Friday, November 7, 2014

The Friday Four, Part 91

I read a lot of very interesting articles on various topics over the past few weeks, so I've linked to several of them here for this Friday Four.


School (usually) looks a little different now...Photo credit
In this article, a woman who had been teaching for 14 years got a job as a "High School Learning Coach" charged with helping "teachers and administrators to improve student learning outcomes."  As part of her orientation, she shadowed two high school students - a sophomore and a senior - for a day each, completing all the same work as the students: sitting in class, making notes, doing homework, taking tests.  She ended up with three "takeaways" and several changes she would make in her classroom based on her observations - like mandatory mid-class stretches, starting every class with time for questions from the students, and instituting a "no sarcasm" rule.  Read her entire write-up of the experience here.


I loved this photo essay by a "self-described male feminist" in Africa.  His aim is to "change the narrative around African women where they are often portrayed as victims of circumstance".  He photographed dozens of beautiful, strong, resilient women from Africa (including Leymah Gbowee, a woman I greatly admire) in different settings.  Women as business owners, activists, students, mothers, writers, leaders.


This brief article on NPR outlines recent findings about ADHD that really make sense to me and jive with my experience raising a son with ADHD.
The researchers used two different databases looking at the connections in brains of 576 children with ADHD and normally developing children. In particular, the scientists assessed 907 known points across the brain and calculated how strongly linked each unique pair was in both groups of children.
They found that one neural network in particular lagged behind when it came to children with ADHD. This area, called the default network, is responsible for your stream of consciousness, or daydreaming. It turns on when you're not actively engaged in tasks and turns off when you're busy.
"The default network is maturing very rapidly between youth and adulthood," says Sripada. "It's neither a hero nor villain — you need to be able to turn it on appropriately and turn it off appropriately." Without this ability, researchers suspect that children can't focus on tasks or think further into the future. Their daydreaming network interrupts the area of their brain working on tasks, causing a loss of attention.
It's a pet peeve of mine when people think that either a) ADHD isn't a "real" condition, or b) that it's just an excuse for badly behaved kids or lazy parents, or c) that kids with ADHD can "act normal" if only they have enough willpower.  I love reading about the science that explains what happens in the brain of a person with ADHD and using that to figure out how to better help my son cope and thrive.


And I'll finish off with a couple of collections of quotes I liked.

This first one includes excerpts from female authors either explaining what feminism is in their own words or a quote that demonstrates their view of women.  I particularly like the quotes from Claire Messud and Adrienne Rich, and the story J.K. Rowling tells.

And this collection is of feminist quotes with a hint of humor.  I like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's quote about intimidating men (#2), Rebecca West's roundabout definition of a feminist (#4), and Amy Poehler's quote which rounds out the list nicely at #15.  But Anne Hathaway's takes the cake for me:
A man told me that for a woman, I was very opinionated.
I said, ‘For a man, you’re kind of ignorant.’
As one of those "opinionated" women, I have to say "Thanks, Anne!"  I might have to steal that line some time...

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