STEM-IN-THE-CLASSROOM

anonymous asked:

To be fair, even if the potion would not kill Trevor, it was particularly cruel to let Neville believe he would have to kill his own pet. I don't hate Snape, I think he's a great character, but the way he treated Neville is the one thing I can't forgive him for. Maybe it's a personal thing since I had teachers who would bully students in a similar way to how Neville was treated and I guess I just can't get past that.

I feel I should probably begin by stating that I am not advocating his approach, or saying that his method is one that should be celebrated or emulated, but conversely, I am not convinced it’s wholly unreasonable in the scene with Trevor.

The key factor is that Snape is attempting to incentivise Neville, and the evidence for this in how Snape approaches OWLs:

“Moronic though some of this class undoubtedly are, I expect you to scrape an ‘Acceptable’ in your O.W.L…”

He also says:

“I advise all of you to concentrate your efforts upon maintaining the high-pass level I have come to expect from my O.W.L. students.”

We don’t know why Snape takes such a pride in his high-pass level.  (That’s a whole other meta.)  But it is enough that we know that he does, and we know that Umbridge regards his class as being advanced when she assesses his teaching – so we know he’s not lying.

That helps to explain Snape’s stance; he wants Neville to succeed, because he doesn’t want to lose his high pass level.

Onto Neville.  It’s important to remember that we, the reader, are privy to lots of information about Neville because we travel with Harry, one of his Gryffindor dorm mates.  We fully understand that Neville is a nice lad who is terrified of Snape, and his fear causes him to make more mistakes.  However, it is fair to argue that perhaps Snape wasn’t aware of this.

So what does Snape see?

We don’t see any other child struggle in quite the same way that Neville does.  The other Gryffindors might dislike Snape, but they don’t seem scared of him.  I’m not suggesting that Snape is beyond reproach, but I think it possibly hasn’t occurred to Snape that Neville is too scared to ask for assistance.  I think Snape genuinely can’t understand why Neville can’t follow simple instructions:

“Orange. Tell me, boy, does anything penetrate that thick skull of yours? Didn’t you hear me say, quite clearly, that only one cat spleen was needed? Didn’t I state plainly that a dash of leech juice would suffice? What do I have to do to make you understand, Longbottom?”

So Snape sees a Gryffindor kid who is either not listening, not concentrating, or is being deliberately obtuse.  He doesn’t ask for help, or clarification – and then he fails to brew his potion correctly.

Snape’s threat is not kind, but I think it’s the behaviour of a teacher nearing the end of his tether. We see from Neville exploding his cauldron in his first lesson that Potions is dangerous.  It’s perhaps apparent to Snape that Neville doesn’t see that he’s putting himself, his classmates and even Snape in danger by not brewing correctly (or he will do in the future as the brews become more complex), so he ups the ante and puts something – Trevor - Neville genuinely does care about in danger.

As Hermione manages to salvage the potion, we know it wasn’t a lost cause, so it’s unfair to suggest that Snape wanted him to fail; it was possible to succeed.  The real discrepancy is between what Snape thinks is happening (Neville deliberately not listening and not engaging in class) versus what is actually happening (Neville being terrified of Snape and not being able to engage in class).  

I think there is a part of Snape that is genuinely - even if he does it in a horrible way - trying to get Neville to improve.  So even if Snape knew that Trevor would be fine, it would rather undermine his whole approach if he said, “I’ll poison your familiar, but don’t fret, he’ll be ok,” - even if Snape was certain of that himself.

It doesn’t make Snape’s treatment of him correct, but it does perhaps explain a little where Snape’s frustration stems from within the Potions classroom.

Top 10 Reasons Why No One Should Be a Feminist

1. The Label - Language is important. What would a movement under a gender biased name like masculism be about? We saw how they reacted when ‘meninism’ was created to show feminism a mirror of themselves. It’s ironic how much they hate what they see. 

So when you have a movement called feminism, it becomes very difficult to engage in an objective dialog about the true nature of things. As you try to have it, any criticism all too easily becomes conflated with attack on the female gender itself. This is used as their greatest advantage.

2. The Incoherent Ideology - Mainstream media tends to portray feminism in a positive and superficial manner as only having the goal to provide equal economic and social opportunities for women. Yet, when you delve deeper into their beliefs, the foremost among them being the patriarchy, the cartoonish and simplistic nature of their intellectual framework is revealed. 

Patriarchy, as a societal system in which male gender is favored, does not exist. All data points to men always having much harder lives; lived shorter, committed suicide 3 to 4 times more often, less educated and less supported, worked the most difficult and dangerous jobs, used as meat fodder in senseless wars (often shamed by women into joining), and are less happy than women. 

Feminist theory of patriarchy is simply a convenient way to disregard biology and evolution as the sole driver of human behavior and, consequently, society.

3. Illusion of Efficacy - If you look at today’s third world countries you will find that it is impossible to liberate women on the same level as their counterparts in western countries. You might have already noticed that western feminists are mum about the plight of women (and men) in such countries, and that they are always far more likely to talk about perceived stereotypes in video games, T-shirts…than anything of real substance. 

This is because feminism was never responsible for the liberation of women in western countries, and they are perfectly aware of this. Advances in technology, science, and medicine made certain economic and biological realities unsustainable or irrelevant. 

Women predictably took advantage of this, and men recognized this new reality. There were no feminist theories and gender studies involved in this process. 

4. Making Stuff Up - Feminism is fraught with false assertions masquerading as statistical facts. A couple of big ones:

  • In USA, 22%–35% of women who visit hospital emergency rooms due to domestic violence.
    It turns out that the Justice Department and the CDC were referring to the 40 million women who annually visit emergency rooms, but to women, numbering about 550,000 annually, who come to emergency rooms “for violence-related injuries.” Of these, approximately 37% were attacked by intimates. So, it’s not the case that 22%-35% of women who visit emergency rooms are there for domestic violence. The correct figure is less than half of 1%.

  • One in five in college women will be sexually assaulted.
    The one-in-five figure is based on the Campus Sexual Assault Study, commissioned by the National Institute of Justice and conducted from 2005 to 2007. Two prominent criminologists, Northeastern University’s James Alan Fox and Mount Holyoke College’s Richard Moran, have noted its weaknesses: “The estimated 19% sexual assault rate among college women is based on a survey at two large four-year universities, which might not accurately reflect our nation’s colleges overall. In addition, the survey had a large non-response rate, with the clear possibility that those who had been victimized were more apt to have completed the questionnaire, resulting in an inflated prevalence figure.”Fox and Moran also point out that the study used an overly broad definition of sexual assault. Respondents were counted as sexual assault victims if they had been subject to “attempted forced kissing” or engaged in intimate encounters while intoxicated.

  • Women earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns—for doing the same work.
    The 23-cent gender pay gap is actually the difference between the average earnings of all men and women working full-time. It does not account for differences in occupations, positions, education, job tenure or hours worked per week. When such relevant factors are considered, the wage gap narrows to the point of vanishing. It’s illegal for employees to pay women less if they’re doing the identical work with identical experience and qualifications. Do you really believe millions of companies would happily lose millions of dollars by illegally paying men more than women simply because they’re part of a patriarchy? Come on now. 

Why do these fallacious claims have so much appeal and staying power? 

The biggest problem is notorious statistical illiteracy among journalists, feminist academics, and especially politicians. There is also an ingrained human tendency to be protective of women—stories of female exploitation are readily believed, and vocal skeptics risk appearing indifferent to women’s suffering. 

5. Hypocrisy - One sure way to find out that feminism is not about gender equality but female supremacy is to actually listen to what they say. Forget their whole phoney spiel about “the definition” of feminism, actually listen to them and watch their actions instead. Let’s look at some:

Feminists skewed the definition of domestic abuse, resulting in only male abusers being arrested and female abusers not. Feminists petitioned to have the government stop prosecuting women for filing false accusations. Feminists successfully made it legally impossible for women to be charged with rape against men. Feminists violently protests against university speakers and shut down events which talks about mens and boys mental issues. 

Mobs of feminists protested, assaulted and abused a group of rosary-praying Catholic men who were peacefully protecting the cathedral in the city of San Juan from threats of vandalism. Feminists shut down forums for battered husbands. Feminists create a law that gives women who kill their husbands lighter sentences if they were victims of abuse but if the man is a victim of abuse and kills his wife he will still face the full sentence. Feminists started a campaign against father’s rights groups. Feminists attempt to put an end to Father’s Day. 

Feminists made it possible for men to be arrested for sitting with their knees too many inches apart from one another. Feminists fought against laws granting men anonymity until charged with the crime of rape—not convicted, just charged. Feminists abolish due process for men. 

Feminist protests result in men not even being considered entry into certain university STEM classrooms simply because they’re men. Feminists have forced universities to make any new male student take mandatory classes about “how not to act on their own predatory instincts”. Feminists demand law schools to ban the teaching of rape laws. Feminists demand women students must have safe spaces while men are refused any sort of meeting place. 

Feminists demand that men cannot be feminists, they can only be allies and have no right to speak on feminist issues. Feminists attacks male cartoonist and are hailed a hero of feminism. Feminists try to shut down women’s prisons, believing only men should be locked up. Feminists continually protest against funding for mens shelters, making it impossible for any mens shelters to be created. Feminist even threatened to kill a woman for suggesting men need shelters. 

Feminists protest and shut down meetings about male suicide. Feminists demand the government does not assist unemployed men. Feminists launch anti-men campaigns. Feminists create propaganda video of masked women killing men. Feminists laugh and cheer on women who have beat, abused, humiliated and even mutilated their boyfriends/husbands. 

But yes, feminism is “all about equality of the sexes. It’s as much for men as it is for women.” 

6. Dogmatic, Anti-scientific Hegemony - When other women raise scholarly objections to countless inaccuracies, falsehoods, outright foolishness, and misinformation in feminist theories and studies, they are ostracized and attacked, sometimes physically; a behavior reminiscent of a cult, not a movement for gender equality.

Some of the dissenting women who suffered these attacks: Christina Hoff Sommers, Camille Paglia, Wendy McElroy, Elaine Showalter, Erin Pizzey, Elizabeth Loftus.

Further still, they are often branded as tools of the patriarchy or enemy to women. Feminists even try to penetrate hard sciences like biology, chemistry, math, and physics.

In Higher Superstition: The Academic Left and Its Quarrels with Science, co-authored by Paul R. Gross and Norman Levitt, the attempts verge on lunacy. According to feminists arithmetic word problems are inherently sexist in their content, and hence can only be “liberated” by a feminist perspective. Here is one such example of evil patriarchy:

“Bob is a fireman who makes $40,000 a year. His boss, Fire Chief Larry has advised him that he will be receiving a 5% salary increase next year. What will his new yearly salary be?”

Feminist mathematics would alter fireman to firewoman (or perhaps fireperson); it would change the name Bob to Barbara. It would also alter Larry to Linda.

This is not a joke, they really mean it. Not satisfied at having “liberated” mathematics from its “sexist” shackles, academic feminists have enlightened us about the sexist properties of DNA. Specifically, feminist biochemistry proposes that DNA is an instrument of male dominance as evidenced by its “master molecule” narrative (McElroy, 1996). There are countless other examples of “scientific contributions” arising from feminist theorists, however, I think you get the general idea.

7. Toxicity between Genders - The feminist movement has created a great deal of confusion and unpleasant atmosphere regarding the permissible dynamics between the sexes. Men and women no longer trust their instincts honed by evolution; instead they seek to adhere to new “feminist” rules of intersexual conduct, as they are highly fearful of being accused of being “sexist pigs” or “tools of the patriarchy”.

Places of business and school campuses have become highly regulated, and men are now walking on eggshells. Even a simple compliment can be construed as sexual harassment or used as a leverage in advancing one’s career, and sexual contact is ever more increasingly used as a tool for petty revenge.

8. Using the Violence of the State - Feminists want nothing more than to use the state power to skew the justice system in favor of women, from disparity in sentencing for crimes, domestic violence, bizarre divorce and custody laws completely biased towards women, medical research, schooling, and healthcare costs. Counting on other men to do their dirty work has been a huge success for the feminist movement.

9. Victimhood mentality - The problem with modern feminism, is that the patriarchy/male privilege/male oppression of women paradigm fosters a mindset of victimhood. A number of feminists appear to have developed a psychological condition called, victim mentality. 

Modern feminism revolves around a philosophy of hatred of a group of people based on some perceived wrongdoing they committed. The oppression feminists erroneously perceive from men, becomes a self-serving moral justification for virtually any action they deem necessary to further their cause, regardless of the social consequences. 

They become perceptually blind to the immorality of their own actions and dehumanise those they consider to be against them, which is in this case men and anyone who disagrees with them. This is what an “us against them” mentality brings about.

Western women already have the upper hand in education, scholarships and grants, employment, healthcare, government assistance, support programs, protection and shelter, workplace safety, legal rights, due process, life expectancy, exclusion of responsibility, research and charity for women’s issues and social justice immunity. 

Yes all these things are wonderful for women but the point is, how are they still claiming they’re all so badly oppressed and incapable of doing anything in this big bad patriarchal society? How is it exactly that men and even little boys have an almighty privilege and are evil oppressors no matter their lack of wealth or status? And how is hiding in safe spaces, slapping trigger warnings on everything and silencing opposing views with tears and violence empowering women?

As Christina Hoff Sommers says: If western women are oppressed, that would mean western men would have to be the only oppressor class in history who are less educated, more victimized, have disadvantaged legal rights and are shorter lived than those they oppress. They must be the only oppressor class who take on society’s gritty, dangerous, deadly jobs as their oppressed victims excel. 

10. Treating Women as Less Culpable - Let’s stop conflating the toxic, confused ideology of feminism with the equality for female gender. By doing that we are actively infantilizing women.

Women were always treated as less accountable than men in every area of life, while men were viewed as beasts of burden and war. Consequently, statistics clearly show that their life was and is much easier, far more comfortable, and the problems they face are given disproportionate attention and resources by several orders of magnitude.

It is a fact of nature that our sexually dimorphic species creates such fertile ground for women to exploit; the women are wonderful effect clearly demonstrating this.

Let’s, for a change, treat them as adults, so they can stop skewing the whole society in their favor,  so that they can stop with the cartoonish patriarchy, which they use like a stick to get even greater privileges.

For once, instead of letting them blame the imaginary patriarchy for everything wrong in their lives; let’s stop perceiving them as delicate flowers, and start treating them as responsible adults. They were only able to skew the system so perversely because we infantilized them.

Let’s not indulge them when they seek to monetize their manufactured victimhood, and when they seek the equality of results instead of the equality of opportunity.

The Flex-Off

Short, goofy drabble based off of this post , which seems to have gotten a lot of attention.

Thanks to everyone who liked, reblogged, and added comments to this! I hope it lives up to what you were expecting! :)

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wired.com
AI Is Making It Extremely Easy for Students to Cheat | Backchannel
Teachers are being forced to adapt to new tools that execute homework perfectly.

Denise Garcia knows that her students sometimes cheat, but the situation she unearthed in February seemed different. A math teacher in West Hartford, Connecticut, Garcia had accidentally included an advanced equation in a problem set for her AP Calculus class. Yet somehow a handful of students in the 15-person class solved it correctly. Those students had also shown their work, defeating the traditional litmus test for sussing out cheating in STEM classrooms.

Garcia was perplexed, until she remembered a conversation from a few years earlier. Some former students had told her about an online tool called Wolfram|Alpha that could complete complicated calculations in seconds. It provided both the answers and the steps for reaching them, making it virtually undetectable when copied as homework.

For years, students have turned to CliffsNotes for speedy reads of books, SparkNotes to whip up talking points for class discussions, and Wikipedia to pad their papers with historical tidbits. But today’s students have smarter tools at their disposal—namely, Wolfram|Alpha, a program that uses artificial intelligence to perfectly and untraceably solve equations. Wolfram|Alpha uses natural language processing technology, part of the AI family, to provide students with an academic shortcut that is faster than a tutor, more reliable than copying off of friends, and much easier than figuring out a solution yourself.

Using Wolfram|Alpha is similar to executing a Google search, but Wolfram|Alpha delivers specific answers rather than endless pages of potentially relevant results. Anyone can go to the Wolfram|Alpha website, type a question or equation into a dialogue box, hit enter, and receive an answer. If you’re trying to solve x2 + 5x + 6 = 0, Wolfram|Alpha will give you the root plot, alternate forms, and solutions. If you are looking for a step-by-step explanation, there is a pro version available for $6.99/month with discounted options for students and educators.

Wolfram never planned for his tool to become highbrow CliffsNotes, but he’s not too concerned about it, either. “Mechanical math,” Wolfram argues, “is a very low level of precise thinking.” Instead, Wolfram believes that we should be emphasizing computational thinking—something he describes as “trying to formulate your thoughts so that you can explain them to a sufficiently smart computer.” This has also been called computer-based math. Essentially, knowing algebra in today’s technology-saturated world won’t get you very far, but knowing how to ask a computer to do your algebra will. If students are making this shift, in his mind, they’re just ahead of the curve.

Alan Joyce, the director of content development for Wolfram Alpha, says that cheating is “absolutely the wrong way to look at what we do.” But the staff understands what might make teachers uncomfortable. Historically, education had to emphasize hand calculations, says John Dixon, a program manager at Wolfram Research. That’s because there wasn’t tech to fall back on and, when tech did start to appear, it wasn’t reliable. Only recently can computers calculate things automatically and precisely, and it’ll take some time for curriculums, and the teachers that are beholden to them, to catch up. Wolfram Research, Dixon says, wants to engage with teachers like Garcia, who are frustrated by the tool, to help them understand how it can help their students.

Indeed, the people who are directing the tool’s development view it as an educational equalizer that can give students who don’t have at-home homework helpers—like tutors or highly educated and accessible parents—access to what amounts to a personal tutor. It also has enormous potential within the classroom. A “show steps” button, which reveals the path to an answer, allows teachers to break down the components of a problem, rather than getting bogged down in mechanics. The “problem generator” can pull from real datasets to create relevant examples. “When you start to show educators the potential,” Dixon says, “you can see points where their eyes light up.”

Still, the prevailing notion that Wolfram|Alpha is a form of cheating doesn’t appear to be dissipating. Much of this comes down to what homework is. If the purpose of homework is build greater understanding of concepts as presented in class, Joyce is adamant that teachers should view Wolfram|Alpha as an asset. It’s not that Wolfram Alpha has helped students “‘get through’ a math class by doing their homework for them,” he says, “but that we helped them actually understand what they were doing” in the first place. Dixon believes that Wolfram|Alpha can build confidence in students who don’t see themselves as having mathematical minds. Homework isn’t really about learning to do a calculation, but rather about learning to find and understand an answer regardless of how the calculation is executed.