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Outdoor Education a Plus for Lessons in Science and Language Arts

The Santa Barbara Independent – Michelle Howard

“In schools challenged to overcome significant achievement and enrichment gaps, the outdoors offers a level playing field. Educational strategies are always evolving, working to respond to the times while balancing funding and testing trends. And in recent decades, evidence has piled up in support of outdoor education. Social ecologist Stephen Kellert of Yale University sums it up: “Children’s direct and regular experience of the natural world is an irreplaceable dimension of healthy maturation and development.” But we’re not offering regular doses of this essential developmental ingredient today ​— ​schoolchildren spend more than 90 percent of their time indoors.”(more)

People who speak multiple languages make the best employees for one big reason

Quartz – Gabrielle Hogan-Brun

“Speaking a different language—whether it’s your grandparents’ tongue or high-school Spanish—fundamentally changes the structure of your brain. Put a bunch of these malleable minds together in a company, and you create the potential for some truly original thinking. We already know that businesses thrive on the diversity of ideas created by a multicultural workforce. Multicultural awareness is an essential soft skill in work as well as life, and it goes beyond office culture to economic benefits: According to a recent survey by the Economist, two-thirds of 572 international company executives say that their teams’ multicultural nature increases their organization’s innovation.”(more)

How kids benefit from speaking different languages

Star 2 – Staff Writer

“Narly Golestani, a professor at the Brain And Language Lab in Geneva, Switzerland, says there are probably two time windows when language learning is easier. “One around the age of five (when learning to write often starts) and one around the age of 12. So learning these languages later than these periods will be much more difficult,” he says. But could learning a second, third and even fourth language do more than promote prospects post-education? Absolutely, insists the UK Subject Centre For Languages, which says it has identified as many as 700 reasons to study a foreign language.”(more)

Encouraging a Love of Poetry

Edutopia – L.L. Barkat

“A poem is a lightweight thing, a beautiful construction that can, despite its lightness, carry remarkable burdens. Poet Mahmoud Darwish imagined this paradox as “the butterfly’s burden.” When you consider that meditation works similarly—that the tiniest of phrases, matched with the movement of our breath, can bring remarkable calmness and clarity to a burdened life—the power of poems begins to make sense. The best poems often work in the same way as these meditative phrases. They match speech. They match breath. They offer rhythms that are pleasing to the psyche. In this way, poems can function like little bits of magic or lullaby.”(more)

Learning a new language changes the way you perceive reality

Quartz – Ivan Miguel

“Learning a new language is a humbling process, because it basically means accepting that every word you know is wrong. The elaborate lexicon you’ve developed over the years suddenly becomes useless: the movie quotes you know, your street slang, old-fashioned words you ironically use—everything disappears in a smoking poof, leaving you publicly naked.”(more)

Students gain more foreign-language learning in schools

USA Today – Claudia M. Caruana

“Similar immersion programs focusing on Spanish and other languages such as French, German and Chinese are increasing in the United States, as are more traditional programs in second-language learning in elementary schools. In fact, 25 percent of all U.S. public and private elementary schools offered foreign language instruction in 2010, according to the Center for Applied Linguistics. The Washington, D.C.-based organization tracks language study in the U.S. Many of the programs are immersion programs where children are taught in English for part of the day, and in another language at other times. French immersion programs have been popular in Canadian schools for many years, and in the U.S., many school districts offer them to encourage language learning.”(more)