How Elementary School Teachers’ Biases Can Discourage Girls From Math and Science

Sacred Heart Greenwich Middle School Faculty Blog

We know that women are underrepresented in math and science jobs. What we don’t know is why it happens.

There are various theories, and many of them focus on childhood. Parents and toy-makers discourage girls from studying math and science. So do their teachers. Girls lack role models in those fields, and grow up believing they wouldn’t do well in them.

All these factors surely play some role. A new study points to the influence of teachers’ unconscious biases, but it also highlights how powerful a little encouragement can be. Early educational experiences have a quantifiable effect on the math and science courses the students choose later, and eventually the jobs they get and the wages they earn.

The effect is larger for children from families in which the father is more educated than the mother and for girls from…

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Can Attention Deficit Drugs ‘Normalize’ a Child’s Brain?

Sacred Heart Greenwich Middle School Faculty Blog

The New York Times

Photo
Recent research that says that A.D.H.D. pills like Adderall, above, can “normalize” a child’s brain over time has drawn criticism.
Recent research that says that A.D.H.D. pills like Adderall, above, can “normalize” a child’s brain over time has drawn criticism.Credit Elizabeth D. Herman for The New York Times

Dr. Mark Bertin is no A.D.H.D. pill-pusher.

The Pleasantville, N.Y., developmental pediatrician won’t allow drug marketers in his office, and says he doesn’t always prescribe medication for children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Yet Dr. Bertin has recently changed the way he talks about medication, offering parents a powerful argument. Recent research, he says, suggests the pills may “normalize” the child’s brain over time, rewiring neural connections so that a child would feel more focused and in control, long after the last pill was taken.

“There might be quite a profound neurological benefit,” he said in an interview.

A growing number of doctors who…

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All Around The World, Girls Are Doing Much Better Than Boys Academically

Sacred Heart Greenwich Middle School Faculty Blog

Huffington Post

Posted: 01/28/2015 7:18 pm EST Updated: 01/28/2015 7:59 pm EST
MUSLIM GIRL IN SCHOOL

Girls are academically outperforming boys in many countries around the world — even in places where women face political, economic or social inequalities.

A new report from Dr. Gijsbert Stoet of the University of Glasgow in Scotland andDavid C. Geary of the University of Missouri found that in 2009, high school girls performed significantly better on an international standardized test in 52 out of 74 studied countries.

The researchers set out to explore the connection between academic achievement and a country’s levels of gender inequality, speculating that girls might do worse on the Programme for International Student Assessment in countries where they are typically treated unfairly. On the contrary, researchers found that girls have been consistently outperforming boys for the last decade, regardless of countries’ treatment of women.

“In a lot of these countries women are not…

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Mindfulness Exercises Improve Kids’ Math Scores

Sacred Heart Greenwich Middle School Faculty Blog

Time

@mandyoaklander

Fourth grade boy works on computer.
Jonathan Kirn—Getty Images

Fourth and fifth graders who did mindfulness exercises had 15% better math scores than their peers

In adults, mindfulness has been shown to have all kinds of amazing effects throughout the body: it can combat stress, protect your heart, shorten migraines and possibly even extend life. But a new trial published in the journal Developmental Psychology suggests that the effects are also powerful in kids as young as 9—so much so that improving mindfulness showed to improve everything from social skills to math scores.

Researchers wanted to test the effects of a program that promotes social and emotional learning—peppered with mindfulness and kindness exercises—called MindUP. Developed by Goldie Hawn’s foundation, it’s used in schools across the U.S., Canada and beyond.

The study authors put 99 4th and 5th grade public school students in British Columbia into one of…

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Helping a Perfectionist Child Worry Less and Do More

Sacred Heart Greenwich Middle School Faculty Blog

New York Times Motherlode Bog

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CreditJessica Lahey

A question I’ve been getting a lot recently, both via email and in person, is this: How can I help my perfectionist child worry less, and understand that it’s normal to make mistakes?

“Perfectionism,” in its dictionary definition, is simply, “a disposition to regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable,” but the word carries a powerful double meaning in our achievement-obsessed culture. Parents shake their heads and sigh with frustration in conferences, describing their children as “perfectionists” with an unmistakable note of pride in their voice.

Aye, there’s the rub — we all know perfection is an unreasonable burden to place on our children, but we also reward them when they strive for that perfection. Whether it germinates in a child’s own mind, is sowed in the high expectations of parents, or grafted on…

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