This week, a few thoughts about classroom complexity and positive ways to handle it.
For one thing, it’s important that the students themselves play a major role in addressing complexity. A select group of Montgomery Public School 5th graders are participating in a wildly successful peer mediation program. In L.A., middleschoolers addressed the issue of cyberbullying in an intensive mock trial program. Bullying has been in the news quite a bit lately, as some states adopt strong anti-bullying laws and schools struggle to combat a profound problem they’re not always free to discuss. A recent New York Times op-ed suggests that, as schools and parents try to address bullying, they should take their cues from the language that the students themselves use (here’s a hint: kids don’t say “bully”). UNH’s experimental program to help middle schools fight bullying and peer pressure might be on the right track: the curriculum doesn’t even mention the word “bullying.”
For another thing, be careful not to judge a book by its cover. Inside Higher Ed offers some great advice about assumptions you should and shouldn’t make when teaching student athletes. At The Chronicle of Higher Education, Prof. Hacker reflects on the unexpected consequences of giving the graduate students in his seminar iPads: many became incredibly self-conscious about being seen with them in public.