The ‘upward spiral of happiness’: Positive classrooms help kids create healthy neuropathways, says prof
There is a lot schools could do to make their classrooms happier places, Queen’s University faculty of education PhD candidate Scott Hughes argued in a presentation at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences in Victoria this week. He asked teachers, parents and students from kindergarten to Grade 2 at Waldorf, Montessori, Froebel and independent and public schools about happiness and how it can help kids have a better experience at school.
He told the Post’s Sarah Boesveld all about it.
(Photo: NBC News)
When Principal Donald Lilley arrived nine years ago, Annapolis High School operated like two different schools where minority students failed and white students excelled. But innovative changes helped transform the school, creating a community that thrives on mentoring.
For India’s poor, a school under a railway bridge
NEW DELHI (AP) — Their classroom is a flattened patch of dirt and rocks under the elevated rail tracks. Their blackboards are rectangles painted on a chipped concrete wall. Their teacher is a shop owner with no formal training, but a conviction that education is their only hope.
For some of these dozens of children of poor migrant workers in India’s capital, this makeshift, open-air school under the rumble of mass transit is the only school they have. Others who attend overcrowded and dismal government schools come here as well — to actually learn.
India’s Right To Education Act promising free, compulsory schooling to all children ages 6 to 14 was supposed to take full effect March 31, but millions of children still don’t go to school and many who do are getting only the barest of educations.
So every morning, more than 50 children gather under the bridge for two hours of lessons at Rajesh Kumar’s informal school. They sweep the dirt flat and roll out foam mats to sit on, just meters (yards) from the bushes were several men had been squatting and defecating minutes earlier.
The students, ages 4 to 14, study everything from basic reading and writing to the Pythagorean Theorem.
[Photos: Altaf Gadri]
When he was 14 years old, gang members destroyed his Cleveland home because he refused to join their group. He and his siblings were then split up, because his mother couldn’t afford to buy a new house and he ended up spending many nights sleeping on park benches.
But now? David Boone is Headed to Harvard.
MySchool and Biblionef Work Together to Provide Storybooks to Children in South Africa
Children are constantly learning about the world around them and one of the ways is by reading storybooks. It’s an accepted fact that the benefits of reading are multitude such as the development of communication skills and enhancing concentration ability, to name a few.
In South Africa many schools in under-resourced communities and rural areas have great difficulty making storybooks available, especially in a mother language, or can only do so in a limited way.
For the past 14 years Biblionef has played a leading role in making storybooks with a focus on African culture and heritage available to children and adolescents, providing a foundation for literacy. To date the organisation donated over one million books to 6,148 children’s organisations countrywide benefitting more than three million children.
New computer lab for Khensani Primary School
A partnership between South African fruit exporter Dole South Africa and shipping line Safmarine has culminated in the opening of a colourful new computer laboratory and classroom facility at the Khensani Primary School in Soshanguve, Gauteng.
According to Khensani’s Headmaster, Dr Fannie Sebolela, the new computer lab and classrooms will be used to grow the skills base of learners, teachers and Soshanguve community members.
Speaking at the opening of the new facility on May 30, 2013, Dr Sebolela said: “This new computer lab and classrooms will be more than a facility for teaching our young learners computer skills. Rather, they will be used as an ‘information hub’ for the community of Soshanguve because these facilities have the potential to change the lives and shape the future of our community by enhancing the quality of their education and their access to information.
“Information Technology is all around us. It is changing fast and impacting our society in so many ways and it is essential that children in township schools are given an equal opportunity to acquire IT skills and knowledge and access to information.
“This facility will be used to inspire our youth and encourage them to achieve more. In short, it will equip our children for the future and give them the opportunities many of their parents could only dream of.”
Dole South Africa’s CSR Manager, Theda Doman, said investment in education was a priority for Dole South Africa.
“Our CSR focus is on education and our preference is to keep our projects focused and relevant so that we are able to commit personal time to each project. “
Teams construct robots that compete in a series of challenges that reflect duties the rovers would perform on Mars.
South Africa’s composers of tomorrow are receiving personal tuition by the best in the music business, thanks to the SAMRO Foundation’s new mentorship programme.
This novel programme, aimed at developing the country’s next generation of music creators, pairs established local composers with promising up-and-coming composers who are eager to create new works in the jazz or Western art genres.
The aim is to equip promising young musicians with the necessary skills and techniques to expand the current oeuvre of original South African orchestral works – a sphere of music whose development is lagging behind that of others in this country.
“As a collecting society that chiefly serves the composers and authors of music, SAMRO strongly believes it is essential to invest in cultivating our country’s bubbling-under composing talent. This will hopefully help address and correct the current shortage of significant orchestral works by South African composers,” explains André le Roux, the Managing Director of the SAMRO Foundation.
The six-month mentoring programme kicked off in May 2013, and is already seeing a constructive meeting of minds between eight up-and-coming composers and six seasoned music professionals and academics. Should this pilot project prove successful, the Foundation envisages it becoming an ongoing programme.
Tyler Perry surprises Ohio schoolkids with much-needed moolah
On Friday, actor/director Tyler Perry surprised a bunch of psyched Columbus, Ohio, middle-school kids by showing up unannounced at a concert. He then donated $100,000 to help boost athletics and after-school programs in the city’s struggling South-Western schools.
Perry was moved to action after watching a TV segment about teacher Mary Mulvany starting a foundation to raise scholarship money for athletics and extracurriculars after they were eliminated in 2009. The programs were later brought back, but only for a pay-to-participate fee, which many families can’t afford to pay.
Perry told the excited students, “I just wanted to see your faces and say hi to you because you all inspire me so much.”
Hundreds of learners benefit from Intaka Outreach programmes
More than 1200 Grade 10 learners from 11 disadvantaged schools in the Western Cape are being hosted to a day of scientific investigation by the Intaka Island Environmental Education Centre at Century City as part of its Outreach Programme over the next few months.
Leandri Van der Vyver, Intaka Island Eco-Centre Co-ordinator, said that the new Life Sciences CAPS curriculum for Grade 10 recommends learners do a scientific investigation of a local ecosystem and explore the interaction between the living and non-living components of the ecosystem.
“Intaka is a thriving wetland ecosystem and as such it provides a perfect platform for this investigation particularly given the centre’s diverse educational team, which is fully equipped to run these courses.”
She said in so doing they were not only reducing the teacher workload required to prepare the investigation, but were also assisting the learners with a real hands-on, outdoor educational experience in a safe and secure environment. It is a double win scenario.”
Van der Vyver said while the programme was very popular with schools, not all were able to cover the costs involved including transport and materials.
“We are extremely grateful to Absa for sponsoring this programme enabling us to offer it to more than 1200 learners from 11 previously disadvantaged schools.”
She said beneficiary schools had been identified by the Life Science Subject Advisor of the WCED and to date they had hosted seven schools, each over a day or two with the balance due to visit in the next month or so.
Schools benefiting from the sponsored programme are Bishop Lavis; John Ramsay, Florida ; Uitzig, Inkwenkwezi, Masibambisane, Leiden; Voorbrug, Proteus; Robinvale and SInenjongo
For further details contact Leandri at email@example.com
Actor Morgan Freeman received the Doctor of Humane Letters award on graduation day at Boston University this weekend.
From picture desk live: the day’s news in pictures
Photograph: Nicolaus Czarnecki/ZUMA Press/Corbis
Abstinence-only education is now illegal in Illinois.
A bill passed two days ago by the state senate will require that schools with sex education classes include units on birth control. Schools can opt out of sex education altogether if they so desire (as they can now), and they’ll still have to teach that abstinence is the only absolute, surefire way to prevent pregnancy and STIs, but now they’ll have to provide information on contraceptives as well. The governor is expected to sign the bill.
In positive news, actress Eva Longoria recently graduated with a Master’s degree in Chicano Studies from Cal State Northridge.
She titled her thesis “Success STEMS From Diversity: The Value of Latinas in STEM Careers.” “STEM” is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and math. The petite actress also has a bachelor’s of science degree in kinesiology from Texas A&M University, according to IMDB.
Longoria celebrated the happy occasion with none other than her parents, friends and family.
“In my cap and gown with mom and dad! I look like Harry Potter!” she wrote, posting another pic. And friends in the Twitterverse and online were quick to send her congrats.
In case anyone is interested, here are a few extra resources on STEM and diversity:
Gordon Institute of Business Science number one African business school
The annual UK Financial Times Executive Education rankings, a global benchmark for providers of executive education has once again ranked the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) as the top South African and African business school for 2013.
Business schools are asked for details of a number of top clients, who are then invited to complete an online survey about the school that nominated them. For GIBS, top clients comprising not only leading SA corporates but top multinationals operating in the rest of Africa and abroad participated in the survey.
Professor Nick Binedell, dean of GIBS, said, “We are pleased to have again been ranked in line with prestigious business schools across the world. This year it is encouraging to see another South African school ranking in the world’s top fifty; we congratulate Stellenbosch Business School on this achievement.”
Creighton University to Graduate Largest Group of Native Students Ever
At this year’s May 18 commencement ceremony, Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska will graduate its largest group of Native American students in the school’s history. The graduates include 12 undergraduates, four from the graduate school, one pharmacy student, three dental students and three medical students.