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Rob Matchett|Sociologist now contains a Teaching Portfolio page. On this page of the website, you can explore Rob’s teaching portfolio which includes his teaching philosophy, sample syllabi and assignments, guest lecture materials, and evaluations from students and faculty that he has worked with.

You can access this new content by clicking “Teaching Portfolio: on the navigation bar or by following this link.

Telling Fish to Climb Trees: Standardized Testing and its Flaws

 

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“Everybody is a Genius. But If You Judge a Fish by Its Ability to Climb a Tree, It Will Live Its Whole Life Believing that It is Stupid. “-Albert Einstein

One of my ongoing struggles is my performance on standardized test. In elementary school and middle school it was the PSSAs, in high school, it was the ACTs and SATs, and now that I am in college it is the GREs. One thing that these test all have in common aside from the fact that they are standardized is that the majority of them predicted that I wouldn’t do well where I was going. For middle school this wasn’t that big of a deal. However, in high school and , now in college as I am looking at advanced degrees this is a huge deal. I have proved time and time again that my test scores don’t speak to my intellectual abilities, yet I face the same struggles everytime I look for a new degree to persue. Admissions committees dont believe that I am a strong enough candiadate because this test says so.  We live in a society that puts so much emphasis on attaining degrees and building a career, but we regulate entry to these programs with a tool that systematically oppresses and discriminates against students who aren’t a part of the majority. In this blog post I will be discussing standardized test, what they are, and the limitations that they have in regards to predicting a student’s potential to perform well.

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Social Psychology and Disability

*** Originally Published on Engaged Sociology by IUP Department of Sociology***

        At some point in everyone’s life, they will either have known someone with a disability or have had a disability themselves. Disability can manifest from genetics, a spur of the moment injury or ailment, or as a result of the aging process. When we study disability what we see is a lot of intersectionality across race, gender, sex, sexual orientation, class, etc. and this is because disability doesn’t care about who you are or where you come from it is a natural part of life, and it can affect anybody, at any time. The onset of disability reminds people that they are not invisible or eternal, but they are in fact human. How does this reality impact our attitudes and perceptions of individuals with disabilities? What are challenges that individuals with disabilities face in regards to identity? How do individuals with disabilities embody their identity? These are all questions that can be answered through research in a subfield of sociology known as Social Psychology. Social Psychology is a subfield of Sociology that explores how feelings, thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, perceptions, intentions and goals are constructed and how these concepts contribute to our interactions with other people and environments. Social Psychology merges the disciplines of sociology and psychology together allowing the disciplines to share and create methodologies, and theoretical constructs. Social Psychologist study topics such as social structure and personality, expectations states theory, self-concept, self-esteem, symbolic interactionism, dramaturgical analysis, socialization, emotion, embodiment, and identity. By utilizing the concepts brought by the field of social psychology, disability scholars can better understand how individuals construct and embody their identity.

In this blog post, I will begin by conceptualizing the term disability. I will conceptualize the term disability by discussing combating definitions of disability. Then, I will introduce the social psychology of disability covering topics such as attitudes and perceptions, effects of stigma, and disability identity. Finally, I will end the blog post by summarizing the key points that were made throughout.

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National Coming Out Day

October 11th is National Coming Out Day, and this year I decided that I was going to share my story and officially come out on my own terms.

Two years ago, when I was an undergraduate, I worked at this job on campus that I really loved. It was such a big part of my life and I wanted to go to school so that I could advance to the next part of this job. I had worked up to being in the highest position that I could do as an undergrad, and I felt so great. I felt like I was on top of the world and nothing could bring me down because I had finally dealt with all of the adversity I faced and developed this sense of confidence.

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Physical Health VS Mental Health

Mental Health is “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and can contribute to his or her community” (WHO, 2001). Mental Health is made up of three components which include: emotional well-being, psychological well-being, and social well-being (CDC, 2013). Mental Health is an essential part of our lives, and just like we exercise to maintain our physical health, we must practice different strategies to maintain and strengthen our mental health. The problem with sustaining and improving our mental health is that starting when we are young we are socialized to believe that mental illness and emotional health are undervalued forms of illness. Individuals who have mental illness face the stigmas associated with receiving a diagnosis, which impacts their decision to seek out treatments. For some reason as humans, it is easier for us to accept that our bodies can be hurt than it is to think about our brains and our minds falling ill. The reality is though that the brain is an organ just like any other organ in your body and it can become sick. So How do we prevent our brains from becoming sick? What can we do to change the way society views mental illness and emotional health?

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Dimensions of Hate: Exploring the Pyrimid of Hate

Introduction

Part of my background at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), was working as a Head/Community Assistant (H/CA) for the Office of Housing Residential Living and Dining (OHRLD). Part of that experience was week-long training that would prepare us for what we would encounter when we were working in the residential facilities. It was there in those training sessions, specifically the diversity rounds, where I was exposed to what is known as the “Pyramid of Hate.”

Pyramid of Hate

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The Monster in the Closet: Issues of Childhood Trauma, Codependency and Addiction

*** Originally Published on Engaged Sociology by IUP Department of Sociology***

Author Note: ***Before I begin the paper I want to introduce a case study about a fictional boy named Max. I want to emphasize that this story is a fictional case study created to show how childhood trauma impacts an individual’s development, it will be referred to throughout the paper several times. ***

Max’s Story

Max’s story is one that I hold close to my heart because Max is this kid who grew up to be an amazing person. Despite the adversity that he faced he decided to dedicate his life to service and education. When people look at Max today, they see the exact person I described to you; they would never guess for one second that Max was someone who had grown up in a dysfunctional family, experiencing childhood trauma. They tell Max about how good of a person he is, and about all of the good things that he has done, and they praise him for his accomplishments. However, Max does not feel like he accomplished anything. When he hears these praises, he feels numb. He feels like his work, no matter how great it was, wasn’t as good as the other people around him.  To understand why Max felt this way we need to look at a few events in Max’s life starting with things that happened while Max was in school.

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