(Boston, Mass.)—Severe psychological and physical neglect produces measurable changes in children's brains, finds a study led by Boston Children's Hospital.
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The 4th article in a series that candidly looks at the difference between today's youth and those of the past. How will children who are so indulged or entitled learn to cope with the challenges of adulthood?
Via Cindy Maloff Terebush, CPC, CYPFC
|Rescooped by Jocelyn Stoller from 21st Century skills of critical and creative thinking|
Passivity still seems to be the norm for most college courses: students passively try to learn information from teachers who unwittingly cultivate a passive attitude in their learners. As the subject matter experts, many faculty are reluctant to give up some control. We know the material, there’s a lot to cover, and let’s face it, going the lecture route is often just plain easier for everyone. We “get through” the material, and students aren’t pressed to do anything more than sit back and take notes. Teacher and student thus become complicit in creating a passive learning environment.
Technology becomes an accomplice in the crime of passivity. When teachers think about technology, the goal is often to have students interact with instructor-created multimedia. Learners will watch a screencast or complete an online quiz. Sometimes the learner will interact with technology by doing a simulation or completing homework online. The assignments themselves are distinctly teacher-directed. All of this direction by the teacher equates to students learning to drive by sitting in the passenger seat.
What if we let students drive? Putting students in control may seem a bit frightening. The students will not be nearly as smooth in their driving as we are. We will not be able to reach the brake if things go badly. But learning to drive requires time behind the wheel, and learning course material requires that students become co-creators of knowledge rather than recipients of information.
Surprisingly, the solution to the problem of passivity might be the same accomplice that contributed to that passivity: technology. By putting technology in the hands of students, we put the learner behind the wheel. Instead of the teacher being the only one who works with technology to create learning objects, students become creators of learning objects.
For years, Finland has been the by-word for a successful education system, perched at the top of international league tables for literacy and numeracy. Only far eastern countries such as Singapore and China outperform the Nordic nation in the influential Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) rankings. Politicians and education experts from around the world – including the UK – have made pilgrimages to Helsinki in the hope of identifying and replicating the secret of its success.
One of the common problems with designing a course is that you have to use words to communicate what you want people to do. But people already have attached meaning to those words, which may or may not line up with commonly accepted norms. “Social Learning” is a term that I find causes the most confusion with customizable pathways design. Many, many people think that instructivism is not social at all, and that all social learning is connectivism (and connectivism has to be social in order to be connectivist).
The problem is – neither concept is true. Instructivism can be social, and connectivism does not have to be social.
In the literature, instructivism is sometimes connected to closed lectures and multiple choices tests, but for the most part it is connected with instructor-led content and activities. This can be anything from discussion forums (which can be social) to group assignments to Twitter activities. Yes, a Twitter activity in a course can be instructivist. If an instructor tells learners to go out and create a Twitter account, and then gives them a list of things to Tweet and respond to in order to fulfill an assignment, that is instructivism… and it is social. Social presence is a large field of research that is basically dedicated to figuring out how to improve an instructivist paradigm with social learning designs.
On the other hand, while connectivism is often very social, it doesn’t have to be social to still be connectivist. For example, go back to one of the foundational papers on connectivism (and probably one of the most quoted) and look at what connectivism is. Did you notice the part in there about off-loading learning to non-human agents? What this means is this: a learner can do a Google search on a topic and end up reading a Wikipedia article about the topic and that is still connectivism. They were not social at all, but they connected to the knowledge of others to learn about a topic. The connection occurred with a non-human agent.
The Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL) is focused on promoting the social emotional development and school readiness of young children birth to age 5. CSEFEL is a national resource center funded by the Office of Head Start and Child Care Bureau for disseminating research and evidence-based practices to early childhood programs across the country.
Working with kids to define empathy, a word that’s missing from Nova Scotia’s education curriculum...
And this is where teaching empathy gets more complicated than teaching a subject with standard right or wrong answers.
The key, explains Ryan, is for people to take time to understand what the best response might be. This means taking into account your own capabilities, but also, since we’re talking about empathy, after all, considering it from the perspective of the person you’re trying to help.
A child who understands that his mother is very tired because she’s been working hard might respond by being extra quiet on a Saturday morning so she can sleep in, or the child might respond by offering to do more chores to make her life easier. (Where can I get one of these kids?)
Functional MRI scans show areas in the brains of poor children with normal connectivity highlighted in red and blue, and weakened connectivity shown in green. The areas in green are among several areas — detailed in other brain scans — where connections are weakened in children raised in poverty. Credit: Deanna Barch.
"Many negative consequences are linked to growing up poor, and researchers at Washington University St. Louis have identified one more: altered brain connectivity.
Analyzing brain scans of 105 children ages 7 to 12, the researchers found that key structures in the brain are connected differently in poor children than in kids raised in more affluent settings. In particular, the brain’s hippocampus — a structure key to learning, memory and regulation of stress — and the amygdala — which is linked to stress and emotion — connect to other areas of the brain differently in poor children than in kids whose families had higher incomes.
Those connections, viewed using functional MRI scans, were weaker, depending on the degree of poverty to which a child was exposed. The poorer the family, the more likely the hippocampus and amygdala would connect to other brain structures in ways the researchers characterized as weaker. In addition, poorer preschoolers were much more likely to have symptoms of clinical depression when they reached school age.
The study is available online Friday, Jan. 15, in The American Journal of Psychiatry."
Interaction, not just the sound of words being read from a page, is the key to language development during reading.
That’s according to a new study from the University of Iowa that looked at how mothers responded to their 12-month-olds during book reading, puppet play, and toy play. What researchers found is the babies made more speech-like sounds during reading than when playing with puppets or toys. They also discovered mothers were more responsive to these types of sounds while reading to their child than during the other activities.
The findings might explain why book reading has been linked to language development in young children.
When we talk about curiosity and learning, we tend to talk about it from an engagement perspective. If students remain interested in and curious about a topic, they will pay more attention and, ultimately, learn more. But this isn’t the whole story, and we’re doing ourselves a disservice by cutting it short.
It might seem obvious that curiosity and learning go hand-in-hand, but the scientific community sees it differently. Until very recently, there hasn’t been much published researched on how curiosity works in the brain. It’s a difficult phenomenon to describe, let alone study. But the latest neuroscience tells us that one mental process in particular benefits from curiosity, a process crucial to learning and education in general, and it just so happens to be the missing part of the conversation: memory.
Report: Distracted Parenting Hampers Child Brain Development
Public News Service - TX | January 2016 | Download audioAlcohol and Drug Abuse PreventionChildren's IssuesEarly Childhood EducationFamily/Father IssuesHealth IssuesMental Health
New research indicates such distractions as mobile phone use that interrupt a parent's care and bonding time with infants, may impair a child's brain development. (ATA/Wikimedia Commons)
January 8, 2016
AUSTIN, Texas - Parents, put down your smartphones when you're taking care of your baby. That's the message from University of California researchers, who found that fragmented care can disrupt a young child's brain development and lead to emotional disorders later in life.
When moms and dads are bonding with infants, said report co-author Hal Stern, a professor at the University of California at Irvine, such everyday interruptions as phone calls and text messages can have long-lasting impact.
"It speaks to the importance of having regular patterns in your interactions with your child," he said, "and a clear way to do that would be to kind of set the phone aside when it's reading time or play time."
Even though the study's first phase focused on rodents, Stern said it showed that distractions can break the consistent rhythms that developing brains need to ensure the growth of robust neuron networks. He said children need greater assurance that when a parent picks up a book, for instance, that time really is reserved for them.
Researchers found that erratic care of infants can increase the likelihood of risky behaviors, drug and alcohol use, and depression in adolescence and adult life. Stern said that because mobile phones are so ubiquitous and bring an endless stream of calls, texts and social-media posts, the group's findings are especially important for today's parents.
"As children become adolescents," he said, "one might expect effects on risk-taking behaviors, and an increased risk of emotional disorders and the like."
Stern said the next step is to see how these discoveries in rodent behavior apply to people. The team plans to use video analysis of parent care and imaging technology to measure brain development, to find out if limiting distractions today can help prevent problems for tomorrow's teens and adults.
The study is online at contecenter.uci.edu.