Category Archives: mLearning

IQ scores are falling -It’s not that dumb people are having more kids than smart people

IQ scores are falling and have been for decades, new study finds

Guest Blogger: Rory Smith, CNN

IQ scores have been steadily falling for the past few decades, and environmental factors are to blame, a new study says.

The research suggests that genes aren’t what’s driving the decline in IQ scores, according to the study, published Monday.
Norwegian researchers analysed the IQ scores of Norwegian men born between 1962 and 1

991 and found that scores increased by almost 3 percentage points each decade for those born between 1962 to 1975 — but then saw a steady decline among those born after 1975.

Similar studies in Denmark, Britain, France, the Netherlands, Finland and Estonia have demonstrated a similar downward trend in IQ scores, said Ole Rogeberg, a senior research fellow at the Ragnar Frisch Center for Economic Research in Norway and co-author of the new study.

“The causes in IQ increases over time and now the decline is due to environmental factors,” said Rogeburg, who believes the change is not due to genetics.
“It’s not that dumb people are having more kids than smart people, to put it crudely. It’s something to do with the environment, because we’re seeing the same differences within families,” he said.

These environmental factors could include changes in the education system and media environment, nutrition, reading less and being online more, Rogeberg said.

The earlier rise in IQ scores follows the “Flynn effect,” a term for the long-term increase in intelligence levels that occurred during the 21st century, arguably the result of better access to education, according to Stuart Ritchie, a postdoctoral fellow in cognitive ageing at the University of Edinburgh whose research explores IQ scores and intelligence and who was not involved in the new study.

Researchers have long preferred to use genes to explain variations in intelligence over environmental factors. However, the new study turns this thinking on its head.

Intelligence is heritable, and for a long time, researchers assumed that people with high IQ scores would have kids who also scored above average. Moreover, it was thought that people with lower scores would have more kids than people with high IQ scores, which would contribute to a decline in IQ scores over time and a “dumbing down” of the general population, according to Rogeberg.

Anyone who has seen the film “Idiocracy” might already be familiar with these ideas. In the scientific community, the idea of unintelligent parents having more kids and dumbing-down the population is known as the dysgenic fertility theory, according to Ritchie.

The study looked at the IQ scores of brothers who were born in different years. Researchers found that, instead of being similar as suggested by a genetic explanation, IQ scores often differed significantly between the siblings.

“The main exciting finding isn’t that there was a decline in IQ,” Ritchie said. “The interesting thing about this paper is that they were able to show a difference in IQ scores within the same families.”

The study not only showed IQ variance between children the same parents, but because the authors had the IQ scores of various parents, it demonstrated that parents with higher IQs tended to have more kids, ruling out the dysgenic fertility theory as a driver of falling IQ scores and highlighting the role of environmental factors instead.

What specific environmental factors cause changes in intelligence remains relatively unexplored.

Access to education is currently the most conclusive factor explaining disparities in intelligence, according to Ritchie. In a separate study that has not been released, he and his colleagues looked at existing research in an effort to demonstrate that staying in school longer directly equates to higher IQ scores.

But more research is needed to better understand other environmental factors thought to be linked to intelligence. Robin Morris, a professor of psychology at Kings College in London who was not involved in Ritchie’s research, suggests that traditional measures of intelligence, such as the IQ test, might be outmoded in today’s fast-paced world of constant technological change.

Morris states that “we need to recognise that as time changes and people are exposed to different intellectual experiences, such as changes in the use of technology, for example social media, the way intelligence is expressed also changes. Educational methods need to adapt to such changes,” Morris said.

Diane Shawe author of ‘Is Adult Education Broken” goes on to state in her publication that “No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is but the world as it will be.”

In her thought provoking book she explains that we are living in a new economy—powered by technology, fueled by information, and driven by knowledge which increasingly is increasingly becoming automated. We are entering the new century with opportunity on our side with huge problems that require new thinking.

How can we make the new economic age enhance, rather than diminish, our quality of learning?

How can we make this amazing innovation advance the prospects of all people especially those with experience and not just for the youth?

Fundamentally, we need to change what people learn, how people learn, when people learn, and even why people learn.

Inside her publication she explores

: Failure to find a fomular to develop teachers convergent and divergent facilitatingskills

: failure to consider cultural relevance

: failure to develop enterprising and entrepreneurial skills

: failure to prepare students about taking personal responsibility

: failure to encourage international engagement

:failure to manage growth of academic misconduct

Download your copy today https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07BWBMGFM/

Finally a frightening statistic:

“If unemployment formed a country it would be the 5th largest in the world” Isaac Asimov

Why Having The Right People Around You Matters To An Entrepreneur

Starting and running a business can be very lonely and exposes you to bouts of isolation. When this happens the need to be loved, needed, and pampered is very strong and there is nothing wrong with that.

Ones self esteem can suffer and this can be compounded by historical experiences (childhood, family etc) and frustration and exhaustion when trying to lift your business of the ground and working a 12 hours day.

Being an ideas person, being creative and wanting recognition for that is achieved when the evidence is people buying your services or products.

The people you have surrounding you is very important, they have to be of a similar stock because they get it, they move into activities that support your dream and help you benefit from your hard work.

Many women are brilliant because most of them run several things at once if they are mums, wife, daughters, designer, marketeer, sales person, social media expert, bookeeper, packer and distributors and the list goes on.

The main point is to have total confidence in who you are, listen to tapes and watch video that continually empowers you. Mix with the pack that stimulates and motivates you and you them. When you live like this all who is to be in your life will gravitate towards you and give you joy and support.

You will easily be able to then identify anyone around you that does not naturally fit into your gang because they don’t naturally make you feel better, they add weight to your life and focus on distracting you.

But we are born with free will and you can use it to experience your life in what ever way YOU want.

The ultimate responsibility is your.

Starting A Private Tutoring Business – The Skills Needed By A Private Tutor

Current Demand For Private Tuition In The UK

We can reassure you that the demand for private tuition across the board is increasing, and is required throughout the year.

Whilst the market is flooded with tutors supporting students in English, Maths and some STEM subjects, it is increasingly obvious that a lot of children are suffering because they do not have the much needed Social Skills to help them  with communication, problem-solving, decision making, self-management, and peer relations abilities that allow one to initiate and maintain positive social relationships with others.

Deficits or excesses in social behavior interfere with learning, teaching, and the classroom’s orchestration and climate. Social competence is linked to peer acceptance, teacher acceptance, inclusion success, and post school success.

As we see the rise in school exclusions, there are many reasons suited for the rise in the UK. So now a more structured approach needs tho be taken to assist a wide crosses section of children experiencing problems outside of the curricula which in turn impacts there relationship with each other, their teachers, parents and the wider community.

Whilst the demand throughout the academic year for private tuition varies per subject and level, factors to consider are do you want to provide tutoring throughout the year, number of subjects and levels you tutor, if you are wishing to travel and how far you are prepared to travel if at all.

Starting A Private Tutoring Business – The Skills Needed By A Private Tutor

If you are interested in becoming a private tutor, you may wish to consider the following skills before setting up a private tuition service :-

Ability To Communicate & Help The Students Understanding
The key approach of private tuition is to improve the understanding of the student. An essential skill for a home tutor is that they are able to help the student grasp and fully understand any area of subject weakness by good communication. Whilst at the same time engaging the student’s interest and making the tutoring session fun will enhance their learning.

Ability To Listen
One of the major factors of one to one private tutoring is to tailor and deliver your lessons so that the student can understand areas of subject difficulty. For the student to improve, they must understand. Flexibility is the key. Just because you use a successful set protocol of how you tailor your tuition lessons for several of your students, does not mean this will work every time. Therefore if the student has difficulty in grasping certain areas of their syllabus, listen to their feedback and from this devise alternative ways of how you will tailor your tutoring for that particular student.

Good Grasp Of Your Subject Area
We would recommend that you only offer home lessons for the subjects that you are familiar with and enjoy and are passionate about. As a rule, the subjects that you enjoy, understand and feel most enthusiastic about are the ones which you will excel in at tutoring. Therefore you will have most success in improving the student’s grades and confidence.

Communication With All Age Groups – Especially Children and Teenagers
Most academic personal tutors provide private tuition for children or young adults. However if you specialise in tutoring students for GCSE upwards, you will be tutoring teenagers, young adults and possibly mature students. Therefore you will need to feel confident at communicating with all age groups. Even if you are only providing private tuition for primary or secondary level children, remember that you will often come into contact with and give feedback to their guardians or parents.

Good Command of The English Language and Literacy
That saying, a child whos first language is not English might benefit from a similar language tutor who might be able to get the point across much clearer until the students English improves.

Good Time Management & Self Motivation
As a freelance tutor, like any self employed profession, you will not have a clocking in machine! When you work for yourself you need to be self motivated and it is essential that you use your time effectively. Most students require tuition in the early evening on weekdays or at weekends. Keep these times free for tuition and carry out your admin such as filing, accounting etc at other times of the day or week. If you do not plan your time wisely, this may result in less time that you have available for one to one tuition and your private tuition business will generate less income.

Excellent Organisation Is Paramount
Excellent organisational skills go hand in hand with good time management. As you build up clientele, you will find that you are providing private tuition to several students for different syllabi and possibly several subjects. This can become rather confusing, especially near exam times when you are using similar examination papers for several students. We advise that you keep a record for every student you tutor. This record should include the work that you have covered, any marks received for questions or past examination papers. The reasons for this is it is of benefit when you need to update parents regarding their child’s progress. Another reason for keeping private tuition records per student is that it enables you to plan ahead, so that you can cover all topics that the student struggles with and leave time towards examinations to cover exam papers and examination questions.

How to  Get Started

Request our free Tutors Prospectus Directory to see a list of all the course resources. Each package also includes a tutor manual, this covers the subject in detail and will assist you in delivering a quality and comprehensive course to your students.

How My Teacher Almost Dashed My Dreams Of Writing

wear your pretty shoes well by diane shawe884346925..jpg

When I was 8 years old I remember my teacher Mr Lester ripping up my homework and accusing me of copying the story I wrote for my homework that week. I remember it was a story about being lost in the woods at night, I use to be afraid of the dark back then.

I cried and said I hadn’t copied it, he gave me detention on top of that and called me a liar.

I was so embarrassed and ashamed I never did well in English Literature again just to spite him I thought but really he had squashed my confidence.

16 books later all published on Amazon with my most recent which took 3 years to write and a healthy vibrant blog with over 35k followers which I have been nurturing since 2010

Do you think adults in position of influence realise what they can do to a child?

Never let negative people define who you are or what you want to become.

Coaching is also important and if you want to propel your vision coaching can help you stay laser focused with a strategic plan

Download your copy on #amazon today https://goo.gl/gm9t2U

Diane Shawe’s eBooks are available on Amazon right now at: https://www.amazon.com/Diane-Shawe/e/B0052WG8V6

Here’s the Main Reasons Adult Education is Broken and I’ll Prove It To You

Is Adult Education Broken?

Is Adult Education Broken by Diane Shawe Author (4)

Adult education has become undervalued in an overpriced educational infrastructure.

The people who need the most help are already systematically ripped off by greedy loan companies, NHS parking, having to pay charges for drawing out their own money from private ATM machines in poorer boroughs, pre-paid electric meter’s to name but a few.

The more you seem to need help the more you seem to have to pay.

Off course, the arguments are always about risk, but to compound on top of their needs, a premium, just to make sure the risk is compensated for is questionable indeed. But another kind of ripping off is taking place. ‘Free online education’ you may ask ‘why is this a rip-off people”?
I will answer this from my perspective initially and then make further arguments as to why we should be very concerned about this un-policed, unchallenged butchery of the values originally infused into our adult educational system.

Is Adult Education Broken by Diane Shawe Author (2)So if you all but think Adult Education is Broken and all but given up, this book spills the beans on what has gone wrong, what questions need to be addressed and if certain issues are tackled by Government, then there’s Hope,

As Isaac Asimov—a master of science fiction literature—once said:

“No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into
          account not only the world as it is but the world as it will be.”

So the big Question is – What has happened?

  • Why have these large institutions priced education out of some fundamental principles?
  • Why on the other spectrum are all these free courses flooded the market?
  • How can we make the new economic age enhance, rather than diminish, our quality of learning?
  • How can we make this amazing innovation advance the prospects of all people especially those with or without experience and not just for the youth?

It is clear that at this moment most educational systems are not keeping pace with changing technology and the ever-evolving world of work.

Is Adult Education Broken by Diane Shawe Author (5)
“If unemployment formed a country it would be the 5th largest in the world”

                                                  Isaac Asimov

 
Not enough people are thinking strategically enough in this area.  Fundamentally, we need to change what people learn, how people learn, when people learn, and even why people learn.

We must get beyond the traditional model of students sitting passively in classrooms, following instructions and memorising material that they are tested and scored on which sometimes turn out to be of little use in an every changing economy.

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those
                                     who can best manage change.”                       Darwin

Throughout the ages, every human society has experienced challenges adjusting to population growth, maintaining structural order and creating channels for future generations. How well a society prepares the next generation for survival is imperative for the society as a whole but we have stalled in this process.

There seems to be a range of systemic failures such as

: failure to find a formula to develop teachers convergent and divergent Is Adult Education Broken by Diane Shawe Author (3)facilitating skills
: failure to consider cultural relevance
: failure to develop enterprising and entrepreneurial skills
: failure to prepare about taking personal responsibility
: failure to provide adequate technology and supporting curriculum
: failure to encourage international engagement
: failure to manage growth of academic misconduct

Diane Shawe Author states that “the traditional belief that we must prepare ourselves to be ‘employable’ is under threat. The counter argument encourages us to ‘gear up’ for earning our own money, rather than seeing income as someone else’s responsibility”

With the population dramatically aging and low-level jobs increasingly swallowed up by machinery, entrepreneurship will be a necessity for many, rather than a lifestyle choice for some.

SMEs are of course already leading this charge but in order to gear up for the future we need to start off by asking a serious question, defining criteria’s and examining trends, impact these trends will have and plan a way to jointly prepare current and future generations to be both employable and entrepreneurial.

We are living in a new economy—powered by technology, fueled by information, and driven by knowledge. And we are entering the new century with an opportunity on our side but huge problems that require new thinking.

claim free course now

Is Adult Education Broken by Diane Shawe Author (12)

Click to find out more about creating your own On Demand Digital Course Library

How to create a digital on demand course library

 

 

9 Steps to The Killer Covering Letter

It has become almost common knowledge that most potential employers do not even bother responding to unsuccessful candidates that apply for vacant jobs.

Sometimes you need to give yourself the winning edge. Think Clint Eastwood with the sun behind him in a gun fight. Sometimes in giving massive importance to the CV, the value of a strong cover letter is often neglected. The key to securing that dream job is a combination of a well-crafted CV and a killer cover letter. While the CV lists your important achievements and skills, the cover letter coerces your prospective employer into hiring you. The cover letter very finely articulates your desire to work for the company. To stand apart from the competition and make yourself an attractive hire, you need to draft a killer cover letter. Here are the 9 Steps to landing that job…

  1. 1.     Knowing what they want, what they really really want

The cover letter offers a window to your personality and qualifications. But apart from that, it is also a way to demonstrate how much you really know about your prospective employer. To do this, you need to research on the company, the financial growth statistics, the industries that your employer serves, etc. Learn about your potential firm and showcase that. Only when you know what they want and who they are looking for, will you be able to portray that in your cover letter.

  1. 2.     Giving it that personal touch

When you are searching for a job and have focused on one, make sure you find out the name of the contact person. Beginning your cover letters with formal salutations such as “Dear Sir or Madam”, gives the impression that you don’t know whom the letter should be addressed to. Personalise your cover letters while retaining a semi-formal tone. Lack of knowledge in these areas can significantly impact your chances of getting the job you want.

  1. 3.     The Art of the Powerful Opening

Avoid the clichéd opening paragraphs and instead strive to make an impact with the introduction. In a powerful opening paragraph, you have to briefly state your objective in applying for the job and how you heard about the opening. While being creative in your openings, don’t forget that cute introductions do not work. Give your cover letter the necessary gravitas without being too sycophantic.

  1. 4.     Start Right

After the introduction, comes the body of the cover letter where you detail your achievements without repetition. In this part of the cover letter, you are expected to expand upon your achievements as mentioned in the CV and provide further examples of how you can help your potential company grow. For example, if you are applying for marketing positions then be sure to explain how you can develop a marketing strategy to bring in additional revenue for the company. Simply said, put your best foot forward.

  1. 5.     Finish Strong

The closing of the letter should definitely express gratitude for the HR manager’s time and patience. End the letter by outlining the next steps on your part. Never expect a potential employer to follow up with you. Demonstrate your proactive nature by stating that you will follow up for the job. This will also indicate your enthusiasm for the job. Remember to include a phone number or email address so that the firm can get in touch with you first if required.

  1. 6.     Money Later

The motivation behind taking up any job is money. To be happy in your job you need to be paid well. Don’t become hasty and quote any figures in the letter. Wait for a formal meeting to discuss salary issues.

  1. 7.     Details Matter

Remember to spell-check your cover letters and get them proof-read from friends or family. Be sure to thoroughly check your cover letters till you are completely satisfied with them.

  1. 8.     How does it Look?

In case you are submitting your cover letter by email, make use of word processing software such as MS Word. Write your cover letters in Word, making use of a standardized format. Align the text correctly and ensure that the letter is cleanly formatted. Punctuation should be in place. While you spend a tremendous amount of time on preparing the CV, you sometimes end up neglecting the cover letter. Formatting is essential otherwise the HR manager reading your cover letter might just have to spend his or her time deciphering it.

  1. 9.     Check That Grammar

Make sure that you adhere to grammar rules and make use of them while writing your cover letter. Incorrect grammar used in the wrong places can not only create a wrong impression, but also change the meaning of what you intended to convey.

These are such simple steps to write a killer covering letter.

ü Draft your letter so that it highlights your skills, achievements, goals, and motivations.

ü Don’t meander from the main topic.

ü Stick to the basics and be direct in your approach.

Do the above and nothing can stop you from getting that job.

 

 

Outsourcing your knowledge

Albert EinsteinWhy knowing less helps you to do more.

Diane Shawe M.Ed. 

When you think about the power of your brain and how we learn, memorise and recall all those facts, it can get very confusing. Having taught for nearly 25 years and trained some of the brightest professionals over last 10 years, I believe that knowledge is divided in two distinct areas. We can either know about a subject ourselves or we know where we can retrieve information on that subject. The massive amount of information available online has opened an infinite library of easily and quickly retrievable information with simple search engines. I like to think of it as an organic external hard drive, an outsourced memory we can plug in at any time. Some have argued that the internet dilutes the most traditional kind of knowledge: knowing a subject ourselves. They argue that in some way it makes our brains less efficient, diminishing our intelligence and destroying our inner hard drives and memory.

You may remember (if you are of a certain age) that when you were young, you knew by heart the phone number of your closest friends. Since the introduction of digital directories on smartphones there is no longer any reason to memorise numbers by heart.   On the other hand, how many hundreds more contacts do you have now compared to then thanks to the digital directories? In reality, how much more connected are you? The real deal of the information age is not that it allows us to know more, but that it allows us to know less in terms of depth of what we know, as mentioned by David Brooks, a New York Times columnist, in his famous 2006 NY Times article[1] The Outsourced Brain.

neuroscience brain“Memory? I’ve externalised it.” He said, “I am one of those baby boomers who are making this the “It’s on the Tip of My Tongue Decade.” But now I no longer need to have a memory, for I have Google, Yahoo and Wikipedia. Now if I need to know some fact about the world, I tap a few keys and enjoy the vast resource of the external mind.”

I think the positive side of this is that we are free to expand our awareness of subjects we did not have space, or availability, to explore before. Our memory now has a different function: it is a digital index that remembers the existence of a subject and what are the best leads to find information on that subject. I too had thought that the magic of the information age was that it allowed us to know more facts. Then I realised that the magic of the information age is that it allows us to know less.

It provides us with external cognitive servants, silicon memory systems if you will, with collaborative online filters, consumer preference algorithms and networked knowledge. We thus can give these servants the massive raw data and liberate ourselves to think, explore and be creative. You can use your brain to learn new skills, the soft skills that are the true measure of success.

Your outsourced memory (the internet, the cloud and more) allows you to be aware of the existence of information you would never have come across before when you were limited to what your inner memory could hold. It allows you to increase the quantity (and thus the quality) of the information that you can process because you do not always have to worry about memorising every single detail of it. It allows you to use more brain power in linking concepts and applying them rather than remembering them. It empowers you to think and process information faster because your brain has the space to hold links to so much different information, and in doing so it expands your subjective time. Back in the analogue era, the difference between a deep brain and a shallow brain was the availability of information and the choice of whether to take in that information or not came second.

As an educationalist and technophile, combined with my outsourced memory I have the capacity to think deeper. Now that (nearly) everything is available, the power is back to you: it is up to you to take responsibility of what content goes into your mind and how you use your outsourced memory.

Now you have begun to outsource your brain and now have room to do something rather special with your neo-cortex. Enjoy.

 

Six tips on how to avoid water retension

What Causes Water Retention and How to Avoid It

Are your feet, ankles, hands, or legs often swollen? This happens because of water retention, a condition known as edema. It is characterized by the accumulation of fluids in the tissues, circulatory system, and cavities.
Water retention, also known as fluid retention refers to an excessive build up of fluid in the circulatory system, body tissues, or cavities in the body. Up to 70% of the human body consists of waterwater exists both inside and outside our body’s cells. Edema is the medical term for swelling.

The main causes of edema are pregnancy, not being physically active, premenstrual syndrome, sedentary lifestyle, and certain medications. But, swelling can also occur during a long flight.

Most cases of edema are not serious. However, sometimes it can indicate heart failure or kidney disease, so it’s important to treat it on time.

Here are the main causes of edema as well as suggested ways of how to reduce the swelling and avoid water retention, as long as there’s no underlying condition.

6 Causes of Edema and suggested solutions

1. Excessive Sodium Intake

If your diet is based on sodium-rich foods and if you don’t drink enough water, your body will use its water reserves. This, in turn, results in water retention. The human cells can expand up to 20 times with the help of water. So, the important thing here is to know which foods contain high amounts of sodium, so you can start avoiding them.

Besides salt, sodium can also be found in canned vegetables, some condiments, processed meat, and other processed foods. On the other hand, Celtic and Himalayan sea salt can reverse the water retention caused by table salt.

2. Magnesium Deficiency

Lack of magnesium can lead to edema. This mineral is vital for most functions in the body, so insufficient amounts of it can hinder the proper function of the body. This will eventually lead to water retention.

One research showed that taking 200 milligrams as a daily dose of magnesium can reduce water retention in women with premenstrual symptoms. Increasing the intake of magnesium-rich foods or taking it as a supplement can relieve this condition.

Here are the foods which contain the highest amount of magnesium: dried fruits, spinach, dark green veggies, dark chocolate, nuts, avocados, peas, and whole grains.

3. Lack of Vitamin B6

Deficiency in vitamin B6 can lead to edema since it’s involved in many aspects of water balance in the body.

A study published in the Journal of Caring Sciences involved women who experienced water retention caused by premenstrual syndrome. They took vitamin B6 on a daily basis, and their condition was soon improved. This vitamin is water-soluble, so it requires many cofactors to function properly. Therefore, it’s best to obtain it from whole foods.

Foods high in this vitamin are potatoes with skin, chicken, lean beef, turkey, tuna, dried fruit, bananas, sunflower seeds, and pistachio nuts.

4. Lack of Potassium

This mineral is vital for the proper function of cells, tissues, and organs in the body. It plays a significant role in the maintenance of normal water balance in the body.

Potassium deficiency can result from not consuming enough potassium-rich foods but high amounts of salt. This will eventually lead to edema. Lack of this mineral can cause weight gain, muscle spasms, and cramps. Potassium can reduce water retention due to its ability to reduce the sodium levels.

You can find this mineral in most fruits, especially in watermelon, honey melon, and rockmelon.

5. Dehydration

Dehydration occurs when you don’t drink enough water. This condition forces the body to retain water in order to survive, resulting in swellings in your feet, ankles, hands, or legs. Luckily, it’s not hard to improve your condition. Just drink enough water and potassium-rich juices, and avoid soda drinks and coffee.

6. Excessive Consumption of Processed Foods

As we mentioned, processed foods are full of sugar and sodium – one of the leading causes of water retention. But, they also contain artificial food additives whose toxic nature puts a load on the kidneys and the liver.

Foods which contain high amounts of sugar including artificial sweeteners can cause spikes in the levels of insulin and blood sugar.

Therefore, we recommend avoiding processed foods as much as you can.

How to help organise brain development in adolescents

Helping the youths to achieve more

Helping the youths to achieve more

Brain Development and Adolescent Growth Spurts

Judy Willis MD

Neurologist/Teacher/Grad School Ed faculty/Author/Guest Blogger

As your students move through adolescence, their brains are going through a dynamic change from chaos to clarity. These developmental changes have profound implications for how you’ll be able to guide students during these transformative years.

Brain Remodeling: Chaos to Clarity

The brain first goes through a rapid maturation phase in the months before and after birth, and a second maturation phase throughout later childhood and adolescence. During this second phase of increased brain growth, the prefrontal cortex is the site of the brain’s most active reorganization and growth. Before building your understanding of what is taking place in the prefrontal cortex during its adolescent growth spurt, let’s explore what is housed in this late-developing part of the brain.

The prefrontal cortex is where the highest cognitive and emotional control networks are being constructed, especially during the school years. These networks are what neurologists call executive functions.

The networks of the executive functions direct the complex mental processes that you see emerging as students grow. Executive functions can be thought of as the skills that would make a corporate executive successful, abilities that allow them to:

  • Organize
  • Prioritize
  • Communicate effectively
  • Accurately interpret validity and value of information
  • Make long-range plans to achieve goals
  • Assess risk
  • Solve problems creatively
  • Innovate

These networks do not reach full effectiveness until early adulthood. When well nurtured by use, executive functions ultimately guide the brain’s abilities to:

  • Manage emotional stability
  • Control impulses
  • Plan
  • Respond productively to corrective feedback
  • Learn from mistakes
  • Remain resilient to setbacks
  • Reflect thoughtfully before making decisions and choices.

Early adolescence (ages 10-12) is a good time to build students’ skills of organizing and prioritizing information and time management. The opportunities you provide to guide them in using these executive functions also provide the activation to strengthen these networks when they are at peak neuroplastic responsiveness. As a result of this strengthening, your students will build more skills en route to becoming self-directed learners.

Helping Students Organize Themselves

Successful organization is needed for preparing and completing most activities related to school. The development of this executive function becomes even more critical as the responsibilities and requirements of school and extracurricular activities increase each year. Using strategies that increase student awareness of these skills and providing guided opportunities to use them will help adolescents build the brainpower that they need.

Start by promoting student awareness of their existing organizing skills. Ask questions such as:

  • How do you sort your music on playlists?
  • How do you organize your files on your computer?

Also, ask questions about familiar things that are already organized systematically, such as:

  • How is the content of this book organized into chapters?
  • What organization do you see in the periodic table of elements or in dividing plants and animals into classifications such as kingdoms, genus, and species?

Other Strategies

1. Teacher Modeling and Discussion

Model your systems of organization (filing, recording progress, how you set up the classroom, etc.). Draw students’ attention to the organizational strategies that you use during instruction.

2. Clear Instructions

Initially, when providing organizational strategies, emphasize them both verbally and in writing. Give students clear instructions for procedures, projects, or class transitions as you model organizational structure.

3. Student Modeling

Assign selected students to model the procedures that you’ve described, such as the right way and the wrong way to organize their class groups during collaborative work time.

4. Checking for Understanding

Stop between segments of complex or multi-step instructions, allowing students to organize their thoughts and ask questions. Ask students to repeat back their understanding of the instructions so that they can respond to your feedback and reorganize appropriately.

5. Gradual Release of Responsibility

Throughout the year, plan a gradual decrease in the scaffolding that you provide for student organization of time and goals. For example, back away from giving them your timeline schedule for parts of a book report or project, let them plan and write their own timelines, and revise these as you help them monitor their progress.

6. Feedback

Observe student progress and setbacks and provide feedback with opportunities for them to revise their organizational systems.

The Case for Investing in Executive Functions

As the caretaker of your students’ brains during the years of rapid prefrontal cortex development, the opportunities that you provide for them to use these critical neural networks are precious gifts. The tools and skills that you help them build will empower them to achieve their highest potential now, and will increase their satisfaction and success as they inherit the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.

How to increase the odds for your business

diane-shawe-elle-magazineIn business, there are no guarantees. There is simply no way to eliminate all the risks associated with starting a small business – but you can improve your chances of success with good planning, preparation, and insight.

Diane Shawe Author

Like you I Never Thought I Could answer 77 questions that would help me avoid business failure  – But I Finally Discovered The Secret! Here’s How… Are you really ready? Is Entrepreneurship For You?

Are you the right person for the business you have chosen?

I would advise you don’t skip the 77 questions, why? Well it would be like short changing your potentially new clients.

So persevere, some you will answer quickly, others you will need to do a little research, but believe it, it’s worth it, you will be clearer and more focused about what you are going to do.

Here are 10 questions related to Number 50 – 59 from the recently published ebook  What you don’t know might be costing you a fortune New Discovery reveals how by answering 77 questions you could avoid Business Failure by Diane Shawe

  1. Where do you see bottlenecks developing?
  2. How important is quality control?
  3. What is the current backlog?
  4. Is the product assembly line based or individually customized?
  5. What are the health and safety concerns in producing this product?
  6. Who are your suppliers and how long have they been in business?
  7. How many sources of suppliers are there?
  8. Currently, are there any shortages in components?
  9. How old is your company’s equipment?
  10. What is the yearly maintenance costs?

I recommend you get a little notebook and start working on each question. For those you cannot answer a specific question, stop do some research, find the answer and make a note.

This is also an invaluable exercise if you are already in business, it can help you clarify where you are today and help you plot where you need to get too and how to do it.

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