What You Study Changes Your Personality

There are stereotypes around who studies what and what those people turn out to be when they’re done their education. One example of this is that MBA students tend to be immoral upon graduation. That, and other stereotypes do have a basis in reality according to new research out of Denmark. What’s really interesting about this is that career counsellors may want to suggest fields based of a person’s personality rather than other metrics.

According to a new meta-analysis, there are significant personality differences between students in different academic majors. For the review paper, Anna Vedel, a psychologist from Aarhus University in Denmark, analyzed 12 studies examining the correlation between personality traits and college majors. Eleven of them found significant differences between majors. The review examined the so-called “Big Five” traits: neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness, and conscientiousness.

Vedel writes that she hopes her findings can help college counselors guide students into the best majors for their personalities. That, she thinks, might help reduce drop-out rates. At the very least, it might help certain English majors understand why they never can seem to remember to do their stats homework, even though they worry about it constantly.

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Teaching ADHD Kids Outside

Students with ADHD have a hard time focusing in a standard classroom which leads to a difficult learning environment. It doesn’t have to be this way though. In Finland outdoor schools are familiar and effective, and now in the States they are experimenting with outdoor schools. Outside Online took a good look a SOAR to see what the future of outdoor education could be in America while examining the benefits of nature-based schooling for people with attention disorders.

Olmsted, looking back on his life, identified the problem as the stifling classroom, not troublesome boys. “A boy,” he wrote, “who would not in any weather & under all ordinary circumstances, rather take a walk of ten to twelve miles some time in the course of every day than stay quietly about a house all day, must be suffering from disease or a defective education.”

The Academy at SOAR—which became accredited three years ago—is determined to find a better way. The school has just 32 students, 26 of them boys, divided into four mixed-age houses. Each kid has an individualized curriculum, and the student-teacher ratio is five to one. Tuition is a steep $49,500 per year, on par with other boarding schools, although you won’t find a Hogwartsian dining hall or stacks of leather-bound books. The school still covers the required academics, as well as basic life skills like cooking, but finds that the kids pay more attention to a history lesson while standing in the middle of a battlefield or a geology lecture while camping on a monocline.

“We started from scratch,” says SOAR’s executive director John Willson, who began working there as a camp counselor in 1991. “We’re not reinventing the wheel—we threw out the wheel.” The school’s founders didn’t have any particular allegiance to adventure sports; they just found that climbing, backpacking, and canoeing were a magic fit for these kids, at these ages, when their neurons are exploding in a million directions. “When you’re on a rock ledge,” Willson says, “there’s a sweet spot of arousal and stress that opens you up for adaptive learning. You find new ways of solving problems.”

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Children Should be Taught Philosophy

Studying philosophy has greatly influenced my life and I encourage everybody to also study the field and practice. Engaging in philosophy can improve one’s sense of self while improving their ability to discern which arguments have value.

Teaching critical inquiry through philosophy to children can have a very positive impact on them as human beings. We should have every kid engage in philosophy in their schools because kids are want to know about all aspects of what’s around them. That is what philosophy is about at its core.

Since then, training in various jobs has made me into various kinds of professional, but no training has shaped my humanity as deeply as philosophy has. No other discipline has inspired such wonder about the world, or furnished me with thinking tools so universally applicable to the puzzles that confront us as human beings.

By setting children on a path of philosophical enquiry early in life, we could offer them irreplaceable gifts: an awareness of life’s moral, aesthetic and political dimensions; the capacity to articulate thoughts clearly and evaluate them honestly; and the confidence to exercise independent judgement and self-correction. What’s more, an early introduction to philosophical dialogue would foster a greater respect for diversity and a deeper empathy for the experiences of others, as well as a crucial understanding of how to use reason to resolve disagreements.

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Enter an Endangered Animal and Learn of Their Plight

Evelyn Roth Inflatable Animals

Artist Evelyn Roth is using classroom sized animals to spread the word about endangered animals. She has created bright and cheerful looking versions of animals that are endangered to provide a pop-up space for kids to learn all about these animals. Her work is presently travelling the world and educating children.

“The designs interact with the people inside to make a fascinating, enjoyable and engaging intimate atmosphere where people are inspired to listen and learn and are subconsciously imprinted with the stories.’’

Roth returned from Hawaii this week after being commissioned to create a Southern Right Whale and two Monk Seals to highlight the plight of these endangered animals to the local community.

“The Monk Seal colony on Kauai in Hawaii is the last remaining colony in the world,’’ Roth said.

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Rethinking Environmental Education Under Neoliberalism

Neoliberalism is the current way of thinking about the economic state of the world. It’s the thinking that has led to the financialization of nearly everything in the world – think about how we justify our thinking in economic terms and not other terms.

The critiques of the mind-numbing neoliberal approach to thinking are growing and the most recent issue Environmental Education Research examines how neoliberalism is changing how we teach. This is good because we need to move our way of thinking beyond an economics-only framework, the more we critique neoliberalism the better the world we can create.

“Environmental education is political,” said Hursh. “People do not fully comprehend the meaning of neoliberalism, but often overuse it to blame or explain current environmental conditions and issues. We need to talk about the nature of environmental education within the context of the dominant economic and political system of neoliberalism.”

The 13 articles in the new special issue of Environmental Education Research challenge readers to consider the many ways that environmental education has been shaped by and interacts with the logic of neoliberalism.

Hursh focuses his research and writing on educational policy, neoliberalism, and teaching environmental sustainability and social studies, as well as public dimensions of environmental education, with a particular emphasis on how it applies to the energy system and climate change dynamics. In his most recent writing, Hursh describes how neoliberalism undermines education and democracy. His next book, The End of Public Schools: The Corporate Reform Agenda to Privatize Education, is scheduled to release summer 2015 by Routledge

Read Environmental Education Research.

Read the press release.