Politics and Dialogue in Education, Students As Researchers, And Do Any of Us Have A Right To Our Opinions?

Absolutely Not!!  And in one sentence here’s why,

Whenever people use this phrase, it is usually to say that they have a right to have their opinion considered as truth, even if their argument is logically demonstrated to have serious holes in it.  You see the problem here???

Now I understand the assertion I have made here may irk most people because most tend to get very defensive when it comes to arguing for the sanctity of their opinions.  Nonetheless the forthcoming explanation of my answer to this question is not meant to satisfy raw emotions.  It is an appeal to logic…nothing more, nothing less.   Continue reading

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Critical Thinking vs. Memorization

This is the first in a series of blog posts in which I will tell you about my experience taking an educational assessment techniques course completely dictated and dominated by a Pearson textbook curriculum.  Throughout the course, I engaged in a series of email correspondences with my professor, in a passionately desperate (or desperately passionate…whichever way you prefer to see it) attempt to escape the confines of classroom discussion Continue reading

Postformal Psychology Continued

This blog post is a continuation of my last post entitled “Sick and Tired of Your College Professor Lecturing At You Everyday?  Postformal Psychology May Just Be The Answer To Your Woes.”

We begin with the psychological theory that, if implemented, promises to take all levels of our educational system far beyond their current boundaries.  Postformal educational psychology begins with the fundamental premise that the definition of intelligence needs to be democratized.  What does this mean?  It means that we have to stop thinking of intelligence as something that is fixed and innate, immovable and inborn-in other words one size fits all and if you don’t fit than too bad for you.  We have to remove ourselves from this fatalistic mode of thinking which dictates that some kids just can’t learn and are doomed to fail in school no matter what.  As prospective teachers, we have to avoid saying “I did all I can, and now I just can’t do anymore.”  We must not only willing be but able to critically interrogate our own teaching practice, to constantly be rethinking and altering our own pedagogies with respect to the needs of our students, and resist falling into the trap of labeling some of our students as less than intelligent.  To say that intelligence needs to be democratized is to say that no one is less than intelligent and that intelligence is indeed learnable. Continue reading

Sick and Tired of Your College Professor Lecturing at you everyday? Postformal Psychology May Just Be the Answer To Your Woes

Today I gave a presentation on postformal psychology and critical thinking for my educational psychology course.  It was a long presentation, nearly 30 minutes, but even though the recommended time was 10-15 min, I didn’t make it so long for the grade.  As you can expect , most of the people in the class are prospective teachers and I felt that it was critically important to get the message of postformal psychology out there to get us teacher ed. students to really think about how our own educational experiences will influence our future practice.  Postformal psychology is obviously much more extensive that what I present here, and I encourage all to go out and do further research on this amazing and awe-inspiring topic. Continue reading

John Dewey: Psychology and Social Practice

This is a sort of summary and interpretation some of the first 12 pages of educational theorist and philosopher John Dewey’s work, Psychology and Social Practice.

The contemporary school practice is defined by two deeply rooted assumptions regarding the relationship between child psychology and adult psychology.  One involves the perception that, unlike the adult, the child is incapable of being the director of his or her own moral and intellectual development.  Therefore, even though our educational system would best serve the child by allowing him to be the director of his own learning, he is instead taught to be docile, submissive, and alert to teaching methods and materials which are forced upon him.  Continue reading

What Has A College Education Meant To Me?

Just One More Semester Till I Get That Damn Piece Of
Paper

I just got done listening to the podcast of Freakonomics Goes to College on WNYC.  In the second part of the show, Steven Levitt, American economist, William B. Ogden Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at The University of Chicago, and co-founder of the Freakonomics blog, makes a profound statement with which I think every current and former college student could easily identify. Continue reading

A Shout Out to Standardized Testing

If I was going to construct a list of all the individuals and groups who advocate against standardized testing, The Princeton Review would not have even entered my mind.  And yet……

The GRE has just been rather siginificantly revised.  The new test supposedly allows graduate schools to get a better sense of an applicant’s ability to work in a post-graduate setting–a goal that is unrealistic indeed, considering that the people who take the GRE are applying to programs as diverse as physics and anthropology.

However, it’s safe to say that neither GRE–new or old–is a realistic measure of how well you’ll do in grad school, or even how intelligent you are.  In fact, the GRE provides a valid assessment of only one thing:  The GRE assesses how well you take the GRE.

Wow! And I mean Wow!  These are not the words I expected to read before cracking open this nearly 500 page monstrosity.  Thank you very much to The Princeton Review for further cementing my belief that the months spent poring over your test preparation booklet will be a complete waste of energy and time.  Thank you to the graduate schools who require me and my fellow undergraduates across the country to waste our time and energy studying for this test….and, in the process, fund the money making machines that are the Princeton Review and the (ETS) Educational Testing Service.  And last but not least, I must direct a final thank you at the abhorrent mess that is the American educational system, which continues to show that the education of our nation’s young people is NOT its top priority.

But before I go….A final message from The Princeton Review,

Who Knows?  Maybe after working through this book and learning how to crack this test, you’ll actually look foward to taking the GRE

Gosh, I hope they are being sarcastic 😛