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Javier E

The Default Major - Skating Through B-School - NYTimes.com - 41 views

  • Dr. Mason, who teaches economics at the University of North Florida, believes his students are just as intelligent as they’ve always been. But many of them don’t read their textbooks, or do much of anything else that their parents would have called studying. “We used to complain that K-12 schools didn’t hold students to high standards,” he says with a sigh. “And here we are doing the same thing ourselves.”
  • all evidence suggests that student disengagement is at its worst in Dr. Mason’s domain: undergraduate business education.
  • “Business education has come to be defined in the minds of students as a place for developing elite social networks and getting access to corporate recruiters,”
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  • It’s an attitude that Dr. Khurana first saw in M.B.A. programs but has migrated, he says, to the undergraduate level.
  • Second, in management and marketing, no strong consensus has emerged about what students ought to learn or how they ought to learn it.
  • Gains on the C.L.A. closely parallel the amount of time students reported spending on homework. Another explanation is the heavy prevalence of group assignments in business courses: the more time students spent studying in groups, the weaker their gains in the kinds of skills the C.L.A. measures.
  • The pedagogical theory is that managers need to function in groups, so a management education without such experiences would be like medical training without a residency. While some group projects are genuinely challenging, the consensus among students and professors is that they are one of the elements of business that make it easy to skate through college.
  • “We’ve got students who don’t read, and grow up not reading,” he says. “There are too many other things competing for their time. The frequency and quantity of drinking keeps getting higher. We have issues with depression. Getting students alert and motivated — even getting them to class, to be honest with you — it’s a challenge.”
  • “A lot of classes I’ve been exposed to, you just go to class and they do the PowerPoint from the book,” he says. “It just seems kind of pointless to go when (a) you’re probably not going to be paying much attention anyway and (b) it would probably be worth more of your time just to sit with your book and read it.”
  • “It seems like now, every take-home test you get, you can just go and Google. If the question is from a test bank, you can just type the text in, and somebody out there will have it and you can just use that.”
  • This is not senioritis, he says: this is the way all four years have been. In a typical day, “I just play sports, maybe go to the gym. Eat. Probably drink a little bit. Just kind of goof around all day.” He says his grade-point average is 3.3.
  • concrete business skills tend to expire in five years or so as technology and organizations change.
  • History and philosophy, on the other hand, provide the kind of contextual knowledge and reasoning skills that are indispensable for business students.
  • when they hand in papers, they’re marked up twice: once for content by a professor with specialized expertise, and once for writing quality by a business-communication professor.
  • a national survey of 259 business professors who had been teaching for at least 10 years. On average, respondents said they had reduced the math and analytic-thinking requirements in their courses. In exchange, they had increased the number of requirements related to computer skills and group presentations.
  • what about employers? What do they want? According to national surveys, they want to hire 22-year-olds who can write coherently, think creatively and analyze quantitative data, and they’re perfectly happy to hire English or biology majors. Most Ivy League universities and elite liberal arts colleges, in fact, don’t even offer undergraduate business majors.
Tracy Tuten

When the 'A' in U.C.L.A. Stands for 'Achievement' - Campaign Spotlight - NYTimes.com - 0 views

  • The campaign, now getting under way, is for the University of California, Los Angeles. The campaign proclaims that U.C.L.A. is the home of “the optimists,” people who are risk-takers, rule-breakers and game-changers.
  • The campaign is the first for U.C.L.A. from an agency named 160 Over 90, which is based in Philadelphia and recently opened an office in Newport Beach, Calif.
  • That work underscores the growing presence of universities and colleges as advertisers in the media. Their goals include selling themselves to prospective students and the parents of those students, seeking donations from alumni, recruiting faculty members and improving their standings in various surveys.
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  • The agency has also created ads for institutions of higher learning like Michigan State University, Loyola University Maryland and the University of Dayton.
  • The campaign has a section devoted to it on the U.C.L.A. Web site, ucla.edu/optimists, and is getting shout-outs on the U.C.L.A. fan page on Facebook and on the U.C.L.A. Twitter feed, where those who send messages are asked to use the hashtag #optimists.
  • The U.C.L.A. campaign has a small budget, estimated at less than $500,000, for a couple of reasons. One is that much of the campaign is appearing online; there is also print advertising, in newspapers.
  • The video clip can also be watched on YouTube.
  • The new campaign is meant to celebrate “the optimism that abounds on our campus,” she adds, “even in challenging times,” and shine a spotlight on “the dynamism and vitality” as well as the history and legacy of the university.
  • The way to do that, Ms. Turteltaub says, is to focus on “the icons” from U.C.L.A. “who made their mark in whatever fields they choose” and describe their “accomplishment, success, barrier-breaking.”
  • “This is the place that gives you the opportunity to be a game-changer,” Ms. Turteltaub says, “and you’ll choose the game.”
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    That work underscores the growing presence of universities and colleges as advertisers in the media. Their goals include selling themselves to prospective students and the parents of those students, seeking donations from alumni, recruiting faculty members and improving their standings in various surveys.
Javier E

Money Cuts Both Ways in Education - NYTimes.com - 19 views

  • If you doubt that we live in a winner-take-all economy and that education is the trump card, consider the vast amounts the affluent spend to teach their offspring.
  • This power spending on the children of the economic elite is usually — and rightly — cited as further evidence of the dangers of rising income inequality.
  • But it may be that the less lavishly educated children lower down the income distribution aren’t the only losers. Being groomed for the winner-take-all economy starting in nursery school turns out to exact a toll on the children at the top, too.
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  • There is a lively debate among politicians and professors about whether the economy is becoming more polarized and about the importance of education. Dismissing the value of a college education is one of the more popular clever-sounding contrarian ideas of the moment. And there are still a few die-hards who play down the social significance of rising income inequality.
  • When you translate these abstract arguments into the practical choices we make in our personal lives, however, the intellectual disagreements melt away. We are all spending a lot more money to educate our kids, and the richest have stepped up their spending more than everyone else.
  • spending on children grew over the past four decades and that it became more unequal. “Our findings also show that investment grew more unequal over the study period: parents near the top of the income distribution spent more in real dollars near the end of the 2000s than in the early 1970s, and the gap in spending between rich and poor grew.”
  • But it turns out that the children being primed for that race to the top from preschool onward aren’t in such great shape, either.
  • “What we are finding again and again, in upper-middle-class school districts, is the proportion who are struggling are significantly higher than in normative samples,” she said. “Upper-middle-class kids are an at-risk group.”
  • troubled rich kids. “I was looking for a comparison group for the inner-city kids,” Dr. Luthar told me. “And we happened to find that substance use, depression and anxiety, particularly among the girls, were much higher than among inner-city kids.”
  • “I Can, Therefore I Must: Fragility in the Upper Middle Class,” and it describes a world in which the opportunities, and therefore the demands, for upper-middle-class children are infinite.
  • “It is an endless cycle, starting from kindergarten,” Dr. Luthar said. “The difficulty is that you have these enrichment activities. It is almost as if, if you have the opportunity, you must avail yourself of it. The pressure is enormous.”
  • these parents and children are responding rationally to a hyper-competitive world economy.
  • “When we talk to youngsters now, when they set goals for themselves, they want to match up to at least what their parents have achieved, and that is harder to do.”
  • we live in individualistic democracies whose credo is that anyone can be a winner if she tries. But we are also subject to increasingly fierce winner-take-all forces, which means the winners’ circle is ever smaller, and the value of winning is ever higher.
Amy Roediger

Reading Strategies for 'Informational Text' - NYTimes.com - 172 views

  • Four Corners and Anticipation Guides:Both of these techniques “activate schema” by asking students to react in some way to a series of controversial statements about a topic they are about to study. In Four Corners, students move around the room to show their degree of agreement or disagreement with various statements — about, for instance, the health risks of tanning, or the purpose of college, or dystopian teen literature. An anticipation guide does the same thing, though generally students simply react in writing to a list of statements on a handout. In this warm-up to a lesson on some of the controversies currently raging over school reform, students can use the statements we provide in either of these ways.
  • Gallery Walks:A rich way to build background on a topic at the beginning of a unit (or showcase learning at the end), Gallery Walks for this purpose are usually teacher-created collections of images, articles, maps, quotations, graphs and other written and visual texts that can immerse students in information about a broad subject. Students circulate through the gallery, reading, writing and talking about what they see.
  • Graphic Organizers:
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  • Making Text-to-Text/Text-to-Self/Text-to-World connectionsCharting Debatable IssuesListing Facts/Questions/ResponsesIdentifying Cause and EffectSupporting Opinions With FactsTracking The Five W’s and an HIdentifying Multiple Points of ViewIdentifying a Problem and SolutionComparing With a Venn Diagram
  • The One-Pager:Almost any student can find a “way in” with this strategy, which involves reacting to a text by creating one page that shows an illustration, question and quote that sum up some key aspect of what a student learned.
  • “Popcorn Reads”:Invite students to choose significant words, phrases or whole sentences from a text or texts to read aloud in random fashion, without explanation. Though this may sound pointless until you try it, it is an excellent way for students to “hear” some of the high points or themes of a text emerge, and has the added benefit of being an activity any reader can participate in easily.
  • Illustrations:Have students create illustrations for texts they’re reading, either in the margins as they go along, or after they’ve finished. The point of the exercise is not, of course, to create beautiful drawings, but to help them understand and retain the information they learn.
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    Update | Feb. 2012: We'll be exploring the new Common Core State Standards, and how teaching with The Times can address them, through a series of blog posts. You can find them all here, tagged "the NYT and the CCSS."
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    A good list of reading strategies for informational text from the New York Times.
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