8, 2016: Looking to increase positive affect in your students?
Want to reduce boredom and dread in your school? A new study out in
the Apr 21st edition of "Emotion" shows that walking (not exercise,
per se, but just plain old "incidental ambulation" as they call it)
boosts mood, especially reduces the effects of low interest...overrides
boredom and dread. So, WHY do we have students sit all class period??
Get the students out of those desks and moving! Miller, J. & Krizan,
Z. (2016) "Walking Facilitates Positive Affect (Even When Expecting
the Opposite)", Emotion, Apr 21 preview, nps.
8, 2016: A new study out shows the results of examining white-matter
differences along with neuron connectiveness measures in children
with reading disabilities. Other cognitive abilities being equal,
brain images show that white matter in a region associated with reading
(left arcuate fasciculus) has altered structure in children with reading
disability. Interesting, they also measure the degree of neuron connectiveness
in this area and found low connectiveness scores in both children
with a reading disability AND in children with superior pseudoword
reading ability. The researchers concluded that this paradox of connectedness
associated with both these groups indicates that this area involved
in reading has great variation in white matter maturation rates during
this initial time of reading acquisition. Christodoulou, J., et al
(2015) "Relation of White-Matter Microstructure to Reading Ability
and Disability in Beginning Readers." Neuropsychology, Mar 7 preview
9, 2016: While there have been studies conducted measuring the
effects of emotional exhaustion among teachers, most of them have
focused on the effect it has on teachers - performance and career
engagement. A new study out this month looked at the relationship
between teacher emotional exhaustion and students' educational outcomes.
Using 380 teachers and 8,000 4th grade students researchers measured
teacher emotional exhaustion and school grades, standardized achievement
test school and school satisfaction, as well as noncognitive outcomes.
They found a strong negative correlation among all of them. Student
achievement suffers as teacher emotional exhaustion increases. Arens,
A. et al. (2016). "Relations Between Teachers' Emotional Exhaustion
and Students' Educational Outcomes. Journal of Educational Psychology,
Jan 18 edition preview, nps.
10, 2016: The largest gender disparity in STEM courses is found
in Computer Science. Unfortunately girls are stereotyped out of computer
science at a young age. Researchers have recently found that we can
alter girls' interest in Computer Science simply by changing the physical
classroom environment in our schools. Schools where classrooms were
specifically set out to be more "girl-friendly" and promote women
in Computer Science, found a higher incidence of girls' interest in
Computer Science and more of a sense of belonging. Therefore, it is
imperative that schools begin a conscious attempt to increase girls
interest in Computer Science by removing the traditional gender stereotypes
which signal to girls that they do not belong. Master, A. et al. (2015,
Aug 17). Computing Whether She Belongs: Stereotypes Undermine Girls'
Interest and Sense of Belonging in Computer Science. Journal of Educational
Psychology, preview, nps
2, 2015: Executive Function (EF) is frequently studied due to
its involvement with learning and learning challenges (particularly
for persons with ADD and /or head trauma). Executive Function, our
ability to maintain control of our actions and our thoughts, is mainly
a function of the prefrontal cortex - the region behind your forehead.
Research released this month tracked adolescent twins from teens through
their early 20's to see how stable EF is during this time period and
whether variance in function is more likely to be from genetics or
environmental factors. Tracking 420 sets of twins for 6 years, they
found that EF is relatively stable by age 17 and that genetics appears
to play the biggest role in variation. So while environment can play
a small role, most executive function appears to be something inherited.
Friedman, N. et al. (2015, Nov 30). "Stability and Change in Executive
Function Abilities From Late Adolescence to Early Adulthood: A Longitudinal
Twin Study." Developmental Psychology, preview, nps.
15, 2015: Young persons who perceive themselves as being racial
discriminated against are at higher risk of depression. A new study
recently released looked at the long-term consequences of perceived
racial discrimination, as well as factors that may act as a buffer.
The researchers tracked African American and Latino youth through
adolescence. They found that those in particular who felt ethnic or
racial discrimination from peers were the most likely to suffer depression
with greater symptoms. However, those who began high school with high
levels of positive racial affect were at a much lower risk for depression
over time. So positive racial affect appears to buffer the effects
of perceived racial discrimination. Stein, G. et al (2015). "A Longitudinal
Examination of Perceived Discrimination and Depressive Symptoms in
Ethnic Minority Youth: The Roles of Attributional Style, Positive
Ethnic/Racial Affect, and Emotional Reactivity." Journal of Developmental
Psychology, Nov 16 preview, nps.
13, 2015: New research shows that when teaching math fractions
to students with poor working memory, it helps to teach students how
to explain their process when comparing fraction magnitudes. If working
with students who have strong reasoning ability, teaching word-problem
intervention is more effective. Fuchs, L. et al(2015, Sept). "Supported
Self-Explaining During Fraction Intervention." Journal of Educational
Psychology, preview, no page specified.
15, 2015: Hippocampal
Neurogenesis involves the development of new neurons in the region
of the brain responsible for memory. This process of neurogenesis
may help clear out old memories as well as stabilize new memories
for long term retention. Researchers are now looking at the effects
of chronic stress and depression on this process. Both appear to interfere
with normal hippocampus function and in particular cloud long term
retrieval. Dery, N. et al. (2015, June) "A Role for Adult Hippocampal
Neurogenesis at Multiple Time Scales: A Study of Recent and Remote
Memory in Humans". Behavioral Neuroscience, preview, nps.
20, 2015: Helping students with metacognitive skills improves
motivation, learning and future learning - So says new research out
this month. The study involved a 6 hour training session with middle
school students, teaching them the process skills of planning, monitoring
and evaluation. When compared later to a control group, the students
taught metacognitive strategies performed better on tests and had
higher levels of motivation. Zepeda, C. et al. (2015). "Direct Instruction
of Metacognition Benefits Adolescent Science Learning, Transfer, and
Motivation: An In Vivo Study.", Journal of Educational Psychology,
Mar 16 preview, nps.
16, 2015: Teachers, use your big words! New research out compars
reading comprehension progress with middle-schoolers. They compared
beginning of year scores to end of year, from a variety of classrooms.
They then recorded and analyzed teacher's speech in those same classrooms.
Students whose teachers used the more sophisticated vocabulary in
class, significantly improved their reading comprehension as the year
progressed. Gamez, P. & Lesaux, N. (2015) "Early-Adolescents' Reading
Comprehension and the Stability of the Middle School Classroom-Language
Environment." Developmental Psychology, Feb 16 preview, nps
4, 2015: Children who experience close teacher-child relationships
during their early elementary years have stronger receptive language
development. Spilt, J. et al (2014, Dec). "
- current year
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