Tuesday, September 7, 2010

COMMON WISDOM VERSUS COGNITIVE SCIENCE. That's the face-off described in an article titled "Forget What You Know About Good Study Habits" in The New York Times. Here are two examples from the article. Researchers have found that when children study in different places, rather than simply in one room, they learn better. And studying a variety of material in a single session, rather than concentrating on one topic, seems to work better. And then, of course, there's the issue of "learning styles." Find the article.

PUT YOUR HAND DOWN, SMARTY... and let one of the other kids answer the teacher's question. If the brightest kids in the class are forced to do that, a UK professor says, it can help the class as a whole learn more quickly. Find out more.

GENES, DOPAMINE, AND GPA. A Florida researcher has published a paper linking certain dopamine gene variations to grades, and the effects can be large. Says the researcher, "For example, the GPA of a student with specific variants of three dopaminergic genes might be around 2.8, versus a GPA of around 3.3 without the variants." Read more.

RESOURCES FROM AACAP. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, in response to the recent New York Times article we blogged about concerning a young child's misdiagnosis and over-medication, has listed some of its resources and guidelines for medications for young people. One is a "Practice Parameter on the Use of Psychotropic Medicine in Children and Adolescents"; find it here. For families, the Academy offers "Psychiatric Medication for Children and Adolescents," a three-part resource:
If you have a bright young person on meds, check these out.

"DARK" FICTION AND TEEN BRAINS. Got a gifted or 2e child who loves Harry Potter or Twilight? Over the weekend, Washington Post education writer Valerie Strauss noted a conference at Cambridge University called "The Emergent Adult -- Adolescent Literature and Culture.” The conference was multidisciplinary in nature and focused on the effects of teenage fiction in many media -- effects that might be psychological, physiological, chemical, or sociological. Strauss did an email Q&A with the conference organizer to try to pin down some of the effects, in the process covering topics such as the "deep imprints" of dark fiction such as the Harry Potter series; possible negative effects; trends in young adult literature; and what parents should do about letting kids read the stuff (nothing except maybe discuss it with them). Read the column.

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