● It’s midsummer. Doesn’t it feel like a time for family game nights? Check out Jessica Lahey’s article describing 5 fun games and the cognitive benefits of this informal learning time.
● Annoyed by the 10,000 Hour Rule? Good news. Maybe talent is more important than practice. Bothered by that? No worries. In a few years we'll see further research. Knowledge advances in refining increments!
● Have you wondered how the switch from print to digital media affects reading comprehension? Read Maria Konnikova’s well-written article on the topic.
● In education this week public discussion over teacher tenure turned bizarre. Dozens of articles covering Diane Ravitch’s unflattering comments about Campbell Brown circulated. But none of that is below. Too mindless for us, right? Instead, check out Daniel Willingham’s level-headed take on K-12 tenure.
TESTS have a bad reputation in education circles these days: They take time, the critics say, put students under pressure and, in the case of standardized testing, crowd out other educational priorities. But the truth is that, used properly, testing as part of an educational routine provides an important tool not just to measure learning, but to promote it.
The scaffolding of support for the Common Core curriculum standards continues, right and left, to lose a beam here, a platform there. After adopting the standards, with vocal support from the governor, both the Oklahoma Legislature and Gov. Mary Fallin have now abandoned them. The American Federation of Teachers was once a big supporter. At its meeting over the weekend, though it didn't switch to outright opposition, it voted to set up grants for teachers to critique or reformulate the standards.
For the first time in recent memory, K-12 education is emerging as a top tier issue in the coming presidential race, at least among Republicans. That, for people who care deeply about schools, is the good news. The bad news is that the political conversation is almost entirely focused on the ever-more contentious topic of …
Did World Cup Soccer, the US-Belgium game, and the July 4th holiday consume your week? If so, maybe you missed the news about Facebook’s "Emotional Manipulation” research? It sparked a zillion articles. Read Anne Collier’s essay about, 1) what happened, and 2) the ethical commentary that followed. This week in “Resources” discover some great summer time-sucks. Er, I meant summer learning games. Get dazed by Khan's light puzzles and lost in Google's map quizzes. Both are more entertaining than the emotional manipulation happening on Facebook!
Three events ruled public conversation for parents this week. First, the American Academy of Pediatrics announced they would now prescribe reading books to kids, starting at birth. This action builds on the research about the word gap (one of our top 10 learning concepts.) ● Second, the White House hosted a summit on working families. New America Foundation summarizes discussion about how we help the modern family. ● Third, Harvard published a study on “The Children We Mean to Raise.” The findings confront parents with the question, “What messages do I send my children about achievement, caring, and fairness?”
Would kids be better off with more free play or more structured learning time? Articles this week discuss how informal learning develops kids’ executive function. Plus Annie Murphy Paul talks about “embodied cognition” and the need to involve the body in learning. These stories make sense at the height of summer. Yet, at the same time, we see essays that make the case for summer school, to stop "brain drain." Reading conflicting information means your knowledge will be more broadly informed.
In our culture high achievement/happiness/success are on one hand and being a good person are on the other—two separate strategies for living your life. Achievement is an individual enterprise; caring for others is a moral mandate. Montessori schools are different.
Parent Cortical Mass's insight:
The dialogue on that Harvard study continues. Rick Ackerly says, it's more the culture than parents.
Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates says eradicating malaria, tuberculosis and polio is easier than fixing the United States' education system. But what he says he really wishes he could do is write a check to eliminate biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. Gates made the...