Friday @ the Center
October 29, 2010
Winter is Upon Us?
The wind blowing all the leaves away on Monday revealed a huge wasp nest just outside my office window. It is a delight to look out on this whopping mass amidst the surrounding reminders that a slobbering La Niña winter is sliding up against us.
Unsure who might be willing to fund your research? Laura Lundahl, Assistant Director for Grants, would be happy set up a one on one consultation with you to discuss possible funding resources. You are also welcome to search the COS (Community of Science) website for funding opportunities.
Final Reminder for SERVE Proposals
2010-2011 SERVE Proposals are due in the Center offices no later than 5 p.m. on Monday, November 1st. The SERVE Program (Spiritual and Educational Resources for Vocational Exploration) which is administered through CSFD, has remaining funds to be distributed and used during this academic year ending June 30th for research and applied projects or programs associated with enhancing the understanding and practice of Christian vocation. Full time faculty and staff are welcome to apply. Click here for more information on the types of proposals that can be funded and instructions for completing an application.
Post Midterm Check-in
Now that midterms have passed, you may want to do an informal check-in with your students regarding their experiences in your class. Sharon Hartnett, Assistant Professor of Education, recommends asking students for “two loves and a wish.” By taking a few minutes of class time to have them write their "two loves and a wish" on a note card, you can use their feedback as a catalyst for any changes that you may like to make for the second half of the quarter.
Improving Student Performance
How do we help students who are not performing well? Some think it best to boost students’ self-esteem because students who feel better about themselves will likely apply themselves more.
Social Psychologist, Donelson Forsyth, and his colleagues conducted a field experiment with undergraduate Intro to Psychology students that looked at the effects of boosting student self-esteem compared to the effects of encouraging students to take more personal control of their learning. Those who did poorly on the first test (C’s or lower) were assigned to three groups: 1) a control group, 2) a group that focused on raising students’ self-esteem, and 3) a group that encouraged them to take personal control and work harder. Students in the second group were sent weekly e-mails that said, “...studies suggest that students who have high self–esteem not only get better grades, but they remain self–confident and assured . . . Bottom line: Hold your head—and your self–esteem—high.” Students in the third group received weekly e-mails that said, “...studies suggest that students who take responsibility for their grades not only get better grades, but they also learn that they, personally, can control the grades they get . . . Bottom line: Take personal control of your performance.”
While students in group two improved their positive self-regard, their final grades actually dropped. And those in group three performed at the same level as those in group one. In reviewing the data, Forsyth suggests that it is not enough to give students general messages, whether it be to boost their self-esteem or get them to take ownership for their performance. He suggests instead to provide students with specific skills and study strategies that are needed to perform well in a course.
For further reading on this research check out Exploding the Self-Esteem Myth and Attemting to Improve the Academic Performance of Struggling College Students by Bolstering their Self-esteem: An Intervention that Backfired.