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Competency, Warmth, and Other Perceptions
The Psyche on Automatic - Amy Cuddy probes snap judgments, warm feelings, and how to become an "alpha dog," by Craig Lambert

Down to the final two candidates, whom do you choose: the individual who seems kind but not as competent or the candidate who is more than capable, but not as warm? Lambert explores the work of Amy Cuddy, Harvard psychologist, and her research on first impressions. Cuddy evaluates perceptions of warmth and competence, two skills historically important to human survival, but more broadly applicable to teaching, hiring and diversity work. Social comparisons are inescapable, but Cuddy posits that more often than not we compare stereotypes instead of individuals, setting up a polarity of differences. Cuddy's "warmth/competence quadrant schema" helps us predict the way an out-group will be treated and the way small changes in nonverbal data can influence the way in which we are perceived by others. Lambert's article provides a provocative way to assess and move beyond our first impressions of others. The implications for hiring, evaluation of leaders and exploring diversity are rich.

Angela Miklavcic, The Episcopal Academy, PA
Ed.M Candidate, The Klingenstein Center, Teachers College, Columbia University, NY
  Harvard Magazine, Nov-Dec 2010  
  February, 2011 VOL 19



Coordinating Editor, Associate Head of the Brearley School, New York, NY

Klingenstein Center Director, New York, NY

Head of the Park School of Buffalo, NY

Assistant Head, Albuquerque Academy, Albuquerque, NM

Principal of the Child Study Institute, University of Toronto, Canada

Trustee, Glen Urquhart School, MA

Head of the Carey School, San Mateo, CA

Assistant Head, Upper School
Montclair Kimberley Academy, Montclair, NJ

Klingbrief is a free, monthly publication of recommended articles, books, research reports and media selected by and for independent school educators.  The Klingenstein Center for Independent School Leadership provides graduate programs and professional development for independent school educators throughout their careers. For more information about submitting to Klingbrief, please click here.
TechnologicalRevolution   Technological Revolution: Celebrate or Censure?
The Information, by Adam Gopnik (by subscription only)

As the world, electrified, watched the protesters in Tehrir Square in Cairo, many observers reveled in this populist uprising fueled by Twitter and Facebook - technology as savior. Others are more skeptical about the impact of technology, focusing instead on the negative: 200,000 automobile accidents each year because of texting, or the hours in front of a screen now far outstripping the time spent reading. Adam Gopnik, on the other hand, has been reading, and in this critical essay reviews books that "come in the typical flavors: the eulogistic, the alarmed, the sober, and the gleeful." He categorizes the writers into three groups: the Never-Betters who see a "new utopia" because of technology; the Better-Nevers who think we were better off before the Electronic Revolution; and the Ever-Wasers, who believe that in the modern era, some new electronic invention will always occur. These books under review all consider the impact of technology on society and on the brain. Since our students spend so much time texting, gaming and Googling, we need to pay attention.

Bruce Shaw, Essex, MA
Trustee, Glen Urquhart School
  The New Yorker, February 14 & 21, 2011  
HowToCreateNonreaders   Making the Reading Classroom Safe for Democracy
How to Create Nonreaders: Reflections on Motivation, Learning, and Sharing Power, by Alfie Kohn

What could possibly be wrong with asking students to read independently for twenty minutes each night? Why should teachers who focus on dramatic irony or iambic pentameter reconsider their approach to teaching literature? In this provocative article, Alfie Kohn confirms his well-established position as the thorn-in-the-side of American educators as he asks: why do so many students dislike reading (and by extension writing), and what can be done about it? Central to all of Kohn's work is the point that true motivation must be intrinsic and that extrinsic rewards suppress motivation; in this article, he elaborates on the essential role of choice for students. Kohn links the notion of a democratic classroom to augmenting investment in the classroom. The article is structured around a list of seven ways to "kill" a love of reading, followed by four guidelines for nurturing it. Whether or not you agree with Kohn's ideology, it is hard to dismiss his commitment to students.

Liz Perry, Berkeley Carroll School, NY
  ENGLISH JOURNAL, Fall 2010 -- vol. 100, no. 1  
CharacterEducation   Ethics and Technology: A Partnership
Character Education for the Digital Age, by Jason Ohler

Whether or not we should teach our students to be technologically savvy and ethical is not an unfamiliar topic to anyone who works in independent schools, but Ohler's approach may help schools provide a context for where it should fit within their communities. Here, he recommends establishing or broadening a school's character education program to include digital citizenship and "place digital activities within the context of community rather than banish them to our students' private lives." In this very useful article, Ohler provides some advice for schools looking to adapt their character education programs to the new ethical challenges posed by the new technologies. In the end, Ohler argues that we need to expand technology's role beyond making classroom instruction more effective to creating and defining a community that places technology in a broader social context, so that students not only know how to use technology but also place it in an ethical framework.

Paul Errickson, Nichols School, NY
Ed.M Candidate, The Klingenstein Center, Teachers College, Columbia University, NY
  Educational Leadership, February 2011  
TheTruthWearsOff   Scientific Research and the "Empirical Hiccup"
The Truth Wears Off: Is there something wrong with the scientific method?, by Jonah Lehrer

The New Yorker's Annals of Science writer Jonah Lehrer explores the human side of science in his article on the troubling phenomenon called the decline effect, which is the tendency of exciting scientific results to become less accurate and more illusory over time. This "empirical hiccup", seen in fields of research as diverse as social psychology, physics, biology and medicine, defies simple explanation but may be linked to how subjective bias, conjuring significance, or confirming a preferred hypothesis distort original conclusions . Although the article does not tackle educational research specifically, the seductive nature of empiricism is a theme relevant to the teaching of any discipline that involves proof and experiment. Ideas that make ostensible sense and that we can't bear to let go of may be held at a cost. We, the humble readers or teachers, may have to recognize that "when all the experiments are done, we still have to choose what to believe." Sobering thoughts for those seeking firm ground in the disciplines.

Elizabeth Morley, Institute of Child Study, Toronto, Canada
  New Yorker Magazine, December 13, 2010  
SelfControls   Training the Executive Function at a Young Age
For Kids, Self-Control Factors into Future Success
(Audio Clip embedded in a Head of School Parent Newsletter Article

A recent report on National Public Radio (NPR) about young children evaluates how self-control is one predictor for future success in the areas of wealth, health and crime. Although NPR does not reference the original, longitudinal study of children in New Zealand, the work cited is based on "A gradient of childhood self-control [predicting] health, wealth, and public safety" by Terrie E. Moffitt, et al. While simplistic at times, the report defines a skill set that is really about early exposure to and enhancement of executive functioning. Marie Banich, Director, Institute of Cognitive Science, University of Colorado defines this process as guiding children's behaviors and decision making toward some goal, especially in novel, unstructured, and non-routine situations that require some degree of judgment. Terrie Moffitt's work is clearly pointing to the non-academic advantages of active practice of self-control, which takes time and deliberate design. The implications for those who work with young children at home and school are significant.

Karen Biddulph, The Mead School, CT
Peter Herzberg, The Brearley School, NY
  NPR Radio, February 14, 2011  
BlackWhite   Fastest Growing Demographic Group
Black? White? Asian? More Young Americans Choose All of the Above, by Susan Saulny

Students currently going through college represent the largest group of mixed-race people ever to come of age in the United States. Mixed-race Americans are one of the fastest growing demographic groups in the United States. According to Census Bureau figures the mixed-race population has grown by roughly 35 percent since 2000 and the 2010 Census results are expected to show accelerating numbers. The article describes how students in the University of Maryland's Multiracial and Biracial Student Association are seeking to affirm their roots. They are rejecting simple categorizations that have defined mixed race Americans in favor of a more fluid identity, preferring to call themselves Black and White, for example, than biracial. They want to be acknowledged for their differences yet not have to check a box. The question posed by experts in this article is whether the growth in mixed race America will lead to a transcendence of race or more stratification at the expense of other minority groups.

Pearl Rock Kane
The Klingenstein Center, NY
  The New York Times, January 30, 2011  
  Girls, Stress, and Success
How Girls Thrive: The Newly Revised and Expanded Edition, by JoAnn Deak, Ph.D. with Dory Adams

Educator and psychologist Dr. JoAnn Deak, recently the keynote speaker at the Madeira school, in the video hyperlinked above discusses her newly revised edition, How Girls Thrive, a book which provides the necessary tools for parents and educators to raise confident, competent, self-reliant young women. What affects girls today? Dr. Deak explores stress and its effect on self-esteem. While certain levels of stress are par for the course, are girls more vulnerable than boys to higher levels of it? According to Deak, "girls need to be as sturdy and resilient as possible to handle the moments and events in their lives that are not always conducive to keeping their self-esteem at a healthy high." Dr. Deak's conversation adds to the dialogue about what parents and educators in independent schools must do to ensure the health of their girls.

Monica Benton Palmer, The Madeira School, VA
Ed.M Candidate, The Klingenstein Center, Teachers College, Columbia University, NY
  Green Blanket Press, 2010  
  A Practical Synthesis of Core Practice
Focus: Elevating the Essentials to Radically Improve Student Learning, by Mike Schmoker

In this incisive and straightforward analysis of teaching and learning, Mike Schmoker dispenses with what he sees as the myriad distracting educational reforms of the last two decades and pinpoints the teaching practices that make the most difference to student learning. Schmoker synthesizes key findings in educational research into a comprehensive yet clear set of directives for classroom teachers and curriculum teams. He clearly identifies core practices that make an enormous difference for students (some fairly traditional practices like teaching students to be good close readers and Socratic discussions), but also demonstrates how these work in tandem with the various new findings in cognitive science and research into assessment of the last fifteen years. Schmoker reminds us that, even when teachers are not yet experts in applying these strategies, asking students to read closely, engage in Socratic discussion, and write frequently about important and difficult questions ensure that all students will make tangible progress.

Stephanie Lipkowitz, Albuquerque Academy, NM
  ASCD, 2011  

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