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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.

Multilingual education is ‘absolutely essential,’ UNESCO chief says on Mother Language Day

The United Nations News – Staff Writer

“Learning languages is a promise of peace, innovation and creativity, and will contribute to the achievement of global development goals, the head of the United Nations agency for culture and education has said, marking International Mother Language Day. “There can be no authentic dialogue or effective international cooperation without respect for linguistic diversity, which opens up true understanding of every culture,” said UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General Irina Bokova in her message on the Day.”(more)

Why global education rankings don’t reveal the whole picture

The Conversation – Daniel Caro and Jenny Lenkeit

“Country rankings in international education tests – such as PISA and TIMSS – are often used to compare and contrast education systems across a range of countries. But it isn’t always an even playing field. This is because countries with very different social and economic realities participate, so countries such as Norway, Russia, Chile, Lebanon and Thailand are all being compared against each other. And this is without the difference in socio-economic backgrounds of these different countries being taken into account.”(more)

Early childhood as the foundation for tomorrow’s workforce

The World Bank – P. Scott Ozanus

“Why is a company that employs over 189,000 people around the world, and hires about 40,000 people every year, concerned with early childhood? It’s because all over the globe, countries and companies face a common challenge: How best to strengthen their economy and workforce, while also taking societal concerns into consideration. Early childhood is key to a productive current workforce as well as nations’ future success. How does a child’s experience at two-years-old translate into being a fulfilled, productive adult? Research shows that the learning gap between advantaged and disadvantaged children can show up as early as nine months of age. A study showed that by age three, children of low-income families had half the vocabulary of more advantaged families.”(more)

Study of 60 Countries Finds Increasing STEM Participation is a Global Initiative

Education World – Nicole Gorman

“A study conducted by IEA’s TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center at Boston College assessed the education systems of 60 countries and regions to compare global education trends, finding similarities when it comes to both increasing standards for teacher preparation and promoting involvement in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) subjects. Using a chapter defining each country’s education systems as well as questionnaires filled out by teachers, parents and students living within each respective country, the TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center provide insight on how global education has evolved as a whole in a 20-year period.”(more)

Educators say acquiring language skills key to becoming global citizens

The Daily Hampshire Gazette – Sarah Crosby

“While Spanish and French are among those widely spoken languages, he concluded, Chinese, German, Arabic and Portuguese, a language also spoken in Brazil, increasingly “have currency.” Data from the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education shows that in Massachusetts during the 2014-15 school year, Spanish classes had over four times the enrollment of any other language, followed by French and then Latin. Chinese, Italian, Portuguese, German and American Sign Language showed enrollment between approximately 2,000 to 8,000 students, while several hundred students opted for Japanese, Arabic and Russian. At Hampshire Regional High School in Westhampton, students are embracing languages outside of the school’s robust Spanish and French programs. Principal Kristen Smidy said juniors and seniors have taken virtual courses in German, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese and Latin. The interactive online courses include speaking segments, which students complete by talking into a microphone. A changing landscape in foreign policy, international relations and global business has been a key factor in student demand for less traditional language skills, Smidy said.”(more)