Total Pageviews

Thursday, October 29, 2009

TEACHING RAINBOWS (Part 18)

The following continues the serialization of Chapter 2 on education from SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Humanity. I was googling The Stanford Challenge and just happened to stumble across the Stanford Marshmallow Test. I'm surprised more was not made of this revelation.


…The Stanford Marshmallow Test


The Stanford University marshmallow longitudinal (retest over time) study was run by Walter Mischel, and remarkably demonstrated how self-discipline can lead to success. The beauty of this experiment is that any parent today with a 4-year old child can determine how she will score in her scholastic aptitude test in high school, and, how well she will succeed in life. This would even apply to males, even though the decline of this gender group is appearing now to be almost serious.

In the 60’s, four-year old children were taken one at a time into a room and shown a marshmallow. The child was told he could eat it now, or wait until the experimenter came back from an errand, when he could have two. Some ate it immediately, but others waited as long as 20 minutes until that person returned. Fourteen years later, these same children took the SAT test, and those that immediately ate (impulsive) scored 1052 combined on verbal and math categories, while those who received two marshmallows (impulse controlled) scored 1262, a 210 point difference! The adolescents were then observed to have the following attitudes and capabilities in high school:

1262 Group .................................1052 Group
Assertive ........................................Indecisive
Could cope with frustration .........Overreacted to frustration
Worked better under pressure ...Overwhelmed by stress
Confident .......................................Gave up easily
Dependable ...................................Provoked arguments
Academically competent .............Poor students
Could concentrate ........................Impulsive
Eager to learn ...............................Sharp temper
Followed through .......................Still couldn’t delay gratification

Of course, a quick check of student backgrounds might well have explain some of this, for, chances are that the impulsive came from a lower income group, where that was the prevailing mode of action. Of course, too, an individual who knows the child cannot conduct the test because there is generally some trusting relationship, and the subject will almost surely be swayed not to touch the marshmallow.

The whole point, though, is that we then try to train these impetuous individuals mostly how to read, write and do math, when what they really need is to learn the four other R’s. The notable lesson to be gained is that these one marshmallow children are NOT doomed. This is what education should be all about. Read on (in Part 19...although here is one recent analysis).
-
The Dow Jones Industrials had its best session in three months, jumping 200 to 9963, while world markets were mixed. The Japan Nikkei is at 10017. Gold leaped $17/toz to $1046, while crude oil rose to $80/barrel.
-
Typhoon Mirinae (also known as Santi), at 105 MPH, made a course correction, and is now headed for Manila. Fortunately, the storm is moving quite quickly, and should come and go on Saturday.
-

1 comment:

Ross said...

My understanding is that the original marshmallow test was conducted with the children of Stanford professors. This immediately took out the concerns of parental income and education level as variables.