Eat more apples!

So loved this latest research (via NYT’s The Well) on the weight loss benefits of eating fruits, especially my favorite– apples.

Eating more fruits and vegetables can help control weight, but a new study suggests that it depends on which fruits and vegetables you eat.

Researchers recorded diet information for 117,918 men and women in their 30s and 40s at the start of a study and followed them for 24 years, with interviews at four-year intervals.

An overall increase in a daily serving of vegetable or fruit over a four-year period led to less weight gained — 0.25 pounds less for vegetables, and 0.53 pounds for fruit.

Increased intake of berries was linked to a 1.11-pound lower weight gain, and of citrus fruits a 0.27-pound lower gain. Adding a daily serving of tofu or soy was tied to 2.47 pounds less weight gained, and of apples or pears 1.24 pounds less. Carrots and peppers were also linked to smaller gains, but potatoes, peas and corn were not.

Given that there are certain diets that actually vilify fruit as little better than candy, I found this especially edifying.  I love both apples and berries and have multiple servings of each per day.  I’ve often said that the biggest difference in my life if I were truly rich is that I would pony up the money to have fresh berries year round.  Fortunately, you can get tasty “fresh” apples all year round.  And now is the perfect time and I’ve been eating 3 a day instead of 2, because of all the great apples at the NC Farmers market.  And it’s the only place I can get the best apple ever– the Suncrisp.

Maps of the day

Love this.  And biscuits.  Who could want a muffin over a biscuit? And if anyone doubted whether Virginia and Florida were “real” Southern states, I guess here’s your answre.


It pays off to for teachers to be relatable to their students

So, this Hidden Brain episode was about research on the relationships between teachers and students in K-12 classrooms, but I can’t help but think it applies in college as well:

For the experiment he had in mind, Hunter and his team created a survey for students and teachers of a ninth-grade class. The researchers then selectively shared examples from the survey results with teachers and students to show them that they had things in common. When Hunter examined the test scores of students who had been induced to see that they had things in common with their teachers, he found something astonishing: students — especially minorities — suddenly started to perform better in class.

“When we look at academic achievement with respect to these black and Latino students, what we find is that when they’re in the treatment group, their grades go up by about .4 of a letter grade,” Hunter explains. While that may not sound like a lot, it “translates into over 60 percent plus reduction in the achievement gap at this school.”

Whoa!  Here’s the thing– it doesn’t actually take sharing survey results for students to see that they have things in common with their teachers.  All it takes is for teachers to be human and share things about themselves.  This has always been my approach and no, I don’t know that by being more relatable it helps my students learn better, but that sure is a pretty reasonable inference based on the research cited above.  I was a presenter in a faculty workshop last week on the topic of dealing with upsetting current events in the classroom.  Part of my advice was to not forget that before you are professor and students, you are all just people.  Of course we need boundaries.  It’s one reason I always wear a tie when I’m teaching– to, in some small part, provide boundaries sartorially, which are less natural with my very informal style. Being the professor while they are the student creates plenty of natural boundaries.  If I can help the students to engage more by sharing my very human self, I’m going to do so.

And, not to suggest that I’m any Coach K, but I’ve always loved that he talks about the most important thing in coaching for him is not the national championships, but the relationships.  I’ve always felt the same way– sure it is great to help my students learn (really great, in fact), but definitely the best part is the relationships I am able to build with my students.  How cool that the research suggests this is probably also good for their learning.


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