This claim is far from proven, but on the other hand, there’s very little proof that we DO in fact learn better when using our “preferred learning style.” The myth, if that’s what it is, remains very popular because it feels so right. If we prefer to learn by listening, or by reading, or by doing, for example, then that preference is likely to be obvious in the results. But no. At least the first evidence indicates we might have to start learning things the hard way.
It seems illogical, but a bad economy might keep couples from divorcing. Of course, the legal process of divorce can be expensive, what with all the legal fees, but it’s also very difficult to split assets if a couple can’t expect to put their house on the market and sell it. Couples used to stay together “for the kids.” Now they may be staying together for the house. What other connections might there be between the national economy and the marriage or divorce rates?
It’s hard to imagine, in the aftermath of the Tucson shooting of Congresswoman Giffords and six others, that anyone would write a defense of a Glock with a 33-round clip like the one Jared Loughner fired that horrible day. But Stephen Hunter must have had our class in mind when he decided to think out loud, and very counterintuitively, in the Sunday Washington Post.
There may be no better place to improve writing skills and make big advances in critical thinking and reasoning than an American college, but if Richard Arum, the author of Academically Adrift is right, that’s a sad state of affairs. “Commitment to these skills appears more a matter of principle than practice, as the subsequent chapters in this book document. The end result is that many students are only minimally improving their skills in critical thinking, complex reasoning, and writing during their journeys through higher education,” says the author.
According to one study, one possible reason for a decline in academic rigor and, consequentially, in writing and reasoning skills, is that the principal evaluation of faculty performance comes from student evaluations at the end of the semester. Those evaluations, Arum says, tend to coincide with the expected grade that the student thinks he or she will receive from the instructor.
Well, at least according to Leslie Gelb. His column in The Daily Beast says, in part: “The Wikileakers dumped a vast pile of secrets to prove that the United States was selfish, stupid and wicked–but their revelations proved just the opposite. When you remove the gossip and obvious trivia that mesmerized the press, you clearly see what the Wikileakers never expected: A United States seriously and professionally trying to solve the most dangerous problems in a frighteningly complicated world, yet lacking the power to dictate solutions.”
A BROAD TOPIC
The whole topic of digital media influencing governments in the wide open newsmaking, news-influencing culture we live in is full of mystery and discontinuity. If any of it interests you, I’ll be happy to help you find a specific bit to focus on. Here’s one: Facebook Revolution