Babies Begin Learning Language in Womb


Newborn babies only a few hours old are able to differentiate between sounds from their native language and a foreign one. A new study indicates that babies begin absorbing language while still in the womb, earlier than previously thought.

Read more @ SciTechDaily

Drunken Larvae Learn Just as Well as Sober Larvae


Many studies suggest that the behavioral effects of alcohol in humans can be modeled in fruit flies and other animals. Scientists that were trying to see when these effects start to take place discovered that inebriated fruit fly larvae learned just as well as sober ones.

Read more @ SciTechDaily

Growth in Brain’s White Matter Tracts Could Predict Literacy

Section through nerve fibers within the sciatic nerve as seen under the electron microscope: the axons (nerve cell projections, pink) are only poorly surrounded by a myelin sheath (generated by Schwann cells, coloured blue) following inactivation of the gene encoding BACE1, which controls the myelination process (right panel). The nerve fibres in a control animal (left panel, BACE1 gene is intact) are in contrast surrounded by thick myelin sheaths (dark rings). (Picture: Dr. Alistair Garratt/Copyright: MDC).

Brain connectivity can predict reading skills, thanks to brain scans and the examination of the growth of long-range connections in the brain. These allow researchers to predict how a child’s reading skills will develop.

Read more @ SciTechDaily

5 Tips to Finding Affordable Tutors

082311_rg_AffordableTutors_01.jpgWhen your child needs help with their homework, or you just want your children to go beyond the curriculum of your school, be it in creative writing, mathematics, science, or other subjects, finding the right tutor is key since this will usually be an ongoing relationship for at least a couple of weeks to a few years. Tutoring has become a serious business in the last few years, with many private companies specializing in different fields. These can be a godsend, but they can get expensive quickly. Here’s how to find a more affordable tutor, that will work just as well.

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5 Easy Ways of Fostering Bilinguism in Your Child

082211_rg_BilingualTipsChildren_01.jpgWhile a lot of adults will struggle trying to learn another language, kids can usually pick it up quite quickly. It’s always surprising how fast this can happen, especially if you make a point of fostering this as much as possible, within reason. It’s always important to keep things fun, doubly so if your child is quite young.

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The Future of Reading

Interesting article by Jonah Lehrer over at Wired. I have yet to purchase an iPad or eReader and I still buy lots of books. It will take a while before the book is replaced with technology. In the last few days, since Friday, I’ve read 10 paperback books.

Using Powerpoint Presentations In Classrooms

My wife teaches university students and she really enjoys using Powerpoint presentations in class³. Most lectures by visiting scholars, as well as research, is usually presented with some kind of presentation. In the math world, it’s usually some Linux-based derivative.

I’ve been going to a class where the professor solely relies on using Powerpoint presentations. I have come to hate them. The reason is that the professor doesn’t understand how much time it takes for students to note down what they see on the slides. Sure, the presentation is made available later on the web, but I like taking notes. That’s how my learning process works. I know that most students work in similar fashion.

The professor shows a theorem, barely explaining it and the rushes through a demonstration. I haven’t even finished noting down the theorem when he’s already midway through the demo. It’s very annoying. The other extremely annoying fact is that the demos, or parts of them, vanish because animation is used in the Powerpoint. Extremely frustrating⁵.

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On Adam Shepard

I wrote this aside about Adam Shepard:

Adam Shepard spent 10 months in South Carolina starting out with 25$. His goal: to buy a car, rent an apartment and save 2500$ in a year.

As with most ESL classes, you run out of stuff to read very quickly. I’ve gotten into the habit of selecting an article every two weeks for my students. It doesn’t matter their level, beginner or advanced, I try to find something interesting regardless of it is leveled.

I’ve been using this article as my reading material for my ESL classes. It’s a great article and fun to read. My students are all adults. No teens or children, so this article is possibly not suited for those students. However the article is most compelling when read by adults, who realize what Adam Shepard had done.

This short essay was written by a student of mine. He’s in his mid forties and an intermediate ESL learner. From what he wrote, I can say that his written English is very good, compared to some of my other students. There were a few mistakes that I edited out or corrected, but otherwise it’s intact.

Continue reading “On Adam Shepard”