Obviously, music isn't a chemical substance. However, I do think the idea remains the same. It affects the mind and body, is used to treat abnormal conditions, and recreational users utilize it for the effects it has on their central nervous system.
Definition three is what formed the connection in my mind of how I use music and how it affects me in a drug-like manner. For years, I have used music during workouts, before parties, and as a general mood enhancer. It wasn't until recently that I realized just how much it does affect me.
I spend quite a bit of time driving alone and realized that after driving for extended periods of time with the music blaring, I would often leave the car and arrive at my destination like I was coming down from a caffeine high or other stimulant. It then dawned on me that that is exactly what was happening. I was using the music to keep me stimulated and up while driving alone. It fought off boredom and loneliness and kept me moving forward. Many times I am not looking forward to arriving where I am going and it often took my mind of the impending meeting as well.
After realizing this, I have been driving in complete silence for the last week. No music or YouTube videos playing. At first I was really bored and continually caught myself reaching for the power button on the radio. However, after a couple days, I noticed that I arrived at my destination ready to work and get things going. It had become the perfect time for meditation and focusing myself.
An unexpected side effect was that my "music sensitivity" went way up. I use this phrase because it seems completely analogous to insulin sensitivity. The less you flood your system with the substance, the more sensitive your body becomes to it and the better able to manage and utilize it when you need it. Now when I put on some loud rap music at the gym, I actually notice a huge effect on my nervous system. Everything heightens and comes alive.
This even-keeledness throughout the day lets me get a lot more done and keeps me from constantly going through ups and downs along the way. It is just so similar to the feeling you get when you nail your diet and no longer notice the mid-afternoon slump after a carb-heavy lunch. Instead, the energy is just constant all day. The added benefit of getting a huge kick from music once again at the gym is just the icing on the cake.
In trying to find a quote that stood out to me from this chapter I realized that there were too many. I have, perhaps, a dozen or so pages with half the text highlighted.
At its essence, this chapter speaks about the power of individual connection and the isolation that results from a full classroom and an overworked teacher. It's something that continues to come up again and again in my readings. The only way to make a true difference is with a personal connection.
There is a line where Rose states, "perhaps nothing is intrinsically interesting," and I think that sums it up perfectly. Math, biology, English, psychology. None of those subjects are intrinsically interesting. They are interesting as a result of the connection they allow you to have with others and the world around you. If no one takes the time to make that connection clear to you, there is little reason for you to find them inherently interesting.
There are two basic types of scoring for most teachers when they use a rubric. Holistic rubrics look at the writing as a whole and evaluate, while analytic rubrics look at components and give weighted points to each section.
Now the problem with holistic rubrics is that they are usually just hidden analytic rubrics. What I mean by that statement is that they still ask graders to evaluate several pieces at once. If you are mentally evaluating several different pieces at once, you are analyzing! The only difference is that now you do not have a predesignated weight for each of your mental calculations and odds are you will decide in a biased fashion.
For example, if you believe organization and structure is the most important aspect of an essay you will essentially discount all other aspects of the essay. This is not grading the whole essay, it analyzing all the parts individually and deciding that what you find important is the most important. All you have done is looked at one aspect of the essay and then give a score based on that.
Another potential downside is the opposite effect. Instead of focusing on just what you believe is the most important aspect and discounting all the other aspects of the essay, you can find yourself reading an essay and believing it to be pretty good, but have one section like grammar be so awful that you fail the paper based on just one category. Again, this is not keeping the whole essay in mind when assigning the final grade. It is letting one category dictate your final score and this is bias at its worst because now you have failed a student.
Since people are going to mentally assign weights and points, consciously or unconsciously, it is better to just use a weighted analytic rubric that creates more reliability across each paper. This does not mean each category needs to be the same weight. If you have three categories, you can consciously decide to weight one as 50% and that is fine. This just means your mental and often unconscious decisions are on paper and hopefully less biased.
Finally, if you want to use a holistic rubric, there is a way to get around this mental bias. You basically need to turn your grading into a yes/no question. For example:
With this approach, you will actually have to decide about the grade using the whole essay with two simple questions. It does not reflect several different components that you can mentally weight and analyze in your brain. You are simply saying, "No, it doesn't answer the prompt. Yes, it answers the prompt, but I need to work to get answer, Or yes, it answers the prompt and I don't have to work to find it." Do not think about structure, grammar, or other component parts. Make it about the whole essay and it becomes safe to say it is holistic grading.
So there you go, traditional holistic rubrics really aren't holistic. They are just analytic rubrics in disguise. If that is the case, just be explicit about what you are doing and use an analytic rubric. If you do want to use a holistic rubric, make it a real holistic rubric. Decide what is important for a pass and ask yourself one or two very simple yes/no questions.
Summary: This was my first time teaching a class at the university level. I have tutored and TA'ed at a four year college, but I was still very nervous. Especially because the lesson topic was outside of my comfort zone to begin with.
Thoughts: I did OK on the lesson delivery, but prepared some wrong information. I had to back pedal and change the information after I was stopped by the master teacher and told one of my rules was backwards. That was not so great for a first lesson.
Happiness cannot be willed. It is a byproduct of experiences, just like laughter. When something is funny you laugh as a result. When something is enjoyable you feel a sense of happiness. I now believe that motivation is the same. It is not something to be willed or inherent to anyone. Instead it is a temporary state that results from other actions or experiences happening in a person's life.
If we take the above as true, it has major implications for the classroom and the educator. Under this belief the student is not responsible for their motivation as though they "have" it or don't. Instead, the teacher must recognize that it is their responsibility to induce motivational environments or states in each of their students. Viewing motivation as a force rather than a characteristic changes the teacher's perception of their students. It would sound ridiculous to hear a teacher ask a student, "Why aren't you eating?" when the student is not hungry. Yet, teacher's ask themselves constantly, "Why aren't my students motivated?" when they have done nothing as a teacher to create a "hunger" for the material being taught.
Therefore, designing a classroom that takes into account the students' perception of the course is an absolute must. Why should the students be motivated in the first place? Do they see a meaning, purpose, or sense of ownership in what is being done? It is not enough simply to tell them the material will be tested so they better learn it. This does not create motivation for the material anymore than telling children they need to eat their broccoli because it's good for them. "Good for them" is entirely relative and not concrete to a child. As a teacher you may know that the material is "good for them", but this does not mean you should expect a child to shift their basic attitude about having to do it.
In the final assessment, most of what children do in the classroom is seen as some sort of cost. In fact, they intuitively understand the idea of "opportunity cost" from economics. This states that the cost of something is not just the dollar amount of an item, but also everything else that you could have purchased with that money. Students recognize the opportunity cost of things like homework, classroom attention, and solitary study for an upcoming test. By "spending" their time and attention on these classroom tasks demanded of them, they also lose the ability to "spend" that same time and attention on other things such as friends, family, or sports. Teachers must recognize that students grasp this idea of opportunity cost and constantly weigh the alternatives of how to spend their time. After realizing this, teachers need to think long and hard about what they are actually offering to the students and what the students perceive they are getting out of the deal. If the value of doing homework and studying for a test is not outweighed by the alternatives available to students, they will never be "motivated".
In fact, it gets even deeper when teachers reflect on the ideas of fragility as written about by Nassim Taleb and prospect theory as written about by Daniel Kahneman. Fragility is the idea that some systems are destroyed by volatility or shock. Students are very fragile by this definition. The upside of doing well in school and getting good grades is not immediately felt or strongly rewarded. It is simply expected of individuals to do well and the gratification of doing so is not personally felt until years later when students benefit from being a good student by obtaining a good career or position in a field they desire. However, the downside of doing poorly in school is huge. It can not only destroy future career dreams, but also the student's sense of self worth or efficacy.
Prospect theory, along the same lines, discusses the fact that humans do not view gains and losses equally. An equivalent gain in value is not experienced the same as an equivalent loss. Kahneman as found through research that losses are experienced roughly twice as intensely as gains. This is bad news for a student who, as described above, weighs alternatives using opportunity cost and also recognizes that he is quite fragile as a student. If a student is offered the choice of studying, which has very little immediate rewards for them, or a second choice of spending time with friends, which has an immediate reward, they will choose the latter every time, especially taking into account that genuinely studying hard still leaves a possibility of failure. This is a large risk with huge downside that would be experienced in a very intense manner by the student.
Until students are made to feel that their education is not a fragile state, but in fact the opposite, an anti-fragile state which gains from shocks and volatility, they will not be able to make decisions using their intuitive understanding of opportunity cost that favors study and homework. The choice for them is very simple. Enjoy time with friends that is immediate and rewarding with no large downside, or spend time studying which is not immediately rewarding in any way and has a huge risk of downside with respect to their future career and egos.
Tell me which you would choose? Changing students perception of this choice of alternatives is the real problem educators need to address.
February was a busy month for me. Below is a short summary.
I just finished reading this book and it was wonderful. I am not going to summarize it here, but instead talk about the thoughts it raised in my mind.
First, he mentions a couple of phases that prisoners went through in a concentration camp. The initial phase was shock, followed by apathy, and finally reactions of depersonalization if liberated.
I could not help but draw a parallel between his phases of prison camp psychology and that of two other theories: Taylor's theory of cognitive adaptation and Selye's General Adaptation Syndrome.
Taylor explains man's response to threatening events by positing that cognitively adaptive efforts are made to search for meaning, gain mastery, and attempt to enhance the self.
Selye's research showed that in response to an interruption of physical homeostasis, the body reacts predictably also going through three stages: shock, resistance, and finally exhaustion.
Selye's is actually the most useful of these three outlooks on stressful events as it is the most general and biologically rooted, giving strong hope for a biological explanation of the two psychological theories generated by Frankl and Taylor. I believe that both Frankl's initial phase of shock and Taylor's threatening events are essentially the first phase of Selye's adaptation syndrome. They both work as initial stresses.
After this first phase of shock in all three theories comes resistance. In the case of the Frankl's psychology, the prisoners attempt to resist the shock of concentration camps with apathy. Taylor on the other hand believes people's first resistance is a search for meaning, which Frankl gets to later and discusses throughout his book as well.
Finally, Frankl saw that many prison camp survivors were unsuccessful in finding meaning and fell into a state of depersonalization or moral deformity upon being released from a camp. This represents a lack of success in generating resistance during Selye's second stage and results in psychological exhaustion. Taylor on the other hand explains successful resistance in stage two with an enhancement of the self. This is a successful psychological adaptation to the event and exhaustion does not ensue.
I hope that at some point in the future, psychology is able to take a page from Selye's work in endocrinology and recognize that much of what they attempt to explain using psychological models is already easily explained with the General Adaptation Syndrome. People's successful resistance to their initial shock is a result of the interdependence of their genes and environment which can lead to either personal growth in the form of positive adaptation or a decline in health due to maladaptations or exhaustion.
I particularly like a passage from pages 55 and 56 where Rose discusses his relationship with a writing professor. He states, "Perhaps he was more directive than some would like, but, to be truthful, direction was what I needed. I was easily frustrated, and it didn't take a lot to make me doubt myself... So Ted Erlandson's linguistic parenting felt just right: a modeling of grace until it all slowly, slowly began to work itself into the way I shaped language."
This passage represents a major theme throughout the book, summarized on those two pages in a couple of sentences. He constantly speaks of a mentor-like relationship as he develops and later as a teacher himself. He seems to believe and acknowledge that it was his mentors that really pushed him and that personal relationships were what truly formed his education. I believe he is right to make such a repetitive point throughout the book.
I can only think of one or two teachers that made me feel welcome in their lives, not just their office. These teachers are the ones that actually lit educational fires in me and pushed me along certain paths. Most teachers do not really feel that is there role. They like hiding in their offices and classrooms, but do not give out their phone numbers or invite you over for a barbecue as Rose describes one of his professors doing each Saturday for his students.
I know very well that many professors and teachers are extremely busy, but having those real life meetings to chat about "stuff and things", rather than discuss a particular point from class is what really hooks people. I believe most students are looking for a friend and inspiration, rather than a teacher, and to be honest most teachers just aren't very friendly or inspiring, which is why they fail to reach so many students.
The following questions and answers are based on chapter four of The Crosscultural Language and Academic Development Handbook: A Complete K-12 Reference Guide by Diaz-Rico and Weed.
Answer the following questions:
1. What is the benefit of having standards?
Standards provide educators with directions and strategies to assist English learners. They are organized around goals and usually provide descriptors, progress indicators and classroom vignettes.
2. Why is important to integrate language skills?
It allows one skill to reinforce another, vocabulary to be seen, heard and spoken, and language to convert from receptive to productive and vice versa.
3. What are some of the guided listening techniques?
Listening to repeat utilizes minimal pairs and backward buildup. Both focus on phonemes and not necessarily on meaning.
Listening to understand focuses on tasks that test comprehension and typically involves listening to that students can answer questions, either in true/false, outlining notes, or testing.
Listening for communication focuses active construction of meaning through methodologies such as Total Physical Response which stresses an initial silent period for students. This allows them to receive input in a low anxiety environment until they are comfortable enough to issue their own commands and manipulate the language themselves.
4. What are some techniques teachers can use for improving speaking skills?
Teachers can use guided practice techniques such as dialogues, role-plays, skits. Communicative practice techniques include activities such as guessing games, brainstorming, and story telling. Finally, teachers can use free conversation such as debates, discussion groups, or socializing.
5. What processes are involved in reading?
The processes involved in reading include sound-symbol relationships (graphophonics), word order and grammar (syntax), and meaning (semantics) to predict and confirm meaning, and using background knowledge about the text's topic and structure along with linguistic knowledge and reading strategies to make an interpretation.
6. What is the difference between bottom-up and top-down reading? Is one more important than the other? Explain. (This is from the orientation lecture.)
Top-down reading focuses on whole-language and the meaning it carries. Bottom-up starts with individual sounds, moves to whole words, and then onto
sentences and longer discourse. Both are important to develop and neither is more important than the other. Meaning does carry a special place in communication, but that meaning can often change dramatically because of individual words, sentences and the larger discourse. Therefore, they are both related interdependently and cannot be fully separated.
7. What literacy skills are transferred to the second language?
Several literacy skills have shown transfer to the second language, including concepts about print, print has meaning, reading and writing are used for various purposes, knowledge of text structure, use of semantic and syntactic knowledge, and others.
8. In what ways should you introduce literacy to students who are not literate in their first language?
Literacy should be introduced to low literate students in meaningful ways, demonstrate the link between oral language and print is made as naturally as possible, and allow students to have the opportunity to enjoy reading and writing.
9. How should you approach errors?
Treatment of errors depends on the context. In early development of language, the teacher should focus on meaning and not necessarily correct grammatical issues unless they inhibit communication. However, as learners become older and have a better understanding of learned rules, the teacher can begin mini-lessons that address systematic errors.
10. How should grammar be taught?
Grammar should be taught within a framework of meaningful concepts - themes, topics, areas of student interest - and deals with grammar only as the need arises.