29
Oct 18

It starts with Education

There have been seven types of primary learning styles identified, but public schools only have enough resources to cater to one – verbal, while the concept is controversial I do believe it is a good start in trying to figure out why the public school system has failed at engaging every student.

 

If a student can develop a love for education and understand their own abilities while in school, they are more likely to believe in themselves. Self efficacy is strengthened and their confidence in their ability to be a scholar is not diminished. They will more likely believe in their ability to attend college and find a challenging and satisfactory career.

 

So to make things better for every student we have to apply the resources, making sure teachers have what they need to engage all their students.


29
Oct 18

Aggression in Education

An important topic that came up in this weeks readings was aggression. Aggression is at times the crux of human interaction. It is the protector, it is the defender, it is the punisher. However it is not needed as much anymore. Aggression as a tool has no place in certain areas of life, and one of those areas is in the educational system. Yet time and time again we see horrific acts of violence sensationalized in the media when they occur in our most sacred establishments of learning. So what does all this violence in schools mean? Should teachers be armed? Should students be homeschooled? Should everything move to online learning? There are many questions and many answers, however a solution that is right in front of us is thus: education. We have these institutions in place for a reason. Our children spend over half of their days in schools. This is where they learn everything from socialization to reasoning and behavioral expectations. Of course the base of these things are learned at home, but in application, school is where these students go to really learn all that they need in terms of social context.

So what does this have to do with the educational system. Well in terms put lightly, a lot of bad things have happened in schools throughout the last few years. One of the most obvious solutions to this is to really educate students about the negative affects of violence and aggression starting at a young age through in school programs. One such program is the GREAT program, or the Guiding Responsibility and Expectations for Adolescents for Today and Tomorrow. This program was created to help deter acts of violence and aggression in schools (Orpinas & Homes, 2004). Orpinas and Holmes (2004) took a simple idea and implemented it; they created a program that educated teachers about different types of aggression, risk factors for such behavior, taught them how to develop methods of preventing aggression, and how to assist students who have become targets of aggression. This is such a simple thing to be taught, and all it takes is a little bit of specialization and a few weeks of time on the part of the teacher. By educating the teachers, students can then be further taught how to deal with aggression from all angles whether it be from external or internal sources.

While the GREAT program is a good example of what can be done to mitigate aggression, it is not the only thing to be done. But it does have the right idea. Many people place the blame on the students, but like we learned in the reading, the students tend to behave based on what they feel are the expectations. If they see abuse and violence as a normalized thing then they will act as such and that can create a whole host of problems. This means placing a lot of the responsibility on the teachers instead of the students and ensuring they know how to create a proper environment to decrease aggression and foster a positive learning environment for their students.

So while many say that educational system is the problem, in fact, it is the solution. It is simply an exercise in using the right resources and implementing effective ideas in order to foster a positive environment for both the students and the teachers so that aggression can be dealt with in any number of ways so that the educational system can do what it was meant to do.

References:

Orpinas, P., Horne, A. M., Multisite Violence Prevention Project (2004). A teacher-focused approach to prevent and reduce students’ aggressive behavior: the GREAT Teacher Program. American journal of preventive medicine26(1 Suppl), 29-38.


29
Oct 18

The Wrath of Math

Math has been for as long as I can remember a source of anxiety for me. As a child I was a pretty average learner when it came to mathematics up until I fell behind.  I have always felt like when it comes to numbers my mind needs a little more time than most to reach that “aha! I get it” moment. I started to do worse and worse on my homework and quizzes and i realized that the class kept moving forward and I was somehow stuck. Then I think a catalyst for me was that I had this really awful math teacher who would call on students at random to come up to the board and solve the equations in front of the class. I remember math class being torture. Sitting in the back trying to hide, making myself sick inside with worry that he was going to call on me. Because he would call on me from time to time and I would stand in front of the class staring at that equation and feeling panicked and blank and stupid. I felt like everyone knew I was stupid. I grew to hate math.I equated math with failure. In fact I hated math so much that after high school I successfully avoided it up until rather recently.  My academic self concept when it came to math was very negative and my motivation was low. I have been able to make some great improvements in recent years and I think two things have helped me improve my outlook.  One would be that I am very motivated to get my degree in psychology. I really feel strongly that it is what I want to do with my life and I am determined to succeed and have managed to pass several math classes :)! The second would be that I have changed the way I look at the world and at myself. My locus of control has changed. I no longer think that math happens to me and when it does i fail. I now think that when math happens to me I know I have to try a little harder than some of my peers but that I am capable and that when I get a concept I really get it and retain it and so I take pride in that. I think its what our book refers to as the Self- Determination theory or the degree to which an individual sees themselves as having a choice in actions and behaviors with-ought feeling pressured to behave in a particular manner.  I think that feeling of watching everyone get something I couldn’t really bothered me as a child and I gave up after a while. I was pressured to feel like something was wrong with me and I accepted that. But adult me learned that I might have a more challenging time with numbers but that I also have a knack for not forgetting things once I learn them and so maybe I take longer but I keep my knowledge and thats a valuable skill.  I now know I can do math and Im motivated.

Side note I still think that teacher was a jerk for doing that to his students.


29
Oct 18

Underfunded, Understaffed, and Abandoned

The United States’ educational systems have an ethical responsibility to offer equal educational opportunities to all children across the nation. Unfortunately, due to funding and politics this is often not the case. One demographic, special needs students, fails to be offered the same opportunities by federal/state governments. This lack of care, education, and empathy often sets these students up for failure in the future.

According to the National Center of Education Statistics, 13% of all public-school students ages 3-21 are receiving special education services. Out of these students, 34% have specific learning disabilities. (NCES, 2018) In other words, there are over 6.7 million students who depending on their local school systems may be able to pursue a standard career and life, or will be unable to hold a career and ability to pursue additional educational goals in the future.

Currently many schools are simply underfunded, the Michigan special education system is currently underfunded by $700,000,000 for example. (Detroit Free Press, 2017) This lack of funding means less special needs instructors, aides, and programs. Individuals with special needs education career experience are also less likely to want to move to an area in the country that pays them significantly less. The long-term impacts of a failing system like Michigan’s are going to have a lasting effect on the unfortunate students that are forced to suffer through their sub-par education system.

Bandura was important in the studies of observational learning, and that humans model behavior based on observations. This information applies to social behaviors significantly. A special needs student who is unable to attend classes with students without special needs would be isolated and segregated from the rest. This would prevent exposure to social interactions and settings that would potentially lead to important developmental progress. An individual who cannot be exposed to normal social settings will not be able to act perceivably “normal” in future social settings when inevitably exposed to them. This stunted social development may make finding a career later in life both impossible and frightening for that individual.

Special needs students should be presented a fair chance and opportunity to have a future in our country like every other student. The lack of funding presented by both federal and state governments presents a problem both ethically and academically for these special needs students. In order to prevent the increasingly large problems this may cause the government needs to put politics aside and increase funding to underfunded school systems.

References

Detroit Free Press. (2018, October 02). Michigan’s special education efforts near bottom in nation: U.S. report. Retrieved from https://www.freep.com/story/news/education/2018/10/02/michigan-special-education/1425314002/

National Center of Education Statistics. (2018). Retrieved October 28, 2018, from https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_cgg.asp

Nelson, A. (2018). Lesson 10: Education . Retrieved October 28, 2018, from https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1942493/modules/items/25002539

Schneider, F.W., Gruman, J.A., Coutts, L.M. (2012). Applied Social Psychology: Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems (2nd ed).  Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

 


29
Oct 18

The online classroom

Education has definitely changed with the introduction to online classrooms. There are plenty of people who used to think, and some still do, that an online degree is not worth as much as one that you get after studying on campus. I know a few people who still believe that my online degree is not the same degree that students on campus get. They think that the online classes are easier and that’s one reason why it’s not worth as much. The ones who don’t think that way are usually more motivating and encouraging. It has become quite frustrating attempting to explain to others that my online education is just as good as what students get in person on campus. The degree will be the same. I’m not sure why some try to argue this even today, but it is definitely frustrating and annoying.

Online education is just as important, valid, and useful. In my opinion, it requires more discipline when you have a lot of other responsibilites that you need to pay attention to at the same time. Some of us have full-time jobs, families (kids, parents, grandparents) that we are taking care of, while also at the same time going to school full-time. With all of that combined, you can forget about getting your eight or nine hours of sleep every night. Personally, I’m lucky to get six hours of sleep. It doesn’t happen as often as I’d like. All of the things mentioned above can also prevent you from sitting down and really think about what you have read and what you’d like to write for your assignments. Some content requires you to take a moment and think about it or research it even further.

The problem there is that there isn’t much time to do that and really enjoy what you are reading. I wish that there was time for me to enjoy and thoroughly research every single reading assignment (learning more about it, etc.), but there just isn’t much time. I’m sure that there is a lot going on for student’s on campus as well, where they don’t get much sleep either, but while they are on campus they are just responsible for themselves. They might have jobs while studying, too but they don’t have family members to take care of at the same time. This might not apply to all, but I think it applies to the majority.

The stereotype threat is the anxiety that students feel when they are faced with expectations consistent with stereotypes about their group (Schneider, 2012). The fear that they would confirm a stereotype in the eyes of others has been shown to affect someone’s academic motivation, self-concept, and academic performance (Schneider, 2012). I think that the stereotype threat can be applied to online education because of the fact that some people believe that online students are “less-than” and expect them to not be or not count as much as students on campus. Then some online students might be afraid of confirming this stereotype and that fear can get in the way of their academic performance and motivation. My motivation, academic performance, and self-concept have been affected a little bit in the beginning when I was told that my online education wasn’t “real”. It does produce anxiety and you have to fight to get that motivation back in order to break the stereotype threat.

 

References

Schneider, F. W. (2012). Applied social psychology: Understanding and addressing social and practical problems (2nd ed.). Los Angeles: SAGE Pub.


28
Oct 18

If it wasn’t for those kids, there would’ve been no one there

My son, despite his social problems, has always had this small group of friends.  They all may be outcasts in their own right, but having grown up with them since Kindergarten, they always seem to understand him.  I didn’t realize the barriers my son had socially until we transferred him schools for third grade.  My son is friendly, sometimes overly so he doesn’t understand boundaries and thinks everyone should get a hug.  So, when his birthday came along that year, which is in April so it was towards the end of the year.  I sent out his invitations to his classmates but also invited those few boys that have always stuck by him.  When the party day came around, we waited, he kept looking at the door, and if it wasn’t for those kids, the ones who have always stood by him, no one would’ve been there.  He struggles at making friends with children his age who don’t know him, he just isn’t able to connect with them.  It comes down to the fact that children who are on the spectrum, who struggle socially at school, can live very isolated lives.  This can lead to increase in depression and anxiety.

My son has several, if not most, of his friends falling on the spectrum and I’m grateful for those kids.  I’m also grateful for the kids who can see past his quirks, who can accept him for who he is and be his friend. But looking at these children who at times have no one at their birthday parties, that don’t get invited to other parties (my son doesn’t get invitations outside of his group of friends).  I can see how children these days suffer from anxiety and depression, even those not on the spectrum.  The average onset age of anxiety is eleven, my son’s onset age was eight. [2] Twenty-five percent of children between 13-18 suffer from anxiety.  A study was done to determine if there was a link between anxiety disorders and suicide attempts.  It found in those with a history of suicide attempts, over 70% had an anxiety disorder. [1]

I do everything I can, taking him to psychologist and psychiatrist appointments, making a point to talk to him about telling me if things get to be too much.  I like to think we have a healthy relationship, that he’s able to tell me everything.  But this is a fear always sitting in the back of my mind and it’s something school systems need to be addressing.  Twenty-five percent of kids suffer from anxiety and if over 70% of suicide attempts have a link to anxiety, this is not a small problem.

 

References

 

  1. Bernstein, J. (2016, January 23). The Rising Epidemic of Anxiety in Children and Teens. Retrieved October 26, 2018, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/liking-the-child-you-love/201601/the-rising-epidemic-anxiety-in-children-and-teens
  2. Nepon, J., Belik, S., Bolton, J., & Sareen, J. (2010, September). The Relationship Between Anxiety Disorders and Suicide Attempts: Findings from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. Retrieved October 26, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2940247/

28
Oct 18

America: Where Zip Code Determines Destiny

To many people, America is the promise land. Equality is preached from the moment we are born. We are told that no matter what our race, religion, or gender is we can achieve the “American Dream”. What people don’t tell you is that the so called “American Dream” is only feasible depending on where you live. – In America you’re zip code determines your destiny.

Half of all renters in the U.S spend more than 30% of their income on housing; and more than a quarter spend 50% (Kaufmann, 2015). To add to the problem, the limited availability of housing that is available is usually located in high poverty, high crime, low opportunity neighborhoods. It’s no secret that the higher income your family makes, the better housing you can afford; better housing equates to better schools. Many people ignorant to the situation may simply say, “public school is free; go to school, get good grades, get a scholarship to college and all your problems will be nonexistent.” Sounds easy right? But if you’re a 12-year-old boy that has to walk thru rival gang territory to get to school you can see how easy the problems may arise. Suddenly walking seven blocks which should be easy is like walking thru a war zone. This is just one example and one problem. Now imagine that besides you having to walk thru WWII, you almost get frostbite trying to walk school because your mom had to choose between feeding you and your siblings, or buying you a winter coat. Suddenly skipping school doesn’t seem like such a bad idea, does it?

So how can we solve the problem? Better jobs? Better teachers? Stop exclusionary zoning of neighborhoods based on race or socioeconomic status? The answer, just like the problem isn’t so clear cut. One thing is certain for sure, we owe it to our kids to figure this problem out. As the wage gap between poor and rich continues to increase, so will the education gap. Where we are born and where we live should not be the “end all or be all”. We must remember that going to school is an American right, not a privilege.

References:

Kaufmann, Greg. (2015, December 17). Why Achieving The American Dream Depends on Your Zip Code. Retrieved from https://talkpoverty.org/2015/12/17/american-dream-zip-codes-affordable-housing/


28
Oct 18

Education in the United States is not the same quality as it used to be.

Education and especially higher education is very crucial in 2018 and for the future years to come.  Almost every profession requires an adult to have at the bare minimum a bachelors degree or if not higher.  According to an article I found and read by the huffington post the United States of America used to be “envyed by other countries and people from around the world would work extremely hard to come here for an education.”  However, this has been declining and students from the United States and from all over are looking for countries that offer free higher education programs so they can avoid paying back student loans.  Student loans put students in a debt that some can never get out of and in result the student ends up struggling to pay these loans off.  “The emotional and physical stress it causes a student affects their decision making, lifestyle choices, and ability to make rational decisions.  Because of the enormous debt I know many people from high school who all chose to go different routes and avoid college because they did not want to be stuck with paying back thousand of dollars in loans.  Instead they went to a trade school where tuition is significantly cheaper and got a trade job just after two years of schooling.  Yes, they had loans to pay however paying back the loans was doable and did not set the student back financially.  Years ago students went to school and paid back their loans but their tuition was not nearly as high as it is now.  “While our students don’t get a break from their debts, bankers responsible for the financial crash of 2008 received over $700 billion in the bailout. On top of this, the government has made a commitment for another $16 trillion. The cost of the Iraq war is estimated at $2.5 trillion as of now and is forecast to be $6 trillion in a few decades, counting interest, as we borrowed money for the war.  Our politicians have no problem paying interest in trillions of dollars for a war of choice, but they have no interest in investing in the future of our younger generation. Our politicians are willing to lobby for big corporations and special interests but are not interested in representing our students.”  These numbers to me are frightening because this is the future generations just trying to do better for themselves and for the generations after them and so on.  Discrimination also plays a huge role with education and even after education.  For example, my fiances father comes from a rural country and came to the United States to give a better life to his family etc.  He has a masters in engineering and he still faces discrimination while going to job interviews.  Because of this he has lost out on many jobs and it is something that not only started when he first enrolled in school but is something he still faces and deals with today.  Although there are laws and disclosure terms and conditions that specifically state that race, sexual orientation, etc. will not affect you in terms of getting a job it still does happen and people still are dealing with this issue even after they get a masters in computer engineering! 

 

Reference:

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/americas-decline-in-education-is-anyone-worrying_us_59547fc7e4b0c85b96c65f3f


28
Oct 18

Self-fulfilling Prophecy and Student Performance

There has been a great deal of research into the correlation between teacher expectations of students, and student academic performance. Much of the research findings point to the idea that there is a positive correlation between the expectations that a teacher has for a student and that student’s actual academic performance. High expectations, therefore, corresponds to high academic performance for students, while low expectations would correspond with low academic performance. There are many theories that can be used to help explain this idea, but most revolve around the idea that the teacher, through subconscious thoughts and behaviors, influences the students to behave in a particular way.

When teachers form expectations on students, they tend to think and behave in a certain way towards those students. In doing so, they introduce bias into a student’s normal performance. This bias can be of positive or negative effect, depending on the teacher’s view of the student. In 1968, Robert Rosenthal, and Lenore Jacobson conducted a study in which they discovered, what they coined the Pygmalion effect. Simply put, the Pygmalion effect suggests that higher expectations lead to higher performance. (Mitchell & Daniels, 2003) In their study, Rosenthal and Jacobson found that teachers with high expectations for particular students provided those students with more support and encouragement, more challenging material to learn, more feedback, and more opportunity to speak in discussions. (Schneider et. al, 2012) This led to a significantly higher performance in the students of high expectation.  Conversely, when teachers had low expectations, they failed to provide much of the support provided to those they held higher expectations for. The measured performance for those students was lower, partly due to the lack of support and feedback they received. The golem effect, the idea that lower expectations lead to decreased performance, can be explained by the lack of support given as a result of those expectations. (Mitchell & Daniels, 2003)

As was described previously, the expectations that a teacher has for a student influences the way they think and behave toward that student. This explains the difference in support given to students where teachers have high expectations of them versus students where teachers have lower expectations of them. Many times, however, the teacher’s expectation of the student is inaccurate. In cases like this, the self-fulfilling prophecy can be used to better understand how these inaccurate expectations, drive student performance. The self-fulfilling prophecy “refers to having expectations about another person, that influence how you perceive and behave toward that person, influencing that person to behave in the previously expected manner. ” (Schneider et. al, 2012, pp. 204) It’s essentially thinking and behaving toward a person based on a bias, that is confirmed based on that person’s reaction to the way you behave towards them. For example, let’s assume Chad thinks Brian is antisocial. When they pass each other, Chad doesn’t speak to Brian because he believes he won’t speak back. Brian doesn’t speak because Chad doesn’t speak. Chad confirms his belief that Brian is anti-social due to Brian not speaking, even though Chad not speaking is the cause of Brian not speaking. Applied in a classroom setting, a teacher may have low expectations for a student based on some bias (race, religion, gender, etc.). Based on that bias, the teacher provides less support and feedback to the student than to other students of higher expectations. The student performs at a lower standard than the student that received more attention and feedback, and the teacher confirms her bias, not realizing the role she played in the outcome., and the teacher confirms her bias, not realizing the role she played in the outcome.

A good deal of research has been completed on the effects of teacher motivation on student performance. Findings suggest there is a positive correlation between the level of expectation that a teacher has for a student and the level of actual performance that student achieves. These findings suggest the subconscious behaviors of the teacher toward students of high expectations, (more support and feedback) contribute to this correlation. Finding also suggests not all expectations are accurate, as teachers are affected by inherent biases they may hold. These biases affect their behavior, which in turn affects student behavior, which ultimately confirms the original bias or high/low expectations (self-fulfilling prophecy).

 

Mitchell, Terence R.; Daniels, Denise (2003). “Motivation”. In Walter C. Borman; Daniel R. Ilgen; Richard J. Klimoski. Handbook of Psychology (volume 12). John Wiley & Sons, Inc. p. 229. ISBN 0-471-38408-9.

Schneider, F.W., Gruman, J.A., Coutts, L.M. (2012). Applied Social Psychology: Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems (2nd ed).  Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.


27
Oct 18

Get off your phone!

As the holidays approach, I always think about the number of parents planning to buy their children cell phones as gifts. Every year it seems that more and more children younger than teen years are receiving gifts that can keep them connected to the internet and their friends 24/7. I didn’t receive my first cell phone until I was in high school, and I only got one because I was taking school trips and my mom wanted to be able to get a hold of me.  Nowadays you see kids walking around with phones, watching iPads in restaurants, and ignoring everything around them with earbuds in and eyes planted to screen. While I’m sure most parents don’t see a problem with this, some research has shown that the 24/7 use of technology can actually turn into ABUSE and is connected with bullying.

Nasaescu, Marin-Lopez, Llorent, Ortega-Ruiz, and Zych (2018) researched how Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) were linked to bullying, and other adolescent communication and emotional development. The idea behind their study was that bullying victimization, as well as perpetration, are connected to avoidance of face-to-face relationships and interactions (Nasaescu et al., 2018). With that idea in mind, it’s plausible to think that technology use and abuse are connected to bullying because it is easy to be a bully when you can send a terrible IM or email, or troll someone on the internet for others to see and participate in.

The results of the study did show a link between technology abuse and bullying, especially for perpetrators (Nasaescu et al., 2018). This link could be related to low social and emotional competencies, for perpetrators and victims, so futures studies should focus on programs that can be implemented to combat competency issues (Nasaescu et al., 2018).   I think this type of research is important not just for scientists, psychologists, and future social psychologists but also for parents. Is the abuse of technology causing low social and emotional competency? Do children that have low competency skills simple abuse technology more? Either way, bullying is a very serious matter in school, and it could be that giving our kids technological devices too young is leading to lower competencies and higher levels and more opportunities to bully.

References:

Nasaescu, E., Marín-López, I., Llorent, V. J., Ortega-Ruiz, R., & Zych, I. (2018). Abuse of technology in adolescence and its relation to social and emotional competencies, emotions in online communication, and bullying. Computers in Human Behavior, 88, 114-120. doi:http://dx.doi.org.ezaccess.libraries.psu.edu/10.1016/j.chb.2018.06.036


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