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Tired teens 4.5 times more likely to commit crimes as adults

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“Teenagers who self-report feeling drowsy mid-afternoon also tend to exhibit more anti-social behavior such as lying, cheating, stealing and fighting. Now, research from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of York, in the United Kingdom, shows that those same teens are 4.5 times more likely to commit violent crimes a decade and a half later. “It’s the first study to our knowledge to show that daytime sleepiness during teenage years are associated with criminal offending 14 years later,” said Adrian Raine, the Richard Perry University Professor with appointments in the departments of Criminology and Psychology in the School of Arts & Sciences and the Department of Psychiatry in Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine.”(more)

How to teach your children to be self-sufficient

The Star – Danielle Braff

“A Pew Research Center study found that nearly a quarter of 25- to 34-year-olds are living with their parents or grandparents, up from 11 per cent in 1980. And another Pew study shows that about three-quarters of adults with at least one grown child said they had financially supported that child within the last year. Half of those said they were their grown child’s primary means of support. It may seem extreme to believe that simply failing to be self-sufficient as a child can lead to financial instability and the inability to leave the nest in your 20s, but experts said there’s a link. “Helping children to acquire the skills to be self-sufficient also helps them be self-sufficient adults,” said Gina Lofquist, senior director of teacher education at the American Montessori Society.”(more)

Cepeda: Don’t tell your children that you’re not good at math

Pantagraph – Esther J. Cepeda

“There is an emerging education trend I’ve noticed that will hopefully sweep the nation: Asking the adults in children’s lives to not bad-mouth themselves about math. The first time I noticed it was several years ago at an orientation for parents at my younger son’s new middle school. The principal was trying to explain that the math standards on the statewide achievement test were going up and that it might be noticeable in work that was coming home at night. “Please encourage your children,” the administrator pleaded. “If you find that you are unable to help with the homework, know that we will have extra supports available for any students who need them. But please don’t say that you are not good at math. Or that math is ‘hard’ or you don’t understand why it all has to be so complicated.” More recently, an administrator at one of my local high schools had the same message for teachers: Don’t go around saying you’re not good at math.”(more)

Almost two-thirds of children worry ‘all the time’

BBC – Judith Burns

“At nine, Tom was so worried about not being able to do his class work that he kept running out of the school gates. More than once he tried to escape out of a first-floor window, convinced his teacher was criticising him. He is not alone – research among 700 children aged 10 and 11 for the mental-health charity Place2Be suggests almost two-thirds worry “all the time”. Concerns about family and friends and fear of failing at school are the top causes of anxiety, says the charity.”(more)

Physically active children are less depressed

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“Previous studies have shown that adults and young people who are physically active have a lower risk of developing depression. But the same effect has not been studied in children – until now. Results from a new study are showing that children receive the same beneficial effect from being active. We’re talking about moderate to vigorous physical activity that leaves kids sweaty or out of breath. Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and NTNU Social Research have followed hundreds of children over four years to see if they could find a correlation between physical activity and symptoms of depression.”(more)

Separate cooperative and basic skills education

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

Cooperative learning first gained traction as an instructional method in the 1970s and was widely implemented in K-12 classrooms by the 1990s. It is based on the premise that collaborative participation creates an enhanced learning experience. Proponents of this teaching strategy site improved student communication, heightened oral skill development, more advanced learning, and enhanced student responsibility.

Cooperative learning, however, is not without challenges. One of the biggest obstacles to effective cooperative learning is a negative group dynamic. Conflicts between individuals can reduce a group’s ability to work together and problems are magnified when members are too immature to adequately resolve conflicts. To make matters more challenging, personality mismatches can stall learning even when no overt conflicts are present. In addition, assertive students often move into leadership roles even when they are not best suited to direct a project.

Beyond personality issues, cooperative learning can also result in uneven workloads. When this type of learning is working efficiently, students support and inspire one another. Everyone has a similar workload and everyone learns. In many instances, however, more advanced students take over projects rather than spending extra time to help struggling students. In addition, unmotivated students often rely on more conscientious team members to complete required work. The result is not only an uneven workload but also uneven learning that leaves struggling students behind, permits lazy students to slide by, and allows more advanced students to stagnate.

Also, student evaluations for group assignments are challenging. It is often impossible to evaluate group members individually. This can result in all group members receiving the same grade regardless of how much they participated and contributed. In addition to artificially high or low marks, it is difficult to determine gaps in student understanding. This proficiency issue is particularly problematic in subjects like math, science, grammar, and writing where learning is cumulative.

It is not that the skills associated with cooperative learning are not important, but that the academic classroom may not be the best place to teach these skills. Instead of compromising basic learning in science, language arts, math, history, and foreign language we should consider using electives for collaborative activities. In addition, we should give students credit for sports, theater, makerspace (cooperative technical and art gatherings), and other group activities that occur after school hours. This approach would provide kids with an opportunity to build both basic educational and soft skills that are critical for success later in life.