recentpopularlog in

robertogreco : attitudes   12

Cheerful to a Fault: “Positive” Practices with Negative Implications - Alfie Kohn
"We live in a smiley-face, keep-your-chin-up, look-on-the-bright-side culture. At the risk of being labeled a professional party pooper, I’d like to suggest that accentuating the positive isn’t always a wise course of action where children are concerned. I say that not because I’ve joined the conservative chorus whose refrain is that kids today have it too damn easy and ought to be made to experience more failure (and show more “grit”).[1] Rather, my point is that some things that sound positive and upbeat turn out not to be particularly constructive.

1. Praise. The most salient feature of a positive judgment is not that it’s positive but that it’s a judgment. And in the long run, people rarely thrive as a result of being judged. Praise is the mirror image of criticism, not its opposite. Both are ways of doing things to kids as opposed to working with them. Verbal rewards are often more about manipulating than encouraging — a form of sugar-coated control. The main practical effect of offering a reward, whether it’s tangible, symbolic, or verbal, is to provide a source of extrinsic motivation (for example, trying to please the rewarder), and this, according to a considerable body of research, tends to undermine intrinsic motivation (a commitment to the activity or value itself).

While “Good job!” may seem like a supportive thing to say, that support is actually made conditional on the child’s doing what we ask or impressing us. What kids most need from adults, apart from nonjudgmental feedback and guidance, is unconditional support: the antithesis of a patronizing pat on the head for having jumped through our hoops. The solution, therefore, isn’t as simple as praising children’s effort instead of their ability, because the problem isn’t a function of what’s being praised — or, for that matter, how often praise is offered — but of praise itself.[2]

2. Automatic reassurance. Deborah Meier once remarked that if a child says one of her classmates doesn’t like her,
we need to resist reassuring her that it’s not true and getting the classmate to confirm it; then we must ask ourselves what has led to this idea. Probably there is truth to the cry for help, and our refusal to admit it may simply lead the child to hide her hurt more deeply. Do we do too much reassuring – ‘It doesn’t hurt,’ ‘It’ll be okay’ – and not enough exploring, joining with the child’s queries, fears, thoughts?[3]

A reflexive tendency to say soothing things to children in distress may simply communicate that we’re not really listening to them. Perhaps we’re offering reassurance more because that’s what we need to say than because it’s what they need to hear.

3. Happiness as the primary goal. How can we help children grow up to be happy? That’s an important question, but here’s another one: How can we help children grow up to be concerned about whether other people are happy? We don’t want our kids to end up as perpetually miserable social activists, but neither should we root for them to become so focused on their own well-being that they’re indifferent to other people’s suffering. Happiness isn’t a good thing if it’s purchased at the price of being unreflective, complacent, or self-absorbed.

Moreover, as the psychologist Ed Deci reminds us, anger and sadness are sometimes appropriate responses to things that happen to us (and around us). “When people want only happiness, they can actually undermine their own development,” he said, “because the quest for happiness can lead them to suppress other aspects of their experience. . . .The true meaning of being alive is not just to feel happy, but to experience the full range of human emotions.”[4]

*

And here are four specific cheerful-sounding utterances or slogans that I believe also merit our skepticism:

4. “High(er) expectations.” This phrase, typically heard in discussions about educating low-income or minority students, issues from policy makers with all the thoughtfulness of a sneeze. It derives most of its appeal from a simplistic contrast with low expectations, which obviously no one prefers. But we need to ask some basic questions: Are expectations being raised to the point that students are more demoralized than empowered? Are these expectations being imposed on students rather than developed with them? And most fundamentally: High expectations to do what, exactly? Produce impressive scores on unimpressive tests?

The school reform movement driven by slogans such as “tougher standards,” “accountability,” and “raising the bar” arguably lowers meaningful expectations insofar as it relies on dubious indicators of progress — thereby perpetuating a “bunch o’ facts” model of learning. Expecting poor children to fill in worksheets more accurately just causes them to fall farther behind affluent kids who are offered a more thoughtful curriculum. Indeed, as one study found, such traditional instruction may be associated with lower expectations on the part of their teachers.[5]

5. “Ooh, you’re so close!” (in response to a student’s incorrect answer). My objection here is not, as traditionalists might complain, that we’re failing to demand absolute accuracy. Quite the contrary. The problem is that we’re more focused on getting students to produce right answers than on their understanding of what they’re doing. Even in math, one student’s right answer may not signify the same thing as another’s. The same is true of two wrong answers. A student’s response may have been only one digit off from the correct one, but she may have gotten there by luck (in which case she wasn’t really “close” in a way that matters). Conversely, a student who’s off by an order of magnitude may grasp the underlying principle but have made a simple calculation error.

6. “If you work hard, I’m sure you’ll get a better grade next time.” Again, we may have intended to be encouraging, but the actual message is that what matters in this classroom isn’t learning but performance. It’s not about what kids are doing but how well they’re doing it. Decades’ worth of research has shown that these two emphases tend to pull in opposite directions. Thus, the relevant distinction isn’t between a good grade and a bad grade; it’s leading kids to focus on grades versus inviting them to engage with ideas.

Similarly, if we become preoccupied with effort as opposed to ability as the primary determinant of high marks, we miss the crucial fact that marks are inherently destructive. Like demands to “raise expectations,” a growth mindset isn’t a magic wand. In fact, it can distract us from the harmfulness of certain goals — and of certain ways of teaching and assessing — by suggesting that more effort, like more rigor, is all that’s really needed. Not only is it not sufficient; when the outcome is misconceived, it isn’t even always desirable.[6]

7. “Only Positive Attitudes Allowed Beyond This Point.” I’ve come across this poster slogan in a number of schools, and each time I see it, my heart sinks. Its effect isn’t to create a positive atmosphere but to serve notice that the expression of negative feelings is prohibited: “Have a nice day . . . or else.” It’s a sentiment that’s informative mostly for what it tells us about the needs of the person who put up the poster. It might as well say “My Mental Health Is So Precarious That I Need All of You to Pretend You’re Happy.”

Kids don’t require a classroom that’s relentlessly upbeat; they require a place where it’s safe to express whatever they’re feeling, even if at the moment that happens to be sadness or fear or anger. Bad feelings don’t vanish in an environment of mandatory cheer — they just get swept under the rug where people end up tripping over them, so to speak. Furthermore, students’ “negativity” may be an entirely apt response to an unfair rule, an authoritarian environment, or a series of tasks that seem pointless. To focus on students’ emotions in order to manufacture a positive climate (or in the name of promoting “self-regulation” skills) is to pretend that the problem lies exclusively with their responses rather than with what we may have done that elicited them.[7]"

[Also posted here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/07/14/things-we-say-to-kids-that-sound-positive-but-can-be-detrimental/ ]
alfiekohn  education  listening  howweteach  teaching  pedagogy  praise  reassurance  happiness  reflection  expectations  grades  grading  effort  attitudes  positivity  behavior  manipulation  criticism  judgement  feedback  constructivecriticism  support  schools  selflessness  kindness  tests  testing  standardizedtesting  accuracy  deborahmeier 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Cultural Mapping – Visualizing Cultural Resources | Learning Change
"Cultural mapping is an innovative tool used for gathering information about the cultural landscape and the cultural panorama in local communities. Through this process, cultural elements are recorded – the tangibles like galleries, craft industries, distinctive landmarks, and local events  as well as the intangibles like memories, personal histories, attitudes and values. How cultural mapping is carried out has everything to do with who is doing the mapping and why. What kind of information the organizations collect and how they use the information depends on what is the need for the mapping. Needs can range from defining local culture, identifying gaps and overlaps in cultural activities and practices, to making the case for investing in the community‘s cultural development."
via:steelemaley  culturalmapping  maps  mapping  collections  local  personalhistories  collection  memories  attitudes  values  2015  culture 
june 2015 by robertogreco
The Social Animal | The Evergreen State College
""Because we as human beings spend a good deal of our time interacting with other people--being influenced by them, influencing them, being delighted, amused, saddened, and angered by them--it is natural that we develop hypotheses about social behavior. In that sense, we are all amateur social psychologists." —Eliot Aronson, The Social Animal , 2012

In this full-time program, we will explore the fundamentals of social psychology, the field that bridges psychology and sociology, to examine how people think, feel, and behave because of the real (or imagined) presence of social others. This program starts with the premise that human beings are inherently social beings informed, influenced, and constituted by the social world. Using this perspective as a launching off point, we will investigate everyday life--from the mundane to the extraordinary--as it is lived and experienced by individuals involved in an intricate web of social relationships. This social psychological view of the self explores the ways that individuals are enmeshed and embodied within the social context both in the moment and the long-term, ever constructing who we are, how we present ourselves to the world, and how we are perceived by others.

Through lecture, workshop, twice-weekly seminar, film, reading, writing and research assignments, we will cover most of the fundamental topics within the field including: conformity, emotions and sentiments, persuasion and propaganda, obedience to authority, social cognition, attitudes, aggression, attraction, and desire. We will also learn about and practice social psychological research methods. A final project will be to conduct primary and secondary research on a social psychological phenomenon of students’ own interest, and to use one’s findings to create a segment for a podcast in a style similar to NPR’s “This American Life.""
evergreenstatecollege  coursedescriptions  programdescriptions  2014  psychology  sociology  eliotaronson  lauracitrin  behavior  socialbehavior  humans  presentationofself  conformity  emotions  persuasion  propaganda  obedience  authority  socialcognition  attitudes  aggression  desire  atraction  socialpsychology  thesocialanimal 
september 2014 by robertogreco
The Benjamin Franklin Effect: The Surprising Psychology of How to Handle Haters | Brain Pickings
"In sum, we are excellent at deluding ourselves, and terrible in recognizing when our own perceptions, attitudes, impressions, and opinions about the external world are altered from within. And one of the most remarkable of manifestations of this is the Benjamin Franklin Effect, which McRaney examines in the third chapter. The self-delusion in question is that we do nice things to people we like and bad things to those we dislike. But what the psychology behind the effect reveals is quite the opposite, a reverse-engineering of attitudes that takes place as we grow to like people for whom we do nice things and dislike those to whom we are unkind."
ethics  benjaminfanklin  behavior  bias  kindness  preference  preferentialtreatment  psychology  benjaminfranklineffect  haters  attitudes  self-delusion  via:ayjay 
april 2014 by robertogreco
David Byrne's Journal: 03.15.10: Collaborations
"But one might also ask: Is writing ever NOT collaboration? Doesn’t one collaborate with oneself, in a sense? Don’t we access different aspects of ourselves, different characters and attitudes and then, when they’ve had their say, switch hats and take a more distanced and critical view — editing and structuring our other half’s outpourings? Isn’t the end product sort of the result of two sides collaborating? Surely I’m not the only one who does this?"
collaboration  creativity  music  writing  via:tealtan  davidbyrne  2010  self  attitudes 
april 2013 by robertogreco
dy/dan » You Have No Life
"We have watched some incredible videos lately—Rube Goldberg machines & time lapse photography—& if video smacks even slightly of concentrated effort or advance planning, someone will inevitably scoff that subject has "too much time on his hands" or "no life."...I would so much rather my students understood the value of turning stupid ideas into reality than the entire sum of Algebra1. It's so obvious to me that the kind of person who would create a cocktail-mixer from balsa wood & twine is simply blowing off steam that life will eventually focus in a direction that will be extremely constructive and/or profitable. I can't make this obvious to my students. After six years I lack a succinct, meaningful response to my students' defensive, clannish embrace of mediocrity, though I'm grateful for this tweet, which comes pretty close: dwineman: You say "looks like somebody has too much time on their hands" but all I hear is "I'm sad because I don't know what creativity feels like.""
attitudes  creativity  geek  criticism  lifehacks  motivation  productivity  ingenuity  persistence  danmeyer  fun  mediocrity 
june 2010 by robertogreco
Millennials: A Portrait of Generation Next – Pew Research Center
"Generations, like people, have personalities, and Millennials – the American teens and twenty-somethings currently making the passage into adulthood – have begun to forge theirs: confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and receptive to new ideas and ways of living."

[Report here: http://pewsocialtrends.org/assets/pdf/millennials-confident-connected-open-to-change.pdf
Quiz here: http://pewresearch.org/millennials/quiz/ ]
millennials  research  pew  statistics  culture  youth  trends  generations  genx  geny  generationx  generationy  boomers  babyboomers  silentgeneration  demographic  opinions  attitudes  society 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Op-Ed Columnist - The Young and the Neuro - NYTimes.com
"baby steps in long conversation...work could give us a clearer picture of...fuzzy words like ‘culture.’...fill hole in understanding of ourselves. Economists, political scientists & policy makers treat humans as ultrarational creatures because they can’t define & systematize emotions...demonstrates that we are awash in social signals & any social science that treats individuals as discrete decision-making creatures is nonsense...even though most of our reactions are fast & automatic, we still have free will & control...consciousness is too slow to see what happens inside...possible to change lenses through which we unconsciously construe world...work will someday give us new categories [to] replace misleading ‘emotion’ & ‘reason.’...take us beyond obsession with IQ...give us firmer understanding of motivation, equilibrium, sensitivity...sciences are interpenetrating social sciences...shines attention on things poets have traditionally cared about: power of human attachments."
technology  neuroscience  society  culture  science  psychology  socialscience  behavior  policy  davidbrooks  attitudes  iq  brain  research  cognitive  emotions  social 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Conscious Capitalism
"Eric Ryan and Nathan Shedroff discuss "why a deeper understanding of human nature needs to be central to a 21st century business strategy and how it can challenge people's attitudes toward consumerism."
consumerism  unproduct  consumption  materialism  design  attitudes  society  change  sustainability  capitalism  human  psychology  sociology  green  replacing  recycling  reuse  services  value  markets  marketing  emotions 
february 2008 by robertogreco
Artichoke: Bring out your sheep bladders the “key competencies” have arrived.
"Hijacking Taleb’s interpretation it seems entirely plausible that that the few “life long learners” amongst us are mostly a product of happenstance, of luck and nothing to do with the key competencies."
learning  schools  competencies  education  policy  change  reform  human  nature  humannature  nassimtaleb  habits  behavior  skills  attitudes  standards  blackswans  artichokeblog  pamhook 
july 2007 by robertogreco
You and Your Research
"If you read all the time what other people have done you will think the way they thought. If you want to think new thoughts that are different, then do what a lot of creative people do - get the problem reasonably clear and then refuse to look at any answers until you've thought the problem through carefully how you would do it, how you could slightly change the problem to be the correct one. So yes, you need to keep up. You need to keep up more to find out what the problems are than to read to find the solutions. The reading is necessary to know what is going on and what is possible. But reading to get the solutions does not seem to be the way to do great research. So I'll give you two answers. You read; but it is not the amount, it is the way you read that counts."
reading  writing  research  teaching  reference  academia  advice  collaboration  communication  creativity  design  education  engineering  science  planning  people  management  howto  ideas  innovation  knowledge  learning  life  tips  wisdom  society  attitudes  methodology  methods  motivation  cooperation  success  strategy  simplicity  pedagogy  productivity  gradschool  philosophy  gtd  happiness  procrastination 
february 2007 by robertogreco

Copy this bookmark:





to read