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A seed cannot grow if there are no nutrients in the soil. Analogously, students can only begin to be curious if the conditions are right. On the first day of school, I was excited to begin the year with questions and curiosity. I showed my senior statistics students an image that displayed a subset of integers from the Mayan number system.
I asked, “What does this make you wonder?”
Not a single question emerged from the room. Immediately students began trying to “solve the problem.” They searched for patterns and some quickly exclaimed,“I get it! I figured it out.” I gently reminded them that the goal wasn’t a solution. The goal was questions.
For me, this activity cemented the idea that our education system doesn’t teach students to value questions and curiosity. We teach them to strive for answers, in particular, correct answers. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking a solution to a problem, we can’t make any progress or have new ideas without asking the right questions.
You might say that my students had learned to squelch their curiosity over time. I needed to help them realize that asking questions is an active process that they could get better at. They could re-learn to wonder. It’s also possible that my students didn’t know how to ask a question.
Sara Lev works with four- and five-year olds and says that, despite the fact that young students are naturally curious, they are often more likely to make statements than ask questions when prompted to wonder. For example, after playing a podcast, Lev asked her class, “What questions do you have about making a podcast about outer space?” One student stated,“It should be about the sun!” Sara took the spirit of his statement and helped him turn it into a question, “Oh, are you wondering what the podcast should be about?” and that becomes the question,“What topics should we talk about?”
Even in upper grades, students tend to articulate thoughts and opinions more easily than questions. To get students asking, we can help them reframe those ideas as curiosities and things they should wonder more deeply about.
If you are asking, “Why aren’t my students asking questions?” it could be that their curiosity was squelched, they are scared, or that they just don’t know how. In what follows, we’ll explore several ways to kick start the process and plant the seed of wonder.
How Do I Create a Safe Environment for Wondering?
My dad was not the typical “star student.” He was one of seven and school was not the family’s top priority. The lessons he remembers from school came from Sister Loretta: “Don’t waste any food” and “Be respectful and don’t talk out of turn.” At the same time, my dad is and always has been a deeply curious person. He spends his free time tinkering, taking apart old radios, record players, and vintage dirt bikes. He tweaks them and puts them back together, better than before. He once showed me a model he drew in high school of an electric go-kart, long before Elon Musk or anyone else had talked about such a thing. I asked him about his experience in school and whether he asked questions. “Never! I was scared. I was scared of the teacher, but also of what my classmates would think of me.”
Imagine a classroom environment where my dad would have been comfortable voicing his curiosity, where his questions were celebrated, and most importantly, where other students admired him for his creativity. Perhaps he would have spoken up more, asked how generators work or had an opportunity to do a project to learn more about batteries. Maybe he would have even built the electric go-kart he dreamed up in his sketchbook.
Traditionally, school has been a place where teachers test their students with questions and students prove their worth with answers. “Knowing things” is valued and “not knowing” is penalized by low grades and loss of privileges. What student would want to ask a question in this environment? Their question would indicate a lack of knowledge and diminish their worth in a system that rewards answers.
Our first step towards creating a space in which students are willing to ask questions is to build trust in our classroom communities. This is a prerequisite for students to feel safe enough to take the risk of admitting that there is something they do not know.
Small changes in language can go a long way toward shifting the culture around questions. André Sasser noticed this in her first few years of teaching. When she began, after a lesson she would ask, “Are there any questions?” Students rarely voiced any. She adjusted her language to, “What questions do you have?” or “Ask me three questions.” With these prompts, students began to stir.
This simple tweak made queries the expectation; students rose to that expectation and their questions flowed. They were fearless and asked questions that may have come off as too basic or obvious in a room that didn’t value such risk-taking. Simply using careful language to normalize and solicit questions can begin to change the culture.
My dad was primarily afraid of how other students might perceive him if he asked a question. Normalizing the act of asking, like Sasser has, sends a message to all students in the class that questions are to be valued, not mocked. In the next few sections, we’ll discuss more strategies for helping all students in the class to see the value in questioning rather than seeing it as a weakness.
Helping your students get to know each other can also have an impact on building trust in your classroom community. You likely have noticed this in your own experiences. Some groups of students know each other well and have been in classes together for years. They are comfortable with each other and are willing to open themselves to the vulnerability associated with asking a question. Other groups of students, who have not built relationships with each other, will be quieter and less likely to admit when they don’t know.
Imagine a new student entering your class for the first time. This likely changes the dynamic for everyone. The new student often feels like they need to make a good impression and accordingly will answer questions they know the answer to but be less likely to take a risk by asking a question. Students who have been in your class may also be more cautious when it comes to speaking out in class, wanting to make a good impression on the newcomer. Over time, as relationships grow, lively inquiries and class discussions return.
Fortunately, teachers can actively help students build relationships with each other. One strategy is to provide students the opportunity to work collaboratively toward a common goal. Review games and team activities give students time to socialize with each other with enough structure to bypass the awkwardness of being in middle school. Healthy competition motivates students to engage with each other. Further, these activities reduce stress levels which helps the students feel more open to each other.
Another key strategy for helping students become comfortable with one another is to reduce your impact in the classroom. It’s all about giving students ownership of the content by honoring their thoughts and giving them time at the board to teach each other.
One powerful play is to invite students to present their work at the board every day, while you take a backseat, sitting off to the side somewhere. This physical action, ensuring that the presenting student is the only one standing, demonstrates that the student is in control of the room (Rowe, 2023, personal communication). By giving students the opportunity to control the room, they feel special and valued.
Excerpted from Creating Curious Classrooms: The Beauty of Questions by Emma Chiappetta. Published by ConnectEDD Publishing.
You're reading Guiding Students To Ask Great Questions
Questioning techniques that prompt all students to come up with a response can raise their spirits and make learning more joyful.
As I work in classrooms across the states as a consultant who specializes in the areas of instruction, student engagement, second-language learning, and instructional technology, I see fewer and fewer students eager to engage in the thinking and sharing. Could part of that lack of enthusiasm come simply from the way we ask students questions? After being in 500+ pre-K to high school classrooms so far this school year, I see a pattern that stirs a desire to improve the questioning process. And the time to start is in the very early grades.
Let me explain what the majority of classroom questioning looks and sounds like. Teachers pose a literal/basic recall question, the same five or six students raise their hands, and the rest of the class tunes out. High school students look down at their phone or doodle as the student recites the answer. In the primary and elementary classrooms, students dig in their backpacks or desks, talk to their friends, or ask to go to the bathroom. It’s a pattern I see over and over.
When the questioning process engages all students, it’s magical. The room is alive and full of energy. There’s active thinking taking place and a feeling of high expectations and a belief that all students can learn.
Here are three ways to engage pre-K to second-grade students in the questioning process.
Ask, Pause, Process, Share
Ask students not to raise their hand as you ask questions. (Help students understand that it’s the thinking we want, not the answer.)
After asking a question, literal or inferential, give students real think time (silently count to five).
Have students whisper-share their answer with their elbow partner.
Randomly select a student using frozen-pop sticks with the names of the students on them, or use Wheel of Names to call on a student to share their thinking.
When you call on the specific student, be sure to phrase the question like this: “What did you and your elbow partner come up with as your answer” or “What were you both thinking?”
If you get an answer that’s incorrect or lacks enough detail, validate the first person you ask, and then call on other individuals to continue the thinking process.
Because everyone is involved in the thinking, the processing, and the possibility of being called on to share, there’s a reason for the students to pay attention and engage in the thinking, to build their understanding of the content you’re teaching.Fist to Three
After you’ve taught a concept, ask students to put their fist at their chest level and face you. (This activity could work with very young learners.) Tell the students that this is to help you, the teacher, know who needs more support in learning the concepts and who’s ready to work independently.
Ask your question—e.g., “How are you feeling about naming the four stages of a butterfly?” or “Can you show me the sum of 4 + 5 = ?” or “What is the difference between a city, state, and country?”
When a student shows you a fist, it means “I don’t understand any of the concepts you taught and I need to be retaught.”
When a student shows one finger: ”I am beginning to get the concept you’re teaching.”
When a student shows two fingers: “I understand most of what you taught today, so I can work independently on my assignment and I need little to no support.”
When a student shows you three fingers: “I’m ready to teach others the concepts of today’s lesson.”
Eager Professor and Eager Student
If 90 percent retention takes place when students teach one another, we need to have schoolchildren teach and share with one another more often. This strategy, best for second grade and up, involves two students. One is the eager professor who is animated and excited to teach, and the other is the eager student who is just as motivated to learn.
After you teach a concept, have the students pair up. (Use the random team generator or peanut butter and jelly partner.) The eager professor reteaches the vocabulary, big ideas, etc., that the teacher just taught. The eager student asks clarifying questions and engages in the learning. This provides an opportunity to get clarity around new learning, review skills, or reinforce concepts. It’s a fun and interactive way to engage students in the thinking, questioning, and learning.
Questioning and learning should be fun, and we want to engage as many students in the thinking as possible. Adding to Jen York-Barr’s quote, the person doing the talking is doing the thinking and learning. So, let’s keep the thinking and learning lively and joyous.
blog / Career Hire Right By Learning the Best Questions to Ask in an Interview
Hiring the right talent is much more than matching skill sets and educational qualifications to the job. Will the candidates fit into the organization’s culture, be team players, and have the right attitude towards change – these are some of the factors that need to be considered. This is why the hiring manager or HR professional needs to know the best questions to ask in an interview since this is the primary gateway to successful recruitment. They need to figure out the candidate’s knowledge base, what their interests and aptitudes are, and how the interviewee’s skills played a role in their career trajectory. With a clear plan of action and the right bunch of questions, you can make the process of finding the right candidate faster, easier, and much more efficient.Best Questions to Ask in an Interview Personal Questions
This bucket of questions will give interviewers an insight into the candidate’s personality and thought process. It is also important to understand what drives a candidate to make decisions.
1. Which aspect of the job profile attracted you the most?
Ensure the candidate didn’t blindly apply for the position.
2. What is your go-to decision-making process?
Gauge critical thinking and organizational skills here.
3. Tell us three qualities your friends would use to describe you.
Get insight into how they appear to others and their own self-image.
4. What do you like to do for fun?
Get an overall impression of the candidate’s personality.
5. How do you motivate yourself to work?
Evaluate the candidate’s motivators here.Culture Fit Questions
Culture fit questions work best to gauge an interviewee’s personality and seek compatibility with the company’s values, beliefs, and behavioral norms. With the rise of remote work, culture fit and value compatibility are as important as academic or experiential qualifications.
1. How do you describe your ideal work environment?
Get an idea of what the candidate expects from their workplace.
2. What kinds of personalities gel the best with you?
Determine compatibility between the company and the candidate.
3. What will you miss about your current job?
Attitude towards previous jobs gives a sense of their commitment to employers and what they consider important about an organization.
4. Why do you think you are a good fit for the company?
A direct answer often proves beneficial if the question is asked in this manner.
5. If you were a CEO of a company, what five unique characteristics would your company have?
Learn the values held strongly by the candidate and how they match with the company.Questions around Knowledge and Background
This line of questioning will showcase the candidate’s preparedness for the role and their domain expertise.
1. Is there any special training you took that increases your expertise for this job role?
Insight into any special skill sets the candidate may have acquired.
2. Tell us about a 90-day strategy you’d implement if you were hired.
Force the candidate to think creatively and show their ability to think on their feet.
This will ask the candidate to think specifically about the demands of the job.
ALSO READ: 5 Most Common Leadership Interview Questions with Unique AnswersWork Habit Questions
Work habit questions have become increasingly relevant, especially given the rise of hybrid work models. The best questions to ask in an interview in this regard are:
1. How would you describe your working style?
Unlock their working styles to understand their overall personality.
2. How do you organize your work on a mundane day and on a nerve-racking deadline-submission day?
Gauge their communication style while answering the two parts of this question.
3. How do you respond to heavy criticism about your work?
Note how the interviewee handles this question at an emotional level. Assess the words they tend to use.
4. How well do you handle hierarchy? Tell us about an experience of friction in a previous job role between you and the authority.
Learn the kind of relationship the interviewee shares with the idea of authority. Look out for the interviewee’s narration and the words they use while describing the situation.
5. You have five hours and ten tasks and each would take at least an hour. How would you manage this scenario?
Nudge the interviewee to articulate their thoughts about an imaginary day, focusing not only on their prioritization skills but also their ability to state realistic expectations.Career Goal Questions
The final stage of questions involves some open-ended conversations about the kind of future the candidate foresees for themselves. Subjective questions like these will help you judge candidates on their communication skills and determine their compatibility quotient with the company’s long-term vision.
1. What goals do you have in mind if you bag this job?
Get a direct look at how the candidate perceives the job. Is it an end game for them or do they have a career trajectory in mind? That will help you gauge the potential turnover a specific employee can bring to the table.
2. What do you look for in a job role in terms of career growth?
Get insight into how a candidate perceives the idea of growth in their lives, and how well it aligns with the vision of the company.
3. Given your salary requirements, what designation do you see yourself in the next two years?
This question has no specific correct answer. But candidates aren’t aware of this. Look out for those who provide unique answers to this question or embrace uncertainty.
Human resources and talent acquisition have become very dynamic. Moreover, in the last two years, with high employee turnover, the importance of the hiring process has become clearer. As a result, human resources, one of the key domains in recent times, is only destined to grow and become more relevant. To upskill yourself as a human resource professional, explore Emeritus’ online human resources courses and learn to bring the best talent to your company.
By Bishwadeep Mitra
Write to us at [email protected]
Climate scientists tell us it’s going to get hotter. How much it rains and where it rains is likely to shift. Sea-level rise is apt to accelerate. Oceans are on their way to becoming more acidic and less oxygenated. Floods, droughts, storms and other extreme weather events are projected to change in frequency or intensity.
But how do they know what they know?
For climate scientists, numerical models are the tools of the trade. But for the layperson — and even for scientists in other fields — climate models can seem mysterious. What does “numerical” even mean? Do climate models take other things besides the atmosphere into account? How do scientists know if a model is any good?
Two experts in climate modeling, Andrew Gettelman of the National Center for Atmospheric Research and Richard Rood of the University of Michigan, have your answers and more, free of charge. In a new open-access book, Demystifying Climate Models, the pair lay out the fundamentals. In 282 pages, the scientists explain the basics of climate science, how that science is translated into a climate model, and what those models can tell us (as well as what they can’t) — all without using a single equation.
AtmosNews sat down with Gettelman to learn more about the book, which anyone can download here.
Climate models divide the world into a 3D grid. Scientists evaluate the effect of solar radiation, water surface temperatures, carbon pollution and other variables in each cell. WikipediaWhat was the motivation to write this book?
There isn’t really another book that sets out the philosophy and structure of models. There are textbooks, but inside you’ll find a lot of physics and chemistry: information about momentum equations, turbulent fluxes — which is useful if you want to build your own model.And then there are books on climate change for the layperson, and they devote maybe a paragraph to climate modeling. There’s not much in the middle.
This book provides an introduction for the beginning grad student, or someone in another field who is interested in using model output, or anyone who is just curious how climate works and how we simulate it.What are some of the biggest misperceptions about climate models that you hear?
One is that people say climate models are based on uncertain science. But that’s not true at all. If we didn’t know the science, my cellphone wouldn’t work. Radios wouldn’t work. GPS wouldn’t work.
That’s because the energy that warms the Earth, which radiates from the Sun, and is absorbed and re-emitted by Earth’s surface — and also by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere — is part of the same spectrum of radiation that makes up radio waves. If we didn’t understand electromagnetic waves, we couldn’t have created the technology we rely on today. The same is true for the science that underlies other aspects of climate models.
Greenhouse gasses reflect infrared radiation back to Earth. Environmental Protection AgencyBut we don’t understand everything, right?
We have understood the basic physics for hundreds of years. The last piece of it, the discovery that carbon dioxide warms the atmosphere, was put in place in the late 19th, early 20th century. Everything else — the laws of motion, the laws of thermodynamics — was all worked out between the 17th and 19th centuries.
We do still have uncertainty in our modeling systems. A big part of this book is about how scientists understand that uncertainty and actually embrace it as part of their work. If you know what you don’t know and why, you can use that to better understand the whole climate system.Can we ever eliminate the uncertainty?
Not entirely. In our book, we break down uncertainty into three categories: model uncertainty (How good are the models at reflecting how the Earth really works?), initial condition uncertainty (How well do we understand what the Earth system looks like right now?), and scenario uncertainty (What will future emissions look like?)
To better understand, it might help to think about the uncertainty that would be involved if you had a computer model that could simulate making a pizza. Instead of trying to figure out what Earth’s climate would look like in 50 or 100 years, this model would predict what your pizza would look like when it was done.
The Earth’s climate is like a delicious pizza. Pixabay
The first thing you want to know is how well the model reflects the reality of how a pizza is made. For example, does the model take into account all the ingredients you need to make the pizza, and how they will each evolve? The cheese melts, the dough rises and the pepperoni shrinks. How well can the model approximate each of those processes? This is model uncertainty.
The second thing you’d want to know is if you can input all the pizza’s “initial conditions” into the model. Some initial conditions — like how many pepperoni slices are on the pizza and where — are easy to observe, but others are not.
For example, kneading the pizza dough creates small pockets of air, but you don’t know exactly where they are. When the dough is heated, the air expands and forms big bubbles in the crust. If you can’t tell the model where the air pockets are, it can’t accurately predict where the crust bubbles will form when the pizza is baked.
The same is true for a climate model. Some parts of the Earth, like the deep oceans and the polar regions, are not easy to observe with enough detail, leaving scientists to estimate what the conditions there are like and leading to the second type of uncertainty in the model results.
Finally, the pizza-baking model also has to deal with “scenario uncertainty,” because it doesn’t know how long the person baking the pizza will keep it in the oven, or at what temperature. Without understanding the choices the human will make, the model can’t say for sure if the dough will be soft, crispy or burnt.
With climate models, over long periods of time, like a century, we’ve found that this scenario uncertainty is actually the dominant one. In other words, we don’t know how much carbon dioxide humans around the world going to emit in the years and decades to come, and it turns out that that’s what matters most.
Climate change is making tropical cyclones more powerful. PixabayAny other misperceptions you frequently hear?
People always say, “If we can’t predict the weather next week, how can we know what the climate will be like in 50 years?”
Generally speaking, we can’t perfectly predict the weather because we don’t have a full understanding of all the current conditions. We don’t have observations for every grid point on a weather model or for large parts of the ocean, for example.
But climate is not concerned about the exact weather on a particular day 50 or 100 years from now. Climate is the statistical distribution of weather, not a particular point on that distribution. Climate prediction is focused on the statistics of this distribution, and that is governed by conservation of energy and mass on long time scales, something we do understand.Did you learn anything about climate modeling while working on the book?
My background is the atmosphere. I sat down and wrote the whole section on the atmosphere in practically one sitting. But I had to learn about the other aspects of models, the ocean and the land, which work really differently. The atmosphere has only one boundary, a bottom boundary. We just have to worry about how it interacts with mountains and other bumps on the surface.
But the ocean has three hard boundaries: the bottom and the sides, like a giant rough bathtub. It also has a boundary with the atmosphere on the top. Those boundaries really change how the ocean moves. And the land is completely different because it doesn’t move at all. Writing this book really gave me a new appreciation for some of the subtleties of other parts of the Earth System and the ways my colleagues model them.What was the most fun part of writing the book for you?
I think having to force myself to think in terms of analogies that are understandable to a variety of people. I can describe a model using a whole bunch of words most people don’t use every day, like “flux.” It was a fun challenge to come up with words that would accurately describe the models and the science but that were accessible to everyone.
AtmosNews reports on the work of the US National Center for Atmospheric Research.
How to Write a Great Story with GPT-4
I’ve been eager to unlock the power of GPT-4 to craft compelling stories.
Through trial and error, I’ve discovered that focusing on a slow, character-driven narrative can lead to a richer and more immersive reading experience.
In this blog post, I’ll share my step-by-step guide on how to harness GPT-4 to write an engaging story that leaves a lasting impact. So, join me as we dive into the fascinating world of AI storytelling and unleash our creativity together!
Read more or watch the YouTube video(Recommended)YouTube: GPT-4 / ChatGPT Story Writing Tips
The importance of building a story slowly in GPT-4 is significant for several reasons:
In-depth character development and world-building: A gradual narrative allows for richer character development and a more detailed world. This creates an engaging and immersive experience for the reader.
Adherence to the “showing, not telling” principle: By slowing down the pace, GPT-4 can create vivid descriptions and natural dialogues that paint a picture of the events unfolding, rather than simply stating facts. This encourages readers to use their imagination and engage with the story more actively.
Intricate and suspenseful plotlines: A slower pace enables the AI to weave together various elements of the narrative, leading to a more cohesive and satisfying conclusion. This helps maintain reader interest and anticipation for the climax.
To summarize, a slow and steady pace in GPT-4 storytelling:
Enhances the quality of the narrative
Allows for richer character development and world-building
Adheres to the “showing, not telling” principle
Creates intricate and suspenseful plotlines
By implementing these techniques, GPT-4 can generate a more emotionally resonant and memorable reading experience.How to write a Story in GPT-4 / ChatGPT: A Step-by-Step Guide
GPT-4, a powerful AI language model, can be an excellent tool to help you craft a compelling story. In this guide, we’ll outline a step-by-step process to write a story using GPT-4 based on the context provided above.Step 1: Set your goal and intentions
Begin by defining your goal for the story, such as writing an engaging, slow-paced, and character-driven narrative. Your intentions might include a focus on “showing, not telling,” avoiding rushed storytelling, and creating an emotional thriller.Step 2: Choose a persona for GPT-4
Create a persona for GPT-4 to assume while writing the story. In this case, the persona is a genre author whose task is to write stories in a rich, intriguing language with a very slow pace, focusing on in-depth character development and world-building.Step 3: Develop a story template
Craft a template that outlines your story’s key elements, such as the genre, protagonist, author style, pacing, and length. In the context provided, the template includes elements like an emotional mystery thriller plot, heavy dialogue, and very slow pacing.Step 4: Create a detailed story outline
Ask GPT-4 to develop a detailed outline for your story, focusing on your intentions and the elements in your template. To achieve a slower pace, request an outline for just the first chapter of a 12-chapter book. This will encourage GPT-4 to take its time building the story arc.Step 5: Write the first chapter
Request GPT-4 to write the first chapter of your story, adhering to the story outline and template you’ve provided. Be specific about the word count you’re targeting and emphasize the importance of showing, not telling, along with character development, world-building, and dialogue.Step 6: Review and edit
Go through the generated text, making any necessary edits or adjustments to ensure the story aligns with your intentions and goals. Keep an eye out for any inconsistencies or areas that need improvement.Step 7: Continue writing
If you’re satisfied with the first chapter, continue the process by outlining and writing subsequent chapters. Adjust your prompts and instructions as needed to maintain the desired pacing and storytelling approach throughout the story.
By following these steps and leveraging the power of GPT-4, you can create a captivating story that showcases your unique vision. Don’t forget to collect feedback from readers and refine your prompts to improve the storytelling process further. With practice and persistence, you’ll be able to harness the full potential of GPT-4 in your creative writing endeavors.Conclusion
In conclusion, my journey with GPT-4 has been an eye-opening and rewarding experience. I’ve learned the importance of pacing, character development, and the art of “showing, not telling” to create a rich and engaging story.
By carefully crafting prompts and iterating on my approach, I’ve been able to harness the full potential of this powerful AI tool for creative writing.
As I continue to explore and experiment with GPT-4, I’m filled with optimism about the endless possibilities it presents for authors and storytellers alike.
There’s no doubt that AI can be a valuable ally in the creative process, helping us bring our unique visions to life with more depth and nuance than ever before.
I encourage you to try it for yourself, and I can’t wait to see the incredible stories we’ll create together!
Ask Away at Sex in the Dark Tonight BU’s annual glow-in-the-dark event and sexpert panel will field all queries
The annual Sex in the Dark event, hosted by BU Student Health Services Wellness & Prevention, provides a place for students to anonymously ask BU community experts questions about sexual health and relationships.
Asking sex-related questions, even of a medical expert, can be awkward, uncomfortable, and just plain scary. As a result, people don’t always have the information they need to make informed and healthy decisions when it comes to sex and relationships.
At tonight’s Sex in the Dark, dubbed the “hottest Q&A on campus,” questions and discussion are expected to touch on subjects ranging from consent and communication to sexual identity, sexually transmitted diseases, and more.
“We know that college students and students at Boston University come from all over the country and all over the world, and that there is no consistent sexual health education in the United States, and globally as well,” says Katharine Mooney (SPH’12), Wellness & Prevention director. Tonight’s event is designed to provide medically accurate information about sex.
“Students might be getting information from sources that they trust but that’s really not correct, so this is a nice opportunity to expose folks to information that is accurate,” says Wellness & Prevention prevention program administrator Mia Trentadue, one of the organizers. “This event is really about the students, and it’s whatever they want it to be.”
The evening begins with a Resource Fair at 6 pm. Students can stop by tables staffed by on- and off-campus organizations, including BU’s Center for Gender, Sexuality & Activism and Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Center (SARP), the Bisexual Resource Center, Planned Parenthood, Fenway Health, Athena’s Home Novelties, Global Protection Corp, and BU’s Student Health Ambassadors, who will be handing out information about resources and services.
The four experts on this year’s panel are SARP crisis intervention counselor Cherita Cloy, Rich Galgano, SHS associate director of primary care, Lola-Ade Akintobi (SPH’16), of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and Michal Goderez, the lead sex educator with Good Vibrations, a retail shop in Harvard Square.
“We feel it’s really important to have folks from the BU community, since we know that our students often interface with these people,” Trentadue says about the panelists. “As far as the other panelists, we like to have people who are well versed in sexual health education.”
Good Vibrations is a sex-positive adult toy company with an emphasis on sex education. “One of the reasons I’m excited that Good Vibrations is going to be on the panel is the idea of coming at sexual education not just from the factual element of health and safety, but from the perspective of pleasure,” says Goderez. “It’s the piece that’s missing the most from people’s education.”
Data from the Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy group dedicated to promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights, indicate why events like tonight’s are so important. They report that only 18 states and Washington, D.C., require that contraception information be provided in sex education classes, and only 12 states require discussion of sexual orientation, while 37 states require that abstinence information be provided.
According to Goderez, the lack of proper, standardized sex education stems from many factors. “A big problem is that in areas that are trying to provide good sex education,” they say, “the teachers aren’t even well-informed because of the ongoing history of lack of information.” In addition to the Q&A, tonight’s event will feature students performing skits or reading vignettes touching on subjects like sexual identity and relationships.
“Those conversations we know aren’t always pictured in the movies or seen in other kinds of pop culture,” says Mooney. “So it’s an opportunity for us to role-play some of those things and just make it a more normal part of the conversation on campus.”
Program evaluations show that Sex in the Dark makes a difference: 87 percent of students who come to the event say they feel more informed about their sexual health after attending, 85 percent say they are better prepared to talk about sexual issues with a partner, and 82 percent say they are more comfortable accessing sexual health resources on campus.
“We’re proud to see that it’s not only something fun for students to attend,” Mooney says, “but that they really leave the event feeling more informed and empowered.”
Sex in the Dark: A Glow-in-the-Dark Sexpert Panel is tonight, Monday, October 22, at 7 pm, in the School of Law Auditorium, 765 Commonwealth Ave. Doors open at 6 pm and students can visit various tables to learn about sexual health resources on and off campus and get glow-in-the-dark giveaways like bracelets, necklaces, and foam glow sticks. The event is free and open to BU students, faculty, and staff.
Sara Frazier can be reached at [email protected].
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