Is the Internet Changing Kids’ Brains? … and more in this week’s news roundup!

Is the Internet Changing Kids’ Brains?
(Education Next)

Has habitual Internet browsing altered kids’ brains? In this excerpt from his new book The Reading Mind: A Cognitive Approach to Understanding How the Mind Reads, Daniel T. Willingham argues that the brain is always changing, so the effects of web activities aren’t likely to be permanent. In fact, the biggest challenge for young readers may be staying focused on the printed page when having a smartphone means they never have to be bored.

A Novice→Expert Model of Learning
(The Learning Spy)
One of the best understood principles of cognitive psychology is that novices learn and think differently to experts. These labels are domain-specific, not person-specific; I can be an expert at particle physics whilst still being a novice at evolutionary biology.

Positive engagement in preschool key to developmental gains
(Science Daily)
Many interventions and programs designed to improve low-income children’s lives focus on providing high-quality early-childhood education. Preschool classrooms that are emotionally supportive, well-organized, and cognitively stimulating can help boost children’s learning and development. Yet for the most part, focusing on the quality of early-childhood education has emphasized teachers, often missing the central role that children play in their own development.

New study backs academic rigor for preschoolers. Oh, please.
(The Washington Post)
A new study finds that preschool classrooms — those in which teachers provide “high doses” of activities “emphasizing language, preliteracy and math concepts” — give “positive” academic benefits to children as measured by standardized tests, and that black students generally get a bigger boost than others.

Why Are Schools Still Peddling the Self-Esteem Hoax?
(Education Week)
Social-emotional learning is rooted in ‘faux psychology.’ A commentary by Chester Evans Finn, Jr former United States Assistant Secretary of Education.

Why ‘Unlearning’ Old Habits Is An Essential Step For Innovation
(KQED – Mind Shift)
Educators at a school near Boston is making the effort to unlearn old habits and perspectives that get in the way of more effective solutions.

The Science of Microaggressions: It’s Complicated
(Scientific American)
Subtle bigotry can be harmful, but research on the concept so far raises more questions than answers.

Starting school young can put child wellbeing at risk
(Science Daily)
Youngest pupils in each school year group could be at risk of worse mental health than their older classmates.

How to Cope Without a Full-Time Job Offer
(Inside Higher Ed)

Raechel Tiffe gives six pointers on how to thrive without secure academic employment.

Taking Notes Has This Ironic Effect On Your Memory

Making notes can actually reduce what you remember, according to psychological research.

Watch the Human Brain Come to Life in This Stunning Piece of Art
(Scientific American)

Drawn and etched with algorithms, Greg Dunn’s masterpiece is unique in more ways than one.

Psychology Interns Could Help Boost School’s Mental Health
(Half Moon Bay Review)
High school is a stressful time for students. Many students are juggling advanced placement (AP) classes, sports, and other extracurricular activities while testing the limits of their independence, taking on increased responsibilities, and dealing with all the awkwardness and insecurities of adolescence. There is a constant pressure to do more, reach higher, be better, especially as students take on more difficult workloads for their classes and begin applying to colleges.

Testing the Metrics
(MIT News)
MIT researchers refine yardstick for measuring schools and teachers

Charismatic Leaders: Too much of a Good Thing?
How important is charisma in a leader? While at least a moderate level is important, too much may hinder a leader’s effectiveness, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.

How Private Funding Creates Disparities Among Detroit’s Pre-K Classrooms
(The Atlantic)
Some students get field trips, science kits, and new toys while the kids down the hall get nothing.

Are You Talking to Parents about Keeping Guns Away from Children? 5 reasons you absolutely should
(Psychology Benefits Society)
Psychologists are recognized as having important knowledge about psychological health and development. That is why parents routinely seek our advice on a wide range of issues affecting their children’s well-being.

Metacognitive Reflection Assignments in Introductory Psychology
(Teaching with Metacognition)
These assignments focus on study strategies, goal setting, and reflection on the effectiveness of study strategies and the extent to which goals have been achieved

Teaching Social-Emotional Competence: A video collection
(Education Week Teacher)
Teachers can support healthy social and emotional development in their students when they model how to express and communicate emotions in an appropriate way.

At Yale, Protests Mark a Fight to Recognize Union for Grad Students
(NPR Ed)
At Yale University’s commencement ceremony last month, hundreds of graduating students and their supporters staged a labor protest. The dispute pits graduate student teachers who voted to form a union in February against a Yale administration that refuses to bargain and disputes the election’s validity.

Sweden’s gender-neutral preschools produce kids who are more likely to succeed
Inside a handful of public kindergartens in Sweden, toys are never divided into traditional gender camps. Dolls and baby strollers mingle freely with cars and wooden blocks. In posters, dump trucks haul around beaded jewelry, a bionic robot wears a tutu, and it’s not a female or male Barbie who does the dishes—that’s left to a skeleton.

Disconnect in the Classroom
(The Learning Scientists)
How do we connect the teacher and the latest research? What are the barriers?

Can these 11 states make their teaching forces more diverse by 2040?
(Education Week Teacher)
Nationally, 18 percent of teachers are nonwhite, compared to just over half of public school students. It’s a large gap—but 11 states have committed to working to reach parity between their own nonwhite student and teacher populations by 2040.

Social-Emotional Learning: It starts with teachers
(Education Week Teacher)
Fostering a sense of calm and joy in the classroom must start with the teacher. This special report explores the social-emotional competencies needed for classroom teachers, and how they can then convey those skills to their students


About the Author

Amanda Macchi, MPH
Amanda comes to the APA as a recent graduate of the George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health. During her time at GW, Amanda studied global health, focusing on the challenges facing mental health in low-and middle-income countries. She received her undergraduate degree in marketing from Emerson College in Boston, Mass. In her free time Amanda loves pyrography, furniture making and spending time with her dog, Becky.
Nick Bornstein
Nick is an education and communications intern with the APA. Originally from the San Francisco Bay area, Nick is a current undergraduate student pursuing a Psychology degree and a minor in Business Administration at the George Washington University. Nick's interests include travel, studying German, history, politics, and economics.
Hunter Clary
Hunter is a communications professional who came of age in the digital revolution, and has witnessed big changes in how we communicate. In his eclectic 20 year career he’s seen vast changes across multiple industries from advertising, B2C, professional services, publishing, and now non-profit. During his time at APA Hunter has watched the growth of in the organization’s web presence; a shift from print to digital media; and the pickup of social channels like the PsychLearningCurve. A tech geek at heart, Hunter is naturally drawn to all things shiny and new especially when it comes to communicating – particularly social media and apps. Hunter seeks to understand the world around him -- add in a penchant for creative design and a reporter’s curiosity and you’ve got Hunter. Through this blog he hopes to help translate quality psychological science into practical uses for educators, students, and parents.