They found improvements on working memory. Crucially, however, these improvements did not extend to improvements on any of the broader skills.'  
Other Business
  • What’s Up With That: Why It’s So Hard to Catch Your Own Typos | Science | WIRED  'You have finally finished writing your article. You’ve sweat [sic] over your choice of words and agonized about the best way to arrange them to effectively get your point across. You comb for errors, and by the time you publish you are absolutely certain that not a single typo survived. But, the first thing your readers notice isn’t your carefully crafted message, it’s the misspelled word in the fourth sentence.' 

  • Talking therapies can harm too – here's what to look out for [theconversation.com] 'People seeking therapy should always talk to a practitioner who provides good quality treatment that’s appropriate to their needs. Because research shows that even the innocuous-sounding “talking therapies” (essentially counselling and psychotherapy) can be harmful for some when they’re unsuitable.'
  • Steven Pinker: 10 'grammar rules' it's OK to break (sometimes) | Books | The Guardian 'How can you distinguish the legitimate concerns of a careful writer from the folklore and superstitions? These are the questions to ask. Does the rule merely extend the logic of an intuitive grammatical phenomenon to more complicated cases, such as avoiding the agreement error in "The impact of the cuts have not been felt"? Do careful writers who inadvertently flout the rule agree, when the breach is pointed out, that something has gone wrong? Has the rule been respected by the best writers in the past? Is it respected by careful writers in the present?'
  • 250 years of English grammar usage advice: HUGE database includes history of hopefully and others '[N]ewer usage guides tend to discuss a greater number of usage problems than older ones do. This suggests that more usage problems are "discovered" than disappear, either by being "forgotten" about or resolved. Furthermore, the database mainly contains usage problems relating to grammatical issues rather than word-choice or spelling. It seems then, that grammatical issues don’t easily "go out of fashion," something that happens more easily with problems of word choice, spelling or pronunciation.'
  • The Case for Conversational Writing | Vitae  'I’ve heard some of my college-level colleagues [complain] that students don’t know how to write academic prose. [...] Why should they? The fact that they’re students, and that they’re operating in an academic environment, does not make them academics. Nor will more than a fraction of them go on to become academics, thank goodness. The overwhelming majority won’t be writing academic prose in their professional lives, so why should we be teaching it to them in college, much less high school?'

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