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Friday, January 20, 2012

News Roundup

From the "boy, I'm glad my kids didn't go to these schools" file, a story from Georgia about worksheets used in elementary school math that reference slavery, beating a slave and picking cotton.  And the principal said he "will work with teachers to come up with more appropriate lessons."  That's it.   A district spokesperson said she didn't think the teachers meant any harm. 

Also, we're losing teachers rapidly in this country according to the activist group, Take Part.    Five reasons:  burnout (particularly among charter school teachers), threats of layoffs, low wages, testing pressures,  and poor working conditions. 

From the New York Times, an interesting story about how education brings "mental fitness."

“Education seems to be an elixir that can bring us a healthy body and mind throughout adulthood and even a longer life,” says Margie E. Lachman, a psychologist at Brandeis University who specializes in aging. For those in midlife and beyond, a college degree appears to slow the brain’s aging process by up to a decade, adding a new twist to the cost-benefit analysis of higher education — for young students as well as those thinking about returning to school. 

It also goes into this really fascinating new belief about two categories of brainpower; fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence.

One bunch falls under the heading “fluid intelligence,” the abilities that produce solutions not based on experience, like pattern recognition, working memory and abstract thinking, the kind of intelligence tested on I.Q. examinations. These abilities tend to peak in one’s 20s. 

“Crystallized intelligence,” by contrast, generally refers to skills that are acquired through experience and education, like verbal ability, inductive reasoning and judgment. While fluid intelligence is often considered largely a product of genetics, crystallized intelligence is much more dependent on a bouquet of influences, including personality, motivation, opportunity and culture. 

Education was also associated with a longer life and decreased risk of dementia. “The effects of education are dramatic and long term,” Dr. Lachman says. 

The moral of the story - stay in school, kids.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And this from David Suzuki's The Nature of Things on CBC, The Teenage Brain - even more on the brain!

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