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How learning a second language gives jobseekers an advantage

Australia News – Melanie Burgess

“IN an increasingly globalised world, colleagues, clients, customers and stakeholders do not always speak the one language. Knowing a foreign language can make many jobs easier and give businesses and jobseekers a competitive edge. The skill is particularly useful in people-facing roles such as in hospitality, care and sales. It is also beneficial when detailed explanations are required, such as in medical, educational and legal fields. But it could be used in industries as broad as trades and IT.”(more)

From concept to classroom – STEM research

Teacher Magazine – Jo Earp

“While the need for STEM-related expertise in the workforce is growing, the number of students choosing STEM subjects at secondary and tertiary level in Australia is stagnating. Although decisions about future pathways are made later on in a student’s school career, teachers in the primary years have an important role to play. A new review offers practical ideas for primary STEM teaching. Translating STEM education research into practice also looks at useful programs for teachers and frameworks for curriculum integration. ‘STEM education can begin from the earliest years and fundamental STEM skills should be established in primary school. The primary years are a time where students are developing a self-belief in their ability as a STEM learner,’ author Christine Rosicka says.”(more)

New study demonstrates link between music and statistical learning

The Sydney Morning Herald – Bridie Smith

“The results showed that children exposed to at least a year and a half of private music lessons have an edge when it comes to detecting patterns in the world around us, with musical instrument training making their brains better at statistical learning. “This is a key building block of learning a language, learning to read and also learning a second language,” Dr Mandikal-Vasuki said. “It’s a fundamental ability.” The results outlined in the journal Clinical Neurophysiology suggests that music-based therapies could potentially be used to treat specific learning impairments.”(more)

What languages should children be learning to get ahead?

The Conversation – Warren Midgley

“There are 7,099 known languages in the world today. Choosing which of these to teach our children as a second language is an important decision, but one that may be based more on feelings than facts. There are several different ways of thinking about what languages we should offer at school. Research suggests that Australian school children may not be studying the right ones.”(more)

Financial literacy programs need to get real

Eureka Street – Rachel Kurzyp

“Most young people grow up hearing that if you spend less money than you earn, and save a nice percentage of your earnings each week, all your financial problems will be solved. While that’s nice in theory, our financial literacy programs are just that; theory. The National Financial Literacy Strategy 2014-17 defines financial literacy as ‘the combination of financial knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours necessary to make sound financial decisions, based on personal circumstances, to improve wellbeing’. Put in action, financial literacy means individuals are able to ‘understand and negotiate the financial landscape, manage money and financial risks effectively, and pursue and attain financial and lifestyle goals’. It is a core skill and, thanks to increasing tertiary education costs, rising job insecurity and high housing costs, it’s a skill young Australians need to master earlier than their parents did.”(more)

Study finds cash and coins help engage primary maths students

Phys.Org – Nancy Szokan

“Primary school students are more likely to understand and engage with maths if classes use real money and real-life projects, according to a Western Sydney University pilot study. The findings come as Australian students lag behind other countries in maths, with Year 4 students dropping from 18th to 28th out of 49 countries in year 4 maths in the latest Trends in International Mathematics and Science study. The project leader, Associate Professor Catherine Attard from the School of Education, says the pilot study aimed to tackle one of the most common complaints about maths classes- that they lack relevance outside school. “Students expect to be taught information that is meaningful and makes sense to them,” says Dr Attard. “This can present a problem when teaching mathematics, because some content and approaches in school are often radically different to everyday maths students use in real life.” “To remedy this, we worked with teachers to provide new and purposeful learning activities and projects based on financial topics such as value for money, profit and loss, loans and credit cards.” Funded by Financial Literacy Australia, the study investigated whether children would be more involved with mathematics if lessons focussed on financial literacy through hands-on activities dealing with real money.”(more)