Dr. Arline Bronzaft is worried about the effect noise could be having on your health. She’s an environmental psychologist whose research on the impact of noise in New York City has changed noise code policy and brought a lot of attention to the dangers of noise to humans. Her latest collaborative project with the Department of Environmental Protection of New York City is the Sound and Noise Education Module. This module provides interactive, multi-disciplinary, STEM lessons tailored to teach elementary, middle and high school students about sound and noise in their neighborhoods. Activities in each lesson encourage students and teachers to participate in citizen science projects by collecting and analyzing data.
Resources for Teachers
It was estimated that in January 2017, there were more than 1.8 billion websites. And as most of us know already, a website can be a personal, commercial, governmental website, or a non-profit organisation. Websites are typically dedicated to a particular topic or purpose, ranging from entertainment and social networking, to providing news and education.
Over the last few years as a School Psychology doctoral student, I have begun to experiment with various social media and technology platforms with hopes to improve efficiency and service delivery. I have found that the attention and information consumption of youth are structured into small but high-volume increments of time. Each social media platform serves its own purpose in the lives of our youth and as educators we must utilize this knowledge to bridge the educational gaps that exist.
Kindergarten today is not like it used to be – a place characterized by engagement with social skills and exploring through play. Over the past twenty years Kindergarten has become much more concentrated on academics as a result of federal, state, and local policies as well as parental concerns that emphasize acquisition of basic skills and passing standardized tests. In fact, there’s research that supports the idea that Kindergarten is the new first grade. In response, preschools have become more academic, especially promoting early reading and math skills. Children now know more than they ever have at this age about these subjects.
It’s the first day of class and Marie is a brand new teacher. She has just finished her professional degree and has had some experience as an assistant teacher, but this is her first time being the head teacher in an early childhood setting and being fully responsible for the children in her care. During her training she learned about developmentally appropriate practices and working with families and children from diverse backgrounds, but nevertheless she feels overwhelmed and underprepared to deal with the day-to-day challenges of being an early childhood educator. Marie is expected to provide a high-quality experience for her children but her own anxiety and stress is getting in the way of her ability to provide the children in her classroom with a nurturing and positive educational environment. Her anxiety sometimes spills over into her interactions with other teachers and parents which in turn affects the behavior and learning of the children under her care.
On Twitter, educator Justin Tarte wrote about technology in education no longer being a luxury but a necessity. Larry and Laurie, the campus Luddites and technophobes will need to retire to make way for the new tech-savvy teachers of tomorrow. Technology will not be for the rich districts; it will be for everyone. Every school will have some form of 1:1 and all teachers and administrators will need to be able to adapt to changing software and technological tools in the future. Good teaching and good pedagogy will still be needed, but we are approaching the science of learning from a different place than when I began teaching. This is a great change.
As I write this post, I have a smile on my face because I just ended a class that included several “woos”, high-fives and screaming! And, no it wasn’t because my heel broke in class and I landed flat on my face (I’ll reserve that story for an APA event so that I can fully act out my embarrassment). The hooting and hollering came from the excitement students had while they played a review game on Quizlet Live. As a teacher, I really enjoy experimenting with new tech tools in my classroom, even if it ends with me cursing under my breath at my computer after school. Through my adventures in experimenting with technology, I have learned a few lessons:
In his pioneering work, Albert Bandura characterised self-efficacy as the individual’s belief in his capacity to execute behaviours necessary to produce specific performance attainments. It reflects confidence in the ability to exert control over one’s own motivation, behaviour, and social environment. As teachers, this is an important element of human behaviour that can be harnessed to optimise students’ learning experience.
A host of research has already demonstrated that self-efficacy appears to be an important variable because it impacts students’ motivation and learning. But what are the factors that teachers should bear in mind to ensure that self-efficacy flourishes in the classroom?
You’ve read the brochures, checked out the shiny pictures, and narrowed down your choices to the programs that work in terms of location and schedule. You’ve visited the building and checked for clean toys and rooms, qualified teachers, and center accreditation. You have the center policies in brightly colored folders, and know the math – teacher/student ratios, and square footage. Somehow, though, there’s still something missing. What is the next step in figuring out where your child should spend their early childhood years? Surely the decision is more than just ratios, square footage, and accreditation.
Children and adolescents in the United States face significant challenges related to academic achievement and mental health. For example, only 36% (reading) and 40% (mathematics) of 4th grade students scored at or above proficiency on standardized tests in 2015 (McFarland et al., 2017). Approximately 1 out of every 17 students will not complete high school and about 13% of the school population, representing 6.6 million youth, require special education services for one or more disabilities that invariably affect their learning and mental health (McFarland et al., 2017). Roughly 1 out of every 5 students will experience a clinically significant mental disorder chiefly including anxiety disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and mood disturbances such as depression (Kessler et al., 2012). Thus, it is clear that our student population needs ongoing, effective support to meet and overcome these challenges successfully. Who will answer the call to address these needs? Fortunately, school psychologists are ideally suited to enhance student academic and mental health given their extensive training and experience in educational and mental health support strategies.