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Tutoring relieves math anxiety, changes fear circuits in children

Individualized math lessons improved kids’ arithmetic performance and made them feel more comfortable with the subject. Anxiety about doing math problems can be relieved with a one-on-one math tutoring program, according to a new study from the Stanford University School of Medicine. The tutoring fixed abnormal responses in the brain’s fear circuits. The study, published Sept. 9 in The Journal of Neuroscience, is the first to document an effective treatment for math anxiety in children.

The benefits of coaching for college students with LD, ADHD

In a recent study at a large public university, researchers examined the benefits of coaching among undergraduate and graduate students with learning disabilities and/or ADHD. The students who agreed to participate in the research received two semesters of coaching. The researchers measured levels of self-determination, executive functioning and academic skills before and after the coaching intervention. The study results showed each student improved in all three test measures. Even though the sample size was extremely small (24 students) and did not yield statistically significant quantitative outcomes, the participants who did commit to work with a coach for two semesters were not disappointed. The interviews with the students revealed rich and detailed understanding of the students and their experiences.

The Myth of Learning Styles

To be honest, I flirted with the idea of not writing this blog. What's the old saying? "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." The reality is that I spent years thinking there were learning styles. As a teacher I was highly influenced by Howard Gardner, and spent a great deal of time matching up students to how I thought they learned best. It gave me hope that all students can learn as long as we find ways to introduce information to them in a way that works for them. I blindly moved forward thinking that I was finding each student's learning style. I was wrong.

Even Gifted Students Can’t Keep Up

In a post-smokestack age, there is only one way for the United States to avoid a declining standard of living, and that is through innovation. Advancements in science and engineering have extended life, employed millions and accounted for more than half of American economic growth since World War II, but they are slowing. The nation has to enlarge its pool of the best and brightest science and math students and encourage them to pursue careers that will keep the country competitive.

Personal Best

Top athletes and singers have coaches. Should you? I’ve been a surgeon for eight years. For the past couple of them, my performance in the operating room has reached a plateau. I’d like to think it’s a good thing—I’ve arrived at my professional peak. But mainly it seems as if I’ve just stopped getting better. During the first two or three years in practice, your skills seem to improve almost daily. It’s not about hand-eye coördination—you have that down halfway through your residency. As one of my professors once explained, doing surgery is no more physically difficult than writing in cursive. Surgical mastery is about familiarity and judgment. You learn the problems that can occur during a particular procedure or with a particular condition, and you learn how to either prevent or respond to those problems.

Struggling with ADHD: ‘I Almost Didn’t Make It Through High School’

A lot of our focus was on trying to improve his organizational skills and time management. So when it came to long-term projects, we'd talk about ways he was going to break things down to get the work done in time. It's professional nagging, but done in a way that is a partnership. The child benefits because he feels he has to be accountable to a third party, and the parents no longer have to be the naggers, so the relationships improve. When Rob finally disclosed his drug and alcohol problem, we had been working together for six months. He apologized for keeping it from me. I simply said, "Thanks for sharing and are you ready to continue?"

How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?

Ellen Caroll has often asked herself this exact question – especially when it comes to helping her family members get the amount of sleep they need. With a son in preschool and a daughter in high school, a husband who works over 50 hours a week and aging parents, one with Parkinson's disease, Ellen's family runs the gamut when it comes to age and sleep needs. Because all of Ellen's family members have busy schedules, they often forget to put their sleep needs ahead of their other priorities. Not only does Ellen need to convince her family that getting the right amount of sleep is important, but she also needs to figure out how much sleep they really need!

Offline Learning: How The Mind Learns During Sleep

It’s been more than a century since the first scientific evidence was produced that sleep benefits memory. But the man who stumbled on it, German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus, couldn’t believe that learning during sleep could explain anomalies in his results, and he rejected the possibility.