NYT: Can the right kind of play teach self-control

September 29, 2009 at 1:20 am 2 comments

As summarized by the Bay Area Edupreneur News Bulletin:

Over the last few years, a new buzz phrase has emerged among scholars and scientists who study early-childhood development, a phrase that sounds more as if it belongs in the boardroom than the classroom: executive function. Originally a neuroscience term, it refers to the ability to think straight: to order your thoughts, to process information in a coherent way, to hold relevant details in your short-term memory, to avoid distractions and mental traps and focus on the task in front of you. And recently, cognitive psychologists have come to believe that executive function, and specifically the skill of self-regulation, might hold the answers to some of the most vexing questions in education today.

The ability of young children to control their emotional and cognitive impulses, it turns out, is a remarkably strong indicator of both short-term and long-term success, academic and otherwise. In some studies, self-regulation skills have been shown to predict academic achievement more reliably than I.Q. tests.

The problem is that just as we’re coming to understand the importance of self-regulation skills, those skills appear to be in short supply among young American children. In one recent national survey, 46 percent of kindergarten teachers said that at least half the kids in their classes had problems following directions. In another study, Head Start teachers reported that more than a quarter of their students exhibited serious self-control-related negative behaviors, like kicking or threatening other students, at least once a week. Walter Gilliam, a professor at Yale’s child-study center, estimates that each year, across the country, more than 5,000 children are expelled from pre-K programs because teachers feel unable to control them.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/27/magazine/27tools-t.html?em

Advertisements

Entry filed under: play, think. Tags: , , , , , .

Stand Up! Pulling together increases your pain threshold

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Kelly Saunderwood  |  December 5, 2009 at 1:14 am

    Hi, i just thought i’d post and let you know your blogs layout is really messed up on the K-Melon browser. Anyhow keep up the good work.

    Reply
  • 2. J.R. Atwood  |  December 5, 2009 at 1:49 am

    Thanks for the note, Kelly. I’m not familiar with the K-Melon browser, but as it becomes more popular, hopefully WordPress will recode their themes to make it viewable. Cheers!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Jason R. Atwood

I'm an avid trail runner and doctoral student at U.C. Berkeley who studies motivation and the relationship between the mind and body. This blog is a forum to share research, news, and musings about these topics of interest. More

Play is the beginning of knowledge.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 87 other followers

Twitter Feed

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.


%d bloggers like this: