Have you heard of the “marshmallow test”? No, this isn’t that game you play with a bunch of them in your mouth as you try to yell out “Chsuggy gunnny!!”

As any phycologist can tell you, the classic marshmallow test was used to correlate children’s impulse control with later success. Basically, being offered one marshmallow “right now”, or two of them if they wait a little bit. Those children willing to wait for a greater reward were more likely to go to college. (I could go look up the exact details for that, but I’d rather rely on my faulty memory)

Self-control and Self-efficacy

Two aspects of a successful person, right? Well, with most things, it’s all gray. Everyone has differing levels of each. But how much “bang for our buck” do we get out of these? Specifically, how much do these variables dictate our student’s success?

A recent newsletter from the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) referred to a study [Travis and Bunde (2020)] that found “…1) Students who reported higher self-efficacy, lower stress ratings, and higher need satisfaction had higher GPA scores, more satisfaction with school, decreased intention to transfer, and fewer hours withdrawn. 2) When students felt their needs were being met, they had greater intent to persist beyond the effects of high stress or low academic self-efficacy.”

The author continues, “This research highlights the role of self-regulation skills in student outcomes and perceptions in college. This indicates not only the connection between self-regulation support and academic success, but the vitality of including self-regulation in educational policy and school design/research. Specifically, this study suggests that the identification and removal of certain stressors may improve academic performance and socioemotional outcomes. The findings also indicate the need to be mindful of basic human needs when creating and implementing achievable academic challenges.”

Did I answer my question about the relationship between this and academic success? No. Did I give you some great info to use in your classes? Kinda. Did I post an amazingly strange and catchy song at the end of this? You be the judge!

Stop it now!

And this is how Youtube rabbit holes start.

Steve ‘n’ Seagulls?


Last week I gave a lecture on research ethics. I have a love/hate relationship with teaching research ethics.

To drive home the importance of why we have an IRB and IACUC, I point out some of the atrocities that have happened in the name of science… and it’s heavy; hard to digest.

But this brings to light very specific reasons why we have historically treated each other poorly. Treating others as “less than”. Less than my color. Less than my origin. Less than my race. Less than my species. This devalues, and puts the other group in a separate compartment that: doesn’t need, doesn’t deserve, doesn’t want… doesn’t feel.

We are all only human.

My only “tip” for this week is to think about your students. We are in such a unique position to evaluate so much more about a student than the major area skills.

Are you making them feel heard, valued, human? You may be the first to recognize behavior patterns that indicate something else going on. And you don’t need to sacrifice academic rigor to be a kind person.

Now go enjoy your week fellow human!

Humanlike Robots and Your Brain Creepy Feeling