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Flexible Classrooms: Research Is Scarce, But Promising

Edutopia – Stephen Merrill

“There are plenty of studies that isolate the effects of light, acoustics, or air quality on learning. But the research on flexible classrooms is frustratingly scarce. There are good reasons for the apparent lack of interest. Variables like natural light and acoustics lend themselves to single-factor experiments that can be conducted in a laboratory setting. Give subjects a task to complete in a room with ample windows, for example, and then administer the same test in a room without them.” (more)

How to build empathy in the classroom, one story at a time

The Guardian – Jon Biddle

“With the pressure on teachers and schools to prepare students for exams, or – as in my case – getting them ready to move from primary to secondary school, it’s easy to lose sight of the values pupils learn in our company. I was reminded of this recently, after a project about refugees prompted one to tell me: “I used to think that refugees were different from us. Now I don’t.” Another said, “This was probably some of my favourite work that we’ve ever done. We’re learning about the real world and how we’re all part of it. Like, everyone, not just us and the people we know.” That work was part of a pilot project my school, Moorlands primary academy in Norfolk, was trialling for EmpathyLab.” (more)

Restorative justice in UK schools ‘could help reduce exclusions’

The Guardian – Sally Weale

” Campaigners are urging the government to support the introduction of ‘restorative practice’ which prioritises conflict resolution over punishment in schools following alarm at an increase in the number of pupils being excluded. The Restorative Justice Council (RJC), best known for its work in the criminal justice system bringing offenders face to face with their victims, wants to expand its existing work in schools as a means of reducing the number of exclusions.”(more)

Learning new language popular resolution for 2018, says survey

The Herald Scotland – Staff Writer

” With Christmas over-indulgence out of the way, thoughts are turning to resolutions – and for many, that means learning a new language, a survey suggests. Around one in five (21%) are planning to make language learning a goal for 2018, according to a poll commissioned by the British Council.”(more)

Welsh schools mental health scheme to ‘tackle stigma’

BBC – Staff Writer

“Time to Change Wales, started in 2012 to raise mental health awareness among adults, will run a young people’s programme. It will initially work with pupils, teachers and parents at nine schools, using Big Lottery funding. Programme manager Lowri Wyn Jones said it was important to tackle mental health “stigma” at a young age. One in 10 young people will experience a mental health problem, Time to Change Wales said, with the associated stigma and discrimination often making life “even harder”. The scheme will pilot in three schools in south Wales – Blackwood Comprehensive, Mountain Ash Comprehensive, and Ysgol Gyfun Cymer Rhondda – with others in mid and north Wales to follow.”(more)

Universities ‘should set targets’ on recruiting male students

Times Higher Education – John Morgan

“Only two English universities have targets to increase recruitment of male students, according to a Higher Education Policy Institute report on the sector’s gender gap “problem”. The report, published on 12 May, cites Ucas UK figures showing that at the mid-January 2016 application deadline, 343,930 women and 249,790 men had applied to enter higher education – a difference of 94,140 that was “the highest on record”…The report, titled Boys to Men: the Underachievement of Young Men in Higher Education – and How to Start Tackling It…observes that “other developed countries have undergone a similar shift” in balance towards female undergraduates. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Education at a Glance 2015 report, which looked at 28 developed and developing nations including the UK, found that “women make up the majority of entrants into tertiary education in all countries except Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland and Turkey”…The report’s recommendations include a “Take Our Sons to University Day”, more access spending on the recruitment of disadvantaged male students and “more institutions [to] consider setting themselves targets for male recruitment in future”.”(more)