Renascence School Education News - private school

Saturday, March 28, 2015

More pupils have mental health issues, say school staff

BBC – Judith Burns

“More than half of 850 staff surveyed by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) agreed more pupils had developed problems. On Monday, the ATL’s annual conference will debate a call for more support for vulnerable pupils in schools. General secretary Dr Mary Bousted blamed “poverty, poor housing, unemployment and financial insecurity”. School staff have had to “plug the gaps in social care as best they can”, said Dr Bousted. Some 861 ATL members responded to the survey earlier this month. ‘Completely overwhelmed’ More than one in six said they believed at least a quarter of students in their school or college were affected by mental health problems. Almost 90% said staff have had to provide more support for these pupils over the past two years, while 43% said they had been finding it harder to access services for pupils with mental illness.”(more)

Twice as many boys start school ‘unable to speak properly’, report finds

The Telegraph – Javier Espinoza

“Boys are twice as likely as girls to start primary school unable to speak properly, a new report says. Speech problems include issues around pronunciation, language and structure of sentences and also the ability to express themselves properly, according an analysis made by the Early Intervention Foundation (EIF). Their analysis of 2014 government figures on early years showed some 40,000 girls and 82,000 boys lack personal, social and emotional development by the age of four. The charity expressed concerns about too many boys arriving for their first day of school without a broad range of skills needed to maximise their potential. Carey Oppenheim, EIF’s chief executive, said: “This can have damaging consequences which can last a lifetime. Especially as children with strong social, emotional and communication skills developed in childhood have a better chance of getting a good job and being healthy, than those who are just bright or clever.”(more)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

EveryDay Learners: Reading encourages brain development

Daily Herald – Claire Warnick

“Ben Carson is an internationally-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon and a prominent politician. He holds degrees from Yale and Johns Hopkins Medical School and his professional success is impressive. But Carson wasn’t always a stellar student. His autobiography, “Gifted Hands,” recounts how he struggled in school as a child. What changed his path? In the book, he said it was because his mother asked him to read at least two books a week. While Carson was hesitant at first, believing “that rule was impossible,” his interest in reading and his performance in school quickly improved. In the book, he explains that he started doing better not just in reading, but in all subjects…Reading prepares students for success in any subject, partly because every subject involves written instructions or information. But on a more fundamental level, reading leads the way to success because it changes the very structure of our minds.”(more)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Moving Smarter

News Herald – Juliann Talkington


Although a healthy diet and adequate sleep help prepare a child for a day of learning, experts now believe exercise is critical for academic success.


According to Dr. John Ratey, Harvard University MD and Clinical Psychology Professor, our body, including our brain, is designed to perform most efficiently when we move. We have perfected our hard-wired need to conserve energy and find high calorie foods, but have failed to maintain enough movement in our lives.


We are all culprits. We drive instead of walk; our kids sit in front of the TV or computer instead of playing tag, climbing trees, and digging up buried treasure; and we go the grocery store instead of tending a garden.


Deb Skaret, who holds a PhD in educational psychology from the University of Alberta, and long time student of the brain says there is a strong link between exercise and learning. In addition, she believes attention problems in children can be related to a lack of physical activity.


Dr. Ratey agrees, “Exercise helps us with patience, optimism, focus and motivation. Exercise is like a little bit of Ritalin and a little bit of Prozac. It increases the levels of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine and allows children to stay more focused, have less disruptive energy, and have less worries.”


He encourages “Time-In”, controlled physical activity on a stationary bike for example, rather than “Time-Out”, sitting quietly. He argues that the physical activity break allows the child time to “recover” and “control” his/her behavior.


According to Ratey, research also suggests a link between obesity and IQ. Obese children, who tend to be relatively physically inactive, have lower IQs than children of normal weight. So logically, a smart child with a weight problem could become smarter if he/she added more movement to his/her daily schedule.


Parent can also help with the process by shut off the TV, restricting video and computer time and encouraging daily activities that require their children to move.


So let’s get moving and get smarter!


Poverty can change kids’ brain chemistry, but educators in Spokane learned how to counteract it

The Seattle Times – Claudia Rowe

“As research mounts underscoring how ineffective school suspensions are for correcting student misbehavior, a parallel truth bears repeating: Some kids are not easy to handle. Often, they do a lot more than curse teachers or talk back, as the new film “Paper Tigers” shows. In it, James Redford (son of Robert) profiles a high school in Walla Walla that was full of kids who’d been kicked out of other programs. They threw chairs. They did drugs. They appeared unreachable. But when school leaders began to understand the role of trauma in students’ behavior, things changed. Brain-changing trauma isn’t limited to living in a war-torn country or watching your family killed. It can come from something as common as poverty. Or divorce. And it has powerful, long-lasting effects. This came to light through research by Robert Anda in the early 1990s. A physician at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who was studying cirrhosis of the liver and lifestyle-related cancers, Anda discovered that the vast majority of sufferers — 83 percent — had experienced some form of childhood trauma. He created a catch-all term for them — “Adverse Childhood Experiences,” or ACES.”(more)

Why have some American kids been paralyzed for a year? Doctors are trying to find out.

PRI – Jared Goyette

“Imagine you have a pre-adolescent son or daughter who comes down with what seems like a nasty case of the flu. Then, without warning, a new, more troublesome symptom develops: Your 8-year-old daughter collapses, unable to move her leg; your 6-year-old son suddenly stops moving his right arm. It lays limp by his side. It’s a nightmare scenario for any parent — and a sad reality for some. Those two scenarios actually happened to children who contracted the EV-D68 virus in the United States last fall. The enterovirus spread through the country in the second half of 2014. For most children, it seemed merely like a bad case of the flu. But for a group of about 100 kids, it came with a severe symptom: a polio-like paralysis in the arms and legs. EV-D68 isn’t a new virus, but paralysis had never been reported with the virus before. Doctors are still baffled by what caused it, and the children who experienced it have yet to fully recover.”(more)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Being bilingual really can put you in two minds: Researchers say people can have different personalities in each language

The U.K. Daily Mail – Mark Prigg

“Speaking two languages really could give you a split personality, researchers have found. They say that many speakers have entirely different personalities in each of the languages they speak. Previously research has even found those who are bilingual even see colours differently. ‘Rather than ask whether speakers of different languages have different minds, he says, ‘we ask, Can two different minds exist within one person?’ said psycholinguist Panos Athanasopoulos of Lancaster University. ‘The extent to which language affects this process has been the focus of a long-standing debate: Do different languages cause their speakers to behave differently?,’ the team wrote. ‘Here, we show that fluent German-English bilinguals categorize motion events according to the grammatical constraints of the language in which they operate. Athanasopoulos and colleagues were interested in a particular difference in how English and German speakers treat events.”(more)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Language May Change Perceptions of World

The Chosun Ilbo – Staff Writer

“A person’s language changes their perception of the world and others around them, a study seems to confirm. The study suggests that bilingual people’s perceptions change according to which language they use, which also means that learning a foreign language can change how people see the world around them. Panos Athanasopoulos of Lancaster University compared German and English speakers and found that English speakers place more importance on process, while German speakers value goals. Athanasopoulos asked 20 English and 20 German speakers to watch a series of video clips of a person walking or riding a bicycle and then say what they had seen.”(more)

Money, dream jobs, a better brain: why everyone should learn a second language

The Next Web – Kayla Matthews

“With more online learning resources available than we know what to do with, there’s really no reason for you to not know a second language. Being bilingual not only gives you some fun bragging rights, but it also makes you stand out in the increasingly competitive job market. Learning another language can pave the way for salary increases and open up tons of amazing job opportunities that would be far beyond reach for someone who only knows one language. But it doesn’t stop there. Did you know it can help keep your brain healthy, for longer? If you’ve ever considered learning a second language, below are just some of the many reasons why you should finally commit to becoming bilingual.”(more)

Friday, March 20, 2015

The gift of tongues: More languages gives kids better brains

The Northern Star – Hamish Broome

“THE days of non-English speaking immigrant children abandoning their parents’ languages are becoming a thing of the past, with experts agreeing that bilingualism is only a good thing…losing languages, it turns out, is a bad thing: Speaking more than one language is now seen as an asset for a country and an individual. In other regions, such as Europe, speaking up to six languages is not uncommon, or in Asia multiple dialects are understood by many. It’s also better for kids’ brain development…”Learning languages is a window to a whole new world,” Mr Spengler said. “It actually makes people more tolerant and respectful, instead of being afraid, scared or aggressive. It’s a richness in seeing the world from many different perspectives.”It’s good for Australia, not just for economic reasons but for social reasons.””(more)