The LSU Top 5 #27

This is the 27th of our weekly links to the top 5 bits and pieces we’ve found from around the internet.

(Linking doesn’t mean we necessarily agree with these articles!)

To (All) the Colleges That Rejected MeThe Wall Street Journal

This is a cutting satire from a student who was rejected from her top picks for university in the US. Is she right or just precious?

Colleges tell you, “Just be yourself.” That is great advice, as long as yourself has nine extracurriculars, six leadership positions, three varsity sports, killer SAT scores and two moms. Then by all means, be yourself! If you work at a local pizza shop and are the slowest person on the cross-country team, consider taking your business elsewhere.

Link

Could meditation be the answer to exam nerves?The Guardian

This article looks at the introduction of mindfulness meditation to some schools in the UK and beyond.

A “7/11” is not the latest in teenage kicks, but a breathing exercise characteristic of a movement that is undergoing a surge in popularity in schools, known as “mindfulness”. The 7/11 is a relaxation breathing exercise. Matching the counting to the breath, you breathe in for a count of seven, and out for a count of 11. It works for teachers, too.

Ally, a student at my school, explains why she attends mindfulness club at lunchtime. “It’s just 15 minutes of quiet under a table,” she says. “I don’t necessarily find solutions to problems or anything, but I do come to terms with what’s happening around me.”

And hey, if simple improvement in well-being isn’t enough to convince you, this article explains how it increases exam results.

Link

American Universities Infected by Foreign Spies Detected by FBIBloomberg Businessweek

Some governments, notably China, are infiltrating US universities to get hold of valuable research before it is published. Often, getting sensitive information is as simple as asking, with universities prioritising openness and transparency, and being weary of government organisations like the FBI. Interestingly, the spies aren’t always sent by the Chinese government, but are instead  often recruited from students already studying in the US. David Major, president of the Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies, said:

China has “lots of students who either are forced to or volunteer to collect information,” he said. “I’ve heard it said, ‘If it wanted to steal a beach, Russia would send a forklift. China would send a thousand people who would pick up a grain of sand at a time.’”

Link

Expertise and Meta-Lessons: Two Elements of Great TeachingHigherEd Jobs

This article argues that great teachers don’t just have to be skilled at teaching, but need to be experts in their field.

…teaching is not a separate art, but an aspect of being an expert in a field, be it doing carpentry, playing the infield, or reading Shakespeare. Many teacher credential programs seem based upon the premise that teaching is a separate and learnable skill, and that having learned to teach, one then learns an academic subject – math, for example, or history – to supply the content for the teaching skill. (As if one could learn to cook without food.)

Even if students forget the expertise that is passed onto them, they should (the author says) maintain the meta-skills of the field.

Link

Why Khan Academy Is The Wrong Answer Looking Up

This blog post says that for all the talk about popularised online and technological learning, it’s little more than TV in a different form. The shame is that there are so many ways that online learning could be truly interactive.

Popular efforts to improve education are focusing on the wrong problem. Millions of dollars and hours of innovation are being spent on improving how we deliver content in an era when content matters less and how we interact with it matters more.

This isn’t a new piece, but it was recently reposted on TVO.

Link

We love hearing your thoughts on these articles, so feel free to comment below!

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  1. In Praise of Crazy Teachers | lsuvietnam - April 19, 2013

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