300px-Taiwanese_students_studying_EnglishWhat are your thoughts on this excerpt from “Exchange Today”? What can you do as an educator of young children to fight against this type of “education”?  What role does communication to parents play in combating this type of school?  If the learning through hands on, constructivist approach is made visible, do parents still feel the need to add “Cram School” experiences?  What can you do in your context?

David Elkind talks about the relative importance of socialization and individualization, and uses the Tiger Mom phenomenon as an example of socialization:”It is really frightening that we are now trying to model our educational system after that of Asian countries.  Our schools are increasingly emphasizing rote learning, fixed curriculum, and the curtailing of teachers’ freedom to innovate.  Many schools have done away with recess to devote more time to academics.  Late afternoon Cram Schools, which flourish in Asia, have become increasingly popular here….”In trying to emulate the Chinese, we may be taking away the freedom young people have to play, daydream, and to learn things in a style that is best for them.  Such activities are not a waste of time, but are essential to the stimulation of original thought.  It is not surprising that truly talented individuals like Bill Gates and the late Steve Jobs, both dropped out of the university because it was too confining.”Certainly we want our children to be socialized, to learn the tool skills and acquire the knowledge and values that will make them good citizens.  But we also want them to be able, as famed Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget wrote, to think for themselves and not to accept the first idea that comes to them.  Individualization and socialization are complementary and not in conflict with one another….  The goal of education and parenting should be to have children who are original, but who use their originality for the common good.”

I just read an interesting post:

How Daydreaming Can Help You Pay Attention « Annie Murphy Paul.

The post focuses on the work of Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, professor at the University of Southern California.   In this very busy world with all its distractions, adults and children struggle to maintain focus, to concentrate, and to pay attention to the tasks in front of us.  But her work suggests that we should pay more attention to what we don’t do.

“What we don’t do…is fully appreciate the value of the more diffuse mental activity that characterizes our inner lives: daydreaming, remembering, reflecting.  Yet this kind of introspection is crucial to our mental health, to our relationships, and to our emotional and moral development. What’s more, it actually promotes the skill we care so much about, for ourselves and for our kids: the capacity to focus on the world outside our heads.”

Have you ever thought about how your daydreaming may be beneficial?  Have you ever talked to the children in your class about their thoughts on daydreaming?  IMG_4147

The Motor-Cognitive Connection: Early Fine Motor Skills as an Indicator of Future Success.

This is one reason to add drawing to your daily life of school.

Why Teaching Helps Students Learn More Deeply | MindShift.

I love MindShift! It usually has interesting articles that I find inspiring and supportive.  Have you checked it out?  What sites do you find inspiring?  I’d love to hear from you!


Sensory-Motor Development and Brain Fitness Insights.  I’ve been reading a lot about motor development and the connection to cognitive development.  I’ve written about it before, but it bears repeating.  Share the information with administrators, coworkers, and parents.  Make a difference in children’s development by considering the development in all areas!images

Note the last sentence…


Stephen Rushton and Anne Juola-Rushton note… 

“Neuroscientists now understand that the brain’s neurons continue to both develop (plasticity) and disappear (pruning) throughout most of our lives.  However, we experience the greatest growth — and a high volume of pruning — in early childhood.  During pregnancy, neurons grow at an astonishing rate of 250,000 per minute.  This process slows down somewhat after birth.  However, up until the age of 12, pathways continue to be formed and the thickening of the myelin sheaf, which supports the speed of the electrical impulse between neurons, thus creating a more efficient brain, continues to develop as the child interacts with her environment.  Those neurons that are not stimulated or make connections to other neurons are pruned away and dissolve.

“Providing meaningful, positive experiences for children actually alter the formation of their brains!  Each time a child enters a stimulating classroom — one in which the child is invited to talk, share ideas, and manipulate materials — the number of connections made between neurons increases.”

5 Reasons Why Every Parent Should Be Familiar with Executive Function Skills.

How can you use this information to support your students and parents?  What arcreek1e the reasons teachers should be familiar with executive function skills?