18-28 Segment 1: Appreciating the Introvert

VP 18-28 A

 

Our culture celebrates the extrovert, the person who is the life of the party. But, the introvert, the one who often leaves the party early, also has a lot to offer. Todd Kashdan, Professor of Psychology at George Mason University and author of The Upside of Your Dark Side: Why Being Your Whole Self–Not Just Your “Good” Self–Drives Success and Fulfillment, and Sophia Dembling, introvert and author of the book The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World, discuss their thoughts on the value of introversion.

Kashdan defines introverts as those who like to spend time alone, are recharged by being alone, and are often easily overstimulated by their environment. Dembling says that this doesn’t mean that introverts are antisocial, stuck up, or shy. Rather, they have a different way of approaching the world and other people. Both guests encourage others to acknowledge the strengths that introverts can bring to the table, such as being good observers, being able to empathize, and picking up on nonverbal cues quickly.

When thinking of great leaders, most people think of the visible examples with charismatic and electric personalities. But, Kashdan says there have been plenty of introverted leaders who have different leadership strengths, like being prudent, being cautious, or controlling their emotions. Many introverts are capable of acting like extroverts for a time, but they are saturated by socialization faster. In fact, many actors are introverts. By portraying very social characters, they get the best of both worlds. Kashdan offers some tips for helping introverts enter stimulating environments better, such as playing music or being in nature to get in the right mindset beforehand.

For more information about introversion or about our guests, see the links below.

Guests:

  • Todd Kashdan, Professor of Psychology at George Mason University and author of The Upside of Your Dark Side: Why Being Your Whole Self–Not Just Your “Good” Self–Drives Success and Fulfillment
  •  Sophia Dembling, introvert and author of The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World

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18-28 Segment 2: Breaking Down The Pesky English Language

VP 18-28 B

 

We all know the rule: “I before E, except after C,” but it’s not applicable in “weird” or “science” or many other words. The English language has many exceptions to its rules, and these irregularities make it a difficult language to spell. Vivian Cook, Professor Emeritus of Applied Linguistics at Newcastle University and author of Accomodating Brocolli in the Cemetary: Or Why Can’t Anybody Spell, and Niall McLeod Waldman, author of Spelling Dearest: The Down and Dirty, Nitty-Gritty History of English Spelling, explain more about where these complex spelling rules come from and what can be done about it.

The English language is a melting pot of several languages all jumbled together over its long history. Combining the spelling and pronunciation of old English, French, Latin, Dutch, and others has produced a language with silent letters, varied spellings, and many exceptions to its rules. Some of the influences on the formation of the English language were the conquerors infiltrating the country, the church writing the books, and the academics refining the language.

Many people have brought up ways to change this problem and fix one of the most inconsistent language systems in the world. When the English language came to America, it became even more complex, because Noah Webster, trying to simplify English spellings, gave us two ways to spell the same words, “labour” or “labor” for example. Some have proposed a phonetic spelling, but with all the different accents in the world, Cook says it would do more harm than good. Waldman proposes adjusting the exceptions to fit the rules, in order to make the language more consistent. In any case, they both suggest that in future we create a set of rules to add consistency to new words entering the English language.

To learn more about our guests and their thoughts on the English language, visit the links below.

Guests:

  • Vivian Cook, Professor Emeritus of Applied Linguistics at Newcastle University and author of Accomodating Brocolli in the Cemetary: Or Why Can’t Anybody Spell
  •  Niall McLeod Waldman, author of Spelling Dearest: The Down and Dirty, Nitty-Gritty History of English Spelling

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18-27 Segment 1: American Illiteracy

VP 18-27 A

 

A third of all the children in the United States graduate the 8th grade with below-basic reading skills.  At this level of illiteracy, many of them are unprepared for the workplace or other factors of adult life. Dr. Mark Seidenberg, research professor in the department of psychology at University of Wisconsin-Madison and author of Language At The Speed of Sight: How We Read, Why So Many Can’t, and What Can Be Done About It, explains that this problem arises  from an improper understanding of how to teach reading, which itself comes from a disconnect between teachers and researchers.

While many teachers believe that  every child must be uniquely tailored to, the research shows that there is still a level at which children converge when learning to read, specifically how and what they need to learn. Dr. Susan B. Neuman, professor of childhood and literacy development at New York University, says that when a child starts to understand that the letters they see in the written word correspond to the sounds they know from spoken word, they begin to learn how to read. This practice of teaching how to decode language is called phonics and has often been ignored in traditional teaching methods. On the other hand, too much reliance on phonics can also be harmful. Dr. Marie Ann Donovan, associate professor of teaching education at DePaul University, encourages a balanced literacy approach, which includes a phonics component but also focuses on reading comprehension- learning to identify words, know what they mean, and put them together into sentences.

Parents often think that simply reading to their children will teach them to read. Although reading with your child prepares the way and motivates them, it isn’t enough by itself. Dr. Seidenburg says that no matter how hard it is, we need to focus on getting kids prepared for the real world with adequate reading levels. What we can do right now is to ask questions about what our teachers are taught and believe about the process of learning to read. Bridging the gap between education and research may be the first step to solving American illiteracy.

To learn more about literacy or about our guests, visit the links below.

Guests:

  • Dr. Mark Seidenberg, research professor in the department of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and author of Language At The Speed of Sight: How We Read, Why So Many Can’t and What Can Be Done About It 
  • Dr. Susan B. Neuman, professor at New York University
  • Dr. Marie Ann Donovan, associate professor at DePaul University

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18-27 Segment 2: Catholicism and the LGBT Community: One Priest’s Mission to ‘build a bridge’

VP 18-27 B

 

The LGBT community has often felt ostracized by various religious groups, specifically the Catholic Church. In 2013, Pope Francis made headlines by saying he wouldn’t judge homosexuals, which started a new process of reconciling the Catholic Church with the LGBT community. Reverend James Martin, SJ, a Jesuit priest and author of Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter Into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity, discusses how these two groups can treat each other with fairness and dignity

Martin points out that the church has always been opposed to same-sex relations because of homophobia. The Catholic Church and its members were often afraid of and made uncomfortable by gay people, and that was magnified by the church due to religious beliefs. As a result, many LGBT people have felt marginalized by the church. But, Martin says it is time to change this. He gives a few key pieces of advice to help include LGBT people into the Catholic Church. The most important thing, he says, is to listen to LGBT people and treat them like fellow human beings and fellow Catholics.

Martin encourages Catholics who have a prejudice against LGBT people to ask themselves one question: would I treat a straight person this way? In the Catholic Church, LGBT people are often put under a microscope for the sin of sexual immorality, while divorced people, or people living together before marriage, or people who have committed other sins get a ‘free pass.’ This selective focus on LGBT people and their sin is unfair, Martin says. Furthermore, he says, it’s important to make it clear that homosexuality is not a sin, because it’s not chosen. Especially when considering all the persecution that the LGBT community faces, Martin encourages his fellow Catholics to remember that we are all sinful and should not judge. By treating each other with respect and understanding, the LGBT community and the Catholic Church can bridge the conflict that has separated them for so long.

For more information about the Catholic Church and the LGBT community or to purchase of a copy of Martin’s book, see the links below.

Guest:

  • James Martin, SJ, Jesuit priest and author of Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity 

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18-26 Segment 1: American Detainment: Lessons to Learn From America’s Internment Camp Shame

VP 18-26 A (2)

 

In light of the recent outrage over the ‘zero tolerance’ immigration policy and the separation of families at the southern border, some people have made a comparison to the Japanese internment camps during World War II. Richard Cahan, photo historian, former Chicago Sun-Times editor, and author of Un-American: The Incarceration of Japanese Americans During World War II, discusses the history of these camps and what we should learn from them.

Cahan’s book is a photo history of the Japanese internment camps, showing the conditions of life as a prisoner of the camps and what came before and after. The internment of Japanese Americans is often brushed over in education and history, but the pictures and stories of this shameful event are both impossible to ignore and essential to our collective healing.  Cahan emphasizes that this act was completely un-American, going against what America stands for. In this time, when it appears many Americans have a similar mindset to the Americans during the early days of World War II, Cahan says we should be especially vigilant not to repeat our past mistakes.

During World War II, 110,000 Japanese Americans were forcibly removed from their homes and settled in small, barrack-like dwellings with very basic facilities and no privacy. Eleven weeks after Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the army to decide what to do with Japanese Americans. Because the army’s first concern is security and not civil liberties, the camps were a direct result of this decision. Right before the Supreme Court ruled that the camps were illegal, FDR opened them, and the Japanese Americans had to start over and resettle.

Seeing the reality of what happened in these internment camps should strike a warning bell in people’s minds, Cahan says. He encourages us to take a good look at our past history and learn from it.

To learn more about Japanese internment camps or to purchase a copy of Cahan’s book, visit the links below.

Guest:

  • Richard Cahan, photo historian, former Chicago Sun-Times editor, and author of Un-American: The Incarceration of Japanese Americans During World War II

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18-26 Segment 2: Maximizing Your Experience Traveling Internationally

VP 18-26 B

 

Many dream of traveling the world, but what do you do when you actually get there?Andrew Solomon, journalist and author of Far and Away: Reporting from the Brink of Change: Seven Continents, Twenty-Five Years, shares his thoughts, as an experienced world traveler, on the mindset we should bring with us to a foreign country.

Solomon emphasizes traveling with an open mind. While you should learn as much as possible about a culture before you visit, you should also be prepared to have your assumptions challenged when you see what it’s actually like. He also encourages travelers to make connections and build relationships with the people they visit, to keep from becoming a tourist watching a show. The only way to travel, he says, is to think about reciprocity, giving something back whether in the form of a relationship, information, participation, or generosity.

By becoming involved in cultural events, the traveler can create bonds of friendship and learn to understand a new culture. Solomon says that the people you are visiting are just as anxious to learn about you as you are about them. Not learning about a foreign culture can also have serious consequences, as Solomon demonstrates with a story of the Vietnam War. He also challenges the assumption many Americans have that all liberated people want democracy by default. By getting outside of the familiar, people can learn about who they are and what it’s like to live in a different country. These two things, Solomon says, could likely help resolve a lot of the diplomatic problems we face today.

To purchase a copy of Solomon’s book, visit the links below.

Guest:

  • Andrew Solomon, journalist and author of Far and Away: Reporting from the Brink of Change: Seven Continents, Twenty-Five Years

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18-25 Segment 1: Domestic Violence: How It Happens and How to Stop It

VP 18-25 A

 

Domestic violence statistics show that one in three females and one in four males will be the victim of physical or emotional abuse by an intimate partner over the course of their lifetime in the US. The immediate questions from these staggering statistics are why does this happen and what can be done to stop it? Dr. Shannon Karl, Associate Professor in the School of Psychology at Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and Dr. Jay Richards, forensic psychologist on the faculty of Washington University and Seattle University and author of the novel Silhouette of Virtue, discuss the answers to these essential questions about domestic violence.

The risk factors for becoming an abuser were found to be previous exposure to violence in the home, difficulty  managing emotions like anger, substance abuse, and other environmental and social stresses. While women can also be abusive, a study that profiled abusive men found that, stereotypically, they are egocentric, super ‘macho,’ and dominant, often projecting an aggressive masculinity. These traits are, in many cases, concealed during courtship, but Richards points out several signs that can give them away. Making an entitled demand on a woman’s time or activities is one such sign that this demand will later be enforced with violence. Karl says that children are especially at risk after having witnessed violence, as that can continue the cycle of domestic abuse later on in their own lives.

Domestic violence often functions in a cycle. Richards says that after the abuse the violent partner may feel regret and low self-esteem for what they have done.The aggressor then starts a make up cycle, causing their partner to stay in the unhealthy relationship. He suggests that for those seeking to get out of this situation, they must first find a safe and secure place to get away from the abuser and then seek outside help. A counseling center may be especially helpful, because secrecy helps domestic violence to continue.

Some progress is being made in how law enforcement and government are handling domestic violence, with strict fines and many different programs for counseling. Karl suggests for those seeking help to visit the National Coalition for Domestic Violence website or call the domestic violence hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.

To get help or to learn more about domestic violence and our guests, visit the links below.

Guests:

  • Dr. Shannon Karl, Associate Professor in the School of Psychology at Nova Southeastern University at Ft. Lauderdale, FL
  • Dr. Jay Richards, forensic psychologist on the faculty of Washington University and Seattle University and author of the novel Silhouette of Virtue

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