Renascence School Education News - private school

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Learning A New Language Can Change The Way You See The World, From New Colors To A Better Sense Of Direction

The Medical Daily – Dana Dovey

“A recent study, now published in Psychological Science, showed that the grammatical differences of English and German actually affect the ways speakers perceive a situation. For example, in the study German/English bilinguals were asked to watch a short non-verbal video of an individual completing an action and then describe what they saw. The videos were simple, showing scenes such as a woman walking toward a car or a man riding his bike to a supermarket. The results showed that despite being shown the same videos, English and German descriptions of the actions consistently differed in the same manner. The German replies tended to describe both the actions and the goal of the scenario. For example, they would answer: “A woman is walking toward her car.” The English replies tended to only describe the action and leave out the goal, thus describing the same video as: “A woman is walking.” The researchers involved in the study believe that the different replies are based on the differences in English and German grammar. This hypothesis seemed to uphold after the researchers found that as the bilinguals’ understanding of the intricate grammar of their language increased, so did the similarity of their descriptions following the aforementioned pattern. The team believes this lingual difference actually shaped the way individuals viewed the scenarios, with German speakers more likely to focus on possible outcomes of people’s actions and English speakers more focused on the action itself.”(more)

Business, government, education need to go back to school on STEM skills: report

The Globe and Mail – SIMONA CHIOSE

“Veronika Irvine graduated from university with a master’s degree in computational chemistry, but she ended up in computer science. It was the mid-1990s, and she was armed with one course in the field and a relative in the industry. “At that time, there weren’t that many computer science graduates, so it was much easier to find a job,” said Ms. Irvine, who is now studying for a PhD in the subject at the University of Victoria. She landed at Bell-Northern Research (BNR), which eventually became part of Nortel Networks. “We used to call BNR the training ground. … They had amazing courses internal to the company. When I started, there was a whole new paradigm of object-oriented [computer] programming that was not covered by many courses in university. But BNR wanted to use it and they trained us,” Ms. Irvine said. The world where Ms. Irvine worked for more than a decade, where firms invested heavily in educating employees, has been in decline, says a new report from the Council of Canadian Academies to be released on Thursday morning. It cites figures showing that, since 1993, Canadian employers have decreased investment in basic training per employee by 40 per cent. And in recent years, industry and governments have said Canada’s trailing global performance in innovation and productivity is due to shortages of skills in science, technology, engineering and math, commonly known as STEM fields.”(more)

Standards are important — especially in education

The Exponent Telegram – Eric Schulzke

“As primary and secondary schools across the region head into the final month of classes, significant discussion and debate surround the practice of standardized testing. For part of the next few weeks, students will take Smarter Balance tests, which help to gauge how each individual student and the school system are performing. In parts of the country, including West Virginia, there has been an effort for students to opt-out of the testing, with a variety of reasons given. Some believe the tests are part of what they claim to be a grand national conspiracy to federalize the education system through Common Core curriculum. Others believe the tests count too much toward assessing the students’ and schools’ performance, complaining that standardized tests aren’t the best metric to use to determine academic success.”(more)

New study suggests urban students do significantly better in charter schools

The Deseret News – Eric Schulzke

“Students in major urban centers around the country perform better in charter schools than they do in traditional public schools, according to a new study from the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University. The CREDO study found that charter schools in urban areas received “the equivalent of roughly 40 days of additional learning per year in math and 28 additional days of learning per year in reading,” a substantial gain over their peers in traditional public schools. Along with the results in math and reading scores, the study seems to dispel the notion that urban charter schools systematically pull in better-off students, but the numbers do vary significantly by region. The same is true of enrollment for English language learners, with some regions enrolling far more than their public school peers, and some far fewer.”(more)

DoD Joins Forces to Invest in STEM Education

Armed with Science – Yolanda R. Arrington

“From cell phones to household computers, STEM keeps the world connected. The Department of Defense (DoD) is making an investment to ensure military children have access to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education with the expansion of the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) College Readiness Program. Teachers and military students gathered at the vice president’s home in Washington, DC, Monday, for the launch of the expanded program in partnership with the Joining Forces program started by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden. Matthew Randazzo, interim CEO of NMSI, announced the program has experienced an 82 percent increase in qualifying advanced placement math and science scores in just the first year of the College Readiness Program for military-connected children. Recognizing its importance, the DoD is now making sure that even more military kids will have access to the program.”(more)

Group seeks to help girls learn computer language

The Times-Tribune – KATHLEEN BOLUS

” The girls meeting in the dimly lit University of Scranton computer lab aren’t trying to hack into secret files or “break the Internet.” The only thing the members of the Scranton chapter of Girls Who Code are hoping to crack is the gender gap. “In the future there’s going to be a greater need for people who know how to do this stuff everywhere so there’s no reason why boys should only know how to do it,” said Alana Simrell, an eighth- grader from All Saints Academy, who is the group’s vice president. Girls Who Code is a national group that encourages girls to close the gender gap in computer science. Sponsored by Bill Miller, a local parent, the chapter of 14 girls in grades eight to 12 from different area schools met every Thursday for 20 weeks to learn to write computer code used in websites, cellphone apps and computer programs, and be introduced to career possibilities in a male-dominated field.”(more)

So people hate maths? Here’s my plan to make it work for them

The Guardian – Marcus du Sautoy

“The Labour party has made a commitment to ensure that every young person studies mathematics up to the age of 18. Of course, the people it will affect don’t have the vote – although if it was up to Labour they would: to give 16- and 17-year-olds the right to vote is one of their other promises. But what about all those people who do have the vote? Would they have appreciated the chance to carry on their mathematical education, or were they only too happy to give it up as soon as they could? The majority reaction is probably “let me give it up” – but changing that attitude is partly what this initiative is all about. Certainly not everyone is maths averse. Many employers are crying out for a more mathematically and scientifically literate workforce: 60% of UK companies are not confident they will have employees with the mathematical skills to meet the needs of an increasingly scientific future. As a country we are so short of engineers that we are barely able to fill half the engineering jobs that our technical age demands.”(more)

The Bad News (Poverty) and Good News (Education) About Millennial Parents

The Wall Street Journal – Josh Zumbrun

“Much has been written about millennials–the nickname for the generation of young people born in the 1980s and 1990s–and the rough time they’ve had in the economy. But now that the generation is getting older, and the oldest millennials are in their mid-30s by some definitions, an increasing number are parents themselves. A new report from Konrad Mugglestone, a policy analyst at Young Invincibles, a Washington-based group that represents the interests of young Americans, has dived into the data on millennial parents (defined in this report as those ages 18 to 34). The biggest challenge has been the damaged economy. The weak economy itself is no surprise, but what’s surprising is that this postrecession period has been especially hard on young parents. Young parents have always been somewhat more likely than nonparents to be in poverty. This has especially been the case in recent years, with close to one-quarter of young parents in poverty. Since 2009, the share of impoverished young people has been higher than at any other point in the past 25 years. Since 2009, 16% of young people without children were in poverty, up 5 percentage points from the late 1990s. As many as 23% of young parents were in poverty, however, an 8 percentage point increase.”(more)

Montana Offers A Boost To Native Language Immersion Programs

NPR – Amy Martin

“Many Native Americans who attended a recent powwow in Missoula, Mont., remember what it was like to be punished for speaking a tribal language. For about a century, starting in the 1870s, the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs ran boarding schools for Native American children, removing them from their families and homes and separating them from their language and culture so they would “assimilate.” Carrie Iron Shirt’s father was one of those children. “My dad, being in the boarding school, they were taught not to talk their language,” she says. Iron Shirt, 37, says her father still has bad memories of the treatment he received for speaking his native Blackfeet at school. “He didn’t want us to go through that,” she says. “So my generation missed out on the language.” Iron Shirt tried to make up for that loss by enrolling her own daughter, Jade, in a private Blackfeet language immersion school. Now 16, Jade can speak the language fluently with her grandparents, something for which she’s grateful.”(more)

Mini Oscars, snack-time shows and Skittles – inspiring children through film

The Guardian – Holly Welham

“It’s hard to say why I decided to become a teacher. It might sound strange, but it just seemed to come naturally. I knew early on it was what I wanted to do and I went straight to teacher training college after school. You can’t beat the feeling of seeing something click for a pupil. I’ve been involved in the Bradford primary media literacy project since it began three years ago. Along with a handful of other teachers, I was asked to embed film into literacy lessons and track whether it had an impact on results. Initially, the idea was to use it to develop writing skills, but I quickly noticed that it had a massive impact on reading as well. The children were using their reasoning skills to analyse films, and it had a positive effect on their comprehension of texts. Before we introduced the initiative we were getting average progress in reading and writing, but now the children have achieved above the expected progress.”(more)