Posted by: Anne E. Stuart | April 27, 2012

Friday Five – April 27, 2012

This week is the last week my PSY102 students are required to do a web assignment. The challenge after today’s post will to keep things up over the summer. I’m only teaching one class this summer, so I’ll have plenty of free time. But that free time is already scheduled with tasks around the house that have been ignored all academic year. Maybe if I work the web assignment into my summer course, that will keep me motivated for those six weeks. We’ll see how I do.

This was a bumper-crop week for links. I suspect it has something to do with end-of-semester procrastination for those of us in the final weeks of the semester, or suddenly found free time for those who just finished up. Anyway, here are five links I narrowed down to:

Inside Higher Ed (Mitch Smith) – April 23, 2012

Your first response to this question is likely: Never! However, I would argue that you first need to define what is meant by porn. Is porn simply any sexually explicit material? A precise definition of explicit would probably be helpful, too. Even United States Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart couldn’t clearly define pornography and stated: “But I know it when I see it.”

In this article, Mitch Smith describes recent cases at California State University at Fresno and Appalachian State College where professors were criticized about showing videos that some considered pornographic. One instance included a human sexuality class; the other a introductory sociology course. In the Fresno State case, the professor was defended by her administration. In the Appalachian State case, the professor was placed on suspension (although, that particular case contained complaints beyond the film).

These cases are particular interest to me, because, as an instructor of a human sexuality course, I do give serious consideration before presenting material to my students. Thankfully, I’ve never had a student complain about material in my course being inappropriate. But, given these instances, I’m thinking I need to add a “Warning: this course contains material of a sexual nature that may be offensive to some” statement to my syllabus. (I actually had to do that for my sexuality research in graduate school.)

ScienceBlogs: Uncertain Principles (Chad Orzel) – April 23, 2012

In this post, Chad Orzel is commenting on a different blog post by Athene Donald on a report out of Scotland on women in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) disciplines.  The point being made by both bloggers is that children’s definitions of what is gender appropriate begin well before middle school – when we see the typical disengagement of girls from science and math.

Psychology Today: Ambigamy (Jeremy Sherman) – April 24, 2012

First off, I bet you’re also singing the Bobby McFerrin song. If you weren’t already, I bet you are now.

In this post, Jeremy Sherman discusses Nobel Prize-winning psychologist and economist Daniel Kahneman’s insights on thinking and what happens when we focus on our problems. Kahneman’s work argues that spending a lot of time focusing on negative thoughts and events just leads us to feeling even worse about ourselves.

Psychology Today: Choke (Sian Beilock, Ph.D.) – April 25, 2012

In this post, Sian Beilock talks about a common fear: the fear of public speaking. And it is common. I don’t think I can even count the number of times I’ve had students say they hate public speaking and giving presentations. My advice to them is the same as Dr. Beilock’s: practice!

I’ve stated before that I’m a bit of an introvert, and not a fan of new social settings. However, public speaking doesn’t (and really never did) get to me. Why? I’ve been doing it in some form since elementary school. Most of it prior to college was on the stage in various theater productions. But since my undergraduate days, most of it has been at the front of a classroom giving a lecture or on stage giving out awards.

The Chronicle of Higher Education: HeadCount (Joanna Chau) – April 25, 2012

I’m the first person in my immediate family to earn a Ph.D., but I am not the first person in my family (immediate or extended) to go to college or earn a college degree. I never realized how much of the process and culture of college I took for granted until I started teaching at American International. We have a high percentage of first-generation college students. For many of my students, they may even be the first in their family to earn a high school diploma. There are a lot of obstacles for the first-generation college student, and as this link discusses, understanding the true costs and how financial aid works is one of the biggest.



  1. “The Fear of Public Speaking”
    When someone says that they’re afraid of making a speech or presentation, I’m completely baffled by it. Then I think back to seventh grade where my honors teacher would have an impromptu speech session every couple of months which I always managed to make a fool out of myself when speaking. After that, I never had a problem making a speech or presentation. I do get a bit nervous but I have never been paralyzed by fear. And I owe all of that to the teacher that I hated in seventh grade.

    “The Biggest Obstacle for First-Generation College Students”
    I think that finding financial aid is a problem for any college student. Not to be mean, but if first-generation students look they will get a lot more money than a white middle-class female who had the same achievements as them. I’m bitter, but I understand how hard it is for people who don’t know how to do things. The only way I knew what was going on was the fact that my mom had been through the process twice and my school’s counseling department latched onto AP students and coddled them by telling them exactly what they were supposed to do. I probably wouldn’t have applied to private universities if I hadn’t had all the help because I really wouldn’t have been able to find the money.

  2. “When Can Faculty Show Porn?” is a very interesting article. A professor is being charged for showing an educational pornographic film in her introduction to psychology class during a section about gender and sexuality. Some students were upset by the content and complained. I feel that she should not be charged because of the content. In college, students should expect to see some things and hear about some things that may make them feel uncomfortable. They are always free to leave class at any time, therefore if the material is too obscene, they are not forced to watch. The video was academic and had been shown to many other college students, which leads me to believe that it should not be as big of a deal as the students and college is making it.

    “The Fear of Public Speaking,” describes a problem that many people suffer with. Most people do not want to have all attention on them while they are making a speech. There are so many different things that could possibly go wrong and it is nerve wrenching to think of all the ways you can make yourself look foolish. The Trier Stress Test made in Germany, shows that the fear of looking stupid, is truely what is causing all of the anxiety that comes with public speaking. The article does give the advice that practice being in front of others and being comfortable with the fact that there are always times that you may look foolish is helpful to conquer fears in this department.

  3. When Can Faculty Show Porn?
    Showing nudity in a classroom should be allowed if relevant to class. Even if they students are of age, they should still be warned about what is in the movie before the watch it. Some students might feel very uncomfortable when the movie plays, but they might feel even more uncomfortable due to the fact they weren’t pre-warned. What is in the movies shouldn’t be a surprise to students. Also if they have them in the school library then they should be able to be played in the classroom.

    The Biggest Obstacle for First-Generation College Students
    Financial aid is the most crucial part when applying for college. Me being a first year getting those good grades was necessity. I tried my hardest and made it on honor roll every year. My teachers stressed to me how important completing the financial aid process was. I took everything I had to do seriously that year because I was trying to make college a possibility for myself. It was a one process but I was 3rd to finish all my fafsa and financial aid in high school. I felt proud and prepared as the financial aid packets came in one after another.

  4. •When Can Faculty Show Porn?
    I think it is fine to show porn in the classroom if it is relevant to the class. I do feel however that students should be warned ahead of time so they do not feel uncomfortable. There are also certain students that may feel nauseous based off what they are watching so a warning is needed in order to prevent some real problems.
    •The Fear of Public Speaking
    Even though I do not have a fear of public speaking, I do think it is important for those that do to practice. I think the idea of making a fool of yourself each week by taking an acting class or something, can be very effective. I always do feel bad for those students that just completley choke under pressure when they have to speak in front of the class.

  5. The Fear of Public Speaking

    Public speaking for many is a huge stress. Wether it is in front of ten people or one hundred it is a hard task to complete. It was interesting to read that for 20 years researches had been trying to study the fear of public speaking. The goal of the researchers was to find out what really is the biggest stress and fear of the encounter. The only was they found was to practice. Take a acting class of some sort to get used to of the attention in front of groups.

    Gender Issues Start Sooner Than You Think

    So how early to the actually start? It starts early. Children usually pic it up by what they are categorized in. For example boys are noisy and annoying and girls have cooties and are goodie two shoes. The researches found that it starts as early as 3 or 4 when children play and the way they interact with others. This was an amazing discovery and very interesting.

  6. The fear of public speaking
    public speaking is a rough task. Sometimes when a person takes all the time in the world to prepare for a presentation, even performing in front of a friend, it still brings stress. Me personally, I love to write and I have been writing and speaking publicly for years and still get nervous. The pressure of knowing that all eyes are on you, it gets unbearable to know that you can not make a mistake and make a fool of yourself. Everyone is different. Some people do not get stage front at all. In my opinion, the reason why some people do not get stage front is because they are comfortable, and have a connection to their audience. The moment when you lose connection with the audience, it becomes the moment when you are no longer comfortable and it makes you shut down. This is when fear starts to take control.

    Gender Issues Start Sooner
    Everything is based upon how a child was brought up. Most boys are brought up with the mentality that they are able to do certain things because “boys will be boys.” It is expected for a boy to be wild, noisy, and annoying. If a girl was to follow the same footsteps, she is stepping out of her feminine roles because she is acting out and angry. So, yes, gender issues do start at a very young age. On the other hand, it all comes down to what what the child is taught at home, and what they are learning in the society. Society makes it tolerant for boys and girls to act a certain way because it is what the society has been custom to for so generations. From this, it quickly draws the mentality that it’s just the way it is. Nature vs Nurture

  7. -Gender issues start sooner than you think: This article explores how relatively young children behave according to gender standards that they are exposed to from whatever means. Gender reinforcement from the parents, T.V., and fellow playmates help strengthen kids gender roles. But this article stresses how girls may show certain boys characteristics and vice versa and it is completely normal and should actually be positively reinforced.
    – The fear of public speaking: This article was about an experiment conducted to examine what goes on during public speaking. The participants were told to make a 5 minute presentation to a panel of 3 people about why they should get a job in a laboratory. After that the participant was to count backwards by 13 from 1022. Mainly what triggers the “fear” of public speaking is the excessive release of the stress hormone cortisol. What acts as a major factor in public speaking, other than presenting the speech itself, is the fact of being in front of people who may be judging you on many different levels.

  8. Nobel Prize Winner Weighs in on “Don’t Worry: Be Happy”
    This article really does reflect to how I see life. I find that not worrying about certain situations make everything better, and helps me to cope with things. Being positive about everything helps one think better, and helps one to solve their issues.

    The Fear of Public Speaking
    I used to have a fear of speaking in public, but i pretty much grew out of it. In high school i had to speak in front of so many people i pretty much got used to it. I sing every Sunday at my church, and i host a radio show where hundreds of people listen in. I feel like the more involved someone is being in front of people, the better they’ll be socially with others.

  9. The fear of public speaking: I really enjoyed this article and completely agree with the theory on how to lessen your stress in these situations. I personally love being the center of attention … but only on my terms. I can jump up and motivate a group of people i don’t even know, when i feel comfortable doing it. Yet for some reason when assigned something to do for class or get put on the spot i don’t function as well. i in essence freeze up , stumble words. Last semester i had taken senior seminar which is essentially nothing but presentations in front of the class all semester long. in the beginning i hated it and dreaded coming to class. By the end of the semester, even if i was not fully prepared i was able to confidently, and comfortably give a presentation about anything.

    Don’t worry be happy: This theory as simple as it may be works. as stated things always seem worse then they really are when your concentrating on them too much. If ya just take a step back and look at the big picture most of the time you will realize how petty it was in the first place.

  10. When Can Faculty Show Porn:
    Reading the title of this article did interest me but in a weird way. I made an automatic judgment about how I think it would be very weird and awkward if some teachers showed porn to their students. But after reading the article I do think it would be okay if some teachers showed porn in class. It obviously would have to pertain to what the class is about. I also think that the teacher should give the students a fore warning that she or he will be showing some graphic nude scenes in an upcoming class. Some students may feel very uncomfortable and awkward in this situation so they may not want to participate in it. I’m not really sure how I feel about it, I think it would honestly depend on what my teacher was like, and how the class gets along with each other.

    The Biggest Obstacle for First- Generation College Students:
    I am not among the first generation to go to college in my family, although I kind of do wish I was. I feel as though if you are the first person to attend college in your family your family will look up to you for your achievement and just think more highly of you. I am from a very large family and my grandparents were probably the first ones to go to college. But in those times women didn’t really go to college so they could make good money later on in life, it was more for them to meet an intelligent man to marry. But coming from a large family who has had many people go to college I feel my family is a little disappointed in me because I can do so much better if only I apply myself more. So in some ways I am jealous of the people who are the first ones to go to college in their family. I am proud of them though.

  11. “The Fear of Public Speaking”
    I alway hear about how people have such a fear of speaking in front of large crowds, but after taking a public speaking class I never had to worry about it. It’s all in your mind, and you just have to let your worry lose. It doesn’t matter how long you practice your speech, if you cant control your nerves then it will be very difficult to talk in front of people.

    When Can Faculty Show Porn?
    If it is relevant to the class or topic, then I do not think it is inappropriate. However, I think that if the teacher is going to show porn, she should have her students sign a consent form agreeing to watch it. Otherwise, this could make some very uncomfortable.

  12. The Fear of Public Speaking
    I have a great fear of public speaking, I do think it is important to practice to get over it. I think the idea of making a fool of yourself each week by taking an acting class or have a group of friends pretend to be an audience, can be helpful also.

    When Can Faculty Show Porn?
    I think faculty can show porn if it is related to the class or topic, then I find it okay. But if the teacher is going to show porn, the teacher should have their students sign a contract agreeing to watch it or they can watch something else to still get credit if they don’t agree. If this isn’t done this could make the students very uncomfortable.

  13. The Fear of Public Speaking
    public speaking is something that should be practice occasionally. at some point in time for somw people will have to speak in front of a crowd. as in for me public speaking was a struggle and i couldnt even talk to one person. Also in college should be taught as well because gaining the most confidents can help achieve better achievement.

    When Can Faculty Show Porn
    showing porn in class or other education centers is resonable to show if its related to the class. Sgowing the x-rated picture and videos in sex ed class is educational in many ways. seeing that view first hand can stick more to a person than reading.


%d bloggers like this: