Wednesday, May 24, 2017

"Fake News" and Psychology

I've been interested for a while in the psychology of "fake news" - more specifically, how can we help students think more critically about psychological claims they see in the media? Here are a few resources that might be useful - let me know in the comments if you use any of these and/or have other resources to share

posted by Rob McEntarffer

Monday, May 22, 2017

Cognitive Load Theory: the most important psych theory for teachers ever in the history of everything?

A while ago, Dylan Wiliam (one of my favorite educational researchers) posted this dramatic tweet:

When Dylan Wiliam says something like that, I pay attention! But I didn't find the linked paper easy to digest/apply, and I struggled a bit to see what the BIG DEAL was.

BUT this blog post from Dan Williams helped me quite a bit.

The post walks through the theory with an emphasis on how teachers might USE cognitive load research to help students learn. I get to teach a graduate class in the "Psychology of Teaching" and this might turn out to be a "centerpiece" of the class...

posted by Rob McEntarffer

Monday, May 15, 2017

Repost: The Value of Self-Reflection

I share the ideas here from Beth Lewis at  Her words are incredibly important to those of us in the profession.  I give her full and complete credit for the ideas below.  I just wanted to make sure my fellow psychology instructors also saw these.

The Value of Self-Reflection - Any Time Of Year, It's Important To Self-Reflect

Examining What Worked And What Failed In The Past Can Lead To Future Triumphs

By , Guide
In a profession as challenging as teaching, honest self-reflection is key. That means that we must regularly examine what has worked and what hasn't in the classroom, despite how painful it can sometimes be to look in the mirror. Then take your answers and turn them into positive, resolute statements that give you concrete goals on which to focus immediately. Be honest, work hard, and watch your teaching transform for the better!

Ask Yourself These Tough Questions - And Be Honest!

  • Where did I fail as a teacher in the past? Where did I succeed?
  • What is my top teaching goal for the coming year?
  • What can I do to make my teaching more fun while adding to my students' learning and enjoyment?
  • What can I do to be more proactive in my professional development?
  • What resentments do I need to resolve in order to move forward more optimistically and with a fresh mind?
  • What types of students do I tend to ignore or do I need to spend more time serving?
  • Which lessons or units am I only continuing to perform out of habit or laziness?
  • Am I being a cooperative member of my grade level team?
  • Are there any aspects of the profession that I am ignoring out of fear of change or lack of knowledge? (i.e. technology)
  • How can I increase valuable parental involvement?
  • Have I done enough to foster a productive relationship with my administrator?
  • Do I still enjoy teaching? If not, what can I do to increase my enjoyment in my chosen profession?
  • Do I bring additional stress upon myself? If so, how can I decrease or eliminate it.
  • How have my beliefs about learning and pedagogy changed over the years?
  • What minor and/or major changes can I make to my academic program in order to directly increase my students' learning?

What Happens If You Refuse To Self-Reflect

Put earnest effort and pure intention into your self-reflection. You don't want to be one of those stagnant teachers that drably presents the same ineffective and outdated lessons year after year. The unexamined teaching career can lead to becoming just a glorified babysitter, stuck in a rut and no longer enjoying your job! Times change, perspectives change, and you must change in order to adapt and remain relevant in the ever-changing world of education.
Often it's difficult to get motivated to change when you have tenure and "can't be fired" but that's precisely why you must undertake this effort on your own. Think about it while you're driving or doing the dishes. It doesn't matter where you self-reflect, only that you do it earnestly and energetically.
snip snip

Posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

APA Professional Development

For anyone who is looking for inexpensive CE credits or just looking to learn even more about the world of psychology in connection to our careers as educators, the American Psychological Association (APA) offers many opportunities for professional growth. Topics include:

Check out this link for the main professional development page:

Link to full list of PreK-12 learning opportunities available

posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Friday, May 5, 2017

Fidget Spinners: What the Heck?

Are "fidget spinners" a big thing at your schools? I volunteer at a middle school once a week and I feel like ai SUDDENLY started seeing them everywhere. I talked with one of the middle school students and he says many students have them now, and he was starting a small business to 3-D print custom spinners (smart kid!)

This conversation got me thinking: what would psychological researchers say about the potential benefits or disadvantages of these kinds of "fidget" devices? Do they help some students selectively attend? Or do they divide student attention and add to "cognitive load?" Is there a learning/conditioning component (students associating learning with the spinning?)

This might be a fun conversation topic with your psych classes. How would researchers study this? What angles would different perspectives take on the topic?

posted by Rob McEntarffer

Monday, May 1, 2017

Good luck on the AP Psych Exam today!

We're sending GOOD VIBES to all the AP psych teachers and students today! Hope your students leave the test feeling great - you worked hard all year, and this is your chance to show what you can do! You got this!

posted by Rob McEntarffer