May 12 - May 19, 2019

Much of interest this week, including a new measure by the College Board to assess the adversity a student has experienced in life.

Also, an excellent synthesis about the effects of arts in society, a remarkable essay that offers a new and interesting take on the Shakespearean authorship debate (which I usually avoid), and a host of other provocative pieces.

Last, I've been thinking for a while about the relationship between self-directed learning and externally-driven standards.  On the one hand, we should seek to foster intrinsic motivation in students.  On the other, students also benefit by being held to rigorous standards (read: by learning to adapt to someone else's expectations and perspectives).  I don't think these are necessarily in conflict, though.  Balancing following the self and following others is a lifelong act, and it plays out in myriad ways, especially in education.  Bearing this in mind, the discussion about learning styles needs more nuance.  See the article in cognitive science as an example of one perspective.  Generally, the dialogue on this topic seems to claim that either learning styles are bunk or they are the treasured nature of every individual.  And in all these, what is meant by "learning styles" (and the implication for what is to be done with them) is as vague and unclearly defined as "personalized learning."  We need more discussion articulating when, why, and how the balance between intrinsic and extrinsic forces in education ought to be kept.

Enjoy this and other reading!



An "Adversity Score"? The SAT Seeks to Recognize Student Challenges  New York Times
"The decision to give students who take the SAT test a numerical rating that reflects the challenges they have overcome in life is the most telling sign yet that universities across the country are searching for ways to diversify their classes without considering race or ethnicity… In the initial data the College Board has collected on some schools that have tried out the new tool, it found that disadvantaged students who did not attend high schools known to be regular feeders to college were more likely to be admitted."

How The Arts Benefit Society: An Interactive Research Synthesis  Mellon Foundation
"The Arts + Social Impact Explorer is designed as a gateway to research, projects, and support organizations. The goal is to enable people to extract key information at a quick glance, helping users visualize how the arts permeate community life while providing leaders what they need to make visible impact."


Is The "Adversity Score" Misinformed Pseudo-Science?  New York Times
"The dehumanizing message of the new adversity index is that America’s young people are nothing but interchangeable sociological points of data — and the jagged complexity of an individual life somehow can be sanded down, quantified and fairly contrasted."


In Praise Of Admiration: Offering It Generously, And Criticizing Less  Fast Company


How A Proponent Of Un-schooling Sees The Learning Style Debate  Carol Black


“Was Shakespeare A Woman?” - A Remarkable, Provocative Essay  Atlantic

Arundhati Roy’s PEN Lecture: On Writing In A Hardening World  Guardian

Is Making College Free The Key To Saving The Humanities?  Pacific Standard


The Email Uber’s CEO Sent To The Company After The Poor IPO  Inc.

On Resisting The Impulse To Reorganize Your Team  Farnam Street


Short Primer On Lesson Study  Edutopia


On How Teaching (Math) Could Be Like Coaching Football  New York Times
“Students are affected by more than just the quality of a lesson plan. They also respond to the passion of their teachers and the engagement of their peers, and they seek a sense of purpose. They benefit from specific instructions, constant feedback and a culture of learning that encourages resilience in the face of failure — not unlike a football practice. There are many ways to be an effective teacher, just as there are many ways to be an effective coach. But all good teachers, like good coaches, communicate that they care about your goals.”

Some Methods For Engagement, From An Analysis Of 25 TED Talks  Inc.


More On The Effect Of Having Books At Home During Childhood  Scientific American
"In fact, teens who only made it through high school but were raised in a bookish environment fared as well in adulthood as college grads who grew up in a house bereft of books."

In Praise Of Reading Aloud (via Middle School)  Edutopia

On Sociological Vs Psychological Storytelling In Game Of Thrones  Scientific American
"This is an important shift to dissect because whether we tell our stories primarily from a sociological or psychological point of view has great consequences for how we deal with our world and the problems we encounter."


E. O. Wilson On What Science Needs Today  Chronicle of Higher Education

Driverless Electric Trucks Start Working In Sweden  Reuters


Daniel Pink: 4 Recommendations For Using Time More Wisely In Schools  EdWeek


On Asking For Specificity When Talking About “Transforming” Learning  Larry Cuban