Resting brain chatter predicts ability to learn second language

Medical News Today – Tim Newman

“Researchers at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure the normal resting activity of students’ brains before embarking on a French language course. The team, led by Xiaoqian Chai and Denise Klein, measured whether differences in connectivity predicted the success of the language students. The results, published in The Journal of Neuroscience this week, are a tantalizing peek into why some people seem to learn second languages with more ease than others. Even at times when you are consciously thinking of nothing at all, the brain still presents measurable activity. It never truly sleeps…Sections of the brain that are spatially distant from each other continuously interact. This is called functional resting-state connectivity…The study found that preexisting differences in resting-state connectivity predict how well a student will learn a second language.”(more)

Handwriting instructor teaches cursive to young students in Roanoke

Richmond Times-Dispatch – Ralph Berrier Jr.

“As STEM subjects — those that are part of science, technology, engineering and math — and other computer-based skills have become priorities for schools, cursive has become a relic, like handwritten recipes and thank-you notes. The writing is on the wall, and it’s not in cursive. Now, however, a new chapter is being written for cursive. Several studies have shown that learning cursive makes students better learners. Writing in cursive stimulates the brain, improves memory and sharpens students’ ability to retain information, researchers have found.”(more)

You need them: Parents’ affection, support vital for development

Hindustan Times – Staff Writer

“Research from the University of Notre Dame, USA, has found that parents’ affection and support in childhood can have lasting effects on development well into adulthood…These evolved needs include six different components — soothing, naturalistic perinatal experiences, responsiveness to a baby’s needs including sensitivity to the signals of the baby before the baby cries, constant physical presence with plenty of affectionate touch, extensive breastfeeding, playful interactions with caregivers and friends, and a community of affectionate, mindful caregivers — which lead to better child development.”(more)

Seven myths about dyslexia put to rest

The Conversation – Serje Robidoux

“As researchers who study dyslexia, we often read articles or overhear conversations that completely misunderstand what dyslexia is – or how it can be treated. Dyslexia is the term used to describe someone with reading difficulties…To coincide with Dyslexia Empowerment Week – aimed at raising awareness and understanding of the disorder – we highlight the seven most common misconceptions about dyslexia.”(more)

Why Does Education Improve Health? It’s Complicated

Pacific Standard – Nathan Collins

“Researchers have long known that more education spells better long-term health, though the cause of this connection is a source of debate. Perhaps more schooling leads to better jobs, scholars have hypothesized…New research, however, indicates that the connection can’t be boiled down to just one underlying cause. After controlling for age and other variables, such as smoking, the researchers found that each additional year of education improved the study participants’ self-reported health in later years by about 15 percent. More importantly, while education’s effects on health were intertwined with the effects of social support systems, depression, and job demands, no single factor stood out as the one true link between schooling and health. Instead, there appeared to be a complex web of factors connecting education with health…While researchers aren’t clear of the exact mechanisms that link education and health, the connection is indisputable…”(more)

Teens Should Start School as Late as 11am, Study Says

Education News – Kristin Decarr

“A report published in journal Learning, Media and Technology suggests that the natural sleep patterns of children do not match up with the early start times of the schools that they attend. Researchers from Harvard and Oxford discussed their findings in the report, “Synchronizing education to adolescent biology: ‘let teens sleep, start school later.’” Co-authors Paul Kelley, Steven W. Lockley, Russell G. Foster, and Jonathan Kelley suggest that the biological settings within children have them programmed for a later wake up time. They argue that 10-year-old children should be starting their school day at 8 am, 16-year-old students should start around 10 or 10:30 am, and the school day for 18-year-olds should start between 11 and 11:30 am. The report continues to say that later start times do not reflect laziness within children, but rather a biological necessity.”(more)