Welcome Back, CEC, & IMBES

Welcome Back, CEC, & IMBES

Educational Research High School Middle School The Study Academy Report

Greetings! Welcome back! I hope your summer was everything you’d ever hoped it would be and more.

First off, please let me introduce myself: My name is Ariana. I enjoy long walks on the beach, sunsets, and filing OSRs. In other words, I am the new School Administrator, and I am pleased to handle all of your administrative needs. I have also assumed the role of Blog Master, so here we go:

Once again, welcome back! We’re glad to see so many new and returning faces, and we’re excited about everything that this year has in store. Already, we’ve had our high school trip to the Canadian Ecology Centre, Parent Welcome Meeting, taken student card photos, had our first assembly and fire drill of the year (which everyone aced), and will soon begin our extracurricular clubs and activities. We’re powering through and loving every second of it. On to thing two!

Various balls on the groundDuring the first week back, we had our start-of-year high school trip to the Canadian Ecology Centre (CEC). For those of you who don’t know, the CEC is a non-profit environmental science education and research facility. They share the landscape with Samuel de Champlain Park, as well as the goal of “conserving and protecting our natural environment.” Their aim is to “[facilitate] informed choices [for all of their visitors] – presenting a better understanding of the conservation and development issues related to the environment and [associated] sectors. The CEC is also home to the Canadian Institute of Forestry”, and from September 6th to 9th, they housed our high school students. During that week, Grades 9 – 12 got to engage in some awesome activities, including: Team building and other group exercises, swimming, canoeing, drumming, astronomy, night vision and campfire construction, wilderness survival, stream and aquatic study, Creatures of the Night and Living Discovery Lab, orienteering and introduction to GPS, and intro to GIS. It was a packed week, but the group had a great time and learned some important information about our environment, and themselves, in the process. Trips like this are a great way to supplement classroom learning, facilitate teamwork, and present an opportunity for students to participate in outdoor education, but they also provide a practical understanding of nature and the environment, situating it in a context that then becomes more relatable and, thus, more actionable. We are dedicated, through these experiences, to the growth of our students both in the classroom and beyond; at present and into the indefinite future.

Lastly, we are very pleased to announce that our very own Jason Krell, Patrick Dolecki, and Anderson Todd have been accepted to present their research at the International Mind, Brain, & Education Society’s (IMBES) 2016 conference here in Toronto! IMBES’ mission is to “facilitate cross-cultural collaboration in biology, education, and the cognitive and developmental sciences.” They aim to “improve the state of knowledge in, and dialogue between, education, biology, and the developmental and cognitive sciences; create and develop resources for scientists, practitioners, public policy makers, and the public; and create and identify useful information, research directions, and promising educational practices. [They] invite researchers and practitioners at all levels of education to explore the questions and proposed solutions that emerge at the intersection of mind, brain, and education.” This year’s conference featured keynotes from Dr. Clancy Blair, on The Development of Self-Regulation in Early Childhood; Dr. Tania Lombrozo, on The Good, The Bad, and the Beautiful (evidence for broad/simple explanation preference in children and adults); Dr. Marla Sokolowski, on Gene-Environment Interplay in Individual Differences in Behaviour; Dr. Janet Werker, on Perceptual Foundations of Language Acquisition; and Dr. Pasi Sahlberg, on About the Facts and the Myths about Education in Finland: Mind, brain, and smart education policies.

Neurofeedback schematic diagramKrell, Dolecki, & Todd (2016)’s poster, Executive Functions Through Attention, covered their research on the effects of neurofeedback training (NT) on attention and executive functioning (e.g., self-regulation, cognitive flexibility, reasoning, problem-solving, planning) in Gr. 5 – 8 students. NT teaches individuals to self-regulate by providing direct feedback on temporal and spatial patterns in brain activity. Using EEG measurement, it rewards individuals for attending effectively, encouraging them to attend further. In their presentation, they noted the changing landscape of education, with increasingly personalized learning, expanded accessibility, and new desired learning outcomes centred on adaptive competencies. Despite this, as well as the promising evidence of its effectiveness for individuals with and without ADHD, educational research on NT is presently scarce. This motivated them to examine the relationship between the use of this specific technology and student attention/executive functioning. After acquiring the appropriate assent and consent, data was gathered from semi-weekly, 30-minute training sessions, and performance was assessed by parents and teachers. Results support that both teachers and parents observed decreases in the relative occurrence of inattentive behaviours over the course of the NT sessions. This supports the hypothesis that NT can be effectively used in a classroom setting to supplement student learning and existing growth, and improve attention, planning, and organizational skills. In short, we’ve not seen the end of NT at The Study Academy, and we’re excited to see what else we can do with it moving forward.

That’s all for now! Stay tuned for more exciting news and events.

The Study Academy Lab Campaign : Turning Science into Smarts

The Study Academy Lab Campaign : Turning Science into Smarts

Educational Research High School Middle School

Hello Readers,

I also wanted to mention to you all the exciting news about The Study Academy Lab’s campaign to build the first Canadian K-12 Educational Research Lab! In an interview with Principle Jason Krell, he states that “there has been some considerable work going on to initiate funding for not just research activities, but for a fully operational lab at The Study Academy.”

Neurfeedback training for ADHDWell, today they have launched their campaign with an Indiegogo crowd-funding platform and an additional video to communicate their vision (http://vimeo.com/69015735) .The footage was taken by Vlad Lunin (http://vladlunin.com/)  at the school and is a mixture of the old and new; old in the images of the building and in the personal interaction between student and teacher, and new in the implementation of novel and groundbreaking technologies (Neurofeedback headsets in school).

The video conveys The Study’ Academy’s Lab’s motto of turning “Science into Smarts”. The lab will work on the premise that change in Education must be recognized from the grass-root level, with the emergence of empirical evidence. In fact, it is the Study Academy’s vision to develop such empirical evidence with tools and methods for training wisdom through developing cognition, training attention, and goal setting.

The three main goals of the lab are

  1. To bridge the gap between research and pedagogy which the public and private school systems have ignored. We will be researching methods and tools that will augment traditional learning processes and replace worn out teaching models.
  2. To give students the ability to better use their brains to allow for more effective learning. In other words, we want to train students to intelligently use their intelligence.
  3. To design tools and better implement technology that will train students’ attention, problem solving abilities, thinking and rationality. In essence, we want students to gain not only knowledge but wisdom as well.

The research lab will offer an unprecedented opportunity to work with existing basic research findings from the fields of Cognitive Science, Psychology and Neuroscience and to generate and test hypotheses in the classroom.

Also,w e have a great team to head this growing research lab, including Patrick K Dolecki as the Research Coordinator, Jason Krell, John Vervaeke  (http://www.newcollege.utoronto.ca/academics/new-college-academic-programs/buddhism-psychology-and-mental-health/centre-for-buddhism-and-psychology/the-buddhism-psychology-mental-health-program/faculty/dr-john-vervaeke/), a University of Toronto Professor and our Research Advisor and Anderson Todd as our Creative Advisor. They have all been working hard to create this facility from the ground up!

John Vervake giving a talk about Mindfulness Meditation at a Ted Talk at U of T

That is why we need your help, Readers. Through the website Indiegogo, The Study Academy hopes to raise money that will assist their researching and designing projects.The funding will contribute to such things as providing wages for the research team, pay for a 3D printer, new hardware (including neurofeedback, headsets, eye tracking devices and motion detection cameras), cloud back up services to secure data, software and a small business server to handle such lab software.

The Study Academy Lab will be of great interest to a rather wide audience including families of school aged children who have an interest in new educational model that will empower their children and prepare them for the careers and independence that await them; to educators and school administrators who support the need for the educational reform and progressive and evidence based teaching methods; and to students who have an interest in participating in learning activities directed towards their specific profile.

Thus, it is the hope of The Study Academy to join the conversation of what education “should be” and how it will reform in the coming years. Here at The Study Academy  “we not only want to teach students, we want to make them smarter.” Please help support our cause so we can create a better tomorrow for students. They deserve it.

Fun Times at The Study Academy’s Brain Camp

Fun Times at The Study Academy’s Brain Camp

Middle School The Study Academy Report

Hello Readers,

It has certainly been busy these past few days at The Study Academy and I’m here to tell you that there are only more exciting things to come this week. Never a dull moment, eh?  As I had mentioned in an earlier post, children had the option to spend two additional weeks after the end of the school year to engage in creative and educational activities at our Brain Camp. Small classes benefit student learning.

I was able to contact the head teacher of Brain Camp, Meghan Patrick, to discuss what has been going on at camp so far. I was told that In the morning the students engaged in collaborative story writing activities and practiced parts of speech with mad lib games on the smart board. This was intended to ensure that the students got their “creative juices”, so to speak, flowing for the rest of the day; however one must also recognize this was an excellent way to assist the children in expanding their diction and structure.

butterfliesThe students also have started all afternoons with collaborative drama games. This week, students gathered round in a circle in the gymnasium and acted out assigned characters or scenes on their own or with a partner chosen by their teacher. The intention behind this activity was so that students could continue to work on their communication skills, especially in non verbal areas of communication.

Students also practiced a bit of video game creation that focused on creating shorelines based on earlier lessons on Medieval times and ancient Egypt. This had been possibly the most exciting part of the day for the kids, as they put their knowledge towards a fun and tangible goal. As Brain Camp will be ending off this week, the teachers have arranged a wonderful  trip for the students to the Ontario Science centre to check out the IMAX movie, “Flight of the Butterflies”(http://www.si.edu/Imax/movie/71). As you can tell the students coming to The Study for this final week of Brain Camp are really going to be having fun right to the end!

Survey Results: Educational Expectations and Opinions of Students

Survey Results: Educational Expectations and Opinions of Students

Educational Research The Study Academy Report

Hello Readers,

As promised, I come to you today with the results of last week’s Education Opinions Survey. However, due to the incoming data, I will be splitting the results over the span of three weeks, so I can discuss them from the point of views of the student, the parents as well as the teachers.

Social Studies teach critical thinking, communication, and collaboration.So, today’s results reflect students’ opinions on varying subject matter, ranging from class subjects, teachers, educational research and the future of schools. I would like it to be known that these were general feelings regarding education and do not necessarily reflect opinions regarding The Study Academy. The survey targeted current students within Toronto and recently graduated students from highschool. The reason for this is because they would have had ample amount of experience within the Ontario Educational system from which to draw their opinions. This is also the reason why younger middle school students were not used.

Considering the results all together, students thought of education in a diverse and complicated manner. While they believed education should be a tool for career preparation, they also strongly felt education should be a place of self discovery and where one can develop intellectually. It was also interesting to see that fifty percent said they saw education as stepping stone to more academic opportunities later in life.

Middle School classes are taught in small classesIn terms of how students saw their teachers, majority of the participants in the survey also strongly agreed that teachers need to be educated in the main subject field in which they teach. Furthermore, teachers should continually upgrade upon these skills by attending courses.

Students believed the communal efforts between parents, teacher and child, as well as the focused resources on a child’s learning development was indeed important. students feel there needs to be more communication between their parents and teachers about their learning development, as well as communication between their parents and self (as a student) to reinforce teacher’s effort. However, only sixty percent thought these changes was likely to happen any time soon. In addition, students also felt that it was unlikely that the current educational system would have the resources to assist troubled students sooner so that they do not fall behind.

Perhaps in response to this pessimism in Ontario’s educational system, majority of sample thought private Education was a good alternative method.  However, eighty percent of students thought home schooling was not a good alternative means of education.

Neurfeedback training for ADHDNevertheless, now we come to the most interesting part of the data! As many of my readers know The Study Academy is hoping to become the first  K – 12 Educational Research facility, therefore I thought it was necessary to ask students how they would feel if they had the opportunity to have research more intertwined within their educational experience. In terms of education structure and teaching methods, I was quite happy to find that 100 percent agreed that schools should be completing research in the classroom, which is precisely what The Study Academy intends to do! Everyone also agreed Educational institutions should be implementing new research findings into teaching practice. These results bode quite well for the continuing campaign to fund the future lab. That being said, if you are interested please visit the below website to find out more about The Study Academy Research Lab and perhaps even donate to a lab that will harness the power of neuroplasticity (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroplasticity) to develop smarter students:

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-study-research-lab

Also stay tuned for the next two weeks as you discover the results for Teachers and Parents Education Opinions!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Year in Review at The Study Academy

A Year in Review at The Study Academy

Educational Research High School Middle School

Hello Readers,

with classes ending, its been making me think of all that’s happened through the year. I’ve tried to share them all with you each and every week. We have also discussed many of the recent and pressing issues in Education and research. I must say, it  has definitely been quite exciting each and every week.

When I first was approached to write for The Study Academy’s blog, I was shocked. The first concern that came to my mind was how could I make these posts relevant to you, the Reader. I knew it had to be about The Study Academy, but I felt there just had to be something more. It came to me one morning- Theoretical Thursdays!  In addition to Tuesday’s The Study Academy Reports, Theoretical Thursdays has come to comprise the basis for this blog.Neurfeedback training for ADHD

The posts these past few months have been diverse, but I hope they have been informative. On every Tuesday’s The Study Academy Report I tried to detail to you all the exciting happenings going on at school, both in the Highschool and Middle School sections. In some of my posts, I’ve written about the Neurofeedback training at The Study Academy lab, or the Study Academy’s small class sizes.  I also detailed to you about the exciting volunteering abroad opportunity that some of the students took in Nicaragua and the array of activities during Inspire Week. In the last remaining weeks, as things slowed down I spoke about the music classes available, the anti bullying policies at the school, the structured educational system, the theatrical performances by students, and the exciting new work happening at The Study Academy lab.

Teaching methods based on graduate research in action!Likewise , every Theoretical Thursday you, the Reader, were provided with the exciting research happening around the world and its relevance to Education and your child. You learned about the lasting effects of smaller class sizes, the self control technique of Mindfulness, the importance of divergent thinking in children, and the exciting new method of detecting autism.  In addition, I discussed the importance of music and goal setting for children, while using the most up to date and relevant research. Those who read my previous posts also learned the dangers of stereotype threat for young girls who like Math and the ways to prevent their impact, as well as how to use the structure of memory to one’s advantage so children will not forget their lessons over the break.

To say the least, we have had some very good time this year at The Study Academy, however summer is finally here, so we are going to have to say goodbye to our regular Tuesday posts, The Study Academy Report. The final The Study Academy Report will be next week . It will be detailing the last days of Brain Camp. However, it will be replaced with a new opinion section. All my readers will now get an opportunity to interact and really give your opinions about Education and Research. So, definitely don’t stop dropping by on Tuesday; instead come as you are and bring your opinions with you!

Almost Summer Time!

Almost Summer Time!

High School Middle School

Hello Readers,

Summer break is nearly here, but I’m sure you already knew that since you (or your children/students) have been counting down the days on the calendar! As the days get warmer and the end of the year draws near, it will be a challenge to keep children interested in learning. However, the last few weeks of school are an intense time. As I walked around The Study Academy, I saw both the Middle School and Highschool children finishing up on their projects and papers that are to be handed in. Some of them were furiously studying for those final tests and exams too!

Middle school at Centre Island I’m here to tell you that all their effots will be rewarded. Both the Highschool and Middle school classes will be celebrating the end of classes on the final day of class. Last week the Middle school was rewarded for all their hard work with a visit to Centre Island. The students got the opportunity to laugh and have fun while sharing their exciting plans for the Summer. The Highschool students will be following suit by visiting Wonderland this week on Thursday after the completion of the final exams.

Some of the students will in fact be taking additional school to further their studies. To those few, I figuratively tip my hat off to your dedication and thirst for knowledge. Others are going on adventures around the globe to learn about new cultures, histories and people. Finally, some are staying home with their families or going to local camps where they will deepen their bonds of friendship.

Whatever these students ultimately decide to do, I wish to all the students at The Study Academy a summer full of joy, friendship and at-least a little bit of learning in between.

 

Theoretical Thursday: The Use of Standardized Testing

Theoretical Thursday: The Use of Standardized Testing

Educational Research

Hello Readers,

In today’s issue of Theoretical Thursday I would like to talk to you about a rather controversial issue that intersects all levels of education- standardized testing.

Standardized tests have been around since the late 20th century. They are designed with the intention of giving all test takers the same test conditions. The questions, conditions for administering, scoring and interpretations are consistent to a single standard which allow the assessment to be empirically documented.Students’ scores on such tests are influenced by three things: what students learn in school, what students learn outside of school, and the students’ innate and malleable intelligence. However, the school system only has control over one of these three factors, and I’m sure you can guess which.

Nevertheless, despite the consistency, efficiency and general simplicity that standardized testing can provide, there is a growing concern amongst educational professionals that the misuse and overuse of standardized tests misses out on the fundamental understanding of the student. If you will allow me to quote Bill Ayers, American elementary education theorist, that these tests “can’t measure initiative, creativity, imagination, conceptual thinking, curiosity, effort, irony, judgment, commitment, nuance, good will, ethical reflection, or a host of other valuable dispositions and attributes.” Instead, he goes on to say that the only thing they can measure are  “isolated skills, specific facts and function, content knowledge, the least interesting and least significant aspects of learning.” If you are interested in learning more about Bill Ayers and his theories please check out the following link:

http://socialistworker.org/2010/09/28/why-testing-fails-our-schools

In addition, in a standardized test there can be scoring information loss. By this I mean, the teacher can obviously see what question the student got wrong by looking at what answer he chose; however the teacher does not know how the student ever arrived at answer without asking. Who is to say it wasn’t a guess. an error, a misunderstanding or maybe even, dare I say, a differing of opinion!

The overuse and misuse of standardized testing can really develop an atmosphere in the educational institution to “teach to test”, which essentially disfavors any aspirations of higher order learning. Studying becomes a means to an end, to get a score, to get a good report, etc. While there is no problem with wanting to do well academically, the pursuit for knowledge is entirely the reason large scale educational institutions came to be in the first place! To merely learn what is to be tested means you lose out on learning many other interesting subject matters that could spark long term interests in a student.

Another concern with the misuse and overuse of standardized tests is perfectly expressed by Rhona Weinstein (http://psychology.berkeley.edu/people/rhona-s-weinstein) in her recent book “Reaching Higher: The Power of Expectations in Schooling” (Harvard University Press, 2002) : “In this testing and sorting culture, achievement differences on tests are made even more salient to children, and the gap in motivation will grow between the high and low performers.” She goes on to say that “children as young as six know where they stand academically, especially in classroom settings that make such so-called achievement differences very obvious and this means they are vulnerable to not believing in themselves from an early age.”

So you see, dear Reader, that the use of standardized testing can be quite a complicated matter. To ignore a student’s needs and interests in academics for the sake of efficiency can lead to a student feeling their opinion and even their own sense of self as less valued. It is important in a school setting, to help a child  realize their drive for learning and to foster this in the long term, however for the sake of numbers, it still must be done efficiently . For this reason, Educational research must continue to strive to find the proper measures that can truly understand all aspects of a student.

Till next time!

 

 

 

 

Theoretical Thursday: The Importance of Developing Goal Setting Skills in Children

Theoretical Thursday: The Importance of Developing Goal Setting Skills in Children

Middle School

Hello Readers,

Taking into consideration my most recent The Study Academy Report, I wanted to discuss with you today the current research on goal setting in children. It is such a large topic area in Developmental Psychology that I could not fathom how to fit it all into one blog post, therefore I decided to condense my idea. Today, we will be discussing the difficulty children with learning disabilities have forming goals. So, let’s get started, shall we?

http://heidipowell.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Goal-Setting.jpg

http://heidipowell.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Goal-Setting.jpg

Research has shown that a possible reason why certain children experience difficulty setting goals and sticking to their plan is because there is a sort of “mis-wiring” of the brain which then make it hard for the child to plan ahead and self monitor. As a result, one can encounter barriers that often others do not, which means perseverance is quite an important asset to develop in their education. It is essential that in developing their educational goals a student is shown that their mistakes are not failures, but instead opportunities to learn from their experiences.

Numerous studies have also shown that, so far, the most effective way to encourage goal setting and adhering to such goals is to follow the SMART method: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time- bound. Studies have shown that goals that incorporate specific outlines lead to higher performance than general goals, such as, “do your best”.

However, an important component in ensuring a child can adhere to such goals is that they have the ability to also self monitor themselves. What does this mean? Well, this refers to the ability to essentially watching themselves take one step at a time towards their goal. In fact, self monitoring has a long standing record of effectiveness for increasing on task behaviour for child with learning difficulties.

http://www.tomharveytraining.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/setting-smart-goals.jpg

http://www.tomharveytraining.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/setting-smart-goals.jpg

In one study by Briesch and Chafouleas (2009) they tested the hypothesis that participation in goal setting enhances self-efficacy and skills. Subjects were sixth-grade children who previously had been classified as learning disabled in mathematics. Children received subtraction training that included instruction and practice opportunities over several sessions. Some children set proximal performance goals each session, others had comparable proximal goals assigned, and children in a third condition received the training but no goals. Although proximal goals promoted motivation more than no goals, participation in goal setting led to the highest self-efficacy and subtraction skill. What I’m trying to say with this example is that having a child actively involved in the goal setting process is just as important to them accomplishing the goal. Both goal setting skills and the skill necessary for the task at hand are trained in the process, and for a child who has difficulty with goal planning, this is incredibly important skill to train. So, this sort of research looks quite promising, don’t you think so?

Well, at The Study Academy, we are trying just as hard to ensure that any child who experiences such a difficulty setting goals, will be able to hone in and develop their skill as well. So, dear Readers, I hope that you have gained a bit of perspective on some of the challenges a student can experience in school when they have problems with setting goals and also understand how critical the research The Study Academy’s lab is in providing children with the correct tools to overcome such challenges and succeed academically.

Also, if you are interested in learning more about the Educational Research conducted by Briesch and Chafouleas or more Educational Research in general I suggest you check out the following two links:

http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/spq/24/2/106/

http://www.researchgate.net/publication/232565239_Review_and_analysis_of_literature_on_self-management_interventions_to_promote_appropriate_classroom_behaviors_(19882008)

 

The Study Academy Helps Children Put their Goals in Check

The Study Academy Helps Children Put their Goals in Check

The Study Academy Report

Hello Readers!

In today’s The Study Academy Report, we are going to look beyond the events of the classroom and into the educational research being conducted at The Study Academy. Previously, I wrote about the wonderful neurofeedback work that is currently being done in the lab that will benefit individual students with attentional difficulties. Well, this coming week the lab will be venturing forth on yet another scientific endeavor! They will be integrating their newly developed Goal Setting Suite in the Executive Function class for the Middle School students. It is their intent to use the Suite to help each child understand their personal goals and benefit from them in the longer term.

But you must be wondering, ‘When did this all start?” Actually, the idea for the Suite originated from Jason Krell, The Study Academy ’s Principal. He wondered how a child chose their goals out of the variety of dreams they had. For instance, one child may say they want to be a fire fighter one day and then a clown the next. Or to use a smaller goal, one child may want to spend an entire weekend playing the latest xbox game, but the next moment he could be wondering whether to read the next book in his favorite series. These may not seem like tough choices to you, but to a child they might certainly hold some weight. Thus, it was then the new mission of the lab members, Jason Krell, Anderson Todd and Patrick K. Dolecki, to discover which goals are really worthwhile aspirations for children.

Patrick K Dolecki, a current teacher of The Study Academy and The Study Hall, is the primary organizer for the Student Goal Setting Suite. He first began getting involved in the lab by setting up the neurofeedback machine on select students, and finds this new opportunity quite exciting. In an interview, he detailed the structure of the Goal Setting Suite and its benefits: “The suite itself is set up based on the 5 facets of virtue. It is composed of 21 questions that a student would answer about one of their goals, and the results would reveal, in a pass or fail answer, whether the goal was virtuous and worthwhile.” The lab members hope that  the kids will then strive towards more worthwhile goals, especially those with academic content.

However, Patricks confesses that the team recognizes the challenge in constructing The Student Goal Setting Suite. In particular as an educator and a researcher, there is concerned with the degree to which children will understand the types of questions being asked. Some of the emotional questions may beyond their point of emotional and cognitive development. Ultimately, if the children are unable to fully understand what is being asked of them the results may not be as true a reflection as could be possible.

For that reason, I was also told that for those who are interested, the Student Goal Setting Suite is being temporarily released, to test it out on willing participants. The next step after testing and perfecting the Suite, will be to construct a  subscription based model for other school boards so other students can also benefit. While there is still the need for a bit more paperwork, it will nevertheless be a great instrument for the school and for the lab. As The Study Academy  lab moves toward forming their succinct mission statement, they will continue to strive to provide to both the scientific and educational community alike.

Theoretical Thursday: Making the Memories Last!

Theoretical Thursday: Making the Memories Last!

Middle School The Study Academy Report

Hello Readers,

Welcome to yet another Theoretical Thursday written by me, The Study Academy’s humble blogger. I felt that, considering how majority of you are probably deciding whether to sign up your child this summer for camp (hopefully Brain Camp), I wanted to give you a bit more incentive.  As I mentioned in this week’s The Study Academy Report, there is indeed a concern by many Educators that students forget the material taught during the academic year while they are on break. Actually, this has been termed as brain drain syndrome, but don’t be alarmed there are ways to prevent it!

http://01.edu-cdn.com/files/static/wiley/9780470591963/WHY_DO_STUDENTS_REMEMBER_EVERYTHING_THAT_S_ON_TELEVISION_AND_FORGET_EVERYTHING_I_SAY_01.GIF

http://01.edu-cdn.com/files/static/wiley/9780470591963/WHY_DO_STUDENTS_REMEMBER_EVERYTHING_THAT_S_ON_TELEVISION_AND_FORGET_EVERYTHING_I_SAY_01.GIF

First, however, why is it happening? Well, the  Educational calendar has definitely changed over the years. For instance, there has been a gradual movement towards fewer school days in the classroom by having the children stay longer on school days to make up the minutes. Thus, with longer breaks between lessons children can fall prey to brain drain. On average, children can lose up to two months of what they were taught in school over the summer break. Why? Well this has a lot to do with the child’s memory. You see there are many different kinds of memories. Long-term memory is our brain’s system responsible for storing, managing, and retrieving information that we can keep for long periods of time. There are many different forms of long-term memory. explicit memory, or declarative memory, is a type of long-term memory, which requires conscious thought for us to retrieve it. We have to consciously think of what page of math we have in order to retrieve the memory and say, “Aha! It was page 102, questions 1 to 12!” Closely related to “working” memory, short-term memory is the very short time that you keep something in mind before either dismissing it or transferring it to long-term memory.

It takes, however, quite a bit of work for a memory to be transferred and stored in long term memory so that it can be kept for long periods of time. Memories can be encoded into long term memory most commonly through two ways: repetition and meaningful encoding. Repetition is probably the most used way. It is when you have your child review their material a bit each day or read a book each week during the summer break. I fondly recall how my parents had me write 2 to 4 book reports each summer, and this really helped to expand my vocabulary from an early age.

http://www.asa3.org/ASA/education/teach/z-vthink.gif

http://www.asa3.org/ASA/education/teach/z-vthink.gif

However, getting a child to go back to the books after they have been looking so forward to the relaxing and fun times of summer may be a bit of a challenge, to say the least. Can you blame them? Both adults and children alike want to have a bit of fun after they work hard.  This is why, meaningful encoding may be the better option. Meaningful  encoding allows for memories of what your child has learned to reach long term memory by attaching relevance to the information. It is making the details personally important to the child. In this way, the memory can be encoded and transferred through what they refer to as dual encoding process- the memory is encoded through both as information and through the emotions the child relates to the information.

Well, children can certainly have a meaningful time at camp! Academic camps are structured around the idea of meaningful encoding and therefore are a great option for reducing brain drain! Studies have shown that students in academic camps, such as Brain Camp, benefit in a number of ways including enhanced problem solving skills and memory. In fact, 98% of campers continue to use these skills after camp is over. Children certainly gain invaluable knowledge and skills at such camps  that helps them succeed in school and later in the working world.

So, what’s your decision now going to be for your child this summer?