TYO Recommends: Friday, April 27, 2012

This week, TYO applauds holistic learning, cautions on the effects of overambitious schooling, and questions continuing trends in global misogyny.

Nurturing New Norms. Each year, the ASCD, a global education leadership association, awards a handful of schools with the coveted Whole Child Awards for their holistic achievements in nurturing and educating young learners. These schools commit time and resources to developing curricula and communities that cultivate well-rounded and cared for young individuals. With a diverse student body comprised of over 60% of students who have a first language other than English, including young refugees from Afghanistan, Iran, and elsewhere in the Middle East, this year’s winner is Byrne Creek Secondary School in Vancouver. All aspects of life at Byrne Creek are about fostering a sense of community right down to the giant multipurpose atrium that serves as a hub of activity for students and faculty alike. Way to get connected, Byrne!

Look Who’s Watching. For years now, parents have grown ever more vigilant about what their kids are watching on the telly. This year, research by the International Communication Association aims to demonstrate the potential deleterious effects of what kids aren’t WATCHING as well. Findings demonstrate that age and race play a huge factor in this “background noise” for children with younger children under the age of two and minorities facing the greatest numbers of hours of disruptive television they aren’t watching. The take-away? Mom and Dad switch off the tube when no one’s watching and give your child the peace of mind, erm… peace and quiet their developing brains deserve.

Youth Unemployment in Tunisia. How are youth around the world reacting to low employment prospects following graduation? Youth in Tunisia chime in.

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If you teach it, they will come. Study on the World Education Blog finds that children who benefit most from pre-school education programs are those who chronically have the least ACCESS to it, namely children marginalized by poverty across the globe. While figures indicate numbers are steadily increasing for enrollment in pre-school education programs worldwide (by 40% from 1999 to 2009), still only approximately 46% of the world’s underaged population is receiving the myriad benefits pre-school education has to offer. “In other words, more than half of the world’s children don’t get a chance to improve the linguistic, cognitive and social skills that are the foundations for lifelong learning.” Contributor Pauline Rose conjectures on global next steps.

Is there such thing as too much education? The Center for Global Development investigates a seemingly CURIOUS PROBLEM in the developing world—an excess of education. Though it sounds almost oxymoronic to lament too much education, the CGDEV finds that in many school systems in developing countries, teachers are taught to focus on plowing through material and advancing students to the next grade in spite of what they have or have not learned in a given year. Data from India, Pakistan, and Uganda concludes that when classes are pushed through material faster than teachers can adequately teach it and students can properly learn it, everyone suffers and students eventually stop learning. Check out the report examining the negative consequences of overambitious curricula and while you’re at it, take a peek at the UN’s most recent REPORT CARD on Adolescents.

War on Women, Mona Eltahawy Speaks Up. Last year, Egyptian-American columnist Mona Eltahawy marched with her brothers and sisters in protest in the streets of Cairo, decrying the wrongs of a regime led by then-President Hosni Mubarak; the spark of what has now become known as the Arab Spring. Shortly thereafter, she was beaten, assaulted, and imprisoned. She speaks up against the tyranny of MISOGYNY in the Middle East and around the world, highlighting specific world leaders for their continued violence against women.  We are more than our headscarves and our hymens,” urged Eltahawy. “Listen to those of us fighting. Amplify the voices of the region and poke the hatred in its eye.” In this gripping article featured in Foreign Policy magazine, she shares her thoughts on why women will finish what the Arab Spring started.

Students on the Move. Did you know that during the 2010-2011 school year, a reported 1,979 high school students from the U.S. TRAVELED abroad to study? That’s less than 1%of the U.S. population! By contrast, 29,491 students from foreign countries came to study in the U.S. during the same year/. What accounts for the difference? Interesting infographic highlighting international youth exchange around the world.