Richard Garber makes the point well that the often-quoted idea is wrong: fear of public speaking is probably not as widespread as we’ve been told. Communication anxiety is still very widespread, as the research cited shows. It’s just not as universal as we’ve heard (and as I’ve often said in class). You can see this between the lines and explicitly in his article, “What’s the difference between a fear and a phobia?“
In How to Conquer Your Sales Fears, Entrepreneur magazine offers tips intended for business owners that also provide solid help for speakers who fear aspects of the Speech to Persuade. It offers techniques for overcoming five common fears in such situations. While not every technique can be used by a speaker, most can, and the principle behind the technique can almost certainly be applied in some fashion.
Peter Gray at Psychology Today has posted a thoughtful blog article entitled Why Children Protest Going to School: More Evolutionary Mismatch. I find it an insightful argument in favor of homeschooling and several other education methods that do not lead to a factory model of schooling.
Effort is. MindShift asks the question, Can Everyone Be Smart at Everything? and seems to conclude that we don’t need to be. My only quibble with the article is that the headline doesn’t seem to me to fit the article very well. But I like the article itself. We’ve known for awhile that telling a kid, “You’re so smart!” isn’t very effective. “Great effort!” works better. Even “Good job!” doesn’t work–kids tend to interpret as “you’re smart” or “you’re talented.” They don’t see that as something they have any control over, whereas they do have control over their effort.
“[T]elling kids they’re smart when they get good grades encourages them to continue focusing on the grade rather than the learning process,” they say.
More importantly in light of recent practices, though, is this: the emphasis on learning styles can be just as counterproductive. When you tell a kid that he is a visual learner, it can leave the message that no one expects him to learn, say, via auditory means–again, he has no control over it. “Taking that idea one step further, kids might think that if they have to work hard at something, that must mean they’re not smart.”
“Clearly, people have distinctive abilities and aptitudes. Some people have higher visual ability, and some have higher auditory ability,” said UCSD professor Hal Pashler, lead author on the report. “But the question is whether that predicts anything about the most effective way to teach them. … There is a complete lack of evidence of the sort.”
There’s a lot more food for thought there. Go take a look at the article to see the implications that seem, to me, to point beyond educating kids (as important as that is) to educating college students.
Rasmussen College has an infographic about the worth of a bachelor’s degree. What do you think about its insights? We originally had the infographic showing here, but they didn’t like that, so go there and take a look at it.
As I write this, I’m at the Innovative Professor Conference at Austin Peay State University, getting ready to do a presentation about a method of publishing student work for Flipboard, one of the most popular apps available on the iPad.
I have this theory that “out loud” is best for big picture information–establishing context, talking about meaning, etc.–while detail is best communicated via writing. In keeping with this, in the session I’m mostly trying to show what’s possible and point to resources, while developing the details on the “how to” via a public Google doc. I’m also pointing to this post for people to be able to find these resources: