Quick links – reading instruction for low-income students, racially-based academic goals, why boys like videogames

by Grace

—–  How public schools get it wrong in teaching low-income students

The Education Consumers Foundation analyzed the problem of economically disadvantaged children falling behind in literacy skills.

“The early use of intensive, skill-focused reading instruction could enable the vast majority of at-risk children to reach grade level by third grade, argues ECF, which recommends Direct Instruction.
Poverty vs. 3rd-grade reading (Joanne Jacobs)

—–   ‘Florida Passes Plan For Racially-Based Academic Goals’

Palm Beach, Fla. (CBS TAMPA) – The Florida State Board of Education passed a plan that sets goals for students in math and reading based upon their race.

On Tuesday, the board passed a revised strategic plan that says that by 2018, it wants 90 percent of Asian students, 88 percent of white students, 81 percent of Hispanics and 74 percent of black students to be reading at or above grade level. For math, the goals are 92 percent of Asian kids to be proficient, whites at 86 percent, Hispanics at 80 percent and blacks at 74 percent. It also measures by other groupings, such as poverty and disabilities, reported the Palm Beach Post.

The plan has infuriated many community activists in Palm Beach County and across the state.

 Why teenage boys like videogames so much

The National Institute of Health released a report on “Male/Female Difference Offers Insight into Brain Development” stating “there are gender differences in the trajectory of gray matter maturation in adolescent girls and boys that may have lasting effects on the brain.”…

Perhaps the actual physiology of male and female teens’ brains is most revealing aspect of the studies. The cortex, which contains both gray and white matter,  is the part of the brain responsible for thinking, perceiving, and processing language.  More specifically, the prefrontal cortex, a portion of the brain right behind the forehead, is one of the last areas of the brain to  mature in males. This part of the brain is necessary for “good judgment, controlling impulses, solving problems, setting goals, organizing and planning, and other skills that are essential to adults,” according to “The Amazing Adolescent Brain,” compiled by Dr. Linda Burgess Chamberlain, Ph.D., MPH.

In addition to the physiology of the brain, a teen’s gender and hormones affect his or her developing brain in myriad ways. It may also help you to understand why your son spends hours on videogames that involve more violence than you and your husband have allowed him to see in his short lifetime….

Hormones contribute greatly to the differences in male and female brain development. The hippocampus, which helps to move newly acquired information into long-term storage in the brain, responds to the primary female hormone, estrogen. As a result, the hippocampus grows and matures much faster in teenage girls than in teenage boys. This cerebral advantage allows girls to do better in social settings and causes them to show emotions more freely than boys.

Conversely, the amygdala and the hypothalamus are affected by male sex hormones and, consequently, grow larger in teenage males. Both of these parts of the brain are involved in responding to frightening and/or dangerous situations. These brain functions are exhibited by boys’ greater enjoyment of physically challenging sports and being more aggressive in some settings than females.

It also may, in part, explain their need for excitement, whether literal or virtual. (Hence, those video games.)…

“Compared to teenage girls, teenage males have less developed brain functions in the frontal lobe region, associated with more impulsive behavior and less careful processing of information.”

Unfortunately for males, brain development often continues into the early to mid-20s. This puts them at a higher risk for engaging in dangerous, superfluous behaviors that could cause them to make poor decisions….

Boys need “simple instructions”?

… parents should also remember that because the prefrontal cortex is still developing in male teens, it is wise to give them simple instructions, rather than overwhelming them with information. Also, the information should be given in a step-by-step fashion.

Teenage boys: From sweet sons to narcissistic teens (Washington Times)


2 Comments to “Quick links – reading instruction for low-income students, racially-based academic goals, why boys like videogames”

  1. Yeah, that part sounds patronizing.


  2. This article about sleep deprivation affecting teens included another possible factor. Are boys getting less sleep?

    Fortunately for parents, science has gotten more sophisticated at explaining why, starting at puberty, a teen’s internal sleep-wake clock seems to go off the rails. Researchers are also connecting the dots between the resulting sleep loss and behavior long chalked up to just “being a teenager.” This includes more risk-taking, less self-control, a drop in school performance and a rise in the incidence of depression….

    kids don’t become sleepy as early. This sleep delay isn’t just a passing impulse: It continues to increase through adolescence, peaking at age 19.5 in girls and age 20.9 in boys, Dr. Carskadon’s research shows.


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