Posts Tagged ‘classroom’

The article by Astrid Zweynert and Ros Russell begins, “Boys campaigning for girls’ education is not common in most parts of the world, but in India’s Rajasthan state, they are at the heart of a drive to get more girls into schools.

Educate Girls trains young people to go into villages to find girls who are not in the classroom in a country where more than 3 million girls are out of school.

“Some 60 percent of Educate Girls’ 4,500 volunteers are boys, founder and executive director Safeena Husain told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

” ‘Having these boys as champions for the girls is absolutely at the core of what we’re trying to achieve,’ Husain said in an interview as she was awarded the $1.25 million Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, the largest prize of its kind. …

“In Rajasthan, 40 percent of girls leave school before reaching fifth grade, often because their parents do not see education as necessary for their daughter because she is going to get married or stay at home to do housework, Husain said. …

“Educate Girls’ approach to is to define hotspots where many girls are out of school, often in remote rural or tribal areas, and then deploy its volunteers to bring them back into the classroom, said Husain.”

There’s plenty of research showing that when girls are educated, the standard of living in a country goes up. Educated girls “are less likely to get married at an early age or to die in childbirth, they are likely to have healthier children and more likely to find work and earn more money.”

More at the Christian Science Monitor, here.

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When I was a teacher in Pennsylvania hoping to get accreditation, a supervisor from the teachers college where I took classes came to observe me at work. It was quite a long time ago, and the only thing I recall is that he remarked that I needed to do more with my classroom bulletin boards.

There I was, trying to do creative things with 11-year-olds in language arts (the play within the play from A Midsummer Night’s Dream springs to mind), but his checklist required him to observe the bulletin boards.

So imagine my delight when I saw an article today about a study suggesting teachers may be putting too much emphasis on bulletin boards and wall decorations.

Jan Hoffman writes at the NY Times, “That bright, cheery look has become a familiar sight in classrooms across the country, one that has only grown over the last few decades, fed by the proliferation of educational supply stores. But to what effect?

“A new study looked at whether such classrooms encourage, or actually distract from, learning. The study … found that when kindergartners were taught in a highly decorated classroom, they were more distracted … than when they were taught in a room that was comparatively spartan.

“The researchers, from Carnegie Mellon University, did not conclude that kindergartners, who spend most of the day in one room, should be taught in an austere environment. But they urged educators to establish standards.

“ ‘So many things affect academic outcomes that are not under our control,’ said Anna V. Fisher, an associate professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon and the lead author of the study, which was published in Psychological Science. ‘But the classroom’s visual environment is under the direct control of the teachers. They’re trying their best in the absence of empirically validated guidelines.’ ”  Hence the impetus for the study. Read more here.

Photo: Psychological Science
In a new study, 24 kindergartners were taught in two classroom settings: one unadorned, the other decorated with posters and artwork.

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