Thursday, July 24, 2014

If Education Took the DiSC

The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) recently released a report called Measuring Innovation in Education: A New Perspective, Educational Research and Innovation

Instead of a test for innovation, I think we should give Education the DiSC

First, some housekeeping. My uncles were giving me grief the other weekend for blogging about the same topic over and over (I believe "one-trick pony" was the exact term...), so I'm hoping to use enough jargon to weed them out before I start in:

Pedagogy. Metrics. Assessment. Correlation. Critical thinking. Active learning. Maker movement. BYOD. Competency-based education. Intrinsic motivation. Growth mindset. 

There, that oughta do it. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Hurry Up and Wait

As Randal Graves says in the classic Clerks: "This job would be great if it wasn't for the [bleeping] customers."

Higher education has done things a certain way for a long time, and that's been acceptable because most of the students could work with it. But the changes in student population, coupled with the lofty goals set for college graduation and ever-increasing requirements to enter the job fields that pay a living wage, require us to rethink some of the assumptions we've been able to make in the past.

This is an issue because, as we continue to figure out how to help students be more successful in college, the answer becomes more and more evident. We just have to hurry up and wait. 

In California, a 2-year degree takes more like 4 years. Why? Sometimes, students need some advising to make sure they take the right classes. Sometimes, colleges can't offer the classes that students need when students need it because of budget cuts.

Sometimes, students need to take care of business first. There are numerous articles about developmental education and how ineffective and detrimental the added time is for students. The most prominent is Complete College America's 2012 Time is the Enemy, which states:
Time is the enemy of college completion...The longer it takes, the more life
gets in the way of success.
That doggone life gets in the way of everything.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

First Things First

One of my favorite parts of Stephen Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is "Habit 3: Put First Things First." I read this book for one of my introductory education classes, and my professor used the demonstration in which there is a large jar and several different sizes of rocks. She first put as many large rocks as could fit, and asked "Is there still room?" We said yes, so she put as many of the next-largest sized rocks as could fit, and asked again if there was still room. She did this all the way until we'd gotten to pouring sand and then water into the jar. 

The first lesson my writing students get is on subjects and verbs because once a writer can pick those out, most of those other pieces (commas, modifiers, verb usage, structure) fall into place. We practice "sentence sifting" - a challenge to students to "sift" a sentence down to the three most important words. 

In other words, take care of the most important things first and the rest will find its place. 
This is a lesson we seem to forget in higher education. 
If we break down higher education to the three most important words, the ideal sift is "Faculty teach students." 

I'm not sure this is the case if we take a look at the hot topics in higher ed.