Sleepyheads’ brains veer from restful path

Does sleep affect learning potential? New evidence is adding to scientific concern over the effects of widespread sleep deficits. A good night’s sleep seems to clear the brain and help the well-snoozed individual negotiate the flow of daily affairs. In contrast, a lack of sleep makes it difficult to carry out even mundane acts, such […]

Do You See What I’m Saying? The Role of Gestures in Learning

Recent research suggests that the gestures accompanying verbal speech convey critical information to the listener…and serve as a window into the thought processes of the speaker. Minnie Pearson, a first-grade teacher, explains a mathematical concept to her students. “Twelve take away eight gives you what?” she asks, pointing to each number in the equation on […]

Child Prodigies

Recently there was a clever series of commercials that featured celebrities like Larry Bird and Aretha Franklin showing off their respective talents, and the announcer urged us to do the same. “Are you a prodigy?” he wanted to know. Sadly, for most of us the answer is no. Our abilities are too ordinary. The term […]

Cognitive and Emotional Development in Children

In 1983, Howard Gardner rocked the education and social science communities with publication of a theory of multiple intelligences in his book, Frames of Mind. Gardner argued that in addition to defining intelligence in terms of a child or adult’s ability to solve problems and use language, other capacities and abilities such as musical, spatial, […]

Tests + Stress = Problems For Students

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Intensive standardized testing not only causes stress in students, but may undermine learning. Anecdotal reports from educators, combined with a surge in prescriptions for such medications as Ritalin and Prozac, suggest that students are experiencing increased stress in the classroom. At the root of the problem, some researchers suggest, are schools that primarily rank students […]

The Case Against Ritalin

The decision to medicate a child with a behavioral disorder is a complex one that involves many discussions between the child’s parents, teachers, and physicians. In the case of children suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), parents are placing increasing trust in a drug called Ritalin. Much of this trust is based on the […]

Useful and Harmful Jargon

Jargon is useful to some, confusing to others. At its best, jargon is a simple technical term that a group uses among themselves to quickly communicate a complex concept. Thus, jargon is useful to those who understand the complexity behind the term, but it’s generally confusing to those without that background knowledge. At its worst, […]