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Well-adjusted or only peer socialized?

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

Over the past fifty years what Americans believe makes a child well-adjusted has changed. Today many parents think a youngster is well-balanced if he/she interacts easily with his/her peers. Even though this type of social interaction is important, it is only part of what is necessary for a child to be happy, secure, and successful.

Children need to know they are loved and must have daily attention and socialization. Even though our society prioritizes peer socialization, it is equally important for kids to learn how to interact with people who are older and younger, of different socio-economic backgrounds, and from other cultures. It is also important that our children have open dialog with people who have different political viewpoints, interests, and careers.

Providing broad socialization does not have to be an expensive or time consuming process. Every community has people with diverse talents, passions, and interests and almost all areas have people from different cultures and of different ages. Rather than seeking safety in people who are similar, parents can reach out to those who are distinctive and include them in family events and social gatherings. This step allows their children to experience uncommon worldviews and cultural perspectives and have exposure to new career options, hobbies, and sports.

Sometimes we forget that emotional development is tied to physical well-being. To make matters more challenging, our lives are so busy that we overlook these physical necessities. Well-adjusted children need adequate sleep and exercise and need to eat well-balanced diets that include ample unrefined and minimally processed fruits, vegetables, meats, legumes, and grains. There are many websites that include recipes for quick, healthy options and fast food restaurants that provide fresh, wholesome choices.

We have less experience monitoring how our children are progressing beyond peer to peer socialization. As a result, it will likely take a conscious effort to make sure development is on schedule. Observation is often an effective tool. Do our kids actively engage adults in meaningful dialog in a broad range of subjects? How do they respond when someone broaches a topic which is new to them? Are they able to diplomatically disagree? Do they take the opinions of adults at face value or are they able to listen and form their own opinions? Have they developed new sports, art, or community interests?

Once a parent starts monitoring a broader range of emotional and physical components, they will have a good idea if their child is well-adjusted.

Cultural activities may influence the way we think

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“A new Tel Aviv University study suggests that cultural activities, such as the use of language, influence our learning processes, affecting our ability to collect different kinds of data, make connections between them, and infer a desirable mode of behavior from them. “We believe that, over lengthy time scales, some aspects of the brain must have changed to better accommodate the learning parameters required by various cultural activities,” said Prof. Arnon Lotem, of TAU’s Department of Zoology, who led the research for the study. “The effect of culture on cognitive evolution is captured through small modifications of evolving learning and data acquisition mechanisms. Their coordinated action improves the brain network’s ability to support learning processes involved in such cultural phenomena as language or tool-making.”(more)

Cultural immersion experiences are a springboard to learning and leadership

USA Today – Suzanne Wright

“A growing number of educators, parents and students say travel is the ultimate education, and cultural immersion programs offered during spring and summer breaks have the power to change young lives. “Travel has taught me to not be afraid to step outside of my comfort zone,” says Eva Jasinski, 18, of Urbanna, Va., who studied in India as a sophomore and in Senegal a year later. “The most incredible experiences happen when you allow yourself to be challenged, feel uncomfortable and be confronted with completely new perspectives.” According to a study by the nonprofit Institute of International Education and the U.S. Department of State, about 300,000 U.S. students left the country to study in other countries in 2013-14, the most recent figures available.”(more)

As Movies And Videogames Go Global, New Jobs Open For Humanities Grads

Forbes – George Anders

“Create a popular U.S. movie, and you’ll want local-language versions of everything from T-shirts to trailers — fast! Come up with a dazzling videogame, and you’ll be scrambling for people who can convey an orc’s powers in languages ranging from Thai to Portuguese. Finding raw translation skills turns out to be the easy part. (Lots of online marketplaces and translation boutiques offer contract workers at every imaginable price point.) What’s trickier — and crucial — is to set up oversight systems to ensure everything gets executed properly. As a result, there’s booming demand for an intriguing class of experts, called localization specialists, localization managers and localization engineers. They pay attention to cultural sensitivities, so a joke that’s harmless in one culture doesn’t become offensive in another. They also devise checklists and templates to guarantee that each country’s build-out stays on track and gets done efficiently.”(more)

Cultural Activity Matters

Education Next – Jay P. Greene

“But now we have a rigorously designed study out of Denmark that shows cultural activity among students is strongly (and likely causally) related to later academic success. The study appears in Social Science Research, a Sociology journal that was co-founded by James Coleman. It examines a large sample of monozygotic twins in Denmark to see if their cultural activity was related to their teacher-given GPA, exam-based GPA, and rate of completing secondary school. To measure cultural activity they relied on a survey administered to the mothers of those twins that asked about what their children did when they were 12 years old. It asked things like: “How often child went to any type of museum” and “How often child went to the theater or a musical performance.” By comparing outcomes among identical twins, the researchers hope to control automatically for a large set of unobserved environmental and genetic factors. We could reasonably believe that a large portion of the variation in cultural capital among twins was due to chance and not differences in their upbringing or ability.”(more)

Learning a second language isn’t just good for your brain—it’s good for democracy, too

Quartz – Ed Cooke

“Though we speak our own language all the time, we don’t tend to notice how it works until we learn another one. Until then, we lack the necessary perspective: As the German poet Goethe said, “Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own.” When we learn a second language, all the “decisions” our language invisibly makes for us becomes visible. We notice how our way of describing the world is just one of many, and that there is a dazzling variety of ways in which we could see the world if we had the language to do so.”(more)