Difficult Decision Making

In a book I read this week, The Anti-Education Era by James Paul Gee, the author tries to break down why people, even smart people, make bad decisions and choices.  He goes through what it takes to make a good decision and a number of different influences and causes for making bad decisions.  In a short paper, that you can read here, I wrote about 2 of the 5 conditions that Gee believes need to be present for good decision making, strong prior knowledge and meaningfulness behind the decision.  I specifically discuss how these two conditions affect my students’ decisions to go on to college.  I’m hoping to increase the number of college graduates my school produces and thinking about how and why students are making choices is an important aspect in education.

2 thoughts on “Difficult Decision Making

  1. Since I teach elementary, I really enjoyed getting the high school perspective from your response. I touched on the sense of meaning in my white paper as well – I agree that if people do not feel a personal connection to the material, they feel like it’s “not worth the effort” to push themselves further with it. You brought up an excellent point about working off the examples, socially, that you are surrounded with. Our students are growing up in a different time, a different place, and a different way than we did, and we have to keep that in mind. I think it is very true that if a student does not have examples of someone going to college and landing a successful job, they have trouble imagining it for themselves. It’s almost like a comfort factor, maybe? They are comfortable where they are now, and afraid for what they don’t know? I wonder, if you surveyed your students about this, how they would respond. It might be eye-opening for them!

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    1. I think comfort factor is an apt way to describe it. I think that college and obtaining a job outside the village brings a lot of new demands and stress factors that don’t occur in the village.

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