Renascence School Education News - private school

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Advice for raising bilingual kids

The Latin Post – Jeanne Kim

“The list of benefits bilingualism brings isn’t getting shorter any time soon. Cognitively bilingual people are better able to switch between tasks, have increased problem solving capabilities, and can learn a third language more easily. For working adults, bilingualism can open more doors with jobs, and for the elderly can possibly delay dementia, including Alzheimer’s. But raising kids to speak a second language is tough, even when parents bring a heritage language into the family home. For me, growing up in English-language dominated Hong Kong, my parents had to actively help me learn their native Korean. Later, when we moved to Seoul, the challenge became helping me balance using English with friends and at school (where I spent a good portion of my time) with speaking Korean at home and in public spaces. Whatever your circumstances, here are a few tips on helping your children grow up bilingual, based on expert advice and personal experience.”(more)

Many Key US States Lack Early Development Plans for Dual Language Learners

The Latin Post – Nicole Akoukou Thompson

“Dual language learners have increased massively within the last few years, due greatly to immigration and the organic growth of Spanish-dominate U.S. born Latinos. That said, there’s evidence that identifying and supporting bilingual or multilingual students earlier in their cognitive development/educational process does not seem to be a state or national priority, although it can make all the difference in their future. Very few states demand early language assessments in early education programs, according to a new webinar by the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) and the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), titled “Young Immigrants and Dual Language Learners: Participation in Pre-K & Gaps at Kindergarten Entry.” A meager 40 percent of pre-K programs in 40 states require language assessment and the screening of children enrolled in those programs. Even less (38 percent) utilize home language surveys to pre-screen children or implement policies that make translators and bilingual staff accessible (30 percent).”(more)

Unexpected Tools That are Influencing the Future of Education

KQED – Katrina Schwartz

“Teachers have long known that struggles in the classroom are often a reflection of society as much as of academic ability. And beyond the many challenges related to rising poverty rates, there is the uniquely confusing moment in which society finds itself. Around the globe, economies are shifting away from machine-focused industries and toward human-powered creative industries. Many adults are caught in the middle of this awkward shift, educated for the industrial age but trying to make a living in the information age. In an uncertain moment, they can be nervous about letting young people find their own way forward. John Abbott, director of the 21st Century Learning Initiative, has thought a lot about these issues and surmises that society must decide what it wants to be: interconnected individuals responsible to a community or a world filled with “consumers,” dependent on products, services and authority figures. Shifting to an education model that produces people who thrive on interconnectivity will take a dramatic revisioning of society. But that type of shift might be just what is required to ensure that the education children receive in the future meets that dramatically different end goal.”(more)

Guest post: Arts Education — A Vital Part of Our Society?

The Mercury News – Theresa Harrington

“What do you think of when you think of ‘Performing Arts’ in schools? Fledgling musicians butchering classical music? … High school musicals where 10 percent of the show isn’t cringe-worthy because one of the lead performers can actually sing? If you said yes to any of the above, you would probably agree with Daniel Gomes, school board president for Contra Costa County who said on (Jan. 14): ‘It’s well and good that arts, and performing arts especially, are part of our society, but they’re not the vital part of our society.’ Following this, the school board unanimously voted down the proposal of a charter performing arts magnet.”(more)

Bill Gates believes Big History will revolutionize education; critics find the approach ‘alarming’

Oregon Live – Claudia Rowe

“So with Big History, all course subjects essentially become one: the history of everything. The course starts with the Big Bang and rolls forward at a blistering pace, taking in many decades or even epochs in a single class period. Big History, Christian wrote, is “a wonderful way of getting a sense of our place in the overall scheme of things, according to the best available scientific knowledge.” “Big history tries to look at the past on all scales, from those of conventional history up to those of cosmology,” he says. Bill Gates, for one, is sold on the approach. The billionaire Microsoft co-founder happened to catch Christian’s Big History DVD series while on his treadmill one morning and was riveted by the charismatic professor. “I just loved it,” he told the New York Times last fall. “It was very clarifying for me. I thought, ‘God, everybody should watch this thing!'” More than that, he concluded that every high-school student should learn this way. He decided to fund Christian’s vision, committing $10 million for course development, teacher training and a push to get the approach into American high schools.”(more)

In school discipline, intervention may work better than punishment

The Seattle Times – Claudia Rowe

“After a decade in classrooms, cheering on young people and believing in their progress, David Levine’s faith finally wilted. Three of his top students had walked into the front office at Big Picture High School reeking of marijuana at the precise moment that a donor stopped by with a $1,000 grant for new sound equipment. Years ago, Levine might have recommended suspension for each young woman. Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time, went his general thinking, right in line with prevailing American beliefs. But discipline at Big Picture in the Highline School District has changed. In the process, its teachers have, too. Rule breaking is now treated as harm done to a relationship — in this case, that between Levine and his students — rather than a reason to mete out punishment. Instead of sending the three smokers home with a litany of their failings, Levine sat face to face with each, explaining what it felt like to have his trust violated. He read them testimony from other teachers, who spoke of their belief in the young women — how they had a chance to go to college, build a career, leave their difficult family lives behind. By the end of her hourlong conference, 18-year-old Monae Trevino was weeping.”(more)

Million Women Mentors Movement Guiding Females to STEM Careers

Diverse Education – Jamaal Abdul-Alim

“When Kate Lindsey took over her late husband’s construction firm, one of the first things she did was ask the firm’s 22 women engineers to identify the biggest determent they faced going into the field of construction and engineering. At least two indicated that it was the college instructors who served as their advisers, Lindsey recently told the Women Mayors Caucus of the United States Conference of Mayors. “My college guidance counselor told me that construction isn’t a field for women,” Lindsey recounted, paraphrasing what the female engineers told her when she surveyed them at Alpha Corporation, an international construction and engineering firm headquartered in Dulles, Virginia. “I was shocked,” Lindsey said. “It tells me we need to do a better job of educating professors on what they deliver as a message to their students.” The discouragement that females may face in higher education and elsewhere as they seek to enter fields such as engineering is one reason that Lindsey has lent her firm’s support to Million Women Mentors, a nationwide movement that is designed to mobilize a million STEM mentors to encourage and guide girls and young women into STEM careers.”(more)

New SAT, New Problems

The Atlantic – James S. Murphy

“In his announcement last spring that a new version of the SAT would be launched in 2016, The College Board President David Coleman drew on a favorite buzzword: opportunity. In his speech, Coleman finally acknowledged the common criticism that the current SAT has little to do with the work students do in high school and will do in college. He promised that the redesigned test would be more in tune with what happens in the classroom. “No longer will the SAT stand apart from the work of teachers in their classrooms,” he said. The preview last week of 94 sample questions—half of which were previously released—from the redesigned test helps reveal whether the new SAT will deliver on its promise. Early indicators are not encouraging. The new test will correspond with the Common Core Standards—the controversial math and reading benchmarks whose design and implementation Coleman happened to spearhead before taking over the College Board. That means the new SAT could have the opposite of its intended effect, at least in the near term, closing opportunities for students who aren’t yet well-versed in the standards. Kids who lack access to in-person test preparation from tutors like me—who are trained to analyze the new test material and develop strategies for raising scores—could also suffer. The most vulnerable students are those who live in low-income areas or don’t speak English as a first language.”(more)

Don’t Confuse Jargon with Rigor

Education Next – Robert Pondiscio

“At Inside Schools, a website for parents covering New York City schools, reporter Lydie Raschka visits a dozen elementary schools and comes away concerned. “[I] saw firsthand how hard teachers are working to meet the new Common Core standards for reading,” she writes. “I also saw precious time wasted, as teachers seemed to confuse harder standards with puzzling language.” A striking example: At the teacher’s prompting, a kindergartner at PS 251 in Queens tries to define “text evidence” for the rest of the class. “Test ed-i-dence,” says the 5-year-old, tripping over the unfamiliar words, “is something when you say the word and show the picture. “Text evidence?” What’s with this incomprehensible jargon in kindergarten? What indeed. Raschka is absolutely correct to criticize the use of such arcane language and the practice of asking five-year-olds to toss around phrases like “text evidence” in kindergarten. Where I think she’s mistaken is in attributing it to Common Core.”(more)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Learning A New Language Helps Kids Better Understand Psychology, Diversity

The Medical Daily – Stephen Castillo

“There are several benefits of learning a new language, the latest being it promotes a better understanding (and acceptance of) psychology and diversity. The study, published in Developmental Science, tested a total of 48 study 5- and 6-year-olds who were either monolingual, simultaneous bilingual (learning two languages at once), and sequential bilingual (learning one language, then another). Researchers told the kids stories of English babies adopted by Italians and ducks raised by dogs. Afterwards, researchers asked kids if the babies would grow up to speak English or Italian and the ducks to quack or bark. Krista Byers-Heinlein, lead study author and a member of the Centre for Research in Human Development in Montreal, said in a press release that she predicted the sequential bilinguals’ personal experience of learning languages would help them understand human language is learned, while traits, such as animal vocalizations, were innate. While the first part of her hypothesis was true — sequential bilinguals believed babies raised Italian would speak Italian — they also believed this to be the case for the ducks. Not only did they think ducks raised by dogs would bark, but they also believed ducks would run instead of fly. Despite this, bilinguals were found to have an advantage.”(more)