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U.S. Parents and Teachers Agree Kindness is Essential for Success, Sesame Workshop Survey Finds

Education World – Nicole Gorman

“In coordination with October being National Bullying Prevention Month, a new survey commissioned by the Sesame Workshop provides insight into teacher and parent opinions on both kindness and empathy. The survey found that while both U.S. teachers and parents agree that kindness is essential for any child’s future success, both worry that the world is an “unkind place for children.” According to the Sesame Workshop, the survey highlights a growing need and want for social-emotional learning in schools. “This survey confirms our concerns. It is time to have a national conversation about kindness. We hope that this is a first step towards doing that,” said Sesame Workshop CEO, Jeffrey D. Dunn in a statement.”(more)

Education on dialogue imperative

News Herald – Juliann Talkington


In human societies there will always be differences of views and interests. But the reality today is that we are all interdependent and have to co-exist…. Therefore, the only sensible and intelligent way of resolving differences and clashes of interests, whether between individuals or nations, is through dialogue. – Dalai Lama

Many people find it challenging to converse about subjects that matter deeply to them without getting into a dispute. As a result, public discourse about divisive issues is often characterized by destructive debate that eventually leads to division and violence.

Social media seems to have exacerbated this problem. Before the era of electronic profiles and discussions, communication was face to face, by phone, via email, or in writing. People could select written materials of interest to them and most people were careful to communicate their political and/or social views in ways that were not offensive to those around them.

Now many people log their societal and political viewpoints in social media posts without the normal inhibitions that control they way they communicate in person. Many times the comments are personal attacks rather than ideas. In addition, the caustic comments are continually linked to a person in a visual way that tends to alienate friends and acquaintances that have different views.

While it is comforting to have supporters, it is also important to have outside input. As a result, it is imperative that we find ways to encourage dialogue. For this to happen, people need the freedom to express their viewpoints, regardless of how unconventional or radical, the wisdom and skill to present those ideas in diplomatic ways, and a willingness to listen to opposing viewpoints.

Unfortunately, these skills cannot be learned by osmosis, but must be honed over many years. With the increased focus on standardized tests, many of the classes where students learned to participate in dialog through the discussion on complex topics like firearms, law enforcement, war, race, controlled substances, social programs, gender, corruption, religion, incarceration, media and money, etc. have been removed from school offerings.

Even though these classes are challenging to teach and require government entities to turn a blind eye, students need exposure to topics that have a variety of viewpoints and so they can learn how to effectively communicate with others for the collective good.

If we allow freedom of speech and provide education on effective dialogue, perhaps we can limit the division and violence that is prevalent in the U.S. today.

How to talk with kids about traumatic events

Medical X-Press – Betheny Gross

“When terrible events, such as the terrorist events days ago in New York and New Jersey, following the attacks in Nice, France, and Orlando, Florida, occur, children and adolescents can become emotionally unsettled. News reports, conversations between adults overheard and law enforcement activities witnessed firsthand, can impact youngsters’ attitudes, thoughts and behavior to the point that professional intervention may be needed, according to Traumatic Loss Coalitions for Youth (TLC), New Jersey’s primary youth suicide prevention program at Rutgers’ University Behavioral Health Care. TLC is funded by the New Jersey Department of Children and Families, Division of Family and Community Partnerships, Office of School Linked Services.”(more)

Sleep Habits Can Predict Teen Drinking, Marijuana Use, Study Says

Medical Daily – Mary Pascaline Dharshini

“A study has found that sleep quality and sleep duration in late childhood can predict alcohol and drug use later in adolescence. The study, published Monday in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, was led by researchers from the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine and the Pitt Department of Psychology. “Treating problems with drugs and alcohol once they exist and preventing them can be challenging, and we are always looking for modifiable risk factors,” lead author of the study Brant P. Hasler said in a statement. “Doing what we can to ensure sufficient sleep duration and improve sleep quality during late childhood may have benefits in terms of reducing the use of these substances later in life.” Researchers studied 186 boys from western Pennsylvania. They analyzed the responses to the Child Sleep Questionnaire that the boys’ mothers completed, which is also part of a larger research that looks into the vulnerability and resilience of low-income boys.”(more)

Teenage hormones ‘turn pupils off school for three years’

BBC – Judith Burns

“Adolescence and boredom can turn pupils off learning for three years in early secondary school, suggests a study. The overwhelming majority of pupils start secondary school with “initial enthusiasm” but this wanes during the first two years, figures suggest. The proportion who “feel good about school” falls 10 percentage points to 84% between ages seven and 14, suggests a GL Assessment poll of 32,000 pupils. Head teachers’ leaders said schools were working hard to address the issue.”(more)

Bullying Due to Obesity Carries Emotional Effects

Education News – Jace Harr

“A new study has found that discrimination against and bullying of overweight sixth graders can lead to emotional problems by the end of the eighth grade. Many anti-obesity programs, including the ones that are school-based, focus on personal responsibility for weight management, leading to cultural ideas that harm overweight people. Jaana Juvonen, Ph.D., lead author of the study and professor of developmental psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles, said…”(more)