Lasso regression is another algorithm that uses regularization to handle variables. Essentially, this algorithm will reduce coefficients to zero based on whether they contribute meaningfully to the results. The video below will explain how to use Lasso regression in Python.
Theories on Society’s Role in Crime
In this post, we will look at theories that attempt to explain the role of society in motivation for committing crime. These theories are some of the older foundational theories commonly found in an introductory text to the subject.
Social Disorganization Theory
Social disorganization theory was developed within the Chicago School of criminology in the 1920s. The major contributors were Clifford Shaw and Henry McKay. The main contribution of this theory was identifying the relationship between crime and the neighborhood. More crime will occur in neighborhoods with abandoned buildings, lousy schools, and high unemployment.
When schools are poor and buildings are abandoned, the families with the means will leave. The danger of families leaving the neighborhood is that it weakens social ties within the community, which can limit crime. In other words, when there is a physical decline in the neighborhood, there is a corresponding social decline in the neighborhood.
Social disorganization theory is still influential in policy-making today. For example, gentrification is an attempt to revive rundown neighborhoods. Although this practice is highly controversial, it is an attempt to organize an area considered disorganized by some.
Robert Merton developed Anomie theory in 1938. This theory states that there is a difference between what a person wants and what they can achieve. This difference is anomie or a strain on the person. When people fail to achieve what they want by proper means, they will turn to crime to achieve these things instead.
The dilemma, according to Merton, is that society imposes an expectation of material wealth on people. To compound this problem, only certain maneuvers are approved for an individual to make money. For example, we have all heard the story of going to college, getting a good job, working hard for 35 years, and retiring. For some people, this route does not work, and thus they look for shortcuts to achieve what they want.
Examining the life of many criminals proves Merton’s theory. The person who grows up poor has few opportunities to get ahead the traditional way and thus turns to crime. Obviously, the person wasn’t stupid because building a drug cartel is not easy. However, Merton’s theory breaks down when one realizes that despite crime being higher among the poor, the typical poor person does not commit crimes. Therefore, like most theories, Merton’s theory does not explain all criminal behavior.
Anomie theory can also be applied to social classes beyond the poor. For example, many white-collar crimes are committed by people already considered successful financially. The problems these people thought they had was that they needed even more money for an even more lavish lifestyle or perhaps for the challenge of acquiring wealth.
Sometimes strains can be external. For example, parents lose their jobs, pushing them and their children into crime. Drugs and alcohol can also introduce strains into a situation, pushing people into making poor choices. Another application of anomie theory is the role of certain social institutions. For example, religious practice has been found to help people to focus on other things besides wealth. If the local church has lost its influence, it may no longer serve as a conduit to encourage people to think beyond money.
Crime has and will always be a problem. THeories will try to explain crime, but no single theory can explain every motivation for crime. What this means is that there is no single answer for preventing crime. Therefore, a multitude of theories with a multitude of solutions may be a necessary approach to addressing this issue
Ridge Regression with Python VIDEO
Ridge regression belongs to a family of regression called regularization regression. This family of regression uses various mathematical techniques to reduce or remove coefficients from a regression model. In the case of ridge, this algorithm will reduce coefficients close to zero but never actually remove variables from a model. In this video, we will focus on using this algorithm in python rather than on the mathematical details.
Theories on Crime and Student Misbehavior
In this post, we will look at on theory used in criminal justice to explain criminal behavior. However, we will also see how this theory applies in the classroom context. However, first, we will look at ta foundational theory related to this topic called Classical Theory.
The ideas of classical theory were formed in part by Cesare Beccaria in his 1764 essay On Crimes and Punishments. In this essay, Beccaria makes several arguments against how criminal justice took place in the 18th century. At that time, a judgment could be arbitrary, was not done fairly by class, and had harsh punishments for various minor crimes.
This criticism supported banning torture, clearly delineating laws, and educating the public about those laws. The additional influence of this movement is the development of the US Constitution’s 8th amendment, which bans cruel and unusual punishment. To make this as simple as possible classical theory calls for punishments that fit the crime. How this applies varies, but it is a core principle. In addition, this idea has been discussed in classroom management. Teachers have to ensure that students’ discipline is not excessive or too weak.
Rational Choice Theory
Rational theory posits that criminals think about their actions and weigh the pros and cons of their decisions. This does not suggest that the criminal makes the best decision, but it does imply a thought process and thus allows for people should be held responsible for the results of this process.
Like any other theory, rational choice explains criminal behavior sometimes. Some criminals think things through before committing a crime, while others have no plan or thought behind their actions. This is true, especially in situations involving drugs and alcohol and domestic disputes, which are often dangerous. In addition, we have all had to weigh whether doing something questionable is okay. Another name for this experience is called temptation.
In the classroom, students always make choices involving a thought process and/or their emotions. Often for kids, the question is whether o, not they can get away with the behavior. Students will often play games of probability, rolling the dice to see if they can get away with breaking the rules. However, due to their inexperience, they often miscalculate or, in some cases, they really don’t care what will happen if they are wrong.
Crime Detterants and Rational Choice
For people in the criminal justice field and teachers in the classroom, supporters of rational choice theory believe that harsh punishments deter crime or poor behavior. Both teachers and criminal justice professionals can rely on the disappointment of family and friends and a general sense of right and wrong when they appeal to students committing crimes. Such arguments are examples that come from a position of rational choice.
Another application of rational choice theory is harsh punishments. The thinking goes that if the punishment is cruel enough, thinking people will choose to not break the law or violate the rule in the case of the students. However, people still commit horrific crimes despite being fully aware of the consequences. This idea does not always work, but it sometimes does.
People will make bad choices throughout their life the question why? Classical theory and rational choice theory show humans as thinking, rational animals. This is not incorrect but is also not the full answer. Therefore, it’s important to continue exploring this phenomenon to benefit those affected by crime or poor student behavior.
Today people live in a multi-cultural environment which necessitates the ability to understand people who are different but also be able to adjust one’s approach in the classroom. These skills are even more needed if a teacher moves into a different cultural context, such as working overseas. In this post, we will look at cultural intelligence and some of the teaching and training approaches available for educators who may choose to work overseas.
Cultural intelligence measures an individual’s ability to perform in diverse cultural settings. Someone with high cultural intelligence can function well and with little difficulty in a culture that is foreign to them. This concept is broken down into four dimensions which are cognitive, metacognitive, motivational, and behavioral.
The cognitive dimension measures an individual’s knowledge of the new culture they are experiencing. The metacognitive dimension measures a person’s ability to use their cross-cultural knowledge to understand and adjust to the new cultural environment. The Motivational dimensions assess the desire to continuously learn about the new culture. Lastly, the behavioral dimension is a person’s ability to practice culturally appropriate actions.
Preparing for a New Culture
There are several commonly used approaches to preparing employees, such as teachers, for overseas cultural experiences. For example, low-rigor training exposes a teacher to critical information to understand the basics of the new culture before experiencing it. An example of low rigor training would include reading books on the culture, lectures, or taking a course in managing foreign students. Most of the approaches at this level are passive in nature.
High rigor training is cultural training in which the participants are actively involved. Examples of this form of training include language classes, case studies, and on-the-job training that takes place after leaving home. Such an approach allows the teacher to experience the culture and learn how to function in the new context.
The timing of training also matters, and this can take place before arriving in the new culture or after arriving in the new culture. In general, the longer a person plans to be overseas, the more training the will need to succeed. If the trip is only for a month, there will not be a huge need for extensive high rigor training because of the short duration of the trip. However, if teachers are overseas for years, they will require more support to adjust to the new culture.
Another factor to consider is how different the culture is from the one a teacher is coming from. For example, a US citizen going to Canada or Mexico will need much less support than a US citizen moving to China. This is because Mexico and Canada have much more in common with the US than with China. However, there are a lot of factors left out of this example, such as the ethnicity of the person who is moving and their prior experience with other cultures.
Having the opportunity to work in another country or culture is always an exciting opportunity. However, it doesn’t take much to fail if one is not prepared. Having an idea of how to function in the new culture through developing one’s cultural intelligence is beneficial for the teacher and the students under their care.
Factors Leading to Crime
Studies of the demographics of convicted criminals have led to several insights into traits that put a person at a higher risk of committing crimes. IN this post, we will look at various demographic traits that put a young person at risk of committing crimes.
Young adults ages 18-21 are leaders statistically in acts of murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Since people have a tendency to commit crimes against peers, teenagers and Young adults are victims of crimes at a disproportionate rate. People ages 12-24 make up 22% of the population yet commit 35% of the murders and 49% of all victims of serious violent crimes. In other words, not only are young people generally more dangerous, but they are also at a higher risk of suffering from a violent crime.
There has been speculation as to why young people are more prone to criminal behavior. Among some of the ideas are the lack of experience and the inability to weigh the consequences of poor choices. In addition, young people often have the freedom of adulthood without the corresponding responsibilities such as career and family. Lastly, given their inexperience, young adults are still determining their own limits and the limits of the society in which they live.
When it comes to crime, men are the primary perpetrators. For example, 74% of all arrests were men in 2019. The only crime in which women outperform men in terms of arrest is prostitution, in which 67% of the arrest are women while 33% are men. The only category in which there is any balance in terms of arrest are several white-collar crimes such as fraud (60% men vs. 40% female) and embezzlement (51% male vs. 49% female).
The reason for this difference is not clear. Traditionally, men have been more physically aggressive and less risk-averse than women. In addition, there are known hormonal differences between men and women as well when examining things such as testosterone and estrogen. For students, this implies that a young person is likelier to be without a father than a mother. This can have consequences regarding behavior and a general need for attention.
An individual’s economic situation is yet another factor in criminal behavior. About 76% of men and 85% of women in prison made less than $38000 per year before being sent to prison. Anything below $32000 is considered poor. Keep in mind that it is difficult to track the income of criminals and that the cutoff is being pulled to the right by the occasional drug kingpin and white-collar crook.
The poor are also victims of crime at a higher rate, with about 63% of violent crimes being perpetrated against poor and low-income people. A tanking economy and job loss can sometimes motivate undesirable behavior that could also have legal ramifications for people. This is important because adult criminals often have children who go through the school system without parental support.
Race is another controversial factor in terms of criminal behavior. Among juveniles, blacks comprise 34% of all arrests. Half of all violent crimes are committed by blacks, even though blacks make up about 12% of the population.
Many contests such numbers and blame such behavior as racial profiling by the police. However, explaining any behavior or number with one factor is never simple or easy. AS such, it is not completely clear why there is such a disparity in criminal behavior based on race. Relating this to students may imply that students of color may need more assistance from teachers as they are more likely to have committed or know somebody who has committed a crime.
High school dropouts are ten times more likely to go to prison when compared to college grads. Furthermore, states with higher levels of educational attainment have corresponding lower levels of crime. Generally, more education implies better jobs for people.
For students, opening their eyes to the benefits of education can keep them off the streets. In addition, some young people may be at a higher risk if they come from a home that does not value education.
Lastly, religion plays a role in preventing crime. Adolescents who attend a religious service weekly have lower rates of shoplifting, assault, and theft when compared to students who never attend a religious service. With religious activity comes a decrease in criminal activity.
One theory behind this is the hellfire hypothesis which implies that people avoid various criminal activities for fear of angering whatever higher power they follow. IT should also be noted that many religions discourage criminal behavior while encouraging respect for local authorities.
The traits shared here are not self-fulfilling prophecies. Young people do not have to commit crimes, nor do men or people who did not attend college. On the other hand, being older, female, or religious does not mean that a person is not capable of breaking the law. Trends found in data are different from individual choice.
Hyper-Parameter Tuning with Python VIDEO
Hyper-parameter tuning is one way of taking your model development to the next level. This tool provides several ways to make small adjustments that can reap huge benefits. In the video below, we will look at tuning the hyper-parameters of a KNN model. Naturally, this tuning process can be used for any algorithm.
Juveniles and Property Crimes
Property crimes are a common form of delinquency among young people. Theft, in general, leads to over 80,000 arrests each year. Theft can cover many crimes such as car stealing or taking items from another person’s home. In this post, we will examine some common ways young people are involved in property crimes.
Shoplifting is a common crime among youth but not as common as one would think. Approximately 25% of all shoplifters are juveniles, meaning most shoplifters are not children. However, about 47% of high school students have admitted to shoplifting something within the past year. This implies that juveniles are not caught at the same rate at which they steal and that juveniles are better at getting away with shoplifting than adults. Shoplifters are rarely caught, with only 5-10% being apprehended.
When people, including juveniles, are caught shoplifting, they often share such excuses as “it was an accident” or “the item is actually mine.” Of course, this doesn’t work, and now the youth is facing some consequences. Usually, the punishment is not that serious. In some states, small-time shoplifting is not enforced. In other states, the penalty can be a fine and or time spent in jail.
Stealing cars is another common property theft crime for youths. In 2019, about 13,000 juveniles were arrested for auto theft. Juvenile often steals cars for rather superficial reasons. For example, it is common for young people to steal cars for the adrenaline rush of committing a crime. Another common reason is just for a joy ride. In other words, young people often steal cars for fun.
This is not to say that there is never a financial motivation for stealing cars. Adults often steal cars for momentary gain through selling the car and or the parts that make up the car. For whatever reason, the penalties for auto theft can range from up to two years in prison and or up to $10,000 in fines.
In 2019, 31,000 juveniles committed vandalism. Unlike the other examples of property crimes mentioned earlier, there appears to be no financial motivation for committing vandalism. Youths often vandalize property to express themselves, boredom, as a form of expression, and to join a gang or peer pressure.
Vandalism can lead to fines and or up to one year in jail. Vandalism can be classified as a felony if the act is serious enough.
General causes of property crime
The root causes of property crime are often the same as the root cause of most problems. Family issues are one of the main factors for crime. Youths from broken homes are missing the care and attention they need to make wise choices.
Another common cause of property crime is drug use. For example, a young person may turn to theft to fund a drug habit. In either case, there are motivating factors for the poor decision-making of many youth offenders.
Property crimes are one of many crimes that plague society today. People have their motivation for doing this even if committing propriety crimes is not the best decision. The unfortunate consequences can and do, at times, complicate a person’s life going forward.
Cross-Validation with Python VIDEO
Cross-validation is a valuable tool for assessing a model’s ability to generalize. In the video below, we will look at how to use cross-validation with Python.
Causes of Youth Violence
It is not a secret that sometimes youths make poor decisions, leading to them committing acts of violence. According to the CDC, acts of violence committed by youth cost over $100 billion annually. One example of violence committed by youth is simple assault which makes up over 40% of crimes committed by juveniles. Other crimes committed by young people include larceny, aggravated assault, vandalism, robbery, motor vehicle theft, and homicide. Given the nature of these crimes, we will look at some of the causes of youth violence.
A major factor in youth violence is drugs. Approximately 80% of minors in the juvenile justice system in the US committed their crime while under the influence of drugs or admitted to having a drug problem. In addition, between 1.9 and 2.4 million minors in the juvenile justice system have a drug problem.
Experts call this relationship between drugs and crime a psychopharmacological relationship because drug use was a factor in criminal behavior. Other crimes associated with drugs include:
- The manufacturing of drugs.
- Theft of drugs.
- Disputes over drugs.
- The use of illegal drugs.
Among the legal charges, a youth can face from drugs includes drug possession, drug trafficking, and drug manufacturing. If they remain on a young person’s record, any of these charges can have long-term implications for education and job opportunities in the future. This all assumes that a juvenile does not lose their life from an overdose or experience related to drug behavior.
Problems within the family can also lead to youth violence. Today, many homes no longer fit a traditional pattern of married biological parents supporting children. In addition, sexual abuse to about 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls in the USA. Furthermore, 90% of the victims experience this trauma at the hand of someone they knew.
The signs of sexual abuse are difficult to tell among teenagers as they vary wildly at this age. However, some things to look for are changes in behavior and emotions. The trauma they have experienced in their personal life could lead to poor choices in behavior outside of the home.
Single-parent homes can also lead to poor choices. For example, one study found that a 10 percent rise in the number of youths living in a single-parent home leads to a 17 percent jump in crime caused by juveniles. In general, as the family breakdown, there is an increase in the crimes committed by young people.
Mental health is another factor in criminal behavior among young people. About 65% of juveniles arrested for a crime have a mental health issue. About 1 in 7 of all young people, in general, have a mental health issue. Given the impulsive nature of teenagers, it should be no surprise how mental health issues can make things even worst.
Of course, the concepts influence each other. Drug abuse can lead to mental health issues, and mental health issues can lead to drug use. Crime can lead to drug use and or mental health issues and vice versa. Sexual abuse can lead to drug use and or health issues. These ideas are interconnected, but you have to decide what you are looking for when developing a model.
Young people face many challenges today. From broken homes to threats to their physical being to challenges with mental health, young people have to be vigilant. If a youth goes down the path of violence, it is always important to see what factors lead to such a faithful decision.
Intro to Matplotlib with Python VIDEO
Matplotlib is a data visualization module used often in Python. In this video, we will go over some introductory basic commands. Doing so will allow anybody who wants to be able to make simple manipulations to their visualizations.
Juveniles & Homicide
Homicide is the blanket term for the taking of life and encompasses both murder and manslaughter. Murder is, unfortunately, a crime that young people commit and is the taking of another person’s life with preplanned malice. In other words, murder is when a person plans to take another person’s life and successfully does it. IN contrast, manslaughter is taking a person’s life with no original intention of doing this.
Though it varies by state, murder can be broken down into first, and second-degree murder with capital and felony murder variants. First-degree murder is the intentional killing of another person. An example of this would be gang members eliminating an enemy.
Second-degree murder is the unplanned death of another person in which the perpetrator shows little or no regard for life. For example, shooting a gun into a crowd that causes death could be considered second-degree in many places, even if on accident. Felony murder is death that occurs when committing another felony, such as robbing a bank. The thief may not have planned to kill anybody, but there are consequences for this if it happens.
Lastly, capital murder is murder that can lead the murderer to lose their own life at the hand of the state and thus involves the death penalty. Examples of capital murder could be multiple murders at once, murder of a child, or murder of a law enforcement agent.
The penalties for juveniles who commit first-degree murder can go to life in prison without parole, but the death penalty cannot be imposed in many states. For second-degree murder, the penalty can be 15 years to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
Manslaughter is the accidental loss of life. The person who took life did not intend to do this. Drunk driving is a common reason for manslaughter to happen. In some places, manslaughter and second-degree murder are the same. Many of the same penalties may apply.
Negligent homicide involves a person who needed to be aware of the danger they were in but did not know this, and there was a loss of life. For example, a person driving drunk and who doesn’t run red lights or speed could still be found guilty of negligent homicide if someone dies while they are driving.
Among juveniles in 2019, about 900 homicides were committed. The most common age at which juveniles commit homicide is the age of 16 & 17. To put this into perspective, juveniles committed almost 700,000 crimes. We don’t want to make light of this, but homicide among youths is highly uncommon if these statistics are correct.
Homicide brings a lot of pain into the world today, unlike other crimes, such as theft, where the guilty party can restore what was lost. Homicide means the loss of a life that can never be repaid no matter what true remorse the guilty party shows. Therefore, respecting life is something that young people must learn so that they will not intentionally or unintentionally take life.
A specific field in which statistics is used is the field of crime. IN this post, we will look at how researchers attempt to measure crime. Primarily we will look at issues with data collection and one of the main agencies for consolidating data regarding crime.
A major challenge in measuring crime is that not all crimes are reported. It is common for rape victims to avoid reporting what happened to them. Criminals are also usually reluctant to report crimes that happen to them. Petty and property crimes are also underreported. As such, the collected data does not fully represent crime in the actual world.
One source for criminal statistics is the Uniform Crime Report (UCR). Compiled by the FBI since 1930, the UCR gathers data from over 90% of all of the various police agencies in the USA. This report contains data from Part 1 crimes, which are generally serious crimes, including some of the following.
- Murder, manslaughter
- Forcible rape
- Robbery, burglary
- Various forms of theft (larceny, motor vehicle)
Another hurdle to crime reporting to the UCR is that each agency must report the most single crime for each instance of criminal activity. For example, if multiple crimes are committed by one person in one instance, only the most serious offense is reported.
Arrests are also reported to the UCR. Collecting data on arrests helps agencies calculate a clearance rate and the percentage of crimes that lead to an arrest.
There can also be issues after a criminal is caught and does time. FOr example, in one county, a juvenile may commit a crime and get probation, but in another county, they may have to do time behind bars. This is partly due to various philosophies of judges and probation officers in dealing with crime. This makes a difference in criminal punishment based on philosophy rather than something less subjective.
Consumers of Crime Statistics
Policymakers often use the collection of criminal statistics to determine various laws and funding they want to provide to law enforcement agencies. One common problem is that consumers of crime statistics are not aware of the context in which the data is collected, leading to faulty conclusions.
For example, back in the 1990s, there was a dip in criminal behavior. A group of experts concluded that this dip in criminal behavior was due to changes in access to birth control in the 1970s. The thinking went that the birth of unwanted children in the 1970s prevented the birth of criminals who would have been terrorizing society in the 1990s.
The example above may be considered an extreme example, but this can happen when people place their interpretation on data without having a deeper understanding of how that data was collected. Given that crime statistics are not 100% reliable, strong conclusions should be guarded.
Despite these challenges, data on crime is needed. What is really important is that people avoid jumping to strong conclusions based on data known to have issues. Some insight into criminal behavior is better than none, but care and restraint are needed in the conclusions.
Random Forest Regression with Python VIDEO
In the video below we will take a look at how to perform a random forest regression analysis with Python. Random forest is one of many tools that can be used in the field of data science to gain insights to help people.
Leadership Preferences and the Classroom
Dorfman et al. did a study back in 2004 in which they looked at how people from different cultures rated leadership. The team broke leadership down into six components listed below.
- Charismatic-The ability to motivate and inspire others.
- Team orientation-The ability to develop a highly functioning team.
- Participative-The ability to get others included in the decision-making.
- Humane-oriented-The ability to show empathy and compassion,
- Autonomous-The ability to be independent and reflect this to the team
- Self-protective-The tendency of the leader to use face-saving approaches
Naturally, different countries identified differently with each of these components. For example, Asian countries considered self-protective skills highly important, while participation wasn’t as important. Western English-speaking countries were the opposite. The point is not to dwell on the details of the research but to point out that if countries have various skills they find important in leaders, it is not unreasonable that students at an individual level are going to want specific skills in teachers who are leaders of classrooms.
For the teacher, some students are going to want a charismatic teacher, while other students may want a teacher who is human-oriented. The teacher may naturally tend to emphasize autonomy in their leadership approach. The point is not to condemn one approach over the other but rather that the teacher must be aware of what the students are looking for in a teacher while also being aware of their own natural tendency as a teacher.
Suppose a teacher tends to be participative in their approach, but this is not working with students. In that case, a teacher needs to look for ways to overcome this situation. Perhaps a more authoritative approach is appropriate in particular situations. This often goes against what one is taught when becoming a teacher, but the most important tenet of education is helping students to be successful. Helping students be successful may involve ignoring other tenets of education, such as developing a participative classroom environment.
Traits and Behaviors of Leaders
Den Hertog et al. did a study in 1999 looking for traits and behaviors that people admire in leaders and people in general. The positive traits are listed below.
- trustworthy, smart, honest, planning, encouraging, positive, dynamic motivator, confidence builder, dependable, decisive, bargained, problem solver, administrator, communicator, informed, team builder
These traits mean that if people see them in an individual, such as a person who is in authority, they will admire these traits in that person. The study was worldwide, so these are traits that may be universal. What is also important to point out is these are traits that students like to see in teachers. Students want a teacher they can trust, who solves problems, is positive, and can plan, among other things. If such traits are missing, the students may conclude that the teacher is bad.
On the flip side, these traits listed above are traits teachers like to see in their students. Many teachers would love to have students who are dependable, honest, informed, etc. When students lack these traits, many teachers can identify them as bad students. Teachers need to develop these positive traits to inspire students who may lack these traits while also being able to meet the definition of a good teacher.
In the study, there was also a list of negative traits are listed below
- loner, antisocial, uncooperative, egocentric, ruthless, dictatorial, inexplicit
For students and teachers, the list above are traits to avoid. Teachers who are dictatorial and unclear (inexplicit) will be seen as bad teachers. Students who are loners, antisocial, and uncooperative will be viewed as bad students. The benefit of this list is that it allows a teacher to clearly articulate and define desirable and undesirable traits in a student. This also applies to administrators who are assessing teachers and teachers trying to explain the quality of leadership they are under.
Everybody is going to possess good and bad traits in different combinations. The point is not to criticize the weaknesses we all possess in our characters. Rather it is better to be aware of one’s weaknesses to make adjustments to help those who are around them.
Crime Types and Students
Young people sometimes make mistakes and violate the laws of a country. Natural, this leads to consequences that vary based on the transgression. This post will look at various categories and types of laws.
Categories of Criminal Behavior
There are two broad categories where we can place crimes that young people commit. These categories are
- Mala in see
- Malum in prohibitum
Mala in se is Latin for “wrong by itself,” and these are crimes that people instinctively know are wrong. Examples are robbery, murder, and other acts viewed as heinous. However, people’s views on morality vary widely. Therefore, one basis for what is considered “instinctively wrong” is English and US Common Law.
Common law was developed through decisions made in the court system over hundreds of years. The opinions of judges became precedent for future decisions. Through this process, an idea of what and wrong has been developed, which is used now to determine when crimes fall in the category of mala in se.
The second category of crimes is malum in prohibitum, which translates from the Latin as “wrong when prohibited.” These crimes are not necessarily morally evil but are actions that need to be regulated. Examples of laws that fall within malum in prohibitum include laws related to various licenses people may need (driving, fishing, hunting, etc.), gambling, alcohol, and drug use. Again, many may disagree if these crimes are less harmful, but this is the example given.
Students have and will commit both categories of crime in the examples above. Students will willfully commit crimes obviously while also breaking laws that regulate less offensive behavior.
Types of Laws
After categories, laws are sometimes classified by type. Civil laws include property laws, contract laws, tort laws, and more. Civil laws often involve private parties, do not include the loss of freedom for the defendant, involve the defendant paying money if they lose in many situations, and do not have the same constitutional protections found in criminal cases.
On the other hand, criminal cases usually involve the government bringing formal charges against someone. There is a risk of the defendant losing their from if they lose, and the defendant has certain constitutional rights protecting them. Criminal law also requires actions and behaviors. In other words, the accused must be accused of doing something and not just thinking about it. For example, suppose a person sneezes while driving and someone is hurt in the accident. In that case, there is a chance that the sneezer will not be guilty of a crime because it is impossible to control when you sneeze.
Quality of Mind
The state of mind is also another significant factor in determining an individual’s guilt. There are four ways a person can commit a crime: intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, and negligently. AN intentional act means somebody committed a crime on purpose. Knowingly is obvious and states that a person was aware that what they were doing was a crime, such as breaking into a house and making jewelry.
Recklessness involves a person acting in such a way that is an obvious danger and a disregard for acceptable standards. For example, many people define driving 100 mph in a school zone as reckless. Lastly, negligence is when someone ignores an obvious danger when performing a certain activity, such as driving 100 mph and then hitting and killing someone.
Young people can be found in any state of mind mentioned above. Youths can be international, or they can be reckless or negligent, etc. We all make mistakes, but the stakes are much higher at the criminal level.
Young people will continue to make decisions that strongly impact their lives. Committing crimes is one thing that can have a lasting impact. Youths and teachers need to work together for the young people to develop decision-making skills that will allow them to avoid criminal acts.
Three Cueing Reading Method
The Three Cue method is a long-established yet increasingly controversial approach to teaching reading. We will look at the background and philosophy of this reading method in this post.
According to Ken Goodman, there are three cues people use to read, and they are listed below
- Graphic cues: Examining the letters to determine the word
- Syntactic cues: Guessing what kind of word it might be, such as an adjective or verb
- Semantic cues: Guessing the word based on the context or what makes sense.
Goodman also made some conclusions based on his observational research of children learning to read.
- Reading is not about precision but accurate first guesses
- as the child improves in their reading, they use fewer graphic cues
- Detailed perception of letters and words is not necessary
Before Goodman’s bombshell in the 1960s, reading was taught one of two ways. The whole word approach relied on repetition and the use of pictures. A classical example of this approach to teaching reading is the”Dick and Jane” reading series from the 1930s. The assumption is that if a child sees a word often enough, they will learn how to read it.
The other major way of teaching reading has been the phonics approach, which involves learning the sounds associated with letters. One example of this approach is the McGuffey readers of the 1800s
Goodman took a different approach compared to whole words and phonics. If a student is struggling with reading, the teacher can have the child think (guess) a word that would work in a sentence they are struggling with. For example, suppose a student sees the word “horse” and uses the word “pony” instead. In that case, this is considered acceptable when employing this method. Even though the child never learned how to read the word “horse.”
This approach to reading allowed students to guess their way through a text. If students had an intuitive sense of what works, they could look like they were reading without developing the needed comprehension. This happens because they are not processing words, but rather, they are processing their guesses about words. With time, criticism began to arise towards the THree Cue method.
By the 1970s, people were already beginning to find that Goodman’s method was as great as believed. REsearch at this time was finding that skilled readers could recognize words without relying on the context. Students were able to read without looking at the words! In other words, students were making up their own story guessing their way through a text without mastery.
Students would skip the arduous process of sounding out words to guess. These habits would become bad habits, and children would struggle with reading for a long time and, in some cases, would never really master it. In addition, some students learn to read no matter how they are taught. In other words, no single system can claim to be the answer all the time for learning to read.
Despite this evidence, the Three Cueing Method was highly popular. Most teachers are familiar with this method and maybe learned to read this way. The problem is not Goodman’s method. Rather the problem is relying exclusively on one method to teach anything. Different students learn in different ways, and there will always be a place where Goodman’s ideas will benefit someone.
Phonics does not work for every student, nor does the whole word. It is naive to think that Goodman’s way is the only way. A balanced approach that incorporates various reading methods is one way to reach students. After a teacher gets a sense of what works best for their students, they can focus on one particular approach and occasionally use other strategies to develop weaknesses in students.
When the flaws in a theory are pointed out, it is always tempting to throw them out. However, there is probably always a context or situation in which a theory will work. Goodman’s three cue method doesn’t work all the time. Yet there is evidence that this approach has helped for some of the time.
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Why Students Break Rules
Sometimes bad students become criminals. The warning signs are there, and teachers may do their best to try and prevent something like this from happening. However, kids will still make poor choices no matter what others do to prevent this.
In this post, we will look at why criminals commit crimes and try and compare this to why students break the rules.
Rational Choice Theory
Rational choice theory states that criminals break the rules because it makes sense to them and is reasonable. The criteria for this decision are the risk-reward prospects. Suppose the punishment is not significant or highly unlikely to get caught. In that case, a person inspired by rational choice might think the risk is worth it when breaking laws. Therefore, to eliminate criminal behavior, society needs to have punishments that are strong enough and common enough to deter criminal behavior.
Few people are quite this logical in their decision-making, which applies even more to children. Students may make rational decisions to break the rules, but their behavior is generally more focused on random resistance than strategic anarchy. However, just as with adult criminals, poor behavior will be less likely to happen if there is a sufficient presence of harsh detergents.
Social Disorganization Theory
Social disorganization theory proposes that the makeup of a neighborhood is associated with the level of crime in the neighborhood. Therefore, areas with high levels of dysfunction in broken families, unemployment, drug use, etc., will also be areas of higher crime rates. Therefore, reducing crime is as simple as finding ways to revitalize communities.
This theory seems to align with ideas in teaching strongly. Students from disadvantaged backgrounds often exhibit more behavioral problems in the classroom. Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs touches on these ideas as lower-level needs are often neglected in dysfunctional situations. Therefore, supporting students’ basic needs may help alleviate aberrant behavior from difficult students.
Social Learning Theory
Social learning theory states that lawbreakers learn to break laws from other lawbreakers. A criminal’s peer group and family are among the most powerful influences in the individual’s tendency to break the law. Reducing crime is as simple as removing kids from negative influences.
Social learning theory is also found in education. The theory has the same position as found among criminologists in that individuals learn from those around them. Therefore, if a student likes to hang out with the “wrong crowd,” they will accept and learn the behavior of those people.
Anyone who has made a theory in the social sciences will tell you that no theory adequately explains everything. Human beings are unpredictable and erratic in their behavior. As such, multiple theories are developed to provide insights into different situations. There are times when multiple theories can help or when one theory is the most appropriate insight into developing interventions to help wayward students. Therefore, condemning any of the approaches mentioned here would not benefit all the different types of people with different problems.
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Theories on Geological Time & Origins
Uniformitarianism is an ideal proposed by Charles Lyell (1797-1875) that the events of the past can be explained by the processes of the present and that these processes have been constant. This position for explaining earth is also known as Lyellism.
This post will look at theories that will try to support the position of uniformitarianism in explaining the origins of the earth within the context of a religious worldview.
Local Flood Theory
The local flood theory states that instead of a worldwide flood that destroyed all land life, there was a local flood that seemed to destroy the whole world. Given that the average person only knew their local context, it seems reasonable that when a flood came that destroyed their place of living, this was the destruction of the whole world.
The local flood theory is one of the more famous theories. However, another theory may share equal prominence, and that is the Gap Theory.
Gap theory claims that there were long intervals of time in the creation story as found in the creation story of the Bible. Instead of seven literal days as claimed in the Book of Genesis, these days were long periods of time.
Gap theory has been a popular approach to reconciling religious views on the origin of the earth with scientific views.
A similar idea is the day/age theory which states that it was not a general gap in time but rather that the days of creation were indeterminate lengths of time used for the development of the earth. There is no currently known way to very these ideas. The real purpose was to try and reconcile secular theology with religious thought.
Less Popular Theories
Diluvium theory states that a deposit of sediment was associated with the Pleistocene era. The layer of sediment found here was named Diluvium and thus the name of the theory. This was yet another attempt to try and place geology within the context of a religious worldview.
Another lesser theory is the Tranquil Theory. This theory states that the Biblical Flood slowly rose to cover the earth and slowly resided. The gradual manner of this flood is in contrast to how floods generally behave but does explain the worldwide sediment layer.
The point here was not to support any of these theories presented here. Instead, the point was just to show how people have tried to connect religious thoughts on the changes of this world with scientific evidence.
The Classroom and Juveniles
There are times when a student’s behavior is beyond what the school can handle. When this happens, it is time to escalate the intervention of the student to another level of administrative support. One example of this is when students commit crimes that necessitate the involvement of law enforcement, THis is when a student goes from being disruptive and perhaps troublemakers to being a juvenile delinquent. In this post, we will look at some common terms associated with law enforcement and terms uniquely associated with the juvenile justice system.
A crime is an illegal activity that leads to a student losing their freedom. Illegal activity is defined by lawmakers who pass bills at the federal or state level. For example, littering is illegal, but few people have lost their freedom overdoing this. Crime also involves mental capability, which means someone intends to do something. For example, walking out of a bank with one of the bank’s pens is not illegal unless a lawyer can prove that a person intends to take the pen.
Intention is a major difference between law and classroom management. Often, students do not think before they act, but they are held accountable whatever their mental culpability was. In crime, culpability can be a major factor in determining what can of punishment or if a young person is even guilty.
Levels of Crime
All infractions of the law are not equal. Laws are broken down into two main categories. These categories are misdemeanors and felonies.
Misdemeanors are some of the least offensive crimes and usually can result in less than one year of jail time. Examples of common misdemeanors are theft, driving while intoxicated, and even prostitution in some places. Generally, suppose someone is a first-time offender, as most youths are. In that case, they will not face jail time unless they become habitual offenders.
There might be a lesson here for teachers. Often it seems as if classroom infractions are all treated the same. For example, talking out of turn and refusing to do schoolwork are treated equally. This may be appropriate, but perhaps thought should be given to differentiating the degree of the infraction as is done in the justice system. What gets kids into serious trouble is habitual disregard of minor offenses in the classroom.
Types of Crime
Felonies are crimes considered much more serious in nature and can lead someone to spend more than a year behind bars. Examples of felonies include murder, robbery, and sexual assault.
Crimes can also be divided by type. Examples include violent crimes and property crimes. Violent crimes generally hurt people and include murder, sexual acts, and robbery. Property crimes are crimes committed against things that belong to others, such as theft (taking someone else’s stuff) and arson (burning someone else’s stuff). Hurting people is taken more seriously than hurting people’s stuff, and thus the punishment for violent crimes are harsher than for property crimes.
Young people make mistakes that can involve some of the crimes above. Sometimes these mistakes can have a lasting impact on their lives and on the people around them. Teachers may have to deal with students who make these kinds of mistakes and thus need to be prepared to understand their student’s situations.
Culture and the Classroom
Culture is a major topic in education. As people travel worldwide, they encounter people who are similar and different from them. Naturally, the diversity that is found today can e beneficial and a headache, and this applies in the classroom as well when teachers and students come together from all over the globe.
This post will look at Hofstede’s Cultural Framework, which involves five dimensions (power distance, individualism, uncertainty, long-term orientation, indulgence). We will examine these concepts as they apply to the context of teaching and the classroom. Furthermore, rather than discussing these terms at the country level, we will look at the aggregation of the individual level, as most classes are small enough to work at this level.
Power distance measures how accepting a student is of hierarchical authority. Students who have a high power distance that a difference between authority between the student and teacher is acceptable, while students with a low power distance want a more egalitarian relationship with their teachers. Naturally, this also applies to teachers, teachers with a high power distance expect a large degree of authority and deference in the class, while lower power distance, teachers view students more as peers and collaborators.
There is no right or wrong place in terms of power distance. Education has gone toward minimizing power distance, but this is a trend and not a moral argument. What really matters is that a teacher is aware of where they stand in terms of power distance and aware of where their students stand regarding this. Understanding that a student needs a more egalitarian power-sharing teacher can reduce conflict and stress for the teacher. In addition, understanding that a student(s) needs a strong authoritarian teacher is also beneficial in improving classroom management.
Individualism is in contrast to collectivism and is the emphasis placed on the person or the group. Highly individualistic students do what is best for them at the group’s expense. Students who are low in individualism will put the group’s needs ahead of their own. Rewards should be determined by effort rather than based on equality. Lastly, highly individualistic students will put the task ahead of relationships.
For teachers, it is important to know how to manage individualistic and collectivistic students to have success in the classroom. An individualistic student will demand autonomy and space, which entails the teacher may need to back off a little. There is a need for harmony and relationships for a collectivistic student, which may mean the teacher needs to back off on being demanding as this is not valued by the student.
Uncertainty is a measure of people’s comfort with risk and unpredictable situations. Young people tend to act recklessly with their own decision-making but are overwhelming condemning of parents and teachers who are unpredictable and erratic. I have seen almost no exception to this in my personal career. Students generally have low acceptance of uncertainty.
This does not imply students don’t like surprises. The point is that change should be slow and occasional with lots of warning. With many unstable families, students are looking to schools to provide constancy and stability in this day and age. As such, uncertainty is something, many students want to avoid as they desire the role of being unpredictable over the teacher. Therefore, teachers probably want to limit uncertainty through clear management and consistent expectations.
Masculinity measures how desirable traditional masculine traits are to a student. Highly masculine students value work and high grades compared to less masculine students. Masculine students live for work while low masculine students are more focused on friendship and doing less, and “smelling the roses.”
Masculine teachers are usually aggressive and ambitious. Naturally, this could cause conflict with students who are more focused on enjoying their time. This is another example of how teachers need to be aware of their own cultural preferences and their students.
A student’s orientation is determined by whether they focus on the short-term or long-term. Young people tend to focus more on the here and now, while adults often think further into the future. Therefore, like uncertainty avoidance, this may be an example of where there is not as much variance in the position of students.
Generally, students are focused on the moment, but they expect teachers to have a long-term orientation. The reason for this may be the idea of stability. Students want the freedom to be foolish, knowing that they have a support system around them to help them if something goes wrong. IF the supporters cannot plan ahead, it would be difficult for them to help careless students.
Indulgence is the view of the student as to the role of the society or school to fulfill the student’s desires. For example, highly indulgent students think that the school or classroom should be fun and enjoyable. Students who are low in indulgence see school as a place to restrain desire through rules and regulations.
Each student and teacher is going to vary in their orientation of indulgence. The clashes come when teachers and students view this differently. Again, it falls on the teacher to be flexible and reflective to adjust to the students while being aware of their own preferences.
Each person is unique and has their own view of the world and their own preferences. Hofstede’s work was done at the level of countries. However, teachers deal with individuals, not entire nations, which implies that there will be uniqueness among the students in terms of what they value. Therefore, the teacher needs to be aware of what students’ needs and personalities want so that they can help students to be successful
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Ethics is a truly controversial field of discussion. Everywhere people are looking for ethical people. It is difficult for people to agree on what ethical behavior is in many situations. Since there is little consensus on what is ethical, it leads to people making poor choices or doing things they think are right yet are classified as unethical by others.
In this post, we will avoid the minefield of what is ethical and look at various models of ethical behavior. Instead of defining what is ethical, we will look at frameworks for how others define what is ethical.
Utilitarianism takes a quantitative approach to defining what is right and wrong. According to this school of thought, whatever brings the most good to the most people is ethical. An example of utilitarianism would be found in the story of people in a lifeboat. For the group to survive, somebody has to be thrown in the water. A utilitarian approach would state that throwing someone in the water is practical to save the group.
Naturally, utilitarianism loses track of the individual. The group or the collective is the main actor in the decision-making process, which can lead to the tyranny of the majority over the minority.
As it relates to ethics, Universalism is focused on a holistic approach to making decisions. Everyone’s needs are taken into account in this model. The focus is on being humane and making decisions based on duty. Returning to the lifeboat example, if Universalism is the ethical model, then somebody would willingly throw themselves into the water so that the majority of the group could survive. Being bound by duty, someone would sacrifice themself for others.
A related school of thought is virtue ethics, which states how people ought to be rather than the reality of how people actually are. People should be moral, happy, trustworthy, etc. Even though it is rare to find people with such traits consistently, all this is stated.
Of course, these schools of thought are highly idealistic and generally not practical. Universalism may be the best approach on paper but is the least likely to be put into practice as individual people generally put what is best for them first.
A legal model for ethics is found in rights such as those found in the US Constitution and human rights. IN this approach, the rights of people are the basis for ethical decision-making. Therefore, violating someone’s rights is an ethical violation.
Returning once again to the lifeboat example. It would violate someone’s rights to throw them in the water to die. However, it would also violate everyone’s rights if everybody died. As such, if the rights model is used in such a situation, there is no answer for the sinking lifeboat that needs to throw one person overboard.
This leads to one problem with the rights model, which is determining the ethical thing to do in a situation in which people both have equal rights to something. People can exaggerate their rights and downplay other people’s rights, leading to an impasse that seems to have no hope of being overcome.
The Common Good
The common good is a combination of the ideas behind Universalism and utilitarianism. IN this approach, decision-makers must take into account. This means that people must think about how their decisions impact the people around them. Decisions can be made at the individual level as long as they consider the larger collective.
Returning to the lifeboat, a person would decide about jumping in the water based on how it would affect others. When deciding who to throw in the water, the group may decide based on the level of responsibility a person has. A single man would be a better person to throw in the water than a single mother because the man is perceived to have fewer obligations.
The problem with the common good is broken down to who decides what the common good is. Whoever or whatever makes this decision has dictatorial power over the others.
The point was not to attempt to determine what is ethical. The reality is that everybody has fallen short in one place or another when practicing ethical behavior. It is possible that people sometimes deliberately make poor choices, but the other side of the story is that sometimes the best decision is hard to determine. The real goal should be to examine the thought process and be aware of the failings that led to poor choices in the past.
Institutional Culture in Education
Every institution has its own unique set of cultural values. Schools are no exception. Of course, people have studied organizational culture and shared insights. Cameron and Quinn (1999) developed the Competing Values Framework, in which they identified four main types of institutional cultures.
Internal vs. External Focus
The Competing Values Framework has two dimensions and four quadrants which can be found when dealing with a cartesian coordinate system. The x-axis measures whether an institution is internally or externally focused. This is perhaps self-explanatory, but internally focused cultures or more concerned about what is happening within the organization rather than what is happening outside of it.
Stability vs. Flexibility
The y-axis measures whether the institution values stability or flexibility. A culture that favors stability will dislike change and dynamic environments. Naturally, flexible cultures thrive on change.
A market culture values an external focus and high flexibility. Market culture sare results-oriented, values competition, and generally appreciates getting things done. Survival in this context requires an achievement-oriented personality.
Schools have moved away from competition and achievement over concerns with inequality. There have even been pushback against standardized testing, which is highly results-oriented. It would be unusual to see a school that heavily supports a marketed-oriented culture.
An adhocracy culture is externally focused and appreciates high flexibility. This type of culture is focused on risk-taking, innovation, and dynamic change. To survive in such a climate involves initiative and self-organization. Many tech companies have an adhocracy culture.
Schools would generally not adhere to the adhocracy approach because they are often heavily regulated by the government. It is possible to see demands for this type of culture on an individual level. However, strong innovation and change are difficult at a particular level when you have to report and document everything you do.
A hierarchy culture values being internally focused and a high degree of culture. This culture is highly rigid, searching for efficiency and structure. Hierarchy is often associated with government bureaucracies such as the Postal system or the Department of Education.
Schools would generally fall into this culture type. However, schools, especially smaller schools and elementary schools, our more focused on the children than a large hierarchical culture would generally allow. Hierarchical cultures probably do not want to neglect people. It’s just that the size of the work makes it hard to support everyone the way they need to be.
The clan culture is internally focused while appreciating flexibility. In such a culture, there is a focus on mentoring, nurturing, participation, and empowering individuals. There is a heavy emphasis on people and supporting their development.
Schools would probably most likely fall into the clan culture. Many schools emphasize helping students, and there is a huge demand for flexibility when dealing with students’ needs. Being a teacher is essentially about mentoring, developing, and investing in young people.
There is no single best institution. What this framework does is determine where an individual institution is. One type of culture will work in one context and be a disaster in another. What really matters is that an institution can identify their values and culture and whether this matches the context within which they work.
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OSEMN Framework for Data Analysis
Analyzing data can be extremely challenging. It is often common to not know where to begin. Perhaps you know some basic ways of analyzing data, but it is unclear what should be done first and what should follow.
This is where a data analysis framework can come in handy. Having a basic step-by-step process, you always follow can make it much easier to start and complete a project. One example of a data analysis framework is the OSEMN model. The OSEMN model is an acronym that defines each step of the data analysis process. The steps are as follows
We will now go through each of these steps.
The first step of this model is obtaining data. Depending on the context, this can be done for you because the stakeholders have already provided data for analysis. In other situations, you have to find the data you need to answer whatever questions you are looking for insights into.
Data can be found anywhere, so the obtained data must help achieve the goals. It is also necessary to have the skills or connections to get the data. For example, data may have to be scraped from the web, pulled from a database, or even collected through the development of surveys. Each of these examples requires specific skills needed for success.
Once data is obtained, it must be scrubbed or cleaned. Completing these tasks requires several things. Duplicates need to be removed, missing data must be addressed, outlier considered, the shape of the data addressed, among other tasks. In addition, it is often useful to look at descriptive statistics and visualizations to identify potential problems. Lastly, you often need to clean categories within a variable if they are misspelled or involve other errors such as punctuation and converting numbers.
The concepts mentioned above are just some of the steps that need to be taken to clean data. Dirty will lead to bad insights. Therefore, this must be done well.
Exploring data and scrubbing data will often happen at the same time. With exploration, you are looking for insights into your data. One of the easiest ways to do this is to drill down as far as possible into your continuous variables by segmenting with the categorical variables.
For example, you might look at average scores by gender, then you look at average scores by gender and major, then you might look at average scores by gender, major, and class. Each time you find slightly different patterns that may be useful or not. Another approach would be to look at scatterplots that consider different combinations of categorical variables.
If the objectives are clear, it can help you focus your exploration on reducing the chance of presenting non-relevant information to your stakeholders. Suppose the stakeholders want to know the average scores of women. In that case, there is maybe no benefit to knowing the average score of male music majors.
Modeling involves regression/classification in the case of supervised learning or segmentation in the case of unsupervised learning. Modeling in the context of supervised learning helps in predicting future values, while segmentation helps develop insights into groups within a dataset that have similar traits.
Once again, the objectives of the analysis shape what tool to use in this context. If you want to predict enrollment, then regression tools may be appropriate. If you want what car a person will buy, then classification may help. If, on the other hand, you want to know what are some of the traits of high-performing students, then unsupervised approaches may be the best option.
Interpreting involves sharing what does all this stuff means. It is truly difficult to explain the intricacies of data analysis to a layman. Therefore, this involves not just analytical techniques but communication skills. Breaking down the complex analysis so that people can understand it is difficult. As such, ideas around storytelling have been developed to help data analysis connect the code with the audience.
The framework provided here is not the only way to approach data analysis. Furthermore, as you become more comfortable with analyzing data, you do not have to limit yourself to the steps or order in which they are performed. Frameworks are intended for getting people started in the creative process of whatever task they are trying to achieve.
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Taylor Principles of Management and the Classroom
Frederick Taylor (1856-1915) developed his management principles in response to the problems he was seeing in the workplace. IN this post, we will look at these principles and the backdrop to their origins.
Industrial Revolutions and its Problems
The Industrial Revolution led to major changes in the production of goods. Items went from being produced at home to being produced in factories. The work went from families working as a team to individuals working away from home. Natural these changes had pros and also cons.
The main pro has already been mentioned and involves the boost in productivity. However, among the cons was a lack of motivation, issues with determining how much to produce with workers and managers manipulating each other, and a general lack of standardization. Lastly, workers were concerned with wages, working conditions, and justice.
Life of Fredrick Taylor
In this context, Fredrick Taylor (1856-1915) emerges. Unable to go to college due to an injury, Taylor went to work in a factory and saw workers destroy tools to prevent overproduction, which they believed could threaten their employment. Witnessing this, Taylor decided to take an empirical approach to this problem.
Taylor applied several different methodologies to examine production, such as time series, standardization, division of labor, time management, and incentives in such context as piecework production. He was also a huge proponent of finding the right person for the job and moving people as necessary to achieve this benefit to the person and the employer.
Four Principles of Management
Below are the four principles of management according to Taylor
- Managers should use science for each aspect of a job.
- Select and train workers scientifically.
- Workers and management should work together to make sure work is done according to principles of management
- Responsibility and work should be divided equally between workers and managers
Managers need to make sure science is the tool used for making decisions. Science relies on and observation and analysis of data. Using a scientific process is considered superior to making intuition or gut decisions. When science is used, employees may not agree, but they can see the thought process behind the decision. The principle of data-driven decision is a foundational concept in data science today.
Workers should also be trained and selected scientifically. Again this gives the impression of objectivity and fairness in the decision-making process. Using intuition or other means makes management decision-making questionable.
The third principle emphasizes that everyone should work together from a scientific perspective. Through a united worldview, the assumption is to improve cooperation. The enemy appears to be subjectivity, and both workers and management should avoid this.
The final principle speaks to how management and workers must have a joint interest in responsibilities. The motivation behind this idea is to reduce the hostility that can sometimes arise in the workplace. Suppose everyone is a part of the decision-making. In that case, everyone should have a vested interest in the endeavor’s success.
Taylor and the Classroom
It is hard to see how Taylor’s principles apply in the classroom at the surface level. However, two ideas that come out of Taylor’s principles for teachers are the idea of fairness and dialog. A teacher must demonstrate fairness through the decisions that they make. Students will not agree with a decision at times made by a teacher, but it is important to know that the decisions teachers make are not arbitrary and capricious.
Dialog is also important. Students need to raise concerns openly even if their commands are not implemented. When people are allowed to share, they are often invested in the achievement, which is the same for many students.
Taylor’s principles of management were groundbreaking for them. Even after almost a century, the ideas laid down here inspire managers and leaders in various fields.
Brief Intro to the History of Management
A simple definition of management would be coordinating a task(s) to achieve a goal. This often involves people, and such management is about coordinating people. Managing people can be viewed negatively and as a form of manipulation or positively in a way that empowers people to accomplish things. In either case, management has a long history. People have been trying to achieve goals for all recorded human history.
Early forms of management date all the way back to ancient Sumer. The Sumerians, people from Mesopotamia, developed writing to manage their training empire. Merchants needed a way to keep track of their records regarding what was bought and sold, among other things. Writing was developed for this purpose, perhaps because the trade volume was too high to track by memory.
In the ancient city of Babylon, Hammurabi developed his Code of Hammurabi to manage behavior and control his people. The significance of the Code of Hammaruabi is that it is one of the oldest examples of law ever found. One of the more famous examples from this code is quoted below.
If a man put out the eye of another man, his eye shall be put out. [ An eye for an eye ]Code of Hammurabi Line 196
The example above is the law of retribution or lex talionis. The law of retribution is found in many other places. One example would be the Bible. A later King named Nebuchannezer developed the idea of incentives by providing more food to workers who produced more.
Ancient Egypt also had contributed to management when they developed ideas behind the division of labor. Dividing labor is taken for granted; however, when agrarian cultures moved towards developing trade and cities, everyone did not have the time to farm. By dividing labor, people could focus and become highly competent at something. In addition, division of labor allows some of the Egyptians to develop the pyramids.
Management In China and the West
In China, Sun Tzu and his “Art of War” lays down many ideas related to management. Ideas behind resources management, inspiring the people, and examining oneself are all addressed in this classic. Countless managers have read and received inspiration from this practical book.
The Han dynasty of China (206 BC – 220 AD) also contributed to management through its development of bureaucracy. The large governmental system that was important at this time helped the dynasty control and monitor the people while also providing opportunities to people good enough to pass the various civil servant exams.
The Greeks and the Romans have also made their contributions to management. The Greeks also developed division of labor, or perhaps they borrowed the idea from the Egyptians with who they had frequent contact through trade. The Romans gave the world standardization. Standardizing everything allowed the Romans to produce things much faster for conquest. The Romans could pave the world because the roads were generally built the same way, saving time and resources.
Management will continue to play a role in the world as the world becomes more complex. Therefore, it will be interesting to see what the next generation of innovations will be.
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Challenges to Decision-Making
Decisions are a critical part of the life of people, whether teachers or leaders. Even though this is an important skill, many people struggle with making decisions about important and even mundane matters. In this post, we will look at several challenges to making decisions.
There are times when a decision is made, and after some time, all parties involved begin to realize it was a bad decision. The challenge in this context is that since time and resources have already been devoted to this bad choice, maybe if everyone is patient, things will begin to work out. Generally, this is not the case.
Organizations and schools make this kind of mistake all the time. For example, a new curriculum or technology is adopted by the school. It is clear that this software or tech is not working, but a commitment has already been made. Such a situation can lead to a great deal of frustration among faculty and staff.
Nobody can predict the future. When it is unclear in terms of what to expect, it can lead to analysis paralysis, which essentially means that leadership or the teacher tries not to make a decision until new evidence arises. Unfortunately, new evidence is normally not forthcoming except that there is now less time to decide, and options begin to disappear because of lost time.
Since there is no way to be 100% sure of anything, the next best approach may be to make small incremental decisions and or take a step forward and be bold and see what happens. Neither of these alternatives is attractive, but there are times when a decision must be made.
Due to procrastination, there are times when there is not enough time to decide. Again, some teachers and leaders what as long as possible and then go with the only viable option when they are forced to decide. When this happens, the teacher can blame the context for what happened when the reality is that they did not want to make a decision. There is no better excuse than a lack of time in many situations.
Time can be an ally in decision-making if used for thinking rather than for avoiding making a decision. Too often, people fall for the temptation of letting circumstances dictate their choices.
Limits of Reasoning
While thinking is good, there are limits to what reasoning can accomplish. There is no way to collect all data and process all possibilities when it is time to decide. Eventually, there comes the point where a teacher has thought enough about a decision and must make a decision. However, not too many people fall for the trap of limited reasoning as reasoning is not generally encouraged in this day and age.
People are often more comfortable with situations in which their own ideas and beliefs agree with the decision to be made. For example, a group of teachers may agree on something because they share similar backgrounds and thus have a similar perspective on a matter. This is an example of confirmation bias in which a person looks for information in agreement with their own position. Such examples can include people who agree with you or information that supports your position.
Bias is not always bad. If a decision needs to be made quicker, then a group of people with similar views can agree fast. However, suppose the goal is a creative or innovative solution. In that case, a diverse group is more likely to challenge and stretch each other to a novel idea.
The final barrier to decision-making is conflict. Most people want to avoid conflict as it can lead to disharmony and other problems. However, people will not agree in the decision-making process, and they often like their idea at the expense of other people’s ideas.
There are two forms of conflict. Process conflict is disagreements about doing something and is not about an individual. Relationship conflict is personal and involves attacks on the person rather than the process or idea. Process conflict can lead to better processes, but once it becomes personal, it can collapse the decision-making process. It is difficult for many people to separate themselves from their shared ideas, but learning to do this is highly beneficial for the decision-making experience.
Decisions need to be made alone and in groups. Whatever the case may be, there are impediments to the decision-making process that people need to be aware of. The ideas presented here are just some of the challenges awaiting people who need to make up their minds about something.
Decision-Making and the Brain
Decision-making generally takes place in one of two ways. The two ways are the reflective system and the reactive system. The reflective system is the analytical way of making decisions and is often characterized as methodical and logical. Although the thought process is carefully laid out when using the reflective system, the downside is that reflecting is much slower than reacting. Therefore although often viewed as superior, the reflective system is not always the optimal choice.
The reactive system is intuitive and relies more on emotions when compared to the reflective system. Although much faster than the reflective system, the reactive system is much less accurate and or careful. As such, the benefit of reactive is when spending is needed, and the complexity of the problem is not significant. Children tend to rely more on the reactive system as they lack the cognitive ability and experience to ponder reflectively.
The system that people use often depends on their emotional states. When people are calm, and at peace, they are more likely to use the reflective system. However, if people are angry, sad, happy, etc., they may use the reactive system. We have all been in situations where our emotions control us when dealing with students. This may be an example of the reactive system taking over reasonably. The choice of which system is also associated with personality as some prefer one style over another regardless of their emotional state.
Different decisions can rely on different systems. If a teacher faces a routine decision, they may choose to use the reactive system to make a fast decision. If the situation is novel and unusual, the teacher may adopt a reflective approach. This is one reason why experienced teachers can work faster. The speed is based on using prior knowledge to make a quick, insightful decision that reactively while a new teacher has to reflect on every single experience because they are all so novel.
Types of Decisions
Decisions that are repeated frequently and based on rules are called programmed decisions. These can include things such as when to take a break, how much time to give for a test, etc. The ability to autopilot these decisions comes from experience.
Non-programmed decisions are decisions in a context in which clear criteria are not available. Examples of non-programmed decisions in the classroom may include equipment breakdowns, accepting new students, etc. This implies that reflection will be necessary to decide in this unclear situation.
The point here was not to try and make a case that one form of decision-making is superior to the other. Each system has its pros and cons and what really determines what’s best is the context in which the decision needs to be made. There is little time for reflecting if there is a fire in the class. In addition, it is equally harmful to determine students’ grades reactively.
Responsibilities and Skills of Teachers
Every job has its list of responsibilities and skills required for the position. This post will look at some of the common skills and responsibilities associated with teaching.
Teachers are expected to spend a large amount of their time making daily and long-term lesson plans. Developing these plans can include setting long-term goals, short-term objectives, procedures, assignments, and more. However, Once plans are developed, they have to be implemented, which involves coordinating students’ behavior and, at times, working with people outside of the class for various reasons.
Teachers have to constantly observe the behavior of their students and make adjustments to what plans or goals they have in mind. For example, if students are struggling, the teacher needs to slow down and reteach. Suppose the problem is not comprehension but a rather poor attitude. In that case, the teacher needs to modify how they enforce rules.
Teachers also have to track resources such as paper, pencils, books, time, etc. These things must be observed while also trying to move forward in the curriculum and maintain learning.
Teachers also must stay abreast of the latest developments in their field. This includes changes and innovation in teaching and in one’s area of expertise. Different fields change at different speeds, but all teachers have to stay current to help students to be prepared for the workforce and or college.
Staying current in one’s profession is not overly time-consuming. The real challenge is doing this along with the other responsibilities of teaching and the demands of one’s life outside the classroom.
Skills of Teachers
The skills of teachers can be broken down into three categories
- Technical skills
- Human relation skills
- Conceptual skills
Technical skills are essentially the expertise of the teacher. For example, a math teacher knows math and can use it practically. In addition, teachers must have technical knowledge of teaching, such as familiarity with pedagogy and various approaches to instruction. Generally, a teacher must have a high degree of technical skill because they are a teacher to others.
Human relation skills are the ability to work with other people. Teachers need to have ways to connect with students to inspire enthusiasm and growth. In addition, teachers also need to maintain relationships with other teachers, parents, and the administration. Working with others is often dicey, and surprisingly, teachers can often struggle to maintain a cordial relationship with their peers, students, and community members.
Conceptual skills relate to planning and seeing the big picture. Developing this skill comes with experience. For example, new teachers often cannot see beyond developing daily lesson plans, while more experienced teachers can plan months or semesters at a time. Conceptual skills become more important if a teacher moves more in the direction of leadership after a few years in the classroom.
Teaching is a challenging field in that it calls on a person to keep track of several important tasks while also developing themselves and working with others. Since doing this is no easy task, perhaps that is why so many teachers can find their jobs challenging.
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Teachers as Classroom Managers
Henry Mintzberg (1973) researched what business managers do within companies. His results indicated that managers have three primary roles, which are…
We will examine each of these roles within the context of a teacher as a classroom manager.
The interpersonal role of a manager involves dealing with many people during a given day. Managers serve as figureheads, and this involves such tasks as greeting guests, participating in various ceremonies/formal activities, and being the general face of whatever they are in charge of. Teachers are frequently involved in figurehead-type roles as classroom managers. For example, teachers are often responsible for flag ceremonies in the morning, participating in graduation, responding to guess who comes to the classroom, etc. As such, teachers have a lot in common with business managers in the role of figurehead.
A second interpersonal role for managers is that of liaison. The liaison role involves maintaining connections outside of the group or unit that the manager is in charge of. It also involves connecting people within the organization with those outside and keeping track of information gained through external and internal relationships. For teachers, serving as a liaison is not as common in my experience. Often the student has access to the same people like the teacher. One exception may be if a teacher helps a student obtain a job or get into a college by providing connections to such opportunities.
A final interpersonal role of managers as a leader. The leader role involves training, motivating, and communicating with subordinates. When most people think of managers, this may be the first thing that comes to mind. This is also a primary function for teachers as they are expected to lead the classroom and communicate expectations with students.
The informational role defines itself and involves obtaining pertaining data relating to the goals of the manager’s team. One role that falls under this category is that of a monitor. The manager is supposed to gather information from various sources to improve decision-making, among other things. Teachers also have to play this role as one of their primary functions is communicating what they have learned with their students. Teachers and managers who like knowledge or expertise will generally struggle with their role as a manager.
A second informational role is that of a disseminator of information. As mentioned with the teacher, the manager gathers information to share it. There are various lines of communication such as telephone, email, chat, etc. Whatever channel(s) is chosen is just how the manager shares information. We have already discussed how teachers spend the majority of their time sharing information, so we do not need to add much but to mention that it is important to consider how the information is shared in that do the students understand.
Lastly, managers serve as spokespersons, which means sharing information with people outside the unit or team. Sharing information like this can involve speaking with superiors, members of the community, etc. For teachers, the role of spokesperson may involve sharing concerns of their students with administration or with other teachers. Students sometimes like to raise concerns about things that the teacher can speak about because the teacher has a higher status. Thus the spokesperson role may be an advocacy position for a classroom teacher.
The final collection of roles of managers involves decisions. A manager is also an entrepreneur, which involves taking the initiative in projects and delegating responsibilities. Teachers are often implementing new ideas and teaching approaches in their classroom, and when possible, they will delegate responsibilities to students.
Managers also must handle conflicts and other emergencies. These conflicts can be among coworkers, with people outside the team, and even with the manager themself. As such, diplomatic skills are an important aspect of a manager’s skill set. Teachers may deal with even more conflicts than managers, given the age of the students. Both managers and teachers have in common the must know how to handle conflict and surprises.
Managers are also resource allocators, and this involves sharing not necessarily information but tangibles things such as budget resources, determining schedules, and setting wages. Teachers also serve as resource allocators as they determine who gets to use the computers, when it’s time to play, what rewards students get for good behavior, and much more. Care must be given to resource allocation as hints of unfairness and favoritism can lead to conflict.
The final role of a manager is that of a negotiator. This role is often paired with many of the other roles already mentioned. For example, the manager may negotiate as a spokesperson for their team, negotiate a conflict between subordinates, etc. For teachers, the same ideas apply. Teachers have to negotiate for themselves, their students, and with parents as just some examples.
From the examples presented here, we can see that teachers as classroom managers have a lot in common with managers in the business world. Both teachers and manger need to perform roles that involve interpersonal skills, informational skills, and decision-making skills. As such, a knowledge of management in the context of business could help teachers in their classrooms.
Acid & Bases
We will take a look at some simple ideas related to acid bases
Acids and bases are classified by the chemical behavior of their molecules. Acids usually have a sour taste, are covalent electrolytes, and turn litmus paper red. Citric acid is one example of an acid many of us have encountered as it is commonly found in citrus fruits such as oranges. At a technical level, acids donate a H+ ion during a chemical reaction.
On the other hand, Bases tend to have a better taste, are slippery when mixed with water, and turn litmus paper blue. Soap is one example of the use of a base in everyday life. Bases accept an H+ ion during a chemical reaction at a technical level. When acids and bases are mixed, they generally neutralize each other and produce water as a by-product.
Most acids and bases are aqueous solutions, which means they are found in a liquid state. However, some liquids do not neatly fall into the category of acid or base. Water is an example of this, and the term used to describe this is amphoteric. This means that water will sometimes donate an H+ ion or accept an H+ ion depending on the context. For this reason, water is often added to acids/bases to dilute the concentration of either one.
Water is also considered neutral on the pH scale commonly used to identify acids and bases. The Ph scale stands for potential hydrogen scale and measures the amount of hydronium ion in the solution. Lower numbers on the pH scale indicate higher levels of hydronium.
Most fruits and vegetables are considered to have low pH, thus considered base or alkaline, and they include the following
- Olives, black
- Honeydew melon
- Mangoes, ripe
Foods that are acidic in nature include the following
- Most dairy
- Citrus fruits
There are lots of websites that promote such things as an alkaline diet. However, this is generally highly controversial, and the experts do not seem to agree about the benefits of eating alkaline foods.
Understanding acids/bases and their behavior can be important, especially in everyday life. Acid and bases serve a vital role in many different substances and can be helpful or harmful depending on the context.