Spotlight Blog 3

There has been discussion surrounding the education system in this country. Specifically, regarding the traditional school year structure. Many people believe that schools should implement a year-round program, while others point out the potential disadvantages of year-round schooling. There were an overwhelming number of sources that supported the transition to year-round schooling.  “The Edvocate” is a website that promotes advocation for education has two separate articles published on their website. One of the articles lists three reasons why changing the school year calendar could benefit students, while the other discusses the negative impacts that changing the calendar would have. In addition to this useful website I also found evidence supporting year-round schooling through a case study that analyzed a school system in Alberta, Canada. Furthermore, an alternative article located on an education week blog was found that disproves the switch to year-round schooling.

The first article from http://www.theedadvocate.org discusses three main positive impacts implementing the year- round schooling plan would have on students and the education system. They include students will retain information they learned from the previous school year, it is an easy way to bridge the achievement gap, and students will actually enjoy school.  Students who participate in year-round school programs tend to have higher retention rates, “A study released in 2007 by The Ohio State University found that there are really no differences in learning between students who attend school year-round and those who are on a traditional schedule. However, the National Summer Learning Association often cites decades of research that shows that it can take anywhere from 8 to 13 weeks at the beginning of every school year for teachers to get their students back up to speed and ready to learn the new grade’s material.” Although there were no specific learning differences discovered, avoiding the “summer slide” allowed educators to speed up the learning process and ultimately their student’s retention rates. Secondly, with the elimination of summer slide minority students are not placed at a disadvantage anymore. Minority groups include students who speak English as a second language, students who are economically disadvantaged, and students who are disabled. Multiple studies have been conducted that prove these students lose 27% of their learning over a traditional summer vacation, which ca be avoided if a year- round education plan is implemented.  Lastly, students will enjoy school more. It is thought that students and teachers will have a closer relationship and students will be more attached and comfortable to the environment of school. A 20 year investigation was conducted by researchers from Jons Hopkins University that analyzed a year-round school system in Canada. It was found that the students in this low-income area school system had a higher retention rate and overall enjoyed their school experience more than children who attended traditional school.

The counter argument provided by http://www.theedadvocate.org also presents three main points, but this time supports traditional schooling instead of implementing year-round schooling. The three points listed include switching to a year-round school calendar could end up being more expensive, children will not have enough down time, and scheduling issues could potentially occur. The summer months are often very hot which results in a lot of energy consumption, operating schools in these months means that air conditioning must be turned on resulting in immense bills for the school system. Many people are also concerned that children will not have enough down time, children will become less active and not have the opportunity to get outside and “just be a kid”. However, this argument is flawed because nowadays many children tend to sty inside and are glued to their technological devices preventing them from exploring the outdoors. Lastly, scheduling conflicts may occur if parents of children have children in multiple grade levels. Typically, year-round school programs are implemented in early childhood education like elementary schools. This could cause many issues for parents who need to delegate time to all of their children on different schedules. The article points out that all of the arguments against year-round school seem like a stretch and most people are more afraid of change than have actual concern. An article from an education week blog points out similar concerns regarding the implementation of a year-round schooling program. This article just reinforces the importance of these concerns and that they are common concerns that must be taken into consideration.

Personally, I can see the benefits and pitfalls of both school schedules. When a decision is made to switch to year-round schooling a lot of factors are taken into consideration and the decision is ultimately always situational. In my opinion, it may be in the best interest for low income areas to adopt the year-round school plan because there are multiple case studies that showcase proven benefits to students, families, and the community. However, I don’t think that the year- round school plan must be adopted to all areas because of potential logistical complications like scheduling.

References:

http://www.theedadvocate.org/top-3-reasons-the-us-should-switch-to-year-round-schooling/

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/education/students-in-year-round-schools-do-better-study-shows/article570683/

http://www.theedadvocate.org/3-reasons-not-to-adopt-year-round-schooling/

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/education_futures/2014/07/_year-round_schooling_3_common_arguments_against_it.html

Media Production Post

Emily Garvin

Original News Article: (543 words)

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180112091206.htm

 

SUMMARY:

The article “Longitudinal Association of Amyloid Beta and Anxious-Depressive Symptoms in Cognitively Normal Older Adults” provides evidence for the connection between anxiety symptoms and early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative condition that affects connections between cells in the brain and leads to memory loss. Eventually, patients with this disease experience a loss in cognitive function and are unable to carry out daily life activities. Researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital examined how increased anxiety can be an early indicator for the development of Alzheimer’s disease by analyzing data collected from the Harvard Aging Brain Study.

Research participants of the Harvard Aging Brain Study underwent testing to evaluate brain activity necessary to make conclusions of the link between emotion and Alzheimer’s disease. Tests included baseline Pittsburgh compound B (PiB), positron emission tomography (PET), measures of amyloid beta, and annual examinations with the 30-item Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS). Researchers analyzed the PiB binding of a participant and used their score as a predictor of their GDS score or cluster. The participants were followed for five years and included 270 community dwelling healthy men and woman between the ages of 62 and 90 years old. Any potential participant with a mental health diagnosis other than mild depression were excluded from the Harvard study. Researchers concluded that elevated amyloid beta levels also occurred in patients who live in established communities and have anxiety symptoms and ultimately increased their risk for Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers also caution that further longitudinal studies are needed to verify and replicate this finding.

REFLECTION:

For the scientific article summary, I opted to provide a concise summary of the research study. I included the general information about Alzheimer’s disease, the unique method of analyzing data from another study that was used, and the conclusions of the study. I did not use the five critical questions of reading research to frame my summary.  While these critical questions are useful, the research study that I selected was not a typical research study. The researchers used data collected from a different study. They did not interact with the participants directly. Using the existing data saved both time and money, but the limitations including participant selection were not controlled by these researchers.

Within this reflection, I will now use the five critical questions of reading research to compare and contrast my summary and the pop culture article. The researchers operationalized the variables by defining specific depression symptoms. They applied these definitions to the data set by examining changes with each symptom over five years. Relying on the existing data set from Harvard study limited the study by only analyzing normal or average men and women who have no known psychiatric disorder and are between the ages of 62 and 90 years old. I included this information in my summary, and the pop culture article also specified the exclusion criteria. Both my summary and the pop culture article did not provide the complicated statistics from the research article. The average person with limited understanding of the statistical modeling would comprehend that information. My summary and the pop culture article are directly based on the research study with no signs of pseudoscience. Both my summary and the pop culture article also explain to the audience how the researchers did not conduct the research or assign participants to the Harvard Study. The method used allows for causal claims, but only I mentioned how it limits the study by excluding anyone who had a history of mental illness other than mild depression. The pop culture article did not include this information. The results indicated that when anxiety symptoms increase the amyloid beta levels also increase. My summary and the pop culture article include that more longitudinal studies are needed to verify and replicate this finding. They have the correct generalization to geriatric participants living in established communities.

After completing each of the class assignments, I have a better understanding of how a scholarly article is interpreted and reported by a journalist for a broader public audience. The pop culture assignment enabled me to critique an article that reported the findings of a research study. I found the article informative and interesting. Next, the scholarly article assignment provided me with the opportunity to read the lengthy research study and compare it to the pop culture article. The scholarly article provided more detail of how the study was conducted as well as the statistical evidence and analysis which led to the conclusion. I understood why the complicated statistical analysis was not included in the pop culture article, because most people would not be able to comprehend the information. Finally, the media production assignment forced me to act as the journalist. I had to decide what should be included in the summary for someone who has never read the scholarly article. It was particularly difficult due to the way that the study was conducted and the complicated statistics. I decided to provide enough information to be as concise and accurate as possible.

Spotlight 2

STRESS:

We’ve discussed a number of different stress management approaches in class, and now I want you to evaluate online resources for stress management. Specifically, I want you to identify three websites that provide stress management tips and discuss how likely you think the strategies they provide are to be successful. Make sure to explain your rationale using what we’ve learned in class and your textbook. Each of the three websites need to be targeted at a different audience but you may select the audiences you want to use (e.g., college students, athletes, parents, artists). Make sure to include links to the websites as part of your post…..

 

Stress is something that everyone will encounter in their lifetime. Some people allow stress to break them, while others are resilient and fight back against stress using various coping strategies. Nowadays, stress management techniques are easily accessible and quite simple to apply. There are a plethora of strategies offered on reputable websites. You can even specify the cause of your stress when searching for stress management approaches. Most often, you will be directed to an organization’s website where coping strategies and stress management tips are given. I examined three different websites that were designed for different groups of people (college students, athletes, and stress in the workplace).

The first website I analyzed was from http://www.everydayhealth.com regarding the stress management of college students. They offer a total of eleven suggestions that have the potential to reduce the stress of a college student. Actually, we discussed some of the strategies in class when we learned about additional coping strategies. There is a combination of what a college student can do and what they should avoid. College students exercise regularly, establish social support, get a substantial amount of sleep, breathing exercises, and get a massage College students should avoid overloading workload and other activities, alcohol, and energy boosters such as drinking too much caffeine, breathing exercises. According to evidence-based research, completing these tasks along with the others mentioned on the every day health website will result in less stress suffered by the average college student.

Athletes are under an immense amount of stress. They are expected to perform at high levels which requires hours of hard work on their own time. The website I analyzed, www.appliedsportpsych.com, recommended to determine the source and type of stress, meaning is the stress good or bad for you, and then listed physiological, behavioral, and cognitive coping strategies. For example, a behavioral strategy could be releasing pent up anger by acting out in some way like punching a pillow or a punching bag. This behavioral strategy would be considered a physical release. Releasing pent up anger is also associated with Freud’s concept of catharsis. Catharsis essentially means that releasing pent up emotions will be healing. This strategy has been proven successful for athletes.

Lastly, stress often stems from many peoples’ professions. Work stress could be caused by the environment, coworkers, or workload. Whatever the cause of stress, the website www.saxonsgroup.com offers five simple ways to manage work stress. The first is exercise, an additional coping resource we discussed in class, this strategy can focus an employee’s attention away from work and ultimately, reduce their stress level. The website also suggested communication exercises and activities that would cultivate a healthy and beneficial workplace culture. These two suggestions could also be considered an additional coping resource because the goal of the exercises and activities is to strengthen social support within the work place through more effective communication.

Coping with stress is not an easy task for a population of individuals. Everyone has different stressors in their life and alternate ways of coping with them. The strategies provided from the websites I discussed are all chosen for a certain population of people; however, many of the strategies overlap with one another or provide similar stress relief for the different populations. For instance, exercise was the first suggestion for college students and for people who experience stress from work. The suggestions provided are all considered to be adaptive strategies, because they should decrease stress without complications, but this can vary from person to person since strategies tend to be highly individualized.

 

Links:

https://www.everydayhealth.com/college-health/college-life-10-ways-to-reduce-stress.aspx

http://www.appliedsportpsych.org/resources/health-fitness-resources/stress-management-tips-for-good-health/

http://www.saxonsgroup.com.au/blog/human-resources/5-simple-ways-manage-workplace-stress/

 

Intelligence

Many people consider intelligence to be largely determined by genetics, but there is substantial evidence that the environment and social processes play a large role as well. Since schools are a place where children try to determine how smart they really are, it is important for educators to understand the impacts of their subtle or not-so-subtle interactions with students. In your blog post, reflect on your interactions with educators throughout your school career, and discuss what changes to the school system could improve students’ performance in the classroom.

 

Throughout my life I always enjoyed going to school. I loved to learn and never wanted to miss a day of school because if I did I would definitely feel like I would be behind and more importantly miss out on activities of that day. I think my teachers in elementary school are the reason that I loved going to school so much. As an elementary schooler I did all my work and for the most part enjoyed doing it! All of my teachers were so nice and encouraging, I even still keep in touch with some of them to this day. As I transitioned to middle school the work become harder and the teachers became stricter, but it was not anything I couldn’t handle. High school was an exciting time, we got to pick our own classes and teachers. I had multiple teachers in high school who I can say had a lasting impact on my life, but like everywhere there were some teachers that made me dread coming to school. Throughout the years some of my peers have learned to resent school due to the work and the faculty interactions they have had. I however, try to look at school in a positive light. Although learning is difficult there is always a way to make it interesting and after all the hard work I put in now will pay off in my future endeavors. Not only have I learned course content throughout my academic life, my teachers have instilled a relentless work ethic, advanced social skills, and creative problem solving strategies in me that will ultimately be helpful in every aspect of my future.

The school system does not view students as individuals. Each student is essentially just a number attached to test scores on a piece of paper. The school system should consider implementing curriculum that focuses on expressing individuality of a person. This could be through fun activities that are accompanied with relevant academic content. Implementing different teaching methods so children can explore new methods of learning. In addition to revamping the curriculum schools should try to decrease the amount of standardized tests. Tests are good to track the progress of a student, but they cause an excessive amount of stress and ultimately take up valuable time in the school year. The time that is taking up by tests could be time that students are learning. Making school an enjoyable environment for students will improve their outlook on school and working hard will not be such a daunting task.

motivation

Motivation is not a stable force, but often waxes and wanes. Throughout your time at Elizabethtown College, your motivation for school will undoubtedly be higher at some times and lower at others. I want you to discuss why you chose to come to Elizabethtown College originally and what you do to motivate yourself to do well in your classes currently. I also want you to plan an intervention for yourself for how you can maintain motivation to succeed until graduation…..

 

When I originally thought about potential colleges, Elizabethtown college was not on my radar. I started thinking about my future plans sophomore year of high school because I decided that I wanted to play lacrosse in college. I knew that I wanted to study the field of medicine, but I wasn’t quite sure what profession I wanted to explore. After I got offers from division 1 schools to play lacrosse, I compared the science departments at each school and decided The University of Massachusetts Lowell was the best fit for me and verbally committed there spring of my junior year. There I could play lacrosse, get a degree in exercise science, and a potential minor in biomedical engineering. It wasn’t until my senior year of high school when I realized that I wanted to become an occupational therapist. After talking to people in this profession I discovered that it is very hard to get in to a graduate OT school by just simply applying. I started researching schools with 5-year OT programs, where I stumbled upon Etown. I applied to the program on the last day they were taking applications and miraculously got in! I was then faced with a difficult decision, should go to UMass or come to Etown. After weeks of deliberation I decided that Etown’s benefits were overwhelming. Not only did I get a lot of scholarship money I had a guaranteed spot on the lacrosse team here and also had the opportunity to play field hockey.

My motivation throughout school has always been to attain honor roll and get good grades. While this is still my goal today, I also have a new motivation. Now I am motivated to pass all of my classes so that I can become a practicing occupational therapist. I am very excited for what the future holds for me in this profession. There will be classes that I am required to take where I may become unmotivated, but as long as I tackle the class with a positive mindset and remember why I am here in the first place I know I will be able to get through it. To make classes more interesting I could try approaching the material from a different point of view. For instance, since I am a visual learner I could look at pictures or make concept maps to help retain the information better. Implementing these strategies ensure that I will make a lasting impact on people’s lives as an occupational therapist in no time!

 

Bonus Post

As part of our exploration of personality, each of you completed an online Johari Window. This process helps you learn how similar your self-perceptions are to how others see you. For this bonus blog post, I want you to discuss what that process was like for you, how similar your self-description was to what others selected, how valid of a measure of personality do you think this is, and what, if anything, you learned about yourself in this process.

I sent the Johari window link to my friends and family and got a decent amount of responses back. I was intrigued to see what others would say about me and if they would match the perceptions I already have about myself. For my six character traits I chose caring, dependable, friendly, helpful, kind, and trustworthy. It was difficult for me to choose personality traits to describe myself. It is hard for me to pick words to describe myself because I don’t really know how others view me. I was very surprised and honored by my top percentages. My top percentages included dependable (60%), loving (53%), and trustworthy (66%). I was surprised that 2 out of my top 3 were character traits that I chose. I was also honored that my friends and family thought so highly of me that they also chose these traits to describe me.

I think this test is a valid measure of personality because it allows you to get judged by your peers who know you better than some random questionnaire test online. I also think that a test like this is a great for someone’s morality. Personally, made me feel loved and appreciated by all of my friends and I got to see what they truly think of me. I also learned that people really think I am trustworthy, dependable person who cares and genuinely care about others.

Stress

Stress permeates American society, and college is a very stressful environment for everyone involved. Stress management is a critical component of academic success in college. Describe your current stress management strategies, assess how well they work, and discuss what other stress management activities you could realistically incorporate into your routine to help you deal with stress more effectively.

As a student athlete I have to find a balance between academics, athletics, and my social life. There are instances when I struggle to manage my time. Most of my peers also find it difficult to manage their time and they aren’t student athletes as well. Typically, I my stress level is under control for the most part. My stress comes mostly from within myself, I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself to excel at everything I do. This causes a constant burden on my body and mental health because I can only divde my attention to so many things at once. To keep my stress levels in check I tend to get ahead on work and prepare for assignments before their due date. I also try to practice my sports outside of our regular scheduled practice time, so I am more prepared for our games. These strategies work to an extent, but there is simply not enough time in a day for me to get accomplished everything I want to do. I have realized that I need to take more time for myself doing relaxing activities that take my mind off of things for a while.

Some stress relieving activities that I could incorporate into my life include yoga, naps, and increased socialization. In the past I have participated in yoga and afterwards I always feel like a new person. Yoga takes an hour of my day away, but during that hour I am only focused on myself and relaxation. I also believe that I do not get enough sleep, so taking periodic 20-minute naps could refresh my mind and put me in a better mood. Lastly, when I am stressed out I tend to isolate myself and fixate on things that I haven’t completed yet or things I am not exceptional at. I think that socializing more with my friends could take my mind off these things so that I am not as fixated on them anymore.

Personality

For this week’s first impression post, I took different personality tests to see if they described my personality and evaluated them to see if they are credible.

  1. Humanmetrics Typology Test:

On this test my personality type was ESFJ: Extravert (50%), Sensing (19%), Feeling (16%), Judging (9%). This is an accurate representation of my personality.  I consider myself an extravert. I love being around people and tend to be very outgoing once I am used to my environment. I understand why my sensing scored higher than my intuition because I like to make conclusions based on my experiences in my environment. It also makes sense that my feeling scored higher than thinking because again I like to asses the situation before I act and I like to think that I am a more empathetic person than I am logical or analytical. Lastly, I agree that my judging is higher than perceiving because

  1. Personality Test:

For this test also I received the type ESFJ. I think this accurately describes my perception of my personality. I thought it was interesting how I got the same type for this test and the humanistic test. Each test describes occupations. Both gave careers that are similar to occupational therapy which is what I plan to practice in the future. I think that this personality test is also credible. It allows others to gage their strengths and weaknesses and then relates them to everyday life.

  1. Big 5 Personality Test:

For this test I received the following scores for the 5 major factors that make up a persons personality: Extroversion (58), Emotional stability (70), Agreeableness (80), Conscientiousness (31), Intellect/Imagination (23). Since I scored higher on extroverted that means I am friendly and optimistic which is accurate. Since I scored lower on the intellect section I tend to be more traditional which is also correct. This test seems to be credible because it gives examples to each factor and descriptions what each factor means.

  1. Color Quiz:

This quiz seemed silly to me because it seemed odd how colors can tell so much about a person’s personality. I did not see the correlation between picking colors and determining a personality type and factors that go along with it. I don’t think that this test was a credible, accurate portrayal of my personality.

 

Emotion

A large portion of communication is non-verbal, including a lot of clues about people’s emotional states. Effective communication involves being able to read others’ emotions and take them into consideration. People express a lot of emotions through their faces. How well do are you able to read these emotional expressions? Take this test to find out.  Discuss whether or not your score reflects how well you thought you would do, how credible you find the test, which emotions were the easiest and hardest to tell apart, and how you could use this information in your daily life…….

Everyone has emotions and most emotions are expressed in common ways amongst people. Some people have difficulty expressing or reading other’s emotions. I always thought that I was good at reading emotions and picking up on social ques. After taking a test from “Greater Good Magazine”, I confirmed my suspicions. The magazine seems to be a credible source since it originated from the University of California Berkeley. This means specialists have input on what quizzes, articles, and images are placed in the magazine for the general public. I received a score of 15/20. According to the science-based magazine I am better than average at reading emotions of my peers. The magazine also gave suggestions on how I could improve my score and become better at reading faces. One included practicing emotion recognition on friends and family.

While taking the test I found it difficult to differentiate faces showing compassion and love. They have very similar cues facial cues, like the position of lips, eyes, and cheeks. It was also hard for me to differentiate faces displaying embarrassment. I wasn’t always sure that the person was embarrassed because they had a slight smile on their face. However, it was very easy for me to tell when someone was happy, sad, or surprised. The facial cues that accompany these emotions are obvious. For example, a big smile for happiness, a frowning mouth for sadness, and an open mouth and tilted eyebrows for surprised. I can apply what I have learned from this quiz in my daily life. Now, I am more aware of my surroundings and I can better tell what type of mood my friends are in, which allows me to act appropriately to them. I also can apply what I have learned to my future occupation. I plan to be an occupational therapist, which means I interact with clients with many different emotions every day. Taking this quiz has taught me to be more aware of other people’s emotions and sensitive to their feelings.

Sleep

College students are often heavily sleep deprived as they sacrifice sleep in order to study, work, and/or have a social life in addition to their academic commitments. Assess your current sleep habits and how healthy you think they are. What is a realistic goal for amount of sleep per night for a college student and how can you improve your sleep habits?

Sleep is considered “essential for a person’s health and wellbeing” according to the National Sleep Foundation. Not only is an adequate amount of sleep essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but it also can sharpen attention, improve memory, and lower stress.  Despite all the benefits that come from sleep, college students still seem to not sleep an adequate amount. Personally, my sleep habits vary and are not consistent. For instance, during school week I barely get any sleep since I have a hectic schedule with various tests and due dates. In addition to balancing school work I play lacrosse, so our practice and game schedule are also factors for my sleep deprivation. During the week I average on 5 to 6 hours of sleep, however on the weekend I average 8 to 9 hours. I use the weekends to “catch up” on my sleep, although I know that theory is not proven to make a lasting difference. Therefore, I don’t think that my sleeping habits are healthy at all.

I think a college student should strive to get 8 hours of sleep per night. Logically 8 hours of sleep would allow students to reap all of the benefits sleep has to offer. College students should also try to keep their sleep schedules regular and consistent. This would mean that students should try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time everyday including the weekends. If sleeping soundly through the night is a problem for some students, taking a melatonin supplement or some other drug that promotes sleep.