Tuesday, November 17, 2009

On Praise, Thanks, At-Risk Labels, and the Amygdala

DON'T PRAISE INTELLIGENCE in your gifted, high-ability kids. It makes kids want to protect the idea that they're smart, and that can lead to lost confidence, lost interest in challenging tasks, and plummeting performance. So says psychologist Carol Dweck in an interview published in a University of Illinois publication. In the article, Dweck also discusses the fixed mindset versus the growth mindset and how they apply to children and students, among other areas. Find the article.

THANK THAT EDUCATOR OF 2e STUDENTS. The website MyTeacherMyHero.com is offering a way to fund school projects and supplies by posting a video thanking your favorite teacher. By thanking your favorite teacher in a video at the site, you can earn a $25 "Giving Card" from DonorsChoose.org. You can then donate the Giving Card to a project, school, or teacher you want to help -- and multiple videos from friends and colleagues can increase the funding for the project you choose. Find details.

FUNDRAISING IDEA FOR YOUR GIFTED SCHOOL. A private school in Vail, Colorado, is raising money by raffling off a $1.3 million ski home plus cash to pay the income tax on it. And you thought the fruit basket you gave to your school's last silent auction was something -- next time, donate your home. Read more, or enter.

BRAIN SCIENCE, STRESS, AND DISCIPLINE. An article in the Providence Journal tells how a consultant teaches educators how to apply brain science to reduce stress in schools and to help discipline. The article recounts the disruptive effects of stress on education, describes the importance a nurturing relationship with a non-parent adult (eg, a teacher) can have for a child, and describes how ritualized actions and nonverbal gestures can speak directly to the amygdala, calming kids when used properly. Read the article.

DUMPING THE ASPIE LABEL. An opinion piece in The New York Times about eliminating Asperger's as a separate condition in the next DSM and lumping it with ASDs generated lots of letters to the editor. If this issue interests you, check out the letters.

AT-RISK VERSUS AT-PROMISE. Washington Post columnist Jay Matthews writes about how some schools are changing the "at-risk" label to "at-promise." The rationale? Intimations of deficit model versus strength model. Silly? Read the column.

TEEN BRAINS. Are they wired differently? A recent study indicates they might be. From the study: “Our work on the amygdala revealed that the neuronal pathways that carry sensory information to the amygdala directly, bypassing cortex, are more plastic in the juvenile than in adult mice...” This could mean that teens are driven more by subcortical, less rational parts of the brain. Find out more.

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