Umbrella Newsletter # 51|
Umbrella Newsletter # 51
With a number of repeated requests in your e-mails “please re-send Umbrella Newsletter # 51, I must have missed it...”, it occurred to me that it is time for the next Umbrella issue. I would like to thank everyone for the interest, loyalty and reminders.
Spring is ahead (hard to believe with a snowstorm outside) and so is change. Everyone is talking about serious improvements that need to be made to access quality education for everyone. This winter has brought new ideas, a transformational change with the new Apple intervention into the textbook market (see details below). And as always IT technologies draw attention of teachers: some take them as a panacea, some say that IT apps don’t oust what has been in use before, they allow you to revisit what has been tried but in a new, more accessible format – the path is spiral. In this Umbrella Newsletter you will find many links to useful resources. But before you open them, have a look at the quotation from the book recommended by Susan Barduhn on neuroplasticity by psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Norman Doidge, M.D “The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science)”: “The irony of this new discovery is that for hundreds of years educators did seem to sense that children's brains had to be built up through exercises of increasing difficulty that strengthened brain functions. Up through the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries a classical education often included rote memorization of long poems in foreign languages, which strengthened the auditory memory (hence thinking in language) and an almost fanatical attention to handwriting, which probably helped strengthen motor capacities and thus not only helped handwriting but added speed and fluency to reading and speaking. Often a great deal of attention was paid to exact elocution and to perfecting the pronunciation of words. Then in the 1960s educators dropped such traditional exercises from the curriculum, because they were too rigid, boring, and "not relevant." But the loss of these drills has been costly; they may have been the only opportunity that many students had to systematically exercise the brain function that gives us fluency and grace with symbols. For the rest of us, their disappearance may have contributed to the general decline of eloquence, which requires memory and a level of auditory brainpower unfamiliar to us now….; today many of the most learned among us, raised in our most elite schools since the 1960s, prefer the omnipresent PowerPoint presentation—the ultimate compensation for a weak premotor cortex.” But it is always the Teacher who finds the balance between traditional approaches and innovations. Quite possible new neural connections can be created quicker by the use of new apps…?
We have so much to share with you this time- that is why we decided to prioritize information for you: urgent, high priority, routine, FYI
Elena and Natasha.