Spotlight Blog #3

Year-round Education

Year-round education has been a topic of conversation with parents, teachers, and students alike. What are the benefits and disadvantages of having, or not having year-round education? What is year-round education?

Year-round education is when a school’s education schedule is a couple weeks of teaching material, followed with a couple weeks off throughout the entire year. A common year-round schedule is a 45-15 plan, where teaching is done for 45 days, then three weeks off for the student. The traditional school schedule is laid out to leave three months of space in the summer for students to have a break. Interestingly enough, the year-round schedule has the same 180 days of school as the traditional schedule.

What are the benefits of having a year-round schedule?

Supporters of the year-round schedule say that having school throughout the entire year stops the dreaded “brain drain” of summer, forgetting a large amount of knowledge and skills acquired during the traditional schedule school year. After a long summer break, teachers spend the first couple of weeks having to re-acclimate students to learning and trying to find out what information students have remembered before starting new material. This could take away extra time from learning new material.

Another benefit of having a year-round schedule is that students are kept occupied throughout the entire year. Traditional school schedule allows for the summer break to be a time where students are offered a break and to enjoy the outside weather, however, as social media and technology dependency increases, more students are using their free time inside on devices. The summer break has turned into an empty time for students to reduce their learning to a minimum. Having a year-round schedule would keep students occupied and mentally stimulated throughout the year, while still offering needed breaks  for recovery.

What are the disadvantages of having a year-round schedule?

Opponents of having a year-round schedule say that having a year-round schedule could be more expensive as facilities are constantly running throughout the year (a small sacrifice for fostering more education in the summer). Also, having a year-round schedule may rule out the opportunity for faculty to offer summer remediation classes for students who may need it or are lagging behind academically. Having classes held throughout the year may be too fast for some students and may not have the opportunity during the summer to catch up.

Another disadvantage may be that parents are likely to feel the change the most in year-round schedules. Parents who have children in different schools on different schedules are sure to run into problems for transportation, vacations, and extracurricular activities.

Conclusion:

I think having year-round schooling would be a great change for the education system, especially in public school settings and lower income areas because of the benefits for the students. From experience, many summer breaks before I was able to have a job was spent inside, not learning anything new, and I paid the price when school started up again because a tough learning curve would arise trying to review everything. Even when I worked in high school, I was still inside and not being mentally stimulated. Where I grew up, many students relied on the school cafeteria for their daily meals. Over 2/3 of the students at my high school qualified for free and reduced lunch. When the school year ended, there was 3 months of meals that were not guaranteed. Having a year-round schedule gives students the opportunity to have meals throughout the entire year and to be occupied/mentally stimulated throughout the entire year.

Sources For:

Lynch, M. (2016, August 13). Top 3 Reasons the US Should Switch to Year-Round Schooling. Retrieved May 1, 2018, from http://www.theedadvocate.org/top-3-reasons-the-us-should-switch-to-year-round-schooling/

Chen, G. (2018, April 06). Year Round vs. Traditional Schedules in Public Schools. Retrieved May 1, 2018, from https://www.publicschoolreview.com/blog/year-round-vs-traditional-schedule-public-schools

Sources Against:

Lynch, M. (2016, October 27). 3 Reasons Not to Adopt Year-Round Schooling. Retrieved May 1, 2018, from http://www.theedadvocate.org/3-reasons-not-to-adopt-year-round-schooling/

Weller, C. (2017, June 05). Year-round school is booming – but its benefits are over-hyped. Retrieved May 1, 2018, from http://www.businessinsider.com/year-round-school-summer-vacation-2017-6

 

 

Media Production Project

News Article: (1034 words)

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201801/why-smarter-men-make-better-partners

Scholarly Article:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886917305780

Article Rewrite: (327)

Finding the right partner can be a hit or miss situation. One of the common problems people have in relationships is knowing if their partner is “the one.” If there was a way to  see if your partner was going to be your potential “one,” would you trust it?

A recent study by Jaakko Aspara, Kristina Wittkowski, and Xueming Luo (2018) studied the role of intelligence in marriage behavior based on the statistical evidence from 120,290 males who took a cognitive test before entering the Finnish military. The results of the study suggests the partner who is smarter is going to be the best bet for a long term relationship.

The researchers claimed there was a positive correlation between high intelligence scores and marriage outcomes. The researchers took scores from the cognitive test and watched marriage statuses of the males who took the test from 2007 to 2011. Those who scored higher on the test statistically were more likely to get married, and stay married, in comparison to their peers who scored lower. An interesting variable the researchers added into their study was car possession and size and how that adds to marriage outcomes as well.

The intelligence test was taken from the Finnish Defense Forces, given before admittance to the military, and the marriage records were taken from public marriage registers from Finland’s Population Register Center. The test gathered verbal, numerical, and logical intelligence, with verbal intelligence being highlighted by the researchers as having a larger effect on marriage likelihood. They believed that a high verbal intelligence allowed for better communication skills and therefore, better probability for marriage.

The researchers took a biological stance in how intelligence affects marriage and how that can affect fitness of an individual. Fitness of an individual is how many offspring one individual can produce. The hypothesis at hand then is that by having high intelligence increases the chance of getting married, increasing the chance of the opportunity to reproduce, thus increasing one’s biological fitness.

Reflection:

Summarizing the research article was pretty easy to do because the news article had 1,034 words, which left me with more than enough room to substantially describe the findings of the article in depth enough. I did have to make sure that I did not go too in depth with the article because the original research article had much more statistical evidence and values to defend their results. Adding statistics and more numbers into the news article probably would have confused the reader and may turn the reader away from reading the entire article. What was difficult in this assignment was trying to include the most important parts of the research article for the rewrite now that I read the actual research article. There was a lot of extraneous information included in the research article that may be interesting to know but for the news article I had to figure out whether or not it was important for an overall understanding of the research. My perspective of journalists have evolved over the course because now I understand how difficult writing about research actually is. Journalists not only have to find the research, but they also have to thoroughly read the article and understand it. After that, they have to write an article that is precise enough to hit all the main points of the research, as well as being easy to understand for the reader. Reading the news article first gave me confidence in understanding the research article because the news article was easy to understand and gave me a general understanding of the research article. When I read the research article, the article was dense and filled with graphs and numbers that were confusing. It took me a couple of reads to actually understand the results that were given by the study. This assignment was really beneficial in that I now understand better how to digest news articles and check the actual research to completely understand what the research is telling me.

 

Spotlight Blog #2

The Anti-drug education program called Drug-Abuse Resistance Education or DARE for short, was popular throughout the 1980’s and the 1990’s, teaching children to stay away from illicit substances. DARE centered on strengthening self-esteem as a way to help children have the power to “say no to drugs.” Unfortunately, the curriculum DARE used to teach children to stay away from drugs was proven to not work.

There are multiple articles starting from 1991 proving the DARE program does not work, even saying the program might even have a “boomerang effect” – participation increased of drug use instead of decrease – after the curriculum was taught in schools. Their curriculum during the 1980’s and 1990’s was eaten up by parents, schools, and legislators because the concept of teaching children to say no to drugs was common sense and would work, not paying attention to the holes the DARE program presented.

One of the biggest holes in the DARE program was their inability to show evidence their curriculum actually worked. During the 90’s, the Research Triangle Institute (RTI) conducted an analysis of DARE’s efficacy. The study results showed that DARE’s program had no measurable effect on drug use and other anti-drug programs seemed to do better.    This study was buried underneath the mountain of talk about how popular and how big the DARE program was getting across the country. During the change of the century, audits and federal evaluations were made to determine funding and effectiveness – DARE did not make the cut for either. DARE was not given funding during this time because they were not considered as an evidence-based program (because they had not evidence to show their program worked).

Similar abstinence-based programs are reported to either not work or have a “boomerang effect” seen in the DARE program. One of the most contested programs is abstinence-only sex education. Abstinence-only sex education discourages the initiation of sex and devalues or omits completely the use of contraceptives. Claims have been made to suggest that abstinence-only sex education programs delay the initiation of sex and reduces teen pregnancy but more evidence show no change or an increase in sex among teens, no change or an increase in teen pregnancy, and a rise in STD transmission between teens. Also, some programs influenced teens to avoid using contraception altogether or equipped them with little to no information on how to effectively use contraception. Like DARE, abstinence-only programs have little to no evidence showing their programs work and help the public.

Also, DARE sounds like you’re daring kids to do drugs.

 

Sources:

Cima, R. (2016, December 19). DARE: The Anti-Drug Program That Never Actually Worked. Retrieved April 16, 2018, from https://priceonomics.com/dare-the-anti-drug-program-that-never-actually/

Advocates for Youth. (2007). The Truth About Abstinence-Only Programs. Advocates for Youth. Retrieved April 16, 2018, from http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/publications/publications-a-z/409-the-truth-about-abstinence-only-programs

First Impression Post #13

For this First Impression post, I went with option 1, reflecting on my experience with other educators throughout my school career and discussing what changes in the school system could be done to improve students’ performance in the classroom. Throughout my school career, I have had my share of good and bad teachers. The teachers that had the greatest impact on my education were those that actually interacted with me like a human being and did not just retain a rigid teacher persona. The teachers that actually allowed their students to see a bit of personality from them, I felt, were teachers that actually cared about their students and did care about how they performed in class because a better relationship was created. The teachers that felt like they were dead in the inside and simply taught the day’s material and never interacted with their students were not only boring to be in class with, but also left a negative or indifferent impact on the subject.

I had an AP World History teacher in high school that was particularly terrible at teaching material, however was personable in a cynical, deprecating way. He would change his teaching style every couple of weeks and make probably unethical comments to his misbehaving students. Somehow, the material he taught was remembered by most of his students – even the ones that chose not to pay attention. Even through that, he still cared about his students and encouraged his students to go further in life. He was a memorable teacher and the material he taught stuck because he interacted with his students and showed us that he was still a human being.

I think that the school system should be changed to be less teaching to the test and more about understanding why the material is relevant and how it can be related to other subjects. The system right now is so rigid especially in the public school system that I was in. Only coming to college was I even allowed to express creative thought and encouraged to have effective discussion on different topics in class. The teaching system is so cut and dry sometimes that it turns so many students off from learning so easily. Another thing that the school system needs to change is how they interact with students. Teachers should be able to improve on their curriculum to better suit their students and be able to create a personable relationship with their students. A teacher that cares about their students could be the difference to whether or not a student decides to care about their education.

First Impression Post #12

For this first impression post, I went with option 2: Why I chose to come to Elizabethtown College, what I do to motivate myself to do well in classes, and plan an intervention to keep myself motivated until graduation.

Originally, Elizabethtown College was not even on my radar when I was looking for schools to go to. From my senior year of high school and my first year of community college, I applied to all of military academies twice and was rejected twice. At the same time, I was also applying to numerous other colleges and was getting grim results as well. As a high achieving student all throughout K-12, it would not be wrong to assume that my motivation was hit pretty hard after two years of rejection from schools. It was also pretty harsh because I did not really get any information back as to why I was not accepted. I had the high GPA, I was top of my class, I had the extra curricular, and my resume was packed. Still, nothing. So after the first year of community college, and my second rejection,  I decided to give up applying to the academies because there had to be another way to get where I wanted to go in life. I started applying to some other colleges that summer and Elizabethtown College gave me the best scholarship and had a program I wanted to pursue so I took it and ran. It took me some time to adjust and get my motivation where I wanted to be because this was not where I thought I would be two years prior, but I really like it here and I am making the best of it.

To motivate myself to do well in classes, I like giving myself self-talks, telling myself things that I can do, and all the things I can achieve. I also like seeking out social support in others and talking to others because that can not only get my mind off negative things, but motivate me to keep going. I also try to keep in mind a quote I heard somewhere and that was, “Failure is an event, not a destination.” That definitely keeps me going because everything happens to make you a stronger individual on the road of life.

An intervention to keep myself motivated is to find ways to keep learning new things on times school is off so I can keep my mental capacity elevated. Another thing is to keep bringing myself to optional lectures throughout the year to learn about things not just tailored to my major but to be more well rounded.

First Impression Post #11

For this first impression post, I want to discuss my current stress management strategies, how well they work, and what other realistic stress strategies I can implement into my life to help relieve some stress.

With two years of college under my belt, I think I have an idea of how to effectively manage my stress. Transferring into E-town for my sophomore year, it did take me the fall semester to adjust to the rigor and pace of the academics here, but I did eventually get the hang of it by spring semester. A universal stress management technique that I try to do is get my work done before it gets too close to the due date because that takes off much of the pressure since I am not rushing to get something done. One that works for me is if I am stressed about an assignment or something on my mind, I try and leave the room that I am in and take a small walk. Taking a small walk helps me clear my mind by physically removing myself from stressors and letting my mind think of something else. Also, taking a walk can even help provide answers to any burning questions I may have. I think that taking a walk is my most effective strategy other than actually getting things done before their due date because most times, I feel refreshed from taking a walk and I have more energy because I actually did move around a bit.

Another strategy I use when time permits is to take a nap. Naps are great. I can get away from my stress for a little bit and get some sleep too. Does this work all the time? Of course not. Depending on the amount of time I give myself to nap and what kind of stress I am facing before and after I wake up can affect how I will feel after I nap. Usually, I can take a nap when I get way too stressed to think straight and wake up feeling energized enough to keep working. Other times, I can take a nap feeling stressed and then wake up stressed plus groggy, so its a hit or miss situation with that one. A more simple one that I have implemented this year was using stress balls. I already have a ton of them from different events around campus so it was easy for me to find one. Having one to squeeze while I was stressing out or thinking about something stressful has helped me feel a little less stressed and a little more focused in whatever I was trying to do.

A realistic strategy I know that has worked for me but I have not been able to do very much is go to the gym. I know that going to the gym has helped me before in relieving some stress but finding the time for it has sometimes added more stress to myself than I needed. I think that maybe just finding a small amount of time for a run is a little more acquirable. I also think that listening to some calming music when I get stressed could help lower my stress levels.

Johari Window Reflection – Bonus

The Johari Window was a great way to look at the different personality traits that we are aware of, as well as the ones we are not aware of. When I took the test, I was quick to read over all of the adjectives provided before choosing the six that were, in my opinion, most descriptive of me as a person. I tried to choose the adjectives that related closest to me, taking into account different synonyms and choosing the one that I thought was closest to me. When it came to synonyms, it was important for me to choose the one that I thought was me best because synonyms of the same word can express different connotations. For example, one of the words was knowledgeable and intelligent. I think that knowledgeable defines me better than intelligent, however, the other people that took the test agreed more with intelligent. Seeing the results of the test was interesting because five of the six traits I chose was known to myself and to others. I was glad to see that most of the traits I chose were agreed upon by others. The side that contained adjectives that were not known to me, but known to others, was filled with many adjectives that I did not initially think about, but agreed with after more thought. I was humbled and gracious to know that those that took the test felt that I had a wide range of personality traits. I think that this test was a good indicator of personality because it provided a wide range of adjectives to describe a person, as well as sourced information from family and friends who know who you are as a person. After taking the test and seeing the results after fifteen other contributors, I have a better understanding of how I view myself and how others view me. I also learned that there are a plethora of adjectives to describe a person and that plethora may not even cover all of that person’s personality.

My Window:

https://kevan.org/johari?view=miguel+decastro

First Impression Post #10

For this first impression post, I took four personality tests and discussed not only how accurately they were in describing my personality, but also how credible they seem.

The first personality test I took was the humanmetrics.com personality test and I got INTJ: Introvert (6%), Intuitive (6%), Thinking (3%), and Judging (16%). I think that this personality test was fairly accurate in portraying my personality not because of the four words that they group me into, but the fairly long description that they have for that specific grouping. I am pretty introverted at times, but I am also confident in what I know and what I can work better on. This test does a great job in describing the how these types of people think, their strong suits, and their weaknesses. I think this test can be a credible source because it has been updated recently to this year, it admits that the test is based off the Jung and Myers theory, and adds a disclaimer saying that this specific test is not affiliated with the company that does the Myers-Briggs test. In terms of the test itself, my only concern is that instead of providing different responses to a question, each question had yes or no but in different size. I did not really like that because there was not a wide range or middle ground answer besides uncertain, which sometimes I did not agree with either.

The second test I took was the Personalitytest.net personality test and I got ISTJ. This is another Jung theory based test and I was actually surprised that I did not get the same results as the first test. This test result did not line up with the previous test and I actually do not agree with the description that they gave me. ISTJ’s are supposedly people that are perfectionists that stress too much and I cannot agree with that. Credibility wise, This test described that it was based off the Jung theory of personality, however, the site has not been maintained since 2017, and does not include much information on references, disclaimers, or much information anywhere on the site. The site seems a little less credible than others because of this.

The third test I took was the personality-testing.info personality test and I got Extroversion (37%), Emotional stability (84%), Agreeableness (56%), Conscientiousness (84%), and Intellect/Imagination (70%). This test was a IPIP Big Five Factor Markers test and instead of giving me words to categorize me, the test provided me with a percentile score and descriptions based on the percentage given to me. I agree with the results of this test but I am not exactly sure by how much because the descriptions given to me are minimal. I would like to say I agree fully with the results but I do not really have a good basis of what my results mean. The test does provide sources and references which adds to their credibility, and provides a well formed introduction describing the test and who developed it.

The final test I took was the colorquiz.com personality test and I based on my answers, the results I received I can only agree to maybe half of them. This test broke down the results into objectives, sources of stress, restrained characteristics, situation, and problem. Along with this, the test included a description of what each one was to me. The test said that I was strong willed and I do agree with that, but it also said that I was demanding and picky, which I like to think I am not. The test itself was interesting because it was just picking colors twice in a certain time span. I do not know how credible this test can be because it was last updated in 2015 and has very minimal info on the test itself. Very little resources and references are given, but a small description of who developed the test was included.

Overall, these personality tests are interesting to take but should be taken with a grain of salt because the accuracy and credibility of the tests vary.

First Impression Post #9

For this First Impression Post, I took the Emotional Intelligence Quiz to see how well I was able to discern various emotions in faces. I got a 15/20. Honestly, I did not think I was going to get that many right. At the beginning I got the first four incorrect which, at the time, solidified my thought that I was not that great at picking up these type of cues. I have been told that I can be pretty oblivious to certain cues during social situations so I am genuinely surprised with my score.

I think the test was credible in that it showed various emotions using different people to try and convey a range of situations where emotions are showed. People show emotions differently, however, there are universal cues that are connected to each person for an emotion. I was pleased to see that after each emotion, there was an in depth explanation on why and how each emotion was shown. In my opinion, the hardest emotion to discern was politeness and interest. I can recall in my past situations where I do not pick up the signs of the other person showing disinterest or interest but the other people around me do. In other situations, I do not pick up the signs of someone being polite or actually being happy to see or talk to me, generally, I just see happiness and am oblivious to other emotions. The easiest was between pride and shame as the entire head moves to show the emotion, pride being chin up and shame being head down.

I could use this information in my daily life to be able to be more aware of emotions happening right in front of me. In social situations, I could probably avoid a lot of awkward situations if I recognized the true emotional responses that people were giving off.

First Impression Post #8

My sleep habits are pretty bad. I know that they are bad too. I understand that as a college student, I should be getting about 8 – 9 hours of sleep regularly. I also understand that it is recommended that we should be implementing some type of workout 2 – 3 times a week to keep our heart healthy. Even with those things in mind, I still go to sleep late and get 5 – 6 hours of sleep and workout 2 times a week (on good weeks). It is not that I do not want to go to sleep early and that I do not want to workout, it is that I rarely have the free time to do so. My schedule is packed with classes, I have to eat at some point, and I have work that I need to get done. When I do have free time, I have to debate what I should do with this free time (I usually take a nap because I lack sleep). On the weekends I try to catch up on the sleep I have deprived myself throughout the week by sleeping in, effectively keeping me up later in the evening. Then the cycle repeats itself. I know that my sleep habits are pretty terrible yet for some reason I cannot seem to break it.

As a college student, I really try and strive for at least 8 hours of sleep, passing up other work so I can get some sleep in, but realistically 5 – 7 hours is what in most cases is normal. To improve my sleep habits, I know that not taking a nap if I am not extremely tired will give me some extra time to get things done. Also, writing a task list has been helping me organize what I need to get done each day so that I can actually feel accomplished and not overburdened.