Ready to learn?

first_imgBy Stephanie SchupskaUniversity of GeorgiaA television or computer may be easier to find than a babysitter. In the long run, they may even be cheaper. But they’re far from ideal ways to give your children a head start on their education.Too much screen time could hurt children come school time, says Don Bower, a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension human development specialist.Bower said the issue for many teachers is “at what cost is a child spending time at a screen instead of playing with friends and exploring outside, activities that are important for a successful school experience.”Schools focus on teaching children specific subjects. When kids show up at school lacking the basic skills necessary for learning, teachers have a much more challenging task.”The kids who show up ready to learn usually go on to be more successful students and, in turn, successful adults,” Bower said. “Schools do try to address students’ deficiencies. But it’s when children show up at pre-kindergarten and kindergarten without the building blocks for learning in place that puts them behind.”Bower sees a connection between intense screen time and decreased readiness to learn.”Kids involved in screen time aren’t involved in activities that are more interpersonal and physical,” he said.Television is the No. 1 activity for children ages 6 to 17, according to the Center for Media Education. By mid-adolescence, the average child has watched 15,000 hours of television. That’s more time than they’ve spent with teachers, friends or parents.”The number of screen time hours continues to increase,” Bower said. “The average U.S. child watches 25 or more hours a week. The American Academy of Pediatrics says there should be no screen time for kids under the age of 2 and only one to two hours per week as children get older. There’s a huge disconnect between what is healthy and what is actually happening in many homes.”Electronic media isn’t necessarily the bad guy, Bower said. “There are many electronic activities that complement and supplement educational learning. I hope parents become better consumers of electronic entertainment so their children can become better users.”His main concern is unmonitored screen time.“Parental monitoring of their children’s activities is a strong predictor of kids staying on track,” he said. “That monitoring includes discussion of the amount of time that kids are ‘plugged in’ and regular checking of their online activities.”When the screen goes off more often, students have a greater chance of developing building blocks for school success: the seven elements research has shown all successful students have in common. Bower gives tips on each to help students hit the ground running when they show up for school.Sense of curiosity: Children are naturally curious. But with more time in front of an electronic screen, there is less time to feed curiosity.Imagination: Electronic media doesn’t ask for much interaction. Instead of screen time, help your kids play games, make projects and read books.Ability to focus attention: Reading, art, science and building projects, as well as outings, are all activities that reward your child for paying attention.Ability to maintain attention: Too much fast-paced media trains children to expect constant sensory stimulation. Avoid extremely fast-paced programs, movies and games, especially when children are very young.Persistence: Television and computers often offer instant gratification. Too much media affects a child’s ability to stick with an activity when things get frustrating.Language: Talk to your children, read to them and expose them to the wonder of books from their earliest days. Early school success is related to the kind and amount of reading and talking at home.Inner speech: Most electronic media doesn’t engage critical thinking. Encourage your kids to think before they act. The ability to reflect and have a private conversation with ourselves helps us think things through and control our impulses.”When it comes to success in school, a healthy media diet is just as important as what your child eats,” Bower said. “Do your kids a favor and turn off, or limit, the electronic screens.”last_img read more

Vermont Public Television Board elects Harwood, new officers

first_imgBrian Harwood of Waterbury, has been elected chair of the board of directors of Vermont Public Television (VPT), Vermont’s statewide public television network.  One of the state’s best-known radio personalities and a Vermont Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame member, he is morning host on WCVT Classic Vermont.  He was formerly chair and CEO of hmc2 advertising in Stowe.  Since his retirement from the firm, he serves as chair emeritus.Harwood succeeds James Wyant of Pointe Claire, Que., who continues on the VPT board as past chair.Pamela Mackenzie of S. Burlington, Vt., was elected vice chair.  She is the area vice president for Comcast in Vermont and western Massachusetts.Source: VPT 7.2.2010last_img read more

Taylor: No link in Suarez cases

first_img Suarez was suspended for eight games last season when an independent disciplinary panel found the Liverpool striker guilty of abusing Patrice Evra at Anfield in October 2011. The fact Suarez received a greater sanction for sinking his teeth into Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic on Sunday has raised an eyebrow in some quarters. However, Taylor does not feel the two cases are linked, and he said: “I don’t think there is a suggestion the FA think biting is more serious than racial abuse.” He added: “I think if there was any more racist abuse the tariff would increase. It is not easy to get justice right. (Suarez) got seven (for biting in Holland), eight (for Evra) and now 10. There has been a divided opinion. For some people it is not enough, others think it is too much. “I take the view if there are points being made on both sides the balance is probably right. I actually feel there was needed to be more encouragement for the player to improve his behaviour and maybe the ban could have been longer, say 12 matches, with some of it suspended.” Liverpool will consider the written reasons behind the verdict before deciding whether to appeal against a punishment that, as it stands, rules Suarez out of action until the back end of September. Taylor is unconvinced by the Reds’ present annoyance at the severity of the punishment. However, he is in a tricky position as well given Suarez is one of six contenders to win the PFA Footballer of the Year prize on Sunday and is strongly fancied to be included in the Team of the Year. “The vote was made by the players and the first criteria is footballing ability,” said Taylor. “This was not normal behaviour. “Luis Suarez is a great footballer. The job for everybody, not just Liverpool but the PFA, Premier League and FA is to make sure, along the way, we see the right pattern of behaviour. “Sometimes bad behaviour is excused by intensity. But as so many top players have shown, that doesn’t have to be the case. If you have bad discipline and you get disciplined for it, that just leads to more frustration. It doesn’t help anyone.” Professional Footballers’ Association chief executive Gordon Taylor insists the 10-match ban handed out to Luis Suarez does not indicate biting is more serious than racial abuse.center_img Press Associationlast_img read more