At what age is it easiest to learn a second language?

The Conversation – Monika Schmid

“If you want to learn a foreign language, should you begin before a certain age in order to fully master it? Popular opinion holds that young children find it easier than adults because childhood is a “critical period” for language learning. It has been difficult to prove this, but new research published by my colleagues and me, using brainscans and innovative statistical methods, does indeed suggest that our capacity to learn a language diminishes gradually over our lives. The familiar mantra that children immersed in a language “soak it up like a sponge”, while adults apparently do not, is not in itself proof of the existence of a critical period for language learning. But it is both easier and more important for children to quickly become good in a second language they hear spoken around them.”(more)

How Has Google Affected The Way Students Learn?

KQED News Mind/Shift – Zhai Yun Tan

“Take a look at this question: How do modern novels represent the characteristics of humanity? If you were tasked with answering it, what would your first step be? Would you scribble down your thoughts — or would you Google it? Terry Heick, a former English teacher in Kentucky, had a surprising revelation when his eighth- and ninth-grade students quickly turned to Google. “What they would do is they would start Googling the question, ‘How does a novel represent humanity?’ ” Heick says. “That was a real eye-opener to me.” For those of us who grew up with search engines, especially Google, at our fingertips — looking at all of you millennials and post-millennials — this might seem intuitive. We grew up having our questions instantly answered as long as we had access to the Internet.”(more)

How to teach … Valentine’s Day

The Guardian – Zofia Niemtus

“Yes, yes, we know that Valentine’s Day is rubbish. Any magic the annual love-in has is rooted in its power to turn vast piles of cash into glitter, red satin and heart-shaped paraphernalia. And yet when a school in Weston-super-Mare tried to ban Valentine’s Day cards, there was uproar. You need to face up to it: Valentine’s Day is probably going to happen in your school. So how can you ensure that Cupid’s arrows aren’t too much of a pain?.”(more)

How An Elimination Diet May Improve Your Child’s Health

CBS Miami – Maya Shetreat-Klein, MD

“Many children in my practice improve tremendously from any number of conditions—asthma, eczema, constipation, headaches, ADHD, seizures—when we remove foods that bother their bodies. Unfortunately, traditional allergy tests don’t always tell the whole story of food reactivity. The best way to determine whether a food contributes to your child’s symptoms—whether allergy, sensitivity, or otherwise—is to eliminate it from his or her diet for a month and then reintroduce it to see if the worrisome symptoms recur.”(more)

Lesson: Turn Your Students Into Pronoun Pros

Education World – Staff Writer

“Most everyone knows of pronouns, but sometimes K-12 students of all ages need reminders and teachers need to determine if their students have a thoroughly solid comprehension of them. Through using the resources presented in this article, you can aid your students in developing a true understanding of pronouns and enhancing their grammar skills in the process. In addition to the pronoun resources, we’re also including some bonus material on common grammatical errors and frequently misspelled words.”(more)

Adaptive Learning’s Potential and Pitfalls

Ed Surge- Tony Wan

” “Adaptive learning.” Two words that have haunted headlines and press releases ever since I started this job in 2011—and likely even before then. Everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone says they’re doing it too. But there are plenty of misconceptions and a lack of shared understanding between schools and companies about what “adaptive learning” actually means. At our SF Edtech Meetup on Feb. 4, we asked six practitioners from the entrepreneur, educator and investor communities to share their joys, pains and lessons learned from building and working with these tools. Here’s what they had to say.”(more)