overlearning and college education


One of my beliefs, born out by research like Arum and Roska’s, is that people don’t learn or retain much from college. There are many reasons why, but one is that colleges don’t believe in “overlearning,” which means that you study a topic so much that it becomes automatic.

Consider the typical college class. They meet two or three times a week. Students either skip the readings, skim them, or quickly forget them. Unless it’s part of the grade, students are often absent from class. The exams typically cover the material, but then you move on to new stuff. Many students are allowed to move on with marginal grades. The opposite of “overlearning.” Colleges offer “barelylearning.”

If colleges were serious about learning, the entire system of lectures and semesters would be dumped. Occasional passive lectures and marginal grades would be abolished. Instead, we’d probably have very short…

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When Your (Brown) Body is a (White) Wonderland

Speaking as a ‘white’ medically female person, I have to say thank you to tressiemc for highlighting part of a culture that I didn’t realise (but am unsurprised to learn) exists.


This may meander.

Miley Cyrus made news this week with a carnival-like stage performance at the MTV Video Music Awards that included life-size teddy bears, flesh-colored underwear, and plenty of quivering brown buttocks. Almost immediately after the performance many black women challenged Cyrus’ appropriation of black dance (“twerking”). Many white feminists defended Cyrus’ right to be a sexual woman without being slut-shamed. Yet many others wondered why Cyrus’ sad attempt at twerking was news when the U.S. is planning military action in Syria.

I immediately thought of a summer I spent at UNC Chapel Hill. My partner at the time fancied himself a revolutionary born too late for all the good protests. At a Franklin Street pub one night we were the only black couple at a happy hour. It is one of those college places where concoctions of the bar’s finest bottom shelf liquor is served in huge fishbowls…

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Public Sector Outsourcing – Time for the Tide to Ebb

By John Tizard @ http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/john-tizard/public-sector-outsourcing_b_3667497.html

In my opinion, a contemporary public sector leader should think very hard and analytically before assuming outsourcing is the most effective and efficacious way of either improving the quality or reducing the cost of public services.

I fully appreciate that this stance goes against the contemporary grain, given that many political leaders (both within the current Coalition Government andsome in the last Labour Government), as well as some public sector executives, have asserted that the business sector can save the public sector large amounts of money whilst at the same time improving the quality of provision.

Whilst acknowledging that there are clear differences between and within Whitehall departments and between local authorities or NHS trusts, in truth the narrative and justification for involving the business sector in public service delivery has never been consistent. I recall arguments such as the need to: increase capacity; reduce costs; leverage investment; address underperformance; source scarce expertise; transfer risk (although actually, ultimate risk is hardly ever transferable); tackle poor industrial relations (and sometimes to take on the trade unions); and in some specific cases, extending choice to service users. Sometimes it has been for ideological reasons.

The reality, however, is that evidence that outsourcing to the business sector is better (or worse) than retaining services within the public sector is often hard to prove, for it’s practically difficult to compare with an untested alternative. That said, what evidence does exist suggests at best a very mixed picture and nothing like as glowing a success as some marketing presentations or political promotions might suggest. Some early examples of success are not repeatable. Times and condtions have changed.

Read the rest over at Huff Post.

Opinion: Yes, let’s talk about race and IQ – Lisa Wade – POLITICO.com

Opinion: Yes, let's talk about race and IQ – Lisa Wade – POLITICO.com.

Earlier this month, in these pages, researcher Jason Richwine wagged his finger at the progressive media for ignoring supposedly simple facts about the relationship between genetics, race and IQ. Suggesting that a left-leaning media finds these facts offensive, he accused us of scientific illiteracy, immaturity and “emotionalism.” We’re in denial, he says.

Well, I would love to talk about IQ. I’m a sociologist with a particular interest in the body and an interdisciplinary background, so I’ve made understanding the relationship between society and biology part of my research agenda. The truth is that reality is far more complicated, fascinating, and infuriating than most of us ever imagined.

Go click the link and read the rest of Lisa’s article.

Open Letter To The Internet: This Miley Cyrus Thing Has Me Worried

I haven’t seen it either, but I saw it all over Twitter & FB.

Socialisation in action – again.

The Traveling Circus

Hi People of the Internet!

Based on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and every other social media platform ever invented, the most important thing that has happened in the last 24 hours is a performance by Miley Cyrus on MTV’s VMA Awards. I have the luxury of being in Japan where this was neither aired nor talked about nor if it was talked about could I understand it. But I looooooove the Internet so I’m well versed in the events. I even looked up some video footage!

Here is what I saw: I saw a 20 year old. Singing a song. Dancing around. To a concept someone else certainly envisioned and created and convinced her was a good idea. I saw her nearly naked, like somehow this should be shocking by now, and then I learned a painful first lesson about what ‘twerking’ actually means. It was probably in poor taste, certainly…

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Only one problem with the government’s list of top ten benefits fraudsters – it doesn’t exist

Socialisation at work – courtesy of the Fail & the Express.

Pride's Purge

(not satire – it’s the Daily Mail!)

The Mail and the Express yesterday had articles about an official list of the top ten benefits fraudsters in the country which they say was published by the government.

Just one little problem with it.

The list doesn’t seem to exist.

There doesn’t seem to be any official list of top ten benefits fraudsters published by the government.

There are no links in either the Mail or the Express articles to any government website where the official list is published. No list on the DWP website and no mention of it on the official DWP press office Twitter feed either.

The Mail specifically wrote that Iain Duncan Smith had decided to publish the list – but there is no mention of it on his website or anywhere else.

In fact the only sources for any official list are – the Mail and…

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From foster care into the sex trade

Traffick Alerts

Lawmakers are trying to make sure teenage sex trafficking victims get social services instead of criminal records

From foster care into the sex trade

By Charlotte Silver

Every year, federal and state governments pour millions of dollars into combatting sex trafficking through local and federal law enforcement agencies. But the emerging link between the child welfare system and child sex trafficking in the United States underscores the need for a new tactic, one that addresses the social origins of child sex trafficking.

At the end of July, the FBI’s Innocence Lost initiative, the wing of the agency tasked with addressing domestic child sex trafficking, conducted its annual three-day Operation Cross Country. During these 72 hours, federal agents across the country “recover” juvenile victims from sexual exploitation and arrest their exploiters. This year, the agency boasts that it saved 105 children and arrested 152 pimps. According to U.S. law, anyone under 18 and involved in the sex trade…

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