close

Education

EducationParentingUncategorized

How Social Learning is Critical for Academic Success

prenticeschool

The character Sheldon Cooper from the CBS TV show “The Big Bang Theory” is a familiar example from popular culture of an individual who has achieved impressive academic success but experiences difficulty and conflict in his relationships and work life due to his social limitations. While this show provides comedic entertainment for its audience, it also demonstrates a very real struggle for many children: social development and success.

 Social development is an ongoing, lifelong process, but the social learning that occurs in childhood is essential for building and maintaining fulfilling relationships, receiving social acceptance, and ultimately achieving a successful career as adults.

What is social learning?

When we think about social learning, we typically focus on social skills, or the specific behaviors that are expected given a situation (e.g., staying on topic when making a comment during a conversation). However, underlying these skills is “social thinking,” specifically the cognitive processes of figuring out the thoughts, feelings, motives and beliefs of those around us and adjusting our behavior accordingly to ensure that everyone in the social setting is comfortable. Via social thinking we are able to assign meaning to the words and actions of others and read the contextual cues of the social environment, which are critical for social, emotional and academic success, as well as professional fulfillment in the long-term.

How social learning influences academics

Simply being in a classroom is a social situation with expected behaviors that are conducive to learning. The behavior of a student with social-thinking difficulties can interfere with the academic learning of self and peers. For example, interrupting others and lack of volume regulation can both disrupt the attention, processing, and understanding that are required for learning. Social learning also has a direct bearing on the ability to work in a group and engage in cooperative learning.

Social learning can also influence specific academic areas such as reading comprehension and writing. Successful comprehension of the curriculum, particularly as students advance in school, requires social inferencing, understanding figurative language, and engaging in perspective taking. The task of writing requires social thinking in order to take another’s perspective while formulating a persuasive argument or describing a character’s emotions, beliefs, and intentions during narration.

Social difficulties that may affect students with learning differences

Because many types of learning disorders can yield social learning difficulties, students with learning differences may require social thinking intervention to help them with:

●      Perspective taking
●      Relating to peers
●      Making and maintaining friendships
●      Conversation (e.g., initiating and maintaining topics, using comments and questions to expand the           conversation, and avoiding the interruption of others)
●      Working with peers in groups
●      Reading contextual cues of situations to guide expected behavior
●      Understanding the words, actions, and nonverbal cues of others
●      Social wondering
●      Emotional regulation

Fostering social learning alongside academics

Students with social learning difficulties that require additional social thinking intervention can benefit from knowledgeable educators who can address social challenges as they occur in the classroom, on the playground, and at the lunch tables. For instance, a student may need his teacher to help him notice and interpret the contextual cues of the classroom situation (i.e., test papers on desks, students working independently, and silence in the classroom) in order to identify and execute the expected behavior, which is to sit down quietly and begin taking the test.

While public schools are not required to teach social skills, there are other solutions such as external social-skills classes, occupational therapy and private schools that serve students with learning differences. Academic achievement alone will not lead to success in life without healthy social skill development.  Adequate social learning during childhood can yield great professional and personal success.

read more
Eat & DrinkEducationLifestyle

The all-nighter survival kit

179462709

8 items that make the grade for studious students

It’s midterm time, and staying up until the wee hours of the morning is an unfortunate reality for hard-studying students, but pulling an all-nighter does not have to be a miserable experience. Here are a few survival items for making the hours go faster and easier when you’re cramming for a big exam or have to finish that research paper due tomorrow.

A+ lighting

Shed some light on your schoolwork with an OxyLED LED desk lamp. The OxyLED T35 (sale priced $10.27 on Amazon) is a sleek USB-powered foldaway lamp that is dimmable by touching it, and its adjustable head allows you to fold it up to save valuable real estate on your desk.

 

                

The OxyLED T36  ($23.99 on Amazon) operates on a USB-charged battery and features a long bendable neck and can clip on the edge of the desk or a bed headboard so you can kick back and shine a light anywhere you choose to study. Both lamps can be dimmed with a touch to the desired light level that is easy on your eyes and can shine just where you need light, so you won’t keep up your roommate.

Yogurt your way

When the dining hall is closed and the vending machine just won’t give you the brain food you need, grab a Siggi’s Triple Cream 9-percent milk fat Icelandic-style strained yogurt for some quick nutrition and energy, without the sugar crash. If a traditional serving container is not your cup of yogurt, Siggi’s drinkable Swedish whole milk yogurt is perfect for imbibing on the go, or for a fast pick-me-up, tuck a Siggi’s tube of strained low-fat yogurt in your backpack to squeeze in some 2-percent milkfat dairy with 5 g of sugar and 5 g of protein and only 50 calories that’ll keep you going when the studying gets tough.

 

 

Think drink

Protein means power, and Iconic Protein Drink has the formula for quick energy that is delicious and nutritious. Iconic’s convenient 11.5-ounce serving bottles can be a filling snack or even a meal replacement if time doesn’t allow for to a bite to eat. You can fuel up with 20 g of dairy protein – from grass-fed cows, 3 g of sugar and 130 calories, with no lactose, gluten, soy, carrageenan, GMOs or BPA. Iconic comes in a variety of flavors including Chocolate Truffle, Vanilla Bean and Café Au Lait. Get a sample pack of each flavor for $12.99.

Instant gratification

Want a great cup of Joe to help you make it through the night, but you don’t have time to hit a café? Indulge in a class cup of caffeine with Kuju Coffee, a one cup portable drip coffee brand that is perfect for brewing up in a dorm room. Kuju’s Pocket PourOver ready-to-brew filter anchors to your mug so you can brew craft quality coffee, without a percolator. Kuju not only tastes good, the brand does good by sourcing its beans from a family farm in Thailand that employs former sex trafficking victims, and Kuju donates 1% of sales to the National Parks Foundation. Travel 5-Pack available for $24.95 at kujucoffee.com,

Clean energy

When your reserves are running low, fuel up with the clean energy of Zevia Energy drinks, the clear carbonated energy drink in flavors like Kola, Mango Ginger and Raspberry Lime that will give you a zing with 120 mg of natural caffeine without slogging you down with sugar and mind-gunking ingredients like artificial sweeteners and coloring. While your party schedule is on hold until the last bell rings, that doesn’t mean you can’t take time for a mocktail happy hour with a Zevia zero-calorie mixer. Enjoy the straight-up flavors of Dry Lemon Lime and Ginger Beer as a deserved refresher on a study break and of course a most-excellent elixir for the celebration after you ace the test. Grab a variety 12-pack of energy 12 for $18.99 on Amazon, or shop for Zevia products at grocers nationwide.

 

Raise the (snack) bar

If a diet of liquid lunch has got you craving something to crunch, try Granola Cups from Nature Valley, a satisfying mix of a dry snack with a creamy filled center. Stock up with a 5-count pack of 6 for $33.63 on Amazon, or pick up a box of five-pouches (each with two cups) at Target. If your snacking style leans more to the leafy and fruity, go for a LÄRABAR Fruit and Greens bar, packed with natural nutrition in flavor combos like Pineapple Kale Cashew and Mango Spinach Cashew. Grab a four-pack for $4.99 on Amazon or at retailers nationwide including Target and Walmart.

                              

 

 

 

An Appetite for appetizers

Begin your exam prep with a trip to the grocery store to stock up the freezer with Hip Chick Farms artisan organic poultry products like chicken fingers, meatballs, and sausage patties that can make quick, hot and hardy meals to get you through a long night of hitting the books. All of Hip Chick Farms’ products contain no artificial ingredients, stabilizers, preservatives or fillers and are picky-eater approved. Available at Target and other grocery stores nationwide.

The full-ride chair

Nothing will make a long night of studying longer than an uncomfortable chair, so invest in your education with a quality seat. The Modway Attainment Drafting Stool is a versatile ergonomic office chair that can rise to the occasion with an adjustable height that adapts to various desks (44” and higher) and is ideal for sit-stand desks. The caster wheels make for easy mobility, and a three-inch thick foam seat cushion, mesh back, padded flip-up arms and a foot-rest ring at the base helps keep you sitting comfy for hours. Available online at Staples.com for $141 or office supply stores nationwide.

 

read more
EducationFamilyLifestyleParenting

Five Back-to-School Body Language Tips to Fight off Bullies

bullies

Expert gives tips for children on posture to express confidence and strength

Going back to school should be an exciting time in every child’s or teen’s life. They get to see their friends after the summer break and make new ones. However, a lot of students are faced with severe anxiety and stress when a new school year comes around. Whether it’s facing the school bully, not having the confidence to raise their hand and participate in class or even just trying to make friends, a student’s body language can become a tool to turn the social and scholastic experience of school into a positive one. Body language and image expert, Yana German, shares tips for students on how to pass the school year with flying colors.

German’s personal story inspired her to help other children who are bullied. After relocating to the US during her teenage years due to anti- semitism in her native Belarus, German became an easy target for bullies at school. “ My parents couldn’t afford much, so most of my clothing came from refugee charities,” explains German. “Kids would make fun of me because I wasn’t dressed well and would throw food at me during lunch,” continues German. The bullying got to the point where German had to drop out of school for a year in order to get her confidence back and continue her education. Today, German is a mother to two daughters and shares her body language tips to ward off bullies.

One of the most important tips is to keep an open posture. “Parents should always encourage their kids to stand up straight with their head and chin up,” says Yana. “Having great posture will instantly boost your confidence. Pulling your shoulders back and opening your chest is one quick fix that works wonders. Not only does it make you taller it boosts your inner confidence,” explains German.

When a student is talking to another child he/she should always look them in the eye. “Nothing gives away your fear more than not looking at the person you are speaking to.” says German. “Looking someone in the eye and maintaining that contact for as long as you can is a great non-verbal way of expressing your confidence,” adds German.

When someone is bullied it’s really hard, if not impossible to respond with empathy. “Shy and vulnerable kids are usually easy targets for bullies. That’s why it’s really important to smile,” suggests German. “Smiling serves as your barrier towards any negativity, and bullies rarely target children who seem to be happy, calm and radiate good energy,” adds German. When a student rarely smiles, it can be a warning sign of low self-esteem.

When we are feeling self-conscious, we naturally tend to become “smaller.” We want to shrink away into the room so that nobody notices us. This means  we may hunch over, hide in a corner and cross our arms and legs until we almost disappear. German says the best way to gain confidence is to physically take up more space than usual. “If you are standing, take a wider stance than usual, put your arms on your hips. If you are sitting with a desk in front of you, use your arms on the desk to take up space.”German says. “This will make you feel more powerful and instantly give you more confidence.”

Relax your arms and open up your shoulders. “When a child or teen crosses his/her arms, it sends out a defensive signal that they want to be left alone,” explains German.  “He can put his hands in his pockets if he feels awkward holding his arms by his side. What’s important is that he keeps his torso open.  When the child’s arms at their side and they face the other child heart to heart it shows others he’d like to make new friends.”

read more
EducationParenting

Combating learning loss over school breaks

11353468_819985664751881_2107693320_n

Preventing academic backsliding takes effort

Kids are back to school, and parents, kids, teachers and just about everyone agrees, summer is too short. But educators all agree that one aspect of summer makes it too long, and that is learning loss. This is defined as the amount of education that children forget over their summer break.
After approximately two months, researchers point out that kids can lose up to 30% of their educational gains during the year. Parents have many options to combat learning loss, including working with teachers to come up with a summer study program, whereby children dedicate a portion of their day to learning activities, specifically reading, writing, and arithmetic. The problem is that many parents work and don’t have time to teach their children at home, and this is too much of an ask for most nannies and babysitters. Experts day there are other options other than summer school; parents just have to know where to look.
Facilities like Groza Learning Center make combating learning loss a little easier for parents because they offer a variety of programs that can be designed around an individual child and the child and parents’ learning objectives. Programs like those at Groza Learning Center not only keep kids engaged over the summer, they can help associate summer fun with learning, to help children develop a positive attitude about schooling.
The number of hours a child needs to be involved in educational activities over the summer varies child to child, but generally at least a couple hours per day can help children retain more of their learning, and most experts agree structured programs also contribute to good discipline and good habits that a child can carry on beyond schooling.
read more