Education Update: 04/01/2015

Rush Elementary Recess Activity Finland What makes Finnish teachers so special?

Finnish education scholar Pasi Shalberg explores teacher preparation in Finland, which is known for its excellent education system. While only 10% of applicants to teaching programs are admitted, selected candidates often do not have pristine academic records. Instead of focusing on scholastic success, programs are designed for students who show teaching and leadership potential. Successful applicants are often athletes or musicians, who may not have perfect grades but have the passion to be life-long educators.

Revolving Door of Teachers Costs Schools Billions Every Year

NPR reports on the financial cost of teacher turnover in the United States. About half of all new teachers leave the profession within five years, which costs school districts across the country $2.2 billion annually. Data, while limited on teacher drop out, shows that salary is not the main reason for leaving the profession. Rather, “shrinking classroom autonomy” is the number one reason for those dissatisfied with education. One way to fix this problem, recommends Richard Ingersoll, who is researching the subject at the University of Pennsylvania, is to increase entry-level teacher support. “Induction” programs that help new teachers learn the ropes may be a key to improved retention in the profession.

60 Minutes of What? A developing brain perspective for activating children with an integrative exercise approach

Dr. Gregory Meyer, director of the Human Performance Lab and director of research at the Division of Sports Medicine at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, is the lead author on a new study that challenges quantitative exercise programs for children.  Published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the article argues that focusing on sustained aerobic activity (60 minutes per day, for example) misses the major qualitative aspects of exercise such as socialization and more importantly: development of motor skills. Particularly in preadolescence, says Myer et al., participation in “motor skill-enriched activities” is key to life-long movement skills.

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