Bruno Latour, a veteran of the ‘science wars’

French sociologist of science Bruno Latour, 70, has long been a thorn in the side of science. But in the age of “alternative facts,” he’s coming to its defense.

Central to Latour’s work is the notion that facts are constructed by communities of scientists, and that there is no distinction between the social and technical elements of science. Latour received praise for his approach and insights, but his relativist and “social-constructivist” views triggered a backlash as well. In their 1994 book Higher Superstition: The Academic Left and its Quarrels with Science, biologist Paul Gross and mathematician Norman Levitt accused Latour and other sociologists of discrediting their profession and jeopardizing trust in science.


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Children’s Literature Guide and Books

Now is perfect timing to read a new book, so why not let our reading guides inspire you? The guides contain an introduction of the author or illustrator, description of the contents, a suggested interpretation and topics for discussions. They are meant to be used in book circles, in schools or just as inspiration for further reading. Twelve books by ten laureates are available and easy to download for free, from Kitty Crowther’s Alors? for younger children, to Meg Rosoff’s existential books for young adults and Shaun Tan’s completely wordless work The Arrival. Just click on the titles!


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Adult Power and the Child Perspective

Typically, we define children by what they are not: they are not adults. For the past twenty years, childhood researchers have looked at both children and adults using the concepts of “human becoming” and “human being.” Initially, they saw adults as “beings”: complete, finished people and citizens. Children were “becomings”: people and citizens in the making, moving toward completion; a development zone, lacking some critical element.

In the 1990s, this view changed. Children became “beings” too – citizens and people in their own right, with their own skills and abilities. Later, the picture was refined again. Children and adults were now both “beings” and “becomings”—competent, but still developing, citizens. Adulthood, just like childhood, was not static but variable.


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Does speaking a second language really improve cognition?

The idea that learning to speak two languages is good for your brain has come to be widely accepted as fact, particularly in popular media. Studies have shown that bilingual speakers of all ages outperform monolinguals on certain cognitive performance measures. Other studies show delays in the onset of dementia and some even claim enhanced intelligence.

But a handful of attempts to replicate some of these seminal findings have failed to confirm this “bilingual advantage.” The number of studies that have not found a tie between bilingualism and better cognition has risen dramatically over the past few years.


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The Value of Establishing a Culture of Thinking in the Classroom

If “children grow into the intellectual life around them” (see L.S. Vygostky’s Mind in Society), then what kind of intellectual life are we providing to the students in our classrooms and schools? Teachers all over the world have had to accept the compromise of focusing more on delivering prescribed curriculum than developing understanding – test-taking rather than learning. This, among other reasons, is why strategies focused on ingraining cultures of thinking have been such game changers in many of today’s classrooms.

One good example of this that I’ve worked with is the Cultures of Thinking Project, led by Ron Ritchhart as part of Harvard’s Project Zero. The Cultures of Thinking Project focuses on two main ways of moving towards cultures of thinking: the eight cultural forces that act on a classroom, and documentation. Curious as to what that means? Continue reading for more.


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Doctoral writing: Exercises for stylish writing

To what extent should those of us who support doctoral writing aim to help candidates to write succinctly, clearly and with a control that makes reading smooth and even pleasurable? I puzzle over that, aware of what a marathon writing task the thesis presents, how emotionally challenging doctoral writing can be, how life can throw study off-centre and what an extraordinary amount of diligence has often gone into learning English as an additional language to the level of fluency and sophistication required at doctoral level. Might it demoralize doctoral writers to include tips about further authorial skill with feedback on content, structure, and ideas?


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Learning a local dialect instead of a global language

Modern technology has made it incredibly easy for people to connect and communicate with one another. Not only is it possible to look up the meaning of any word in a digital dictionary, but there are countless applications that can instantly translate words from photos taken on your phone, translate presentation slides in real time, or even translate directly from speech into another language.

Partly because of these technologies, you’d think that language learning as we know it might become obsolete. In Britain, for example, the number of students taking modern foreign languages has plummeted. Researchers hypothesize that this is because British children, already spoiled by the fact that English is so widely spoken around the world, have become increasingly reliant on tools such as Google Translate.


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The Pursuit of Gender Equality – An Uphill Battle

Gender inequalities persist in all areas of social and economic life and across countries. Young women in OECD countries generally obtain more years of schooling than young men, but women are less likely than men to engage in paid work. Gaps widen with age, as motherhood typically has marked negative effects on gender pay gaps and career advancement. Women are also less likely to be entrepreneurs and are underrepresented in private and public leadership positions.


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Raising Kids and Running a Household: How Working Parents Share the Load

Family life is changing, and so, too, is the role mothers and fathers play at work and at home. As more mothers have entered the workforce in the past several decades, the share of two-parent households in which both parents work full time now stands at 46%, up from 31% in 1970. At the same time, the share with a father who works full time and a mother who doesn’t work outside the home has declined considerably; 26% of two-parent households today fit this description, compared with 46% in 1970, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of Current Population Survey data.


Read also: How parents balance work and family life when both work

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Bilingual Babies

It’s very important to me to teach my children Spanish. My parents understand English, but can’t speak it. So if I ever want my kids to have a close connection with my parents, I have to try and teach them as much Spanish as I can. Some days are easier than others–I often find myself irritated because my daughter says things like “no Spanish please”. So here are my five tips to tackle the sometimes hard task of raising bilingual babies.

Cuando fui maestra de prescolar tuve la oportunidad de trabajar con niños que no sabían inglés. Para mi era importante que no se sintieran presionados de aprender un nuevo idioma. Aprendí que los niños tienen una gran capacidad de adquirir un nuevo lenguaje. Aqui les dejo mis 5 tips de como introducir un lenguaje nuevo a sus niños.


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