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Musical learning and the brain

The Concordian – Elise Martin

“Lucía Vaquero and Virginia Penhune, researchers in Concordia’s Department of Psychology, recently published a study in NeuroImage that reveals the link between the structure and size of white matter in the brain and the learning of melody and rhythm. “We wanted to explore music learning in non-musicians, because there had been previous investigations linking structural connectivity to music learning and music practice, but [only] in musicians compared to non-musicians,” said Vaquero.” (more)

The whole day matters for cognitive development in children

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“In a new study, researchers at the CHEO Research Institute have found that children aged nine and 10 who meet recommendations in the Canadian 24-hour Movement Guidelines for physical activity, screen time and sleep time have superior global cognition. The results were published today in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal.” (more)

Testing Reformed

Language Magazine – Lance Knowles

“A major benefit of the technology revolution in education is the ability to monitor student learning activities in much greater detail than previously possible. Not only can we measure progress, but we can, for the first time, measure the quality and efficiency of the learning process. This article presents some of the innovations we have developed for our English language learning programs, which are now used in more than 50 countries.” (more)

Two languages are better than one: the benefits of bilingualism

Student Newspaper – Sara Konradi

“Dr Thomas Bak is a reader at the University of Edinburgh School of Philosophy, Psychology and Languages Sciences. He is an expert in cognitive neuroscience, particularly in relation to language and cognition. On 7 December 2017, he discussed the cognitive benefits of learning more than one language. Having spent the first 20 years of his career studying how brain diseases influence brain function, the cognitive neuroscientist developed his research interest in second language learning “relatively late”. Dr Bak reached a turning point in 2007, after discovering Bialystok and colleague’s work on bilinguals showing dementia symptoms four years later than monolinguals. “Even today, no drug produces the same effect,” he remarked.” (more)

How Metacognition Boosts Learning

Edutopia – Youki Terada

“Strategies that target students’ metacognition—the ability to think about thinking—can close a gap that some students experience between how prepared they feel for a test and how prepared they actually are. In a new study, students in an introductory college statistics class who took a short online survey before each exam asking them to think about how they would prepare for it earned higher grades in the course than their peers—a third of a letter grade higher, on average. This low-cost intervention helped students gain insight into their study strategies, boosting their metacognitive skills and giving them tools to be more independent learners.”(more)

Love and communication important during teen years

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

Parents and teenagers live in different worlds with different pressures and perspectives, so communication between adolescents and parents can be strained. Here are a few strategies you can use to minimize conflicts during this challenging time.

Use humor.
Humor is an effective communication tool, because it breaks down barriers and commands attention. Disguised as fun, humor can be used to teach, introduce new ideas, share beliefs, and implant knowledge.

Listen.
Perspective and practice make a big difference. The way an adult perceives a problem is often very different from the way a teen views the same issue. What seems like a life catastrophe to 16-year-old may seem insignificant to a 40-year-old.

As a result, teenagers often have things to say to adults, but get frustrated because they do not feel like they can express their concerns and feelings. Epictetus, a Greek philosopher who was born in the 1st Century, might well have been instructing 21st Century parents when he said, “We have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak.”

Keep it short.
Teens are perceptive and smart, so a few words go a long way. No one wants to feel like they are being lectured, so it is best to say it once.

Compliment.
The way we speak can often result in the outcomes we are trying to avoid. Comments and instructions couched in negative language, with excessive use of words like “don’t”, “never”, and “no” may lead to poor behavior. Instead try to focus on the positive things your teen does.

Prepare and Allow.
It is easy to view your kids as younger than they are. As teens age, they need more responsibility. Adults who continually enforce rules that do not acknowledge demonstrated capacity for independent and responsible behavior, can alienate teens.

Wait.
If it isn’t an immediate health or safety issue, it is sometimes better to wait for the right moment to discuss a problem rather than force a discussion at a poor time.

Connect.
Your kids internalize and interpret everything you do. They read your face, posture, voice, and stance. They subconsciously search for physical cues to what you really feel about them. Make sure they know they are loved, respected, and appreciated.

Even though the transition from child to adult can be challenging, love and open communication can make the journey easier for everyone.