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Research Highlights

Writing the Book on Language

R. Douglas Greer reported that normally-developing second graders taught with methods typically used for children with autism and other linguistic development disorders achieved an average grade equivalence in reading and math in excess of fourth grade. Many of the children were eligible for free or reduced lunch, or were special education students or English language learners.

Smile—But Maybe Not When Your Heart Is Breaking

In studies published by the American Psychological Association, George Bonanno and colleagues found, first, that among Columbia University freshmen newly arrived in New York City during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the ability to smile or laugh after watching a sad film predicted better social networks and better emotional and mental adjustment. However, among late adolescent girls and young adult women who had survived childhood sexual abuse, genuine laughter and smiling while talking about their abuse predicted worse social adjustment over time.

A Firsthand Look at Quality Teaching

The Teachers College Record published “Making Teaching Public,” an online exhibition by Thomas Hatch that combines videos, photographs and more to document teaching and learning in challenging New York City, California and Philadelphia classrooms.

Education, Very Broadly Defined

Hervé Varenne guest-edited “Explorations in the Theory of Education: Anthropological Perspectives,” a special issue of the Teachers College Record that documented the self-education of slaves in the early U.S., Hmong girls in Thailand, and other people in a wide range of settings and historical conditions.

Thought for Food

In Nutrition Education: Linking Research, Theory and Practice, Isobel Contento provides health workers with behavioral, psychological and educational strategies to get people to change their eating behaviors. The book stresses increasing awareness and motivation; facilitating the ability to take action; and promoting environmental supports for action.

Speaking Truths with Power Chords

Lyrics to rock music “can be a lighthearted but engaging means to think about some profound issues of living,” writes Barry Farber in Rock ’n’ Roll Wisdom: What Psychologically Astute Lyrics Teach About Life and Love. “Great songwriters offer the virtue of a more palatable way of learning than through the often-tedious pages of textbooks.”

Getting Back to Basics—Before It’s Too Late

Dolores Perin authored or co-authored papers in the Journal of Educational Psychology, Scientific Studies in Education and the book Best Practices in Writing on the teaching of writing to adolescents. Supported by a Carnegie Corporation of New York grant, Perin also led a group of TC faculty in developing two courses to prepare preservice science and social studies teachers to teach literacy skills in their classrooms.

Getting Ready for Pre-K and Later Life

“School Readiness and Later Achievement,” a study co-authored by Jeanne Brooks-Gunn in Developmental Psychology, found that a child’s mastery of numbers and other early math concepts were the most powerful predictors of later learning. Non-academic variables such as “externalizing and internalizing problem behaviors and social skills” were not predictive, with one exception: young children who had trouble concentrating in school were more likely to have academic trouble later on.

On Aging Artfully

In her study “Above Ground,” Joan Jeffri awards 213 elderly New York City visual artists high marks for personal growth, creativity, self-efficacy, autonomy, independence, effective coping strategies, sense of purpose, self-acceptance and self worth. Most of the artists still had extensive social contacts—important, the study notes, because “people with ‘robust’ networks tend to stay out of nursing homes.”

Equity Research Grants for Students

The Campaign for Educational Equity announced its first grants to enable TC students to research equity-related topics not currently addressed in the College’s curriculum—particularly on such issues as problems faced by students of color in college and university settings. The grants consist of a graduate assistantship award of $1,500 and three tuition points.

How to Prepare Education Researchers

Anna Neumann and Aaron Pallas, along with Penelope Peterson, Dean of Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy, coedited a special issue of the Teachers College Record that uses four case studies to identify a set of principles to guide the construction and ongoing operation of research preparation programs in graduate schools of education.

Assessing the Demand for High School Programs

At the inaugural conference of the Research Alliance for New York City Schools, Aaron Pallas and Carolyn Riehl presented research showing that, among New York City high schools, those in Manhattan, those with higher levels of academic performance, and those with a lower concentration of racial and ethnic minority youth are in higher demand than other programs.

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