Positive feedback on successful actions can encourage the pursuit of goal-congruent actions when it signals an increase in commitment to the goal but decrease motivation when it signals sufficient progress was made. For example, a math student who receives a high test score and infers that she likes math will work harder as a result, whereas a classmate who receives similar positive feedback and infers sufficient progress will relax his efforts and focus on spending time with her friends.
Negative feedback on unsuccessful actions can encourage the pursuit of goal congruent actions if it signals insufficient progress has been made but decrease motivation when it signals a decrease in commitment to the goal. For example, a math student who receives a bad test score and infers lack of commitment will subsequently reduce her efforts, whereas her classmate, who infers insufficient progress from the negative feedback, will subsequently work harder. —
Fishbach, Ayal, & Finkelstein, 2010. How positive and negative feedback motivate goal pursuit.
Poverty still persists today because we have lost the moral perspective as the polestar of public policy. Instead we follow the law of the jungle, content to abandon the poor to their own devices, demanding that they marshal resources they simply do not possess. And the reason we have moved in this direction, drifting away from the high ideals of the Great Society era, is because the vision and values of corporate capitalism have gained ascendency over those of human solidarity and mutual responsibility. To eliminate poverty, this trend must be reversed. The individualistic vision must give way to one that stresses our essential unity; competition must be balanced by mutual assistance and respect. — Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi, “The Price of Dignity” (via tricycle-tumbles)
By the mid-1950s, as the Beats looked toward Zen, so did a few black musicians and poets; and of course by then the Civil Rights Movement was underway, led magnificently by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who took Mahatma Gandhi as his inspiration.
After a pilgrimage to India in 1958, where he visited ashrams and sought to learn more about nonviolence not simply as a political strategy but as a way of life, King came back to America determined to set aside one day a week for meditation and fasting. In the 1960s, he nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize the outstanding Vietnamese Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh.
King was, at bottom, a Baptist minister, yes, but one whose vision of the social gospel at its best complements the expansive, Mahayana bodhisattva ideal of laboring for the liberation of all sentient beings (“Strangely enough,” he said, “I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be”).
His dream of the “beloved community” is a sangha by another name, for King believed that, “It really boils down to this: that all of life is interrelated. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.”
via Tricycle — “A Sangha by Another Name”
I’ve been teaching in higher ed for over a decade now and every single day of my life someone sends me something to read, shares an idea, helps me find information, or performs some invaluable act of help. The idea that we’re not all doing so is horrifying. Given the siege under which we in higher ed operate, it’s these innumerable gestures that make everything worthwhile.
If you haven’t yet discovered the Academic Kindness Tumblr, it’s the best thing of the new year.
Pippert and his researchers looked at more than 10,000 images from college brochures, comparing the racial breakdown of students in the pictures to the colleges’ actual demographics. They found that, overall, the whiter the school, the more diversity depicted in the brochures, especially for certain groups.
"When we looked at African-Americans in those schools that were predominantly white, the actual percentage in those campuses was only about 5 percent of the student body," he says. "They were photographed at 14.5 percent." — A Campus More Colorful Than Reality: Beware That College Brochure : NPR (via slantback)
Q: As an academic and a political figure, you stand in an interesting position to observe shifting trends in the academy. How, in your view, have spiking tuition fees, sky-rocketing student debt and a corporatization of academic institution affected higher education? What’s your outlook on shifts in the education system in general in this country?
Well for me personally, it hasn’t been a change, but there are changes and developments in the higher education system and also K-12 which I think are extremely threatening and harmful. To keep it at the higher education: Over the past generation — roughly speaking the neoliberal period — there has been a substantial shift towards corporatization of the universities, towards imposing of the business model on higher education. Part of that is what you’ve mentioned, tuition rises. There has been an enormous increase in tuition. I don’t think you can give an economic argument for that. Take a look at the comparative evidence. Right to our south, Mexico, which is a relatively poor country, has a quite respectable higher education system, and it’s free. The country to that consistently ranks among the highest in educational achievement is Finland. A rich country, but education is free. Germany, education is free. France, education is free.
Take a look at the United States: Go back fifty years to the early post-war decades. It was a much poorer country than it is now, but for a large portion of the population, education was free. The GI Bill provided education for a great number of people who never would have been able to go to college otherwise. It was highly beneficial for them, and highly beneficial to the country in terms of the contributions they were able to make in terms of the economy and culture and so on. And it was essentially free. Even private universities costs were very slight by today’s standards. And that was a much poorer country than it is now. So in general I think that the economic arguments for the sharp rise in tuitions in the United States and to a lesser extent in England and a few other places, one can’t offer a persuasive economic argument for that, these are policy decisions. They are related to other changes that have taken place, so for example over the same period there has been an enormous expansion of administration in universities. The proportion of the University budget that goes to administration has skyrocketed…. This is all part of the imposition of a business model which has an effect also on curricular choices and decisions.
Similar things are happening at K-12 level with, first of all, the underfunding of schools, which is very serious as is the demeaning of teachers, the undermining of teacher’s respect and independence. The pressure to teach to tests, which is the worst possible form of education. In fact most of us have been through the school system have plenty of experience with courses we weren’t very much interested in, we had to study for an exam, you study for the exam and a couple weeks later you forget what the course was about. This is a critique that goes way back to the enlightenment, where they condemned the model of teaching as analogous as pouring water into a vessel — and a very leaky vessel, as we all know. This undermines creativity, independence, the joy of discovery, the capacity to work together with others creatively — all of the things that a decent educational system should foster. It’s going in the opposite direction, which is quite harmful. So there is a lot to reverse if we want to get back to a much healthier system of education and preservation and growth of cultural achievement. —
Noam Chomsky, the Salon interview: Governments are power systems, trying to sustain power
Among the most important kinds of research needed in the field are studies of teaching and learning. By studies of teaching and learning I mean studies that try carefully to answer the question “What do teachers of the arts do when they teach and what are its consequences?” By what teachers do, I mean questions like the following: What kind of curriculum activities do teachers ask students to engage in? To what content are those activities related?
What forms of thinking do they evoke? How do they introduce what they want their students to learn? What kinds of comments do they make to their students as they view their work? What kind of scaffolding do they provide? What kind of emotional support do they provide so that their students can take risks? How do they go about developing their students’ technical skills? Do they promote the use of imagination through their teaching? If so, how? — Elliott W. Eisner ‘The Arts and the Creation of Mind’ p.215 (via jonportfolio)
Civilization is a very complex system in which we use symbols - words, numbers, figures, and concepts - to represent the real world of nature. We use money to represent wealth. We use the clock to represent time. We use yards and inches to represent space. These are very useful measures. But you can always have too much of a good thing. You can easily confuse the measurement with what you are measuring, such as confusing money with wealth. It is like confusing the menu with dinner. You can become so enchanted with the symbols that you entirely confuse them with reality. This is the disease from which almost all civilized people are suffering. We are, therefore, in the position of eating the menu instead of the dinner, of living in a world of words and symbols. This causes us to relate badly to our material surroundings. — Alan Watts (via kempur)
The Salvation Army's History of Anti-LGBT Discrimination -
Would-be donors should consider whether “doing the most good” might mean supporting one of the many other effective and reputable charities that provide for the needy without engaging in anti-gay beliefs, policies, or political activities.
I always kindly decline an offer to donate, despite the good work I know they do for many. There are other support organizations which can use your money equally to the benefit of others, but which won’t overtly discriminate against LGBT people. So when you’re thinking of where to make your charitable donations this season, consider this.
For a list of alternative charities that do good without discrimination, visit http://noredkettles.com.
New Orleans’ century old Roman Candy wagon gets a new mule. Her name is Vidalia.
See video and article here: http://www.nola.com/arts/index.ssf/2013/11/new_orleans_roman_candy_man_ge.html
The federal government made enough money on student loans over the last year that, if it wanted, it could provide maximum-level Pell Grants of $5,645 to 7.3 million college students.
The $41.3-billion profit for the 2013 fiscal year is down $3.6 billion from the previous year but still enough to pay for one year of tuition at the University of Michigan for 2,955,426 Michigan residents.
It’s a higher profit level than all but two companies in the world: Exxon Mobil cleared $44.9 billion in 2012, and Apple cleared $41.7 billion. — Detroit Free Press, Federal government books $41.3 billion in profits on student loans. (via futurejournalismproject)
"Too Many Stars To Count" by Chad Powell
Chad Powell: “This image was taken in the fields that was once home to a Rare Breeds Farm. The sky was so bright this particular evening from both the Milky Way and green airglow. Due to this, a very strong silhouette lined the foreground and trees in the distance.”
Photo Credit: Chad Powell Design and Photography