Saturday, October 20, 2012

Various & Sundry, Education, Happiness, and two F words

A few quick items for your enjoyment and edification:

For example, students do a good job of evaluating their teachers. A company has developed a survey that seems to give pretty robust data on which teachers do a good job and which ones are struggling.
The survey did not ask Do you like your teacher? Is your teacher nice? This wasn’t a popularity contest. The survey mostly asked questions about what students saw, day in and day out. 
The results also fascinate me:
Of the 36 items included in the Gates Foundation study, the five that most correlated with student learning were very straightforward:
 1. Students in this class treat the teacher with respect.
 2. My classmates behave the way my teacher wants them to.
 3. Our class stays busy and doesn’t waste time.
 4. In this class, we learn a lot almost every day.
 5. In this class, we learn to correct our mistakes. 
 When Ferguson and Kane shared these five statements at conferences, teachers were surprised. They had typically thought it most important to care about kids, but what mattered more, according to the study, was whether teachers had control over the classroom and made it a challenging place to be. As most of us remember from our own school days, those two conditions did not always coexist: some teachers had high levels of control, but low levels of rigor.
Isn't that interesting?

Another insight I appreciated: there's nothing wrong with happiness. David Lose writes about how often Christians seem to denigrate happiness as vastly inferior to joy. But as he points out (not in these words), it's not that one is superior to the other; they are simply different things. There is no need to turn up one's nose at happiness.

Jennifer Weiner wrote an incredibly moving meditation on the F word - fat. Highly recommended.

And on another F word - fashion -, I have to admit I love this picture of Salma Hayak owning the sidewalk. You know what? It makes me happy. Enjoy.

No comments: