Also this week: wildlife photographer of the year, phone interview advice, how do we teach students how to learn?, and more.
A British man has become the new world Scrabble champion by playing “braconid” for 181 points. As May Berenbaum said on twitter:
The NY Times has weighed in on whether you should hit “reply all” to ask to be removed from an email thread:
Amen. Here’s more backstory.
There were lots of women among the Animal Behavior Society’s Career Awards & Fellows this year. (ht: Elinor Lichtenberg)
Talking Right: I lost my Appalachian accent to fit in. Now I want it back. I enjoyed this essay, in part because I’ve gone through a similar evolution in my feelings about my native accent. When I first visited Cornell, I was teased for dropping the “h”s at the front of words (saying “yuge” instead of “huge”, “yoomid” instead of “humid”, etc.) The teasing continued once I was in college (e.g., for saying “draw” instead of “drawer”). And so, over time, I worked to lose that accent, and now have a pretty generic Northern American accent. For a while, I was happy about that. Now I feel more like I wish I had more of my original accent, but it’s mostly gone at this point. Though, when I get really tired, it pops back up, so it’s in there somewhere!
The British Wildlife Photographer of the Year winners are up. Always an amazing selection of images, although I think some other years have been stronger and the fix was clearly in for the weasels this year. I fondly recall attending the show of winners every year at the Natural History Museum back when I was a postdoc. The winners in the urban wildlife and black-and-white competitions are my personal favorites. And the documentary series winner includes an unusual “field assistant”.
Common questions asked in phone interviews for faculty positions.
How do we teach students how to learn? That is, how do you get unengaged students to start showing up to class, get off their phones, pay attention, ask questions, etc.? I think part of the answer is implicit in the illustrative examples in the linked post: you just do the best you can with first years, recognizing that a high fraction of them will be unengaged and will suck at learning. Then wait until a combination of maturity, wake-up calls from bad grades, attrition, and the opportunity to focus on a major subject they like turn them into engaged learners in upper level courses. And part of the answer might be to do more active learning, but that’s no panacea. So I don’t have a complete answer either. I doubt one exists. Lots of things you’d think would help, don’t (e.g.).