Monday, October 20, 2014

2e at GAM, Brain Myths, Live Plays, and More

FULL STE2AM AHEAD was the theme of the Gifted Association of Missouri (GAM) annual conference this last weekend. A write-up of the conference at the site of KSMU, Ozarks Pubic Radio, explained the title. We cognoscienti understand the "STEM" part, of course. And "A" is for the arts. That "2"? It's to "square" the "E" and give a shout-up to the twice-exceptional. The executive VP of GAM was quoted as saying, “We have quite a population of kids that have areas of giftedness and areas of learning disabilities as well. It is very important that we get this message out to our patrons," the parents and educators of Missouri. Way to go, GAM. Find the write-up.

BRIGHT BUT NOT "LAUNCHING." The Clay Center at Mass General Hospital has a site called "Parenting Concerns," and a recent post there is about how teenagers can have trouble becoming responsible, productive young adults. The post concerns a young man with a high IQ who struggled early in his first year of college with an issue familiar to many parents of 2e kids -- organization. The writer, a college teacher of the young man, suggested an educational life coach, who guided the young man to improved results. The writer also relates the story of a young woman who achieved 700-level SAT scores but had attention issues; a life coach helped her. Find the post.

HOW UNDERSTANDING HELPS LAUNCHING. A first-person "In Our Own Words" post at Autism Speaks tells how a self-described high-functioning autistic achieved better acceptance and achievement at college by letting peers and professors know about his HFA. He says, "I wanted to take this opportunity for anybody else with HFA to speak out about your autism, and be proud of who you are, because we are truly unique in our own ways." Read his post.

BRAIN MYTHS. Research from the University of Bristol highlights seven "neuro-myths" that many educators around the world believe to be true. The researchers say that in those seven areas new findings from neuroscience are becoming misinterpreted by education, including brain-related ideas regarding early educational investment, adolescent brain development, and learning disorders such as dyslexia and ADHD. Some of the myths were new to us, for example that not drinking a certain amount of water per day causes brain shrinkage. Others are (or have been) "sacred cows" in the  child development arena -- such as the "right brain/left brain" concept. The researchers even say that there's no evidence to suggest benefits to teaching students according to their preferred learning styles. There's also the "we only use 10 percent of our brain" myth, one actually perpetuated in today's Zits cartoon. Read more.

LD? OR "LEARN DIFFERENTLY"? A post at deals with this distinction, and basically says that you've got to teach to the individual student and his or her needs, possibly obviating the need for labels. The writer offers some key steps for accomplishing that goal; four are systemic changes to the educational system, but one -- finding learning strengths and talents -- doesn't require top-down change. Find the post. Be advised, however, that if you strongly agree with the researchers in the previous item above, you might have trouble logically accepting some of the conclusions in this post.

AND FINALLY, THIS. Take your kids -- or your students -- to live plays. Compared to either reading the plays or seeing a screen version, live play attendance can make kids more tolerant and empathetic -- not to mention more knowledgeable about the play itself. Read about the research

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