Learning Change

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Posts Tagged ‘children

Free Play can define Kids’ Success

Free, unstructured playtime gives kids a chance to discover their interests and tap into their creativity. It’s a crucial element for building resilience in children, an attribute they’ll need in order to become happy, productive adults. That’s Kenneth Ginsburg’s thesis and the core of his book Building Resilience in Children and Teens. Ginsburg, a pediatrician at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia who also works with homeless children, has spent a lot of time trying to help young people build tools they’ll need to succeed — even when trauma has marred early lives.

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Read also: Building Resilience in Children and Teens

Written by learningchange

12/04/2014 at 23:17

On the Children Misery Gap

Harvard academic Robert Putnam – ‘America is moving toward a caste society’ -  Basically all parts of American society are failing these kids. Poor kids in America now, compared to 30 years ago, have been ignored and isolated by every major social institution. They’re no longer as connected to their family.  They’re no longer as connected to the schools. They’re no longer as connected to the community institutions, the churches, the Scouts. They have fewer mentors and friends. You can see the number of people they say that they trust and they can talk to is declining. It’s not that this is an adolescent epidemic of paranoia. If you talk to these kids it’s perfectly clear that it would be nuts for them to say that you could trust other people because everybody in their lives has failed them. There used to be a whole dense civil society who worried about all the kids in the neighbourhoodMost parts of that fabric have disappeared over the last 20 years. So if a chick falls from a nest in a working-class neighbourhood it used to be there was a net there to catch them. Now if a chick falls out of the nest — real people in real neighbourhoods that we’ve talked to — there is just nothing down there to catch the kids except gangs. I’m not talking about just ethnic minorities; I’m talking about white kids.

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Written by learningchange

12/04/2014 at 12:34

Posted in Children, Misery, Poverty

Tagged with , ,

Love matters more than genes for Children with same-sex Parents

Water just may be as thick as blood for children growing up with parents of the same sex. In a study of 25, they all reported a childhood that resembles any other childhood – where close family ties are established through mutual love and understanding. Concerns surrounding children that grow up with two mothers or two fathers have been under debate when considering these families. Will other children be able to accept them? Will the children have difficulties? Jorid Krane Hanssen at the University of Nordland, Norway, has conducted in-depth interviews with 25 individuals between 15 and 45 years of age. All these of which grew up with homosexual parents. Substantial research on people growing up in rainbow-families has primarily been based on comparisons between them and people from so-called normal families.

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Written by learningchange

09/04/2014 at 10:20

Risky Play: Why Children Love It and Need It

To protect our children we must allow them to play in ways deemed “risky.”  Fear, you would think, is a negative experience, to be avoided whenever possible. Yet, as everyone who has a child or once was one knows, children love to play in risky ways—ways that combine the joy of freedom with just the right measure of fear to produce the exhilarating blend known as thrill. So, we prevent children from their own, self-chosen, thrilling play, believing it dangerous when in fact it is not so dangerous and has benefits that outweigh the dangers, and then we encourage children to specialize in a competitive sport, where the dangers of injury are really quite large. It’s time to reexamine our priorities. Such findings have contributed to the emotion regulation theory of play—the theory that one of play’s major functions is to teach young mammals how to regulate fear and anger.  In risky play, youngsters dose themselves with manageable quantities of fear and practice keeping their heads and behaving adaptively while experiencing that fear. They learn that they can manage their fear, overcome it, and come out alive. In rough and tumble play they may also experience anger, as one player may accidentally hurt another. But to continue playing, to continue the fun, they must overcome that anger. If they lash out, the play is over. Thus, according to the emotion regulation theory, play is, among other things, the way that young mammals learn to control their fear and anger so they can encounter real-life dangers, and interact in close quarters with others, without succumbing to negative emotions.

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Written by learningchange

08/04/2014 at 12:46

Posted in Children, Fear, Play, Risk, Sudbury

Tagged with , , , ,

Socioeconomic status and the developing brain

Childhood socioeconomic status (SES) is associated with cognitive achievement throughout life. How does SES relate to brain development, and what are the mechanisms by which SES might exert its influence? We review studies in which behavioral, electrophysiological and neuroimaging methods have been used to characterize SES disparities in  neurocognitive function. These studies indicate that SES is an important predictor of neurocognitive performance, particularly of language and executive function, and that SES differences are found in neural processing even when performance levels are equal. Implications for basic cognitive neuroscience and for understanding and ameliorating the problems related to childhood poverty are discussed.

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Written by learningchange

04/04/2014 at 18:20

Natural pedagogy

We propose that human communication is specifically adapted to allow the transmission of generic knowledge between individuals. Such a communication system, which we call ‘natural pedagogy’, enables fast and efficient social learning of cognitively opaque cultural knowledge that would be hard to acquire relying on purely observational learning  mechanisms alone. We argue that human infants are prepared to be at the receptive side of natural pedagogy (i) by being sensitive to ostensive signals that indicate that they are being addressed by communication, (ii) by developing referential expectations in ostensive contexts and (iii) by being biased to interpret ostensive-referential  communication as conveying  information that is kind-relevant and generalizable.

Human children have to learn a large amount of culturally relevant general knowledge to become mature members of their cultural community. This is supported by powerful learning mechanisms that capitalize on innate biases, on statistical regularities extracted from the environment and perhaps even on capacities to construct new  representational systems. The evidence we reviewed here indicates that infants are also prepared to learn generic kind relevant information directly and from a specific source that is not available to other species: from benevolent communicators who manifest generic knowledge ‘for’ them that would be difficult (if not impossible) to acquire without such support.

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Written by learningchange

04/04/2014 at 14:35

Lo que Europa medieval hizo con sus adolescentes

… hace cientos de años, en el norte de Europa regía una línea de disciplina particularmente dura con los menores, que eran enviados a vivir y trabajar en casas ajenas. Algo que, sin ninguna sorpresa, los jóvenes no siempre disfrutaban. ¿Cómo era la vida del adolescente europeo por entonces? Alrededor del año 1500, un asistente del embajador de Venecia en Inglaterra se sorprendió ante los extraños estilos de paternidad que encontró durante sus viajes. A sus amos en Venecia les escribió que los ingleses mantenían a sus hijos en casa “hasta la edad de 7 o 9 años a lo sumo“, pero luego “los echaban, tanto a los hombres como a las mujeres, para que sirvieran en residencias de otras personas, obligándoles a  permanecer allí generalmente por otros siete o nueve años“. Los desafortunados niños eran despachados de sus casas independientemente de su clase, “todo el mundo, por muy rico que sea, despide a sus hijos para recibir a otros extraños a cambio“.

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Written by learningchange

30/03/2014 at 15:31

Posted in Children, Europe, Youth

Tagged with , ,

Teaching Mindfulness to Children

Mindfulness, which features focused awareness training, is increasing in popularity among mental health  professionals. Mindfulness training emphasizes focused attention to internal and external experiences in the present moment of time, without judgment. While mindfulness interventions have been used in treatments for stress, chronic pain, anxiety, depression, borderline personality disorder, eating disorders, and addiction, researchers suggest that this type of training also can be beneficial in everyday life. Most research and writing on mindfulness training has been about adults. In this paper, the authors argue for adapting mindfulness techniques for work with children. The authors propose that training in mindfulness has the potential to enhance children’s attention and focus, and improve memory, self-acceptance, self-management skills, and self-understanding. Specific exercises to teach children to be mindful are presented in progression, beginning with awareness of the external environment, then awareness of the self in the environment, awareness of the body, and finally, mindfulness meditation exercises that feature attending to cognitive processes. Suggestions are made for incorporating mindfulness into school curricula.

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Read also: Moral Education, Mindfulness, and Social Engagement – Fostering Social Capital

Written by learningchange

17/03/2014 at 12:14

Literacy and Music in Early Childhood – Multimodal Learning and Design

This review of literature examines relevant research that supports new ways of viewing children as active  transmitters of culture in situated learning contexts, where case studies explore children’s redesign of semiotic modes of music and verbal linguistics. Some recent research discussed in this article supports the premise that cognitive abilities of children in early learning settings may be transformed through embodied ways of representing prior knowledge. Young children have been observed enriching prior knowledge during interactions in music invention, using the gestural mode to interpret rhythmic and melodic motifs, structure and phrasing through movement to music, or extending these elements of music (audio mode) in invented song or instrumental play. In engaging literacy tasks, they co-construct texts by drawing on semiotic resources of visual symbols and spatial design elements in written linguistic modes. This cognitive structuring is also revealed in the underlying patterns found in their embodied music invention. How knowledge is represented is crucial to children’s apprehension of knowledge through co-construction. It enables their selection of media and mode for redesign, to promote their understanding of concepts and facilitate problem solving. Multimodal redesign in young children’s music and verbal linguistics is explored as a rich source for communicating meaning and developing higher thinking.

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Written by learningchange

17/03/2014 at 09:53

Are We Wringing the Creativity Out of Kids?

Do you think you’re creative? Ask this question of a group of second-graders, and about 95 percent of them will answer “Yes.” Three years later, when the kids are in fifth grade, that proportion will drop to 50 percent—and by the time they’re seniors in high school, it’s down to 5 percent. Author Jonah Lehrer recently discussed the implications of these sobering statistics for education in his new book, Imagine: How Creativity Works. Lehrer elaborated: “What she means by that is that’s important to give kids a menu of possibilities pretty early on, a menu of things they might fall in love with—maybe it’s painting, maybe it’s drawing, maybe it’s writing, maybe it’s computer science—just a bunch of passions that they could discover. [You want them to] find these things that don’t feel like work, activities that just feel like fun. And then you have to remind them—‘OK, so you’ve found something you love, the goal you want to strive for. Now you have to work hard. Now you have to put in your thousands of hours of practice. Now you have to be willing to persevere through failure and frustrations.’” With these key interventions, Lehrer suggested, children’s vital spirit of creativity can be kept alive.

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Read also: Imagine: How Creativity Works

Written by learningchange

15/03/2014 at 17:21

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