Elizabeth Green, author of Build a Better Teacher.
Topic: How teaching works and how to teach it to everyone.
Issues: Everyone agrees that a great teacher can have an enormous impact. But is it simply a matter of natural charisma, or can it be taught to millions of people who make up the American teaching workforce?
Elizabeth Green, author of Build a Better Teacher.
Kim Bearden, author of Crash Course: The Life Lessons My Students Taught Me.
Topic: Advice from a master teacher and educator on what works and what doesn’t in schools.
Issues: Tools master teachers use to connect with students in a way that motivates and inspires them; innovative ways to increase student engagement inside and outside the classroom, promote rigor, and create a climate and culture for optimal learning.
Paul Raeburn, author of Do Fathers Matter?
Topic: What science tells us about the parent we’ve overlooked.
Issues: What do fathers do? The father’s important role in child children’s life from conception through the teen years; how being a father (or father-to-be) actually rewires men’s brains; What we need to do to support and encourage fathers.
Paula Franzese, author of A Short & Happy Guide to Being a College Student
Topic: How to be your best self in school, at work, and in life
Issues: 10 reasons to be happy about school; guideposts to live by; how to assure success and significance in school; finding your career path, applying for jobs, and handling rejection; handling conflict or adversity; how to succeed in a class that’s boring.
Alfie Kohn, author of The Myth of the Spoiled Child
Topic: Challenging the conventional wisdom about children and parenting
Issues: Parents are accused of being permissive and overprotective, unwilling to set limits and afraid to let their kids fail. At the same time, young people are described as entitled and narcissistic. But there is no scientific evidence at all to support these claims.
Barbara Dianis, author of Don’t Count Me Out!
Topic: Better grades and test scores for kids with educational difficulties.
Issues: Building strong bonds between academically struggling students and parents as they learn to understand and alleviate educational issues.
Carl Alasko, author of Say This, Not That.
Topic: How to always say the right thing at the right time.
Issues: The five rules of effective communication; what to say–and not say–in stressful situations; exploring the biology behind communication; how to avoid spilling emotional blood.
I’ve always wondered about whether class size is important in college. Places like UC Berkeley and UCLA have huge classes (hundreds of students) that are often taught by grad students–and they’re always ranked near the top 10 of just about every Top 10 list of the best colleges and universities. But those small liberal arts colleges–like the one my oldest daughter is going to in upstate New York–are doing a bang up business. In this guest post, Paul Stephen makes a pretty good case for smaller class sizes. But I have to admit, I’m not 100 percent convinced that they’re the best option for everyone.
So you’re deciding which University to go to. When factoring in class size, I’d stick to the smaller class size and I’ll explain why. From my own experience, I prefer smaller classes so that you can have a more personalized education and have more leadership opportunities. I attended Brown University, where class size was generally very small and I was able to get to know not only my professors but my classmates as well.
Getting to Know Your Professor
Oftentimes this key aspect of education slips by the wayside. Larger universities have graduate students who teach a majority of the classes. At smaller universities like Brown, the undergraduate experience is what is most important. You will most likely be taught be a Professor, not a teaching assistant. Why is this important you might ask? Well, getting to know your professor might help you make better decisions in your education.
I switched majors during my time at Brown and my professors were there to advise and help me make the right choices.
My professors were able to get to know me just as much as I was able to get to know them. This way, they were more focused on helping me learn. They were able to address my learning needs more rapidly and effectively. Therefore, there is much more attention for each student. This makes all the difference in learning. I have had a few large classes while at Brown and believe me it was much more difficult to get the help and attention I needed. On the other hand, I was able to excel in the smaller classroom.
Furthermore, in small classes, professors are more focused on actual teaching. They have less other concerns like research or being disciplinarians. They will put more effort into their classes and the curricula. This means better courses and possibly new classes.
Making a Difference
Instead of being treated like a number, smaller class size allows you to use your voice and be counted as an individual. You can make a difference by speaking up in class or taking on a leadership role. Small class size allows for greater interaction with your peers. You can share ideas and ask questions you would not have the chance of asking in a larger class size. This way, you can get more attention and focus on the things you don’t understand. Remember, your contribution counts!
A Personal Experience
In a smaller class at the University, education is more about you! How great does that sound? Well, larger universities might have more to pick and choose from, but the crux of the matter is that with smaller classes, you get to choose and design a major that interests you. At Brown, I was able to study Comparative Literature (Russian/English). This was particularly interesting for me because I love literature, writing and am of Russian descent. It worked for me. Here I am several years later, still writing and researching and doing what I love.
Do It Yourself
Instead of learning about how to do something, you will actually do it yourself in a small class. This is of tremendous importance to all you science majors. Hands on opportunities should not be taken for granted. It’s a great way to learn and master something like how to use a telescope for example. My writing at Brown improved dramatically as I was learning hands on and being critiqued every step of the way. By continuously writing, I was able to improve. This was a big step for me. Although I enjoyed writing before coming to this University, I was able to get feedback from experts in their field.
Paul Stephen writes from Nipissing University. Our psychology degree programs benefit students with an extensive list of psychology courses to choose from, many involving laboratory or practicum components. Nipissing’s small class sizes work to our student’s advantage.
Seems like every few months there’s a story about how bad American students do in math, science, and reading than many other countries. Usually, we’re compared with China and South Korea and a few other Asian countries where Tiger parenting rules supreme. (South Korea, by the way, has the highest student suicide rate of any country in the world. I think I’d opt for a live child with lower grades than a dead straight-A student.) But what we don’t hear much about is Finland, which does remarkably well on these tests and has happier, less-depressed (and less suicidal) children. In this guest post from Jason Evan, we’ll find out what Finland is doing that we might be able to learn from.
Here in the States, we like to think of ourselves as the best and the brightest. For sure, there is a lot of brainpower coming out of America (we have Mark Zuckerberg, after all), yet in 2010 the scores from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) exams were released and the U.S. was found to be about middling in reading, science and math (14th, 17th and 25th, respectively). Sure, we have some of our most ambitious and able resident pursuing programs such as LL.M taxation eventually, but what about those formative early years?