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I was born in poverty in Appalachia. ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ doesn’t speak for me.

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Betsy Rader is an employment lawyer at Betsy Rader Law LLC, located in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. She is running as a Democrat to represent Ohio’s 14th Congressional District in the U.S. House. She writes in the Washington Post:

J.D. Vance’s book “Hillbilly Elegy,” published last year, has been assigned to students and book clubs across the country. Pundits continue to cite it as though the author speaks for all of us who grew up in poverty. But Vance doesn’t speak for me, nor do I believe that he speaks for the vast majority of the working poor.

From a quick glance at my résumé, you might think me an older, female version of Vance. I was born in Appalachia in the 1960s and grew up in the small city of Newark, Ohio. When I was 9, my parents divorced. My mom became a single mother of four, with only a high school education and little work experience. Life was tough; the five of us lived on $6,000 a year.

Like Vance, I attended Ohio State University on scholarship, working nights and weekends. I graduated at the top of my class and, again like Vance, attended Yale Law School on a financial-need scholarship. Today, I represent people who’ve been fired illegally from their jobs. And now that I’m running for Congress in Northeast Ohio, I speak often with folks who are trying hard but not making much money.

A self-described conservative, Vance largely concludes that his family and peers are trapped in poverty due to their own poor choices and negative attitudes. But I take great exception when he makes statements such as: “We spend our way into the poorhouse. We buy giant TVs and iPads. Our children wear nice clothes thanks to high-interest credit cards and payday loans. We purchase homes we don’t need, refinance them for more spending money, and declare bankruptcy. . . . Thrift is inimical to our being.”

Who is this “we” of whom he speaks? Vance’s statements don’t describe the family in which I grew up, and they don’t describe the families I meet who are struggling to make it in America today. I know that my family lived on $6,000 per year because as children, we sat down with pen and paper to help find a way for us to live on that amount. My mom couldn’t even qualify for a credit card, much less live on credit. She bought our clothes at discount stores.

Thrift was not inimical to our being; it was the very essence of our being.

With lines like “We choose not to work when we should be looking for jobs,” Vance’s sweeping stereotypes are shark bait for conservative policymakers. They feed into the mythology that the undeserving poor make bad choices and are to blame for their own poverty, so taxpayer money should not be wasted on programs to help lift people out of poverty. Now these inaccurate and dangerous generalizations have been made required college reading.

Here is the simple fact: Most poor people work. Seventy-eight percentof families on Medicaid include a household member who is working. People work hard in necessary and important jobs that often don’t pay them enough to live on. For instance, child-care workers earn an average of $22,930 per year, and home health aides average $23,600. (Indeed, it is a sad irony that crucial jobs around caretaking and children have always paid very little.)

The problem with living in constant economic insecurity is not a lack of thrift, it is that people in these circumstances are always focused on the current crisis. They can’t plan for the future because they have so much to deal with in the present. And the future seems so bleak that it feels futile to sacrifice for it. What does motivate most people is the belief that the future can be better and that we have a realistic opportunity to achieve it. But sometimes that takes help.

Yes, I worked hard, but I didn’t just pull myself up by my bootstraps. And neither did Vance. The truth is that people helped us out: My public school’s guidance counselor encouraged me to go to college. The government helped us out: I received scholarships and subsidized federal loans to help pay my educational expenses. The list of helpers goes on. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 September 2017 at 1:34 pm

Posted in Books, Daily life, Education

Learning to Learn: You, Too, Can Rewire Your Brain

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John Schwartz reports in the NY Times:

The studio for what is arguably the world’s most successful online course is tucked into a corner of Barb and Phil Oakley’s basement, a converted TV room that smells faintly of cat urine. (At the end of every video session, the Oakleys pin up the green fabric that serves as the backdrop so Fluffy doesn’t ruin it.)

This is where they put together “Learning How to Learn,” taken by more than 1.8 million students from 200 countries, the most ever on Coursera. The course provides practical advice on tackling daunting subjects and on beating procrastination, and the lessons engagingly blend neuroscience and common sense.

Dr. Oakley, an engineering professor at Oakland University in Rochester, Mich., created the class with Terrence Sejnowski, a neuroscientist at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, and with the University of California, San Diego.

Prestigious universities have spent millions and employ hundreds of professionally trained videographers, editors and producers to create their massive open online courses, known as MOOCs. The Oakleys put together their studio with equipment that cost $5,000. They figured out what to buy by Googling “how to set up a green screen studio” and “how to set up studio lighting.” Mr. Oakley runs the camera and teleprompter. She does most of the editing. The course is free ($49 for a certificate of completion — Coursera won’t divulge how many finish).

“It’s actually not rocket science,” said Dr. Oakley — but she’s careful where she says that these days. When she spoke at Harvard in 2015, she said, “the hackles went up”; she crossed her arms sternly by way of grim illustration.

This is home-brew, not Harvard. And it has worked. Spectacularly. The Oakleys never could have predicted their success. Many of the early sessions had to be trashed. “I looked like a deer in the headlights,” Dr. Oakley said. She would flub her lines and moan, “I just can’t do this.” Her husband would say, “Come on. We’re going to have lunch, and we’re going to come right back to this.” But he confessed to having had doubts, too. “We were in the basement, worrying, ‘Is anybody even going to look at this?’”

Dr. Oakley is not the only person teaching students how to use tools drawn from neuroscience to enhance learning. But her popularity is a testament to her skill at presenting the material, and also to the course’s message of hope. Many of her online students are 25 to 44 years old, likely to be facing career changes in an unforgiving economy and seeking better ways to climb new learning curves.

Dr. Oakley’s lessons are rich in metaphor, which she knows helps get complex ideas across. The practice is rooted in the theory of neural reuse, which states that metaphors use the same neural circuits in the brain as the underlying concept does, so the metaphor brings difficult concepts “more rapidly on board,” as she puts it.

She illustrates her concepts with goofy animations: There are surfing zombies, metabolic vampires and an “octopus of attention.” Hammy editing tricks may have Dr. Oakley moving out of the frame to the right and popping up on the left, or cringing away from an animated, disembodied head that she has put on the screen to discuss a property of the brain.

Sitting in the Oakleys’ comfortable living room, with its solid Mission furniture and mementos of their world travels, Dr. Oakley said she believes that just about anyone can train himself to learn. “Students may look at math, for example, and say, ‘I can’t figure this out — it must mean I’m really stupid!’ They don’t know how their brain works.”

Her own feelings of inadequacy give her empathy for students who feel hopeless. “I know the hiccups and the troubles people have when they’re trying to learn something.” After all, she was her own lab rat. “I rewired my brain,” she said, “and it wasn’t easy.”

As a youngster, she was not a diligent student. “I flunked my way through elementary, middle school and high school math and science,” she said. She joined the Army out of high school to help pay for college and received extensive training in Russian at the Defense Language Institute. Once out, she realized she would have a better career path with a technical degree (specifically, electrical engineering), and set out to tackle math and science, training herself to grind through technical subjects with many of the techniques of practice and repetition that she had used to let Russian vocabulary and declension soak in.

Along the way, she met Philip Oakley — in, of all places, Antarctica. It was 1983, and she was working as a radio operator at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. (She has also worked as a translator on a Russian trawler. She’s been around.) Mr. Oakley managed the garage at the station, keeping machinery working under some of the planet’s most punishing conditions.

She had noticed him largely because, unlike so many men at the lonely pole, he hadn’t made any moves on her. “You can be ugly as a toad out there and you are the most popular girl,” she said. She found him “comfortably confident.” After he left a party without even saying hello, she told a friend she’d like to get to know him better. The next day, he was waiting for her at breakfast with a big smile on his face. Three weeks later, on New Year’s Eve, he walked her over to the true South Pole and proposed at the stroke of midnight. A few weeks after that, they were “off the ice” in New Zealand and got married.

Dr. Oakley recounts her journey in both of her best-selling books: “A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even if You Flunked Algebra)” and, out this past spring, “Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential.” The new book is about learning new skills, with a focus on career switchers. And yes, she has a MOOC for that, too. . . .

Continue reading. The column includes four techniques that may be helpful:

Four Techniques to Help You Learn

FOCUS/DON’T The brain has two modes of thinking that Dr. Oakley simplifies as “focused,” in which learners concentrate on the material, and “diffuse,” a neural resting state in which consolidation occurs — that is, the new information can settle into the brain. (Cognitive scientists talk about task-positive networks and default-mode networks, respectively, in describing the two states.) In diffuse mode, connections between bits of information, and unexpected insights, can occur. That’s why it’s helpful to take a brief break after a burst of focused work.

TAKE A BREAK To accomplish those periods of focused and diffuse-mode thinking, Dr. Oakley recommends what is known as the Pomodoro Technique, developed by one Francesco Cirillo. Set a kitchen timer for a 25-minute stretch of focused work, followed by a brief reward, which includes a break for diffuse reflection. (“Pomodoro” is Italian for tomato — some timers look like tomatoes.) The reward — listening to a song, taking a walk, anything to enter a relaxed state — takes your mind off the task at hand. Precisely because you’re not thinking about the task, the brain can subconsciously consolidate the new knowledge. Dr. Oakley compares this process to “a librarian filing books away on shelves for later retrieval.”

As a bonus, the ritual of setting the timer can also help overcome procrastination. Dr. Oakley teaches that even thinking about doing things we dislike activates the pain centers of the brain. The Pomodoro Technique, she said, “helps the mind slip into focus and begin work without thinking about the work.”

“Virtually anyone can focus for 25 minutes, and the more you practice, the easier it gets.”

PRACTICE “Chunking” is the process of creating a neural pattern that can be reactivated when needed. It might be an equation or a phrase in French or a guitar chord. Research shows that having a mental library of well-practiced neural chunks is necessary for developing expertise.

Practice brings procedural fluency, says Dr. Oakley, who compares the process to backing up a car. “When you first are learning to back up, your working memory is overwhelmed with input.” In time, “you don’t even need to think more than ‘Hey, back up,’ ” and the mind is free to think about other things.

Chunks build on chunks, and, she says, the neural network built upon that knowledge grows bigger. “You remember longer bits of music, for example, or more complex phrases in French.” Mastering low-level math concepts allows tackling more complex mental acrobatics. “You can easily bring them to mind even while your active focus is grappling with newer, more difficult information.”

KNOW THYSELF Dr. Oakley urges her students to understand that people learn in different ways. Those who have “racecar brains” snap up information; those with “hiker brains” take longer to assimilate information but, like a hiker, perceive more details along the way. Recognizing the advantages and disadvantages, she says, is the first step in learning how to approach unfamiliar material.

See also Mindset, by Carol Dweck.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 September 2017 at 11:44 am

Posted in Books, Education, Science

Don’t Panic, Liberal Arts Majors. The Tech World Wants You.

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Full disclosure: My bachelor’s degree is in liberal arts (from St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD: the “Great Books” program).

Timothy Aubrey reviews a couple of heartening books in the NY Times:

YOU CAN DO ANYTHING 
The Surprising Power of a “Useless” Liberal Arts Education
By George Anders
342 pp. Little, Brown & Company. $27.

A PRACTICAL EDUCATION 
Why Liberal Arts Majors Make Great Employees
By Randall Stross
291 pp. Redwood Press. $25.

Surely one day the ability to interface directly with the nanomachinery connected to our brains will render computer science as we know it obsolete. When experts start arguing for its continued relevance, undergraduates choosing a major will begin to realize that the obscure art of manually punching arcane symbols into keyboards is no longer a safe bet. At the present moment, however, it is only liberal arts majors who have to wonder whether all of the articles and books promoting the marketability of their chosen discipline should make them more or less uneasy about the future. Two additions to this growing field have appeared just in time to try to soothe the post-graduation panic that some within the class of 2017 may be experiencing: George Anders’s “You Can Do Anything: The Surprising Power of a ‘Useless’ Liberal Arts Education” and Randall Stross’s “A Practical Education: Why Liberal Arts Majors Make Great Employees.”

According to both Anders and Stross, the ever-expanding tech sector is now producing career opportunities in fields — project management, recruitment, human relations, branding, data analysis, market research, design, fund-raising and sourcing, to name some — that specifically require the skills taught in the humanities. To thrive in these areas, one must be able to communicate effectively, read subtle social and emotional cues, make persuasive arguments, adapt quickly to fluid environments, interpret new forms of information while translating them into a compelling narrative and anticipate obstacles and opportunities before they arise. Programs like English or history represent better preparation, the two authors argue, for the demands of the newly emerging “rapport sector” than vocationally oriented disciplines like engineering or finance. Though it does not automatically land one in a particular career, training in the humanities, when pitched correctly, will ultimately lead to gainful and fulfilling employment. Indeed, by the time they reach what Stross terms the “peak earning ages,” 56-60, liberal arts majors earn on average $2,000 more per year than those with pre-professional degrees (if advanced degrees in both categories are included).

While “You Can Do Anything” and “A Practical Education” supply useful talking points in support of the financial viability of studying the liberal arts, they may arouse more fear than hope. Both feature myriad anecdotes of job searches, all with happy endings, but the journey there invariably proves daunting, circuitous and chancy. Moreover, the reality that apparently favors liberal arts majors is precisely what makes the current job market so forbidding: extreme precariousness. Trained to be flexible and adaptable, these students are well equipped, according to Anders, to navigate an unstable job market, where companies, fields and sometimes whole industries rise and fall at a nauseating clip, where automation is rendering once coveted skills redundant and where provisional short-term jobs, freelance assignments, part-time gigs, unpaid internships and self-employment are replacing long-term, full-time salaried positions that include rights and benefits protected by unions. While Anders, a contributing writer at Forbes magazine, clearly wants the best for recent liberal arts graduates, his pep talk often consists of rebranding the treacherous market conditions of the 21st century as part of a thrilling new frontier. Instability can promote “quirky-job-hopping” and greater “autonomy.” Recent liberal arts graduates who find these conditions less than inviting, Anders says, simply need to discover the proper spirit of adventure — the same spirit that led them to their chosen field of study. But somehow it seems unlikely that his analogy to white-water rafting will get them excited to send out yet another batch of cover letters and résumés.

The two books also raise hard questions about who exactly can turn a liberal arts degree into a successful career. In almost all of the stories, job candidates must survive a significant lag time before finding a position that pays the bills, during which they are often forced to pursue additional training or accept poorly compensated work while relying on financial support from their parents. Moreover, in just about every case, they end up tapping into an extensive network of family and friends. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

27 August 2017 at 10:17 am

The US has spent $2 billion on the reckless hope teens won’t have sex

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Jenny Anderson writes in Quartz:

Between 1982 and 2017, Congress spent over $2 billion on programs which teach teens that the best way to address their desire to have sex is to wait until they get married, according to a new study published in the September issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Called abstinence only until marriage (AOUM), these programs accurately explain that the best way to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases is to not have sex. They also fail teens spectacularly by not divulging critical information about the mechanics, emotions, responsibilities and consent issues involved in having healthy sexual relationships. Promoting these programs could constitute a violation of medical ethics, says Laura Lindberg, a coauthor of the report and a research scientist at the Guttmacher Institute, in an interview with NPR.

“We tell people not to drink and drive,” she added. “We don’t teach them not to drive. … We would never withhold information about seat belts because they wouldn’t know how to protect themselves.”

President Trump recently cut more than $213 million in federal funds for teen pregnancy prevention programs at more than 80 organizations. According to the new study, his 2016 budget awarded $85 million to AOUM programs (compared to $176 million for more comprehensive sexuality education through the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program and Personal Responsibility Education Program).

From 1995 to 2011–2013, the share of US adolescents who received instruction on abstinence but no instruction about birth control methods, increased from 8% to 28% of females and from 9% to 35% of males, according to the report.

Arguments in favor of abstinence-only approaches tend to be religious or cultural. Advocates of abstinence until marriage argue that explaining how to have sex healthily amounts to tacit encouragement. “We are surrendering to the idea that teenagers will be sexually active,” Penny Nance, CEO of Concerned Women for America told NPR.

But the report highlights a few shortcomings in the AOUM approach. Scientific evidence shows the approach doesn’t actually delay teens having sex, or engaging in risky sexual behaviors. The programs also sometimes provide misleading or inaccurate information about contraceptive effectiveness and sex itself.

There are other important reasons to teach kids about sex and the issues around it, like educating them about consent, LBGT rights, and sexual violence. One in five women reported being sexually assaulted during college, a 2015 national report from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center found.

According to a recent report from Harvard’s Making Caring Commonproject, more than half of 18-25-year-olds surveyed never had a conversation about “being sure” a partner wants to have sex. “For adults to hand over responsibility for educating young people about romantic love—and sex—to popular culture is a dumbfounding abdication of responsibility,” the authors wrote. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

27 August 2017 at 9:15 am

How Colleges Are Strangling Liberalism

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Interesting essay by Mark Lilla, a professor of humanities at Columbia University, author of The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics (Harper), from which this essay is adapted.

Donald Trump is president of the United States. This momentous event has turned our campuses upside down. The day after his victory some professors held teach-ins, some students asked to be excused from class, and now many have gotten engaged and have been joining marches and attending raucous town-hall meetings. This warms the heart of an impassioned if centrist liberal like myself.

But something more needs to happen, and soon. All of us liberals involved in higher education need to take a long look in the mirror and ask ourselves how we contributed to putting the country in this situation. We need to accept our share of responsibility. Anyone involved in Republican politics will tell you that our campus follies, magnified by Fox News, mobilize their base like few things do. But our responsibility extends beyond feeding the right-wing media by tolerating attempts to control speech, limit debate, stigmatize and bully conservatives, as well as encouraging a culture of complaint that strikes people outside our privileged circles as comically trivial. We have distorted the liberal message to such a degree that it has become unrecognizable.

After Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980, American liberals faced the challenge of developing a fresh and truly political vision of the country’s shared destiny, adapted to the new realities of American society and chastened by the failures of old approaches. And this they failed to do. Instead they threw themselves into the movement politics of identity, losing a sense of what we share as citizens and what binds us as a nation. An image for Roosevelt liberalism and the unions that supported it was that of two hands shaking. A recurring image of identity liberalism is that of a prism refracting a single beam of light into its constituent colors, producing a rainbow. This says it all.

The politics of identity is nothing new, certainly on the American right. And it is not dead, as the recent events in Charlottesville remind us. The white nationalist march that set off the conflict, and then led to one protester’s death, was not only directed against minorities. It was also directed at the university and everything it stands for. In May 1933 Nazi students marched at night into the courtyard of the University of Berlin and proceeded to burn “decadent” books in the library. White nationalist organizers were “quoting” this precedent when they flooded Thomas Jefferson’s campus looking for blood. This was fascist identitarianism, something liberals and progressives have always battled in the name of human equality and universal justice.

What was astonishing during the Reagan years, though, was the development of an explicit left-wing identity politics that became the de facto creed of two generations of liberal politicians, professors, school teachers, journalists, movement activists, and officials of the Democratic Party. This has been disastrous for liberalism’s prospects in our country, especially in the face of an increasingly radicalized right.

There is a good reason that liberals focus extra attention on minorities, since they are the most likely to be disenfranchised. But the only way in a democracy to meaningfully assist them — and not just make empty gestures of recognition and “celebration” — is to win elections and exercise power in the long run, at every level of government. And the only way to accomplish that is to have a message that appeals to as many people as possible and pulls them together. Identity liberalism does just the opposite, and reinforces the alt-right’s picture of politics as a war of competing identity groups.

Identity politics on the left was at first about large classes of people — African-Americans, women, gays — seeking to redress major historical wrongs by mobilizing and then working through our political institutions to secure their rights. But by the 1980s it had given way to a pseudo-politics of self-regard and increasingly narrow and exclusionary self-definition that is now cultivated in our colleges and universities. The main result has been to turn young people back onto themselves, rather than turning them outward toward the wider world they share with others. It has left them unprepared to think about the common good in non-identity terms and what must be done practically to secure it — especially the hard and unglamorous task of persuading people very different from themselves to join a common effort. Every advance of liberal identity consciousness has marked a retreat of effective liberal political consciousness.

Campus politics bears a good deal of the blame. Up until the 1960s, those active in liberal and progressive politics were drawn largely from the working class or farm communities, and were formed in local political clubs or on shop floors. Today’s activists and leaders are formed almost exclusively at colleges and universities, as are members of the mainly liberal professions of law, journalism, and education. Liberal political education, such as it is, now takes place on campuses that, especially at the elite level, are largely detached socially and geographically from the rest of the country. This is not likely to change. Which means that liberalism’s prospects will depend in no small measure on what happens in our institutions of higher education.

Flash back to 1980 and the election of Ronald Reagan. Republican activists are setting out on the road to spread the new individualist gospel of small government and pouring their energies into winning out-of-the-way county, state, and congressional elections — a bottom-up strategy. Also on the road, though taking a different exit off the interstate, you see former New Left activists in rusting, multicolored VW buses. Having failed to overturn capitalism and the military-industrial complex, they are heading for college towns all over America, where they hope to practice a very different sort of politics aimed at transforming the outlook of the educated classes — a top-down strategy. Both groups succeeded.

The retreat of the post-1960s left was strategic. Already in 1962 the authors of the Port Huron Statement wrote, “we believe that the universities are an overlooked seat of influence.” Universities were no longer isolated preserves of learning. They had become central to American economic life, serving as conduits and accrediting institutions for post-industrial occupations, and to political life, through research and the formation of party elites.

The SDS authors made the case that a New Left should first try to form itself within the university, where they were free to argue among themselves and work out a more ambitious political strategy, recruiting followers along the way. The ultimate point, though, was to enter the wider world, looking “outwards to the less exotic but more lasting struggles for justice.”

But as hopes for a radical transformation of American life faded, ambitions shrank. Many who returned to campus invested their energies in making their sleepy college towns into socially progressive and environmentally self-sustaining communities. These campus towns still do stand out from the rest of America and are very pleasant places to live, though they have lost much of their utopian allure. Most have become meccas of a new consumerist culture for the highly educated, surrounded by techie office parks and increasingly expensive homes. They are places where you can visit a bookshop, see a foreign movie, pick up vitamins and candles, have a decent meal followed by an espresso, and perhaps attend a workshop to ease your conscience. A thoroughly bourgeois setting without a trace of the demos, apart from the homeless men and women who flock there and whose job is to keep it real for the residents. . .

Continue reading.

See also “A Conversation with Mark Lilla on His Critique of Identity Politics,” by David Remnick in the New Yorker.

Written by LeisureGuy

26 August 2017 at 12:04 pm

Is the Economics Profession Toxic for Women?

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Extremely interesting post by Kevin Drum. Read the whole thing.

And while you’re at it, read this one, too.

Written by LeisureGuy

19 August 2017 at 1:12 pm

A new approach to learning a foreign language: Physical exercise

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Gretchen Reynolds writes in the NY Times:

Learning a second language as an adult is difficult. But the process may be eased if you exercise while learning.

A new study reports that working out during a language class amplifies people’s ability to memorize, retain and understand new vocabulary. The findings provide more evidence that to engage our minds, we should move our bodies.

In recent years, a wealth of studies in both animals and people have shown that we learn differently if we also exercise. Lab rodents given access to running wheels create and maintain memories better than animals that are sedentary, for instance. And students consistently perform better on academic tests if they participate in some kind of physical activity during the school day.

Many scientists suspect that exercise alters the biology of the brain in ways that make it more malleable and receptive to new information, a process that scientists refer to as plasticity.

But many questions have remained unanswered about movement and learning, including whether exercise is most beneficial before, during or after instruction and how much and what types of exercise might be best.

So for the new study, which was published recently in PLOS One, researchers in China and Italy decided to home in on language learning and the adult brain.

Language learning is interesting. As young children, almost all of us picked up our first language easily. We didn’t have to be formally taught; we simply absorbed words and concepts.

But by early adulthood, the brain generally begins to lose some of its innate language capability. It displays less plasticity in areas of the brain related to language. As a result, for most of us, it becomes harder to learn a second language after childhood.

To see what effects exercise might have on this process, the researchers first recruited 40 college-age Chinese men and women who were trying to learn English. The students had some facility with this second language but were far from proficient.

The researchers then divided the students into two groups. Those in one group would continue to learn English as they had before, primarily while seated in rote vocabulary-memorization sessions.

The others would supplement these sessions with exercise.

Specifically, the students would ride exercise bikes at a gentle pace (about 60 percent of their maximum aerobic capacity) beginning 20 minutes before the start of the lessons and continuing throughout the 15 minutes or so of instruction.

Both groups learned their new vocabulary by watching words projected onto large screens, together with comparable pictures, such as “apple” and a Red Delicious. They were shown 40 words per session, with the sequence repeated several times.

Afterward, the students all rested briefly and then completed a vocabulary quiz, using computer keys to note as quickly as possible whether a word was with its correct picture. They also responded to sentences using the new words, marking whether the sentences were accurate or, in the case of “The apple is a dentist,” nonsensical. Most linguists feel that understanding sentences shows greater mastery of a new language than does simple vocabulary improvement.

The students completed eight vocabulary sessions over the course of two months.

And at the end of each lesson, the students who had ridden bikes  . . .

Continue reading.

And I will again point out that learning Esperanto as your first foreign language greatly facilitates learning other foreign languages: if you want to learn some particular foreign language as your first foreign language, you’re better off if you first learn Esperanto, then study the target language.

Written by LeisureGuy

17 August 2017 at 2:28 pm

Posted in Education, Esperanto

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