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I Tried To Kill Personality Tests. I Failed.

This piece appears on the NPR website as part of a package on personality psychology put together by the producers of the show Invisibilia. Twelve years ago, I tried to drive a stake into the heart of the personality-testing industry. Personality tests are neither valid nor reliable, I argued, and we should stop using them — especially for making decisions
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Blog Posts from the Summer Institute on Scientific Teaching

To learn more about the Summer Institutes on Scientific Teaching, visit its website. What Role Do You Play in a Group? Time To Throw Out the “Leaky Pipeline” Metaphor in STEM To Help People Learn, Go Backwards It’s OK For Teachers To Know More Than Their Students Why Students Don’t Like Active Learning Why Professors Resist Inclusive Teaching Group Work
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Group Work Doesn’t Have To Be Annoying and Pointless

My series of posts from the Northeast Summer Institute on Scientific Teaching (collected here) have generated a number of interesting responses from readers—the one titled “Why Students Don’t Like Active Learning” in particular. In that post, I noted that that research has shown that people are generally poor monitors of how well they’re learning and how much they know, and
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Why Professors Resist Inclusive Teaching

As a kind of mordant follow-up to my most recent post, “Why Students Don’t Like Active Learning,” I thought I would write today on why instructors don’t like inclusive teaching. (If you’re wondering what’s meant by “inclusive teaching,” please see the definition below.) My thoughts were turned in this direction by a thoughtful presentation on inclusive teaching given by Nancy
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Why Students Don’t Like Active Learning

On Tuesday, I attended a presentation on active learning given by Brian White, associate professor of biology and science education, University of Massachusetts-Boston. (This post is one of a series of dispatches from Northeast Summer Institute on Scientific Teaching, held this past week at the University of Connecticut.) During his talk, White confronted head-on the fact that many students are
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It’s OK For Teachers To Know More Than Their Students

“From a sage on the stage to a guide on the side.” I hear this phrase often from teachers and administrators, spoken as a way of describing the shift from a “transmissionist” model of learning (instructor transmits knowledge to student) to a constructivist model of learning (instructor helps student construct her own knowledge). I understand the sentiment behind this phrase,
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To Help People Learn, Go Backwards

This week I’m reporting from the Northeast Summer Institute on Scientific Teaching, a five-day program held on the campus of the University of Connecticut. Science professors from all over the East Coast have gathered here to gain expertise in applying the science of learning in their classrooms. On Monday, Tom Torello, an assistant professor of biology at Quinnipiac University, led
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Time To Throw Out the “Leaky Pipeline” Metaphor in STEM

On Sunday night, the Northeast Summer Institute on Scientific Teaching featured a keynote speech from Jay Labov. Labov is a former biology professor turned senior advisor for education and communication for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Labov noted that science education is often treated as a niche concern—but it’s most emphatically not. “Everybody needs a STEM education
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What Role Do You Play in a Group?

Back in January I began consulting for Yale’s Center for Teaching and Learning, working specifically with the Summer Institutes on Scientific Teaching. This is an amazing program, founded by Yale scientist Jo Handelsman, that aims to help professors apply the science of learning in their STEM courses. This week I’m attending one of the five Summer Institutes that are being
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Why You’d Be Happier If You Worked at a Nonprofit

Compared to people who work in the private sector, workers at nonprofit organizations tend to be much happier with their lives and more satisfied with their jobs, according to a new study conducted by Martin Binder of Bard College and published in the Journal of Economic Psychology. If this finding isn’t too surprising, that’s because we intuitively recognize what academic
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