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The Future Speaks Chinese

Asia Society – Jeff Wang

“Foreign language study isn’t just about training every student to replace a translator; it’s about building a society of citizens that invoke mutual trust, respect, and possess the disposition to collaborate. These are critical elements of a world seeking a shared sense and responsibility for security and prosperity…We believe that making sure more of our young people learn and master a global language affords them not only advantages in career opportunities, but also the lifelong gift of fostering tolerance, sensitivity, and curiosity. Put simply, with every passing day it becomes clearer, and easier to make the case: The future really does speak Chinese; and that future holds more promise for the United States, if more of its citizens become students of the language.”(more)

Music exposure benefits babies’ brains

The Medical News Daily – Yvette Brazier

“Early music training can help children to develop a wide range of perceptual skills, and it may help them as they learn to speak, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Previous research has indicated that music training when young can improve infants’ ability to process musical sounds and speech. However, it has not been clear from these studies whether perceptual differences between musicians and non-musicians are due to music training. It may be that people who already have superior auditory skills are more likely to become involved in musical activities.”(more)

Beyond the Word Gap

The Atlantic – Amy Rothschild

“Some scholars have suggested the “word gap” study was overly simplistic, and that its implications have been exaggerated. A group of linguistic anthropologists concerned with social justice has raised concerns about the study’s racial undertones and its methodology. They point out that the sample size was small—just 42 families in the Kansas City area—and that nearly all of the professional families were white, while all of the six families receiving welfare were black. There are challenging, historically rooted power dynamics at play when researchers enter homes of low-income people of color, two members of this group, Eric Johnson and Netta Avineri, stressed in an interview. These linguistic anthropologists and other scholars have suggested that the highly educated, white families may have become more talkative than normal with their children in response to the presence of university researchers, where the less-educated, black families in Hart and Risley’s study may have become withdrawn, fearing judgment. “Think about how odd that is—a family is welcoming someone into their home who is not part of their community, and whose only purpose there is to study them,” Johnson said.”(more)

Why this one STEM course has four different teachers

E-School News – Patricia A. Wargo

“What does it mean to truly apply classroom knowledge? Years ago, application meant a comprehensive exam or essay. In today’s educational environment, students are encouraged to apply what they’ve learned, not just on tests, but during multifaceted, multimedia projects that bring relevance to lessons and help students realize how their learning is used every day in the real world. Walking into one of our four STEM classrooms at Huntingdon Area Middle School, you won’t see students working quietly on worksheets. They’ll be huddled up in small groups, collaborating, brainstorming, critically thinking about how to solve the world’s problems. The expertise of four diverse teachers from different disciplines created a project-based, rotation model that has given middle school students a new realization that skills they learn in a classroom can be found in real-life situations, not just on a test.”(more)

Teaching the Greeks and Critical Thinking — Part 1: Why Students Need the Humanities Now More Than Ever

The Huffington Post – Frank Breslin

“Students today grow up in such a distracted and meaningless world that, unless schools give them some idea of where we have come from as a cultural tradition, schools themselves run the risk of becoming part of that meaninglessness. Not that students need necessarily accept that tradition, but they should at least know what it is, understand its ideals and values, its foundations and wellsprings that for over 25 centuries have shaped and nourished the Western mind.”(more)

Could Empathy Training Help Teachers Reduce Suspensions?

Education World – Nicole Gorman

“A new study from Stanford University researchers has found that there is a direct correlation between empathy training for teachers and reduced suspensions in schools. According to the study, which was recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, teachers who received reading material and online courses teaching empathy were significantly less likely to suspend students than teachers who did not. The researchers conducted the study by splitting “39 K–12 teachers from five California public schools into two groups and randomly assigned them to read one of two research articles: one that said ‘good teacher-student relationships are critical for students to learn self-control’ and another that said ‘punishment is critical for teachers to take control of the classroom,’” according to”(more)