Thursday, September 19, 2013

Being Fit Improves Your Mind

There have been many studies showing that regular exercise improves cognition. Today’s New York Times blog, How Physical Fitness May Promote School Success by Gretchen Reynolds, describes a recent study that correlates children’s physical fitness to higher academic achievement.

“More generally, in a large-scale study of almost 12,000 Nebraska schoolchildren published in August in The Journal of Pediatrics, researchers compiled each child’s physical fitness, as measured by a timed run, body mass index and academic achievement in English and math, based on the state’s standardized test scores. Better fitness proved to be linked to significantly higher achievement scores, while, interestingly, body size had almost no role. Students who were overweight but relatively fit had higher test scores than lighter, less-fit children.”

The whole article can be found here.

Ms. Reynolds’ argument, that school districts should not be slashing PE budgets, can be taken further.  We as parents should make sure our children get daily exercise, not only to keep them healthy but also to boost their learning capabilities.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Practicing A Language - Do You Need a Spanish or French Tutor?

Learning a new language is daunting, especially in a class of 30+ students.  While the teachers do their best to explain the curriculum, many are wary of speaking only that language to their students, concerned that not everyone will understand.  With only 50 minutes a day or one hour and 20 minutes every other day, there is not enough time for true immersion.  Even for those classes that are divided into groups to practice speaking, many students have not developed the confidence to even try holding a conversation.

The result is thousands of American students who take a language for years, and may even get A’s and B’s, but cannot hold a fluent conversation.  Language immersion classes at many elementary schools achieve much more success with fluency, but these classes reach a minority of students.

Do your child a favor by hiring a Spanish or French tutor to help practice the language.  The tutor will not only help with homework, grammar, and vocabulary, but can provide practice speaking and listening, incorporating what’s being learned into real conversation, and striving for improved skills and fluency.