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UK’s Mandarin Learners Head for Top of Class in Other Subjects

Women of China – Su Yilin

“Mandarin learning in British classrooms is enhancing the ability of students to perform well in other subjects, including English and mathematics, according to a new survey released on Friday. The report shows 89 percent of students studying Mandarin at schools taking part in the survey achieved GCSE Grade 5 or better in English. In comparison, among students at the same schools who were not learning Mandarin, only 72 percent earned GCSE Grade 5 or better in English. Similarly, 87 percent of students learning Mandarin achieved GCSE Grade 5 or above in mathematics, while only 61 percent made the grade among students not studying Mandarin.” (more)

Should children be banned from using mobile phones in the classroom?

The Guardian – Anne Longfield and Carolyn Roberts

“Many have seen the debate framed by France’s decision to ban mobile phones in schools from September this year. The fact is schools here are unlikely to respond well to an edict from on high, nor does the question have to be about mobile phones, but specifically smartphones. There is a pretty persuasive argument for urging all schools to go smartphone-free. I have never argued the internet is a bad thing, it’s a fabulous resource for children but the fact is that it wasn’t designed with them in mind, and overuse or misuse of it does present some clear problems for children.” (more)

A story about Harry Kane and Russian history is inspiring schoolkids to read

The Guardian – Richard Foster

“Amid the avalanche of words written for football fans during the World Cup, perhaps the most unusual and original will be those created by children’s author Tom Palmer. Unlike the reporters and pundits who are documenting events in Russia, Palmer has a very particular mission. Throughout the tournament he is posting daily entries of a story called Defenders: Russia, a tale that mixes fact and fiction and is aimed at a group of young people who are classed as “reluctant readers”.” (more)

The Guardian view on mobile phones: schools are better without them

The Guardian – Editorial

“There are three kinds of damage that mobile phones can do in the playground and schools are right to tackle them. The most obvious may be the least serious: some games and apps are so overwhelmingly attractive when they first appear that unhappy children can be entirely swept away in them. Fortnite is the latest craze of this sort. Before that there were birds, variously angry and flappy. All these crazes evaporate in time and are replaced by others. The market is just too rewarding for those who get it right. On the whole, though, these problems are self-regulating. The second problem, which is not of course confined to school hours, is that social networks make bullying and cliquishness easier and perhaps more attractive. They make grownups behave like petulant teenagers and real teenagers have fewer defences against their own worst impulses. Schools are right to try to defend themselves and their pupils against such influences.” (more)

Children face mental health epidemic, say teachers

The Guardian – Denis Campbell

“Britain’s schoolchildren are suffering from an epidemic of anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts, yet barely half get the NHS treatment they need, teachers say. Almost four in five (78%) teachers have seen a pupil struggle with a mental health problem in the past year, with one in seven (14%) cases involving suicidal thoughts or behaviour.” (more)

Parents urged to set boundaries around children’s use of the internet

The Guardian – Sally Weale

“The culture secretary has said it is up to parents to set boundaries around their children’s use of the internet and has condemned unlimited and unsupervised access to smartphones. Matt Hancock, whose brief includes digital issues, agreed parenting in the digital era was difficult but he said it was not impossible and he urged parents to set boundaries around new technology in the same way they have always set boundaries for their children.” (more)