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September 08, 2010
We are thrilled to announce that on September 15th, from 2-3 PM ET, Ellen Galinsky will be participating in Early Childhood Investigations: A Webinar Series sponsored by Robert-Leslie Publishing. Ellen will talk about Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs, answer questions from participants, and show video clips from recent experiments on children's learning.
All participants will receive a special 20% discount on copies of Mind in the Making. This series of webinars is designed to spark engagement with the thought leaders and problem solvers in early care and education. We invite you to join us for a lively discussion! Please click here more information or to register for the webinar.read more
September 07, 2010
By Ellen Galinsky
It's Labor Day Weekend--the last weekend of summer before we plunge into fall. Hurricane Earl swept up the East Coast, missing us, but bringing cold biting winds that, even amid the bright sunlight, seemed a signal that summer--vacation season--is ebbing and it is back to work we go.
That is, if we ever left work. Work, as we all know, can be all-the-time, every-place. A special study on overwork by the Families and Work Institute (FWI) reveals that that one in three of all U.S. employees can be considered chronically overworked.
I know the facts about vacations from the FWI's nationally representative study, the 2008 National Study of the Changing Workforce, and they tell an interesting story.
Fact 1: Not all us have access to a paid vacation: 79% of American employees receive paid vacation time from their employers.
Fact 2: On average, we are entitled to a little more than two weeks off (16 paid days). Half of the U.S. workforce receives fewer than 15 days.
Fact 3: Even when we are entitled to vacations, not everyone takes all of the days he or she has: 39% of us don't use our full vacations. Americans use an average of 13.5 days of vacation per year.
Fact 4: The longest amount of time we take off at one time averages nine days. One in four of us (24%) takes five days or fewer for his or her longest vacation, while 23% take more than 13 days.
Fact 5: Taking a longer vacation (13 consecutive days or more, including weekends or holidays) bodes well for our health. Those employees who take longer vacations are less likely to have minor health problems on a regular basis, depression, sleep problems or to feel stressed.
These are the facts, but they don't tell us much about what happens during vacations. Many of us work while on vacations. It seemed almost standard practice this summer to receive a bounce-message to an email I had sent that read: "I am on vacation and don't have access to email and voice mail," only to receive a response from that person within a few hours. Still others of us take work on vacations or plan vacations that can be viewed as an extension of our work.read more
August 17, 2010
“Attention is the holy grail.”
These are the words of David Strayer, a professor of psychology who studies attention and the brain. And last month, he organized a week-long camping trip with four other neuroscientists to experience for themselves how unplugging from technology affected their own brains.
This is an issue that the scientists on this trip consider of the utmost importance. As Strayer says: “Everything you are conscious of, everything you let in, everything you remember and you forget, depends on attention.”
As the scientists and an accompanying reporter, photographer, and outdoorsman rafted on the San Juan River in Southern Utah, hiked along canyons, and camped—far out of range from their BlackBerries, cell phones, and computers, they discussed the potential impact of technology on the brain. Does being bombarded by technology crowd out our working memories? Does it tax our abilities to process information? Does it impair our capacity to learn? They shared these and other thoughts with Matt Richtel, who wrote a front-page article about their journey for the New York Times on August 16th.
August 11, 2010
We invite you to join us Today, Weds. 8/11, 12-4pm EDT on Facebook for the first "Office Hours" with Ellen Galinsky.
Go to Facebook.com and search for Mind in the Making. Once you get to our page, all you have to do is enter your question for Ellen, and she'll respond.
The topic: "How to Keep Learning Alive at Home." What are your back-to-school questions? Are you wondering about what to do if your child gets a teacher wh...o is turning your child off to learning? Is your child is refusing to do summer reading?read more
July 28, 2010
A front-page story in the New York Times today (July 28) by David Leonhardt is provocatively titled “The Case for $320,000 Kindergarten Teachers”. In what is described as an “explosive” new study, Harvard economist Raj Chetty and his colleagues have shed new light on the importance of quality early childhood teaching. The researchers examined the life paths of almost 12,000 children who were part of a Tennessee experiment, Project Star, that took place in the 1980s. In this study, students from similar socio-economic backgrounds were randomly assigned to different kindergarten classes. At the end of the year and into the first, second, and third grades, some classes made more progress than others. These differences were statistically significant, yet like other studies, as the children grew older, the difference began to fade out by junior high school, when assessed by test scores.
Importantly, the forthcoming study by the economists looked beyond test scores. The children in the study are now about 30 years old and so other indicators of life success can be used. The economists found that the students who learned more in kindergarten were more likely to go to college, were less likely to become single parents, were more likely to be saving more toward their retirements, and importantly, more likely to be earning more. And therein is the title of the article. As Leonhardt writes, $320,000 is the “present value of the additional money that a full class of students [with a standout teacher] can expect to earn over their careers.”
As Leonhardt makes clear, the economists don’t know exactly what these good teachers did to make the difference. While smaller class size and the composition of the class did make some difference, these factors don’t come close to explaining the results. So what does?