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BUSINESS INSIDER: A group of teachers went to China and realized that the West is instructing students wrong.Often derided as ‘drill and kill’ or making children ‘parrot’ what is being taught, the UK report and other research suggests that memorisation and rote learning are important classroom strategies, which all teachers should be familiar with.” More here.

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WALL STREET JOURNAL: How to Save American Colleges. From a survey of 30,000 college graduates:

A mere 39% of college graduates report feeling engaged with their work, and in that group as many hail from top-100 schools as don’t. The three most important contributions that college makes to a sense of workplace thriving after graduation: Having one professor who made you excited about learning, feeling as though teachers cared about you, and working with a mentor. Graduates who checked those boxes were more than twice as likely to sense they are flourishing at work.

But only 14% of those surveyed said they had hit that trifecta in college. Other positive factors from undergraduate experience: working on a long-term project, having an internship and participating in extracurricular activities. Where graduates went to college barely registered as a predictor of job satisfaction.

More on this here. But from another article, I think this is bad news.The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) has released a report titled “The Unkindest Cut: Shakespeare in Exile 2015.” According to the report’s author, Dr. Michael Poliakoff, only 4 out of the top 52 liberal arts colleges and universities in the country require English majors to take a course on Shakespeare.” How well are we educating college students?

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ONLINE EDUCATION UPDATE: ASU Pushes MOOCS into the Mainstream. “Arizona State University is partnering with MOOC provider edX on a freshman year program that doesn’t require any application or upfront costs. Students only pay— $200 per credit—once they pass the courses. They’ll also receive full university credit.” While I agree with the article’s skepticism that this will be some sort of panacea, it does show that online education is growing and will likely replace portions of traditional college education, especially general ed. courses.

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RICHARD SPARKS: Cultivate Your Grit. “There’s been a lot written in the past few years about the concept of “grit” and it’s importance—much of this comes from research by Angela Duckworth of the University of Pennsylvania (and a winner of one of the McArthur “genius grants),” who studied what made a difference in cadets doing well in or just surviving the famed “Beast Barracks” training at West Point. Beforehand, a brief test was given (you can find a version of it here),”questions that asked them to rate their own ability to stick to goals, to be motivated by failure, and to persist in the face of obstacles.” Grit proved extraordinarily successful in predicting success (much more so than intelligence and many other measures) and has also done well predicting success in many other areas.” I think grit is really important and an essential component of all music education, which is one of several reasons why I think it is so important.

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THIS IS COOL: A New High-Speed MRI Machine Can Record Someone Singing. You can see his lips moving to articulate as well as his soft palate rising (and his tongue, which is larger than most people realize). You can also see the vocal folds faintly at the bottom of the image.

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SCOTT DORSEY: Hang On Just A Little Longer. “It’s that time of year, isn’t it?  Many of our students have morphed from being simply squirrely into vicious little monsters. Their helicopter parents have become fully-armed battle copters.  All the while, our greedy administrators have gone into hiding, cowering like despotic little tyrants at the beginning of a coup d’etat. As a result, we educators are running out of steam . . . and many of us are questioning why we put ourselves through this grief all the while being paid pennies….Yet, there is hope, brought by those dear folks who replied to this aching plea, offering words of solidarity and support.

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LIFEHACKER: How To Write With Substance And Improve Your Communication.

Second to his investing talents, Warren Buffet is known for having a deep-rooted respect for clear communication within companies. His own shareholder letters are so well written that they are often considered the gold standard for the medium.

When introducing the SEC’s official Plain English Handbook, Buffet chose to offer up his “unoriginal but useful tip” to act as if you are communicating to a single person.

Buffet usually writes with one of his sisters in mind, noting that while highly intelligent, she has little experience with investing. If he sees a passage that will confuse her, he knows he hasn’t written it properly.

Good advice to all kinds of writing, including academic writing.