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The Issues: Why STEM Education Must Begin in Early Childhood Education

UNLV – Kelsey Hand

“Research has demonstrated that the drive to explore, interact, and observe in human beings begins in early childhood, long before middle and high school, and even before elementary school. At the same time, the nation’s economy is moving toward technologically based industries, creating growth in demand for workers proficient in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The question is, how can Nevada cultivate a generation of adults that is prepared to thrive in the 21st century economy? The answer is, begin recruiting and training them to serve in early childhood education capacities. Despite overwhelming evidence in support of this approach, high-quality STEM programming has not yet been incorporated into early childhood education.”(more)

Stunning: Teachers, students say little has really changed in education

E-School News – Laura Ascione

“One in four educators participating in a recent survey said their schools are “very traditional,” and findings indicate that these traditional approaches could be holding students and teachers back from more innovative experiences. The Schools of Hope survey, from learning experience design firm MeTEOR Education, queried more than 7,000 educators. Twenty-nine percent of surveyed educators indicated their schools are just beginning to integrate project-based, real-world learning approaches. Seventy-five percent of surveyed teachers reported a dedicated effort to move towards a more relationship-based, student-centered approach. Actual progress lags behind, however. Fewer than 40 percent of educators reported substantial efforts toward more flexible, project- and collaborative-based learning approaches that engage and empower students.”(more)

Children struggling to concentrate at school due to lack of sleep, MPs told

The Guardian – Sally Weale

“Sleep deprivation is a growing problem in schools, with pupils struggling to concentrate in lessons due to lack of sleep, MPs have been told. Edward Timpson, minister for children and families, highlighted the issue while being questioned by MPs who are investigating the role of education in preventing mental health problems in children and young people. Lack of sleep has been linked to children’s use of mobile phones and tablets late into the night, MPs sitting on the joint inquiry by the Commons health and education committees were told at Wednesday’s hearing.”(more)

Teacher encouragement ‘gives pupils long-term boost’

BBC – Judith Burns

“Encouragement from teachers is key to keeping pupils engaged with education after the age of 16, suggests a study of more than 4,000 students in England. Middle-ability students and those whose parents lack qualifications benefit most from positive feedback, according to the Cambridge University research. The students were tracked for seven years from the age of 13 onwards. This is the first study of its kind to quantify the effect of encouragement on pupils, says the university. “When people speak of a positive school experience, they frequently cite a personal relationship with a teacher and the encouragement they were given,” said report author Dr Ben Alcott.”(more)

Pediatrician Explains How Doing This One Thing Early Can Change A Child’s Life

The Huffington Post – Lisa Capretto

“Reading to your infant or young child is a beautiful bonding experience, but there’s far more happening in these literary moments beyond a parent and kid spending time together. In fact, explains pediatrician Jill Alexander, reading (or not reading) to children in the home can shape their entire academic future ― even if the little one is years away from going to school. Speaking about the vital importance of reading on the monthly series “The Hero Effect,” Alexander emphasizes why reading to babies and children who are so young can have such a long-term impact. “We know that 90 percent of brain development happens before a child is 5,” she says. “If we wait until kids are in school, it’s too late.” Children who are not read to in the home can suffer greatly once they enter school.”(more)

A New Kind Of March Madness Hits Schools

NPR – Kat Lansdorf

“March Mammal Madness was created five years ago by Katie Hinde, an evolutionary biologist at Arizona State University, though now, she says, the competition depends on a whole team of volunteer scientists and conservationists: biologists, animal behaviorists, paleoanthropologists, marine biologists. Hinde’s team meets every year for a Selection Sunday of its own. Team members pick the animals that will compete and even decide who will win, though they keep it a secret. That’s because a whole lot of research has to be done. Each scientist is assigned a specific battle, then studies up and writes a battle story based on facts. “Then the battles are live-tweeted as a dynamic, play-by-play story, much like someone would watch a basketball game,” Hinde says. Those tweets link to scientific articles, videos, photos, fossil records — whatever the team can use to drop knowledge into the story. That’s why so many teachers, including Michelle Harris, have begun using the brackets in class.”(more)

The most useful language for English speakers to learn, according to an economist

Quartz – Emily Oster

“First, let me say I don’t think you are thinking about this quite the right way. You asked me about what language would be most useful. This suggests you’re thinking about only one side of the choice: the benefit side. Making the optimal choice requires thinking about both benefits and costs. In this case, I’d argue there may be very different costs to acquiring proficiency in different languages. It is a lot harder for most English-speakers to learn Japanese than to learn Spanish. But let’s start with the benefits. The benefits of a new language arise from the new people you can interact with in your new language. If maximizing this was your only goal, Mandarin would be the best choice: This is the native language for 14% of the world’s population, and most of those people do not speak English, so it’s all a win.”(more)

Is Test-Based Accountability Dead?

Education Next – Jay P. Greene, Kevin Huffman and Morgan S. Polikoff

“Since the 2001 passage of the No Child Left Behind Act, test-based accountability has been an organizing principle—perhaps the organizing principle—of efforts to improve American schools. But lately, accountability has been under fire from many critics, including Common Core opponents and those calling for more multifaceted measures of teacher and school performance. And yet the Every Student Succeeds Act, NCLB’s successor law, still mandates standardized testing of students and requires states to have accountability systems. So: is accountability on the wane, or is it here to stay? If accountability is indeed dying, would its loss be good or bad for students?.”(more)

Can Grit Be Measured? Angela Duckworth Is Working on It

Ed Surge – George Anders

” Grit is important. Many K-12 educators and researchers all share that starting point. If children try hard, stay on task, and keep pressing through difficulties, good things happen. When school systems want to track the role of grit, or help instill it, however, everything gets trickier. Something as simple as testing students for grit…isn’t simple at all. The famous marshmallow test, developed in the late 1960s by Stanford psychologist Walter Mischel, is a clever way of assessing young children’s self-control, as seen by how long they can resist the temptation to grab a nearby snack. But the marshmallow test or its variants don’t scale; they are too intrusive and too time-consuming to be usable in a school district with many thousands of students.”(more)

Why repetition may hold key to helping children with specific language impairment

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“Simple repetition learning techniques could help young children struggling with language to learn vocabulary faster, according to the latest research from scientists from the UK and Germany. The study by Dr Jessica Horst of the University of Sussex and Professor Katharina Rohlfing of Paderborn University examined whether repeated storybook reading was beneficial to children who had been diagnosed with specific language impairment (SLI) in helping them to retain information and word recall compared to those who were developing at the typical rate for their age. Working with 3-year-old German children and building on the results from a 2011 study conducted at Sussex by Dr Horst, which found that preschool children do retain more new words through story repetition, the researchers discovered that the same was applicable to language-impaired children.”(more)