EppsNet Archive: Community College

Big Fishes in Small Ponds

A colleague and I are discussing an article about too many kids quitting science because they don’t think they’re smart, in which Carol Dweck, a psychologist at Stanford, says, among other things: Being a good parent has become synonymous with giving out ability praise. Parents still think this is the greatest gift they can give to their children, and as a child gets more and more insecure, they give more and more of it. And, by the way, a lot of employers and coaches have said, “My employees cannot get through the day without accolades and validation.” Even professional coaches have said they cannot give feedback without these people feeling that they’ve crushed them. We’ve created several generations now of very fragile individuals because they’ve been praised and hyped. And feel that anything but praise is devastating. My colleague mentions Malcolm Gladwell‘s book David and Goliath, in which Gladwell claims… Read more →

Teaching Computer Science: No School After Halloween

There was no school yesterday because the Newport-Mesa Unified School District at some time in the past noticed that a lot of kids didn’t show up the day after Halloween, so they decided not to have classes on the day after Halloween. Evidently this applies even if Halloween is on a Friday, followed by two weekend days plus an extra hour on the time change. Kids still need that extra day to get ready for academics again. Some time ago, I saw a news story about kids in Indonesia who had to cross a river via a rope suspension bridge to get to school. Then the bridge partially collapsed so it looked like the photo on the right. And of course the kids are determined to get an education so they’re all basically climbing their way across the river and back every day. If the bridge collapsed completely, they’d probably… Read more →

My Family’s Guide to Failure

At a recent family gathering, someone whom I won’t name here recommended to my son, a high school senior, that he start looking for a community college to attend for a couple of years before transferring to a four-year school. “That’s a good idea,” I said. “Do you have any more good ideas? Maybe he should punch himself in the face really hard.” One of the things I love about my boy is that when he does something, he puts his heart into it. He takes on the risk of failure. The safe approach — and historically the preferred method in my family — is to do things indifferently, fail, then announce that you weren’t really trying and that you could have succeeded if you’d wanted to.” We have family members who — despite, to my knowledge, having never done or said an intelligent thing in their lives — never… Read more →