The school year is coming to a close and for high school students that means exams. The inevitable fact of exams causes some strange behavior in students: they stress out. They freak out. They stay up all night cramming. They lose sleep.
Sometimes they even cheat.
Scenario: It’s 45 minutes into a biology exam and Jimmy blanks on the role of mitochondria. If he misses this question he’ll lose 5 marks, so he sneaks a peek at his neighbors’ sheet.
Students are constantly reminded how important good grades are, so it’s no wonder that they can occasionally give into the urge cheating. They know that every grade counts, every homework, assignment, test, project and pop quiz goes towards the final grade—which in turn reflects whether or not they will be accepted to university—and even which university they will be accepted to.
It’s a lot of pressure for the average teen.
According to Today’s Parent Magazine, studies in the US report that between 62 and 70 per cent of students admit to cheating on tests.
The pressure to succeed is one reason that kids sometime cheat.
For more reasons that kids cheat, stay tuned for part two of our look at cheating.
From Today’s Parent magazine. Read the full article here: Why kids cheat and how to prevent it
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Lately, one of my guilty pleasures is watching the reality show So You Think You Can Dance
Each week, the contestants are taken out of their dancing comfort zone and made to learn new choreography in an unfamiliar style… with a partner they are unfamiliar with. In a limited time frame. In front of an international audience.
The incredible thing is, that each week the dancers nail it. They perform incredible dances that they’ve just learned, and they do it amazingly well.
But what’s really amazing is what’s going on behind the scenes in the competitors’ brain. Each week, under pressure, they are asked to intake a lot of new information (a new dance style) and assimilate it with knowledge they already have (technique and skills from their own dance experience.) The contestants adapt quickly, and under a tremendous amount of pressure and scrutiny.
Taking new information, figuring out how it fits with older knowledge, and then assimilating the two quickly—these are the same skills that pay off in the classroom.
So You Think You Can Dance has some important messages for students and parents alike:
- It shows contestants adapting to new challenges and always having a good attitude and putting their best foot forward (literally!)
- It has good lessons about taking constructive criticism and learning from it, and applying what you’ve learned
- It shows that anything can be accomplished when you have passion and work to develop your skills
- It celebrates the power of teamwork and what can be accomplished when teams encourage and support each other
Yes, So You think You Can Dance can be provocative and can push the envelope but for the most part, this reality show has positive messages about the benefits of hard work, striving to meet new challenges, and reaching personal goals. These lessons are important, whether on the dance floor, in the boardroom, or in the classroom.
Plus, it’s really amazing to watch.
Link: So You think You Can Dance Season 3 Premiere airs Thursday May 24 at 8/7c.
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Over the past few decades many public trends have focused on the body. There were fad diets: the Scarsdale diet, the Stewardess diet, the Grapefruit diet, the Cabbage soup diet, South Beach Diet, Atkins, etc. And there have been plenty of exercise fads too: aerobics, spinning, weightlifting, pilates, hot yoga, etc.
Not that any of the science behind these fads is new, just that they had their time in the spotlight and for a while were the thing to do.
The body as fad has been around for quite awhile. I think it would be safe to say that the majority of people know that good nutrition and exercise are good for the body (whether or not most people act according to their knowledge is a whole other issue.)
So if the body as fad is on its way out, what is the next thing on the way in? According to Slate.com the brain is, and has been, the next big thing. It’s so much a hot topic that Slate has been running a special series on the brain and has no fewer than 30 articles on the subject.
Meghan O’Rourke, author of the article Train Your Brain: The New Mania for Neuroplasticity says that the brain as vogue has been around for a while actually. But that it’s only been since the advent of the 21st century that what we know about the brain has really picked up steam. She’s right: cognitive science is not necessarily a new phenomenon. Public Discourse on it is.
And the past few years have seen a major development in the brain sciences—it’s called neuroplasticity, which is just a fancy way of saying that the brain is changeable.
Neuroplasticity effectively overturns old conceptions that once the brain was damaged it was damaged forever.
The public awareness of neuroplasticity is one of the reasons that brain games like Sudoku and crossword puzzles are so popular. Effectively, these are the modern fad exercise… only the muscle being worked out is the brain.
Neuroplasticity has plenty of educational ramifications too. It means that learning disabilities can be conquered and poor study skills can be undone and that impossible algebra equation CAN be learned, and even better, understood…
Not to brag, but the fact that the brain is elastic is something that we known about for years. We built our programs on this concept.
Read more about neuroplasticity here. http://www.slate.com/id/2165040/
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How many times have you heard the word no in your life? Probably quite a few. Maybe even hundreds or possibly thousands. Probably you are even guilty of saying NO.
The thing about no, and not to put too fine a point on it—well, it’s negative.
Nobody believed IBM and Apple that computers would be small enough for personal use and be in every house in North America and Nicolaus Copernicus, when he revealed his sun—at—the—center model of the universe, met with outcry from the church. You can bet that they heard NO a few times in their lives. But they didn’t let NO stop them. So, what was it that made them keep going? What was that one thing that made them continue on with their quests? What made them turn NO’s into yes? The answer is curiosity, an open mind, and a willingness to take risks.
To that, we would also like to add passion, and (not that we’re biased or anything) education.
You could say that education led men like Copernicus and Bill Gates to discover their passions, which in turn led them to discover great things.
Let’s look at a few more examples:
- Science that led Ben Franklin to harness electricity
- Astrophysicists that created the technology for space travel.
- Orthopedics lead to the development of artificial knees and hips
- Engineering lead to the creation of television
What do you think were the reaction to that first physicist who said that it was possible to send people into space and walk on the moon? Ridiculous! And when Ben said that he was going to fly a kite and capture electricity? Preposterous!
When you’re told NO—when you’re staring into the face of adversity—when the challenge is the hardest—that’s when the passionate rise to the occasion, use what they know and change the world.
To do this requires adopting a paradigm shift, a change in thinking. When someone tells you No, consider it an open challenge to achieve excellence.
The greatest minds of our time have seen NO not as an endpoint but as an opportunity.
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