For the past two weeks, my world history survey course has covered the revolutions that made modernity. Last week was about politics in the Age of Revolutions. This week is about the Industrial Revolution.
Over the weekend, coincidentally, I caught the latest episode of the Harvard EdCast. It’s a conversation with the social psychologist Geoff Cohen on the “crisis of belonging” among American youth. In this conversation, Cohen spoke about the wide-ranging educational benefits of inviting students to discuss their values together:
And in a number of studies that my colleagues and I and others have done, we found that the simple act, for instance, of just asking students to reflect on, what is core to you? What are your most important values? What would you stand up for? What would you die for? What is really dear to your heart? Giving students the opportunity to write about their core values in the classroom has been found, under some circumstances, to have these wide-ranging benefits, closing achievement gaps in GPA, even after just a few sessions of doing these kinds of activities, improving health and well-being, leading to greater retention throughout high school and college. And this has been replicated in several studies.
It doesn’t happen all the time, but in schools and classrooms where there are resources and pathways to success, if I now feel like this is a place where my whole self is accepted, I’m more likely to seize those opportunities. So these are just examples of many of little things we can all do to make the situations a lot better.
This comment helped nudge me to plan the activities with which I began each class this week.Continue reading “Two Reflection Activities for the Age of Revolutions”