Monday, November 23, 2009

Today's Random Thoughts

-About four years ago I watched an episode of The Dog Whisperer (a show in which a professional dog trainer visits the homes of people with unruly dogs and shows them how to take control).  My immediate reaction was that the advice he gave sounded exactly like all the classroom management advice I'd been receiving.  I couldn't decide if that meant that people were more like dogs than we realized or that we were treating schoolchildren like dogs.  Either way, enough parents have been using the techniques in their own home that the NY Times felt compelled to write a story on it.

-Lincoln University in Oxford, PA apparently has a requirement that all obese freshman either lose weight or take a one semester "Fitness for Life" course.  25 of the 484 seniors are in danger of not graduating b/c they've done neither of these.

-I've heard mixed opinions on whether or not we actually need a lot more math and science majors in this country, but apparently the White House is convinced that we do since they're starting a multi-faceted publicity campaign to encourage more people to go into math and science.  I don't know, maybe it will result in a couple more people entering the field, but I'm skeptical that a little PR and a friendly robot are going to make a huge splash.  I think the real problem is that most K-12 math and science classes are fairly dry -- and tend to both require more rote memorization and explore fewer connections with the real world than other subjects.