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Sleep Your Way to An ‘A’

February 19th, 2011 No comments

我们都知道,充足的睡眠有利记忆。可是为什么我们学的东西有的记住了,但很多都忘记了?特别是老师在突然袭击考试的时候,脑子一片空白,什么都想不起来了呢?德国吕贝克大学(University of Lübeck)的科学家詹•伯恩(Jan Born)和他的同事最近在《神经科学杂志》上发表的一篇论文中说:只有当我们知道,学的东西是有用的,比如老师马上要考这些内容时,睡眠才会有选择地帮助我们把白天学到的东西从短期记忆转换成长期记忆。如果我们只是学着玩儿,那睡不睡觉对记忆都没什么影响。难怪考试是老师的法宝,看来是有科学依据的;)

下面是Newsweek 2011年2月13日刊登的文章:“Sleep Your Way to An ‘A’

Getting a good night’s sleep has long been known to cement the day’s memories, moving them from short-term storage into long-term holding, but new research shows that it’s not automatic. A night of z’s is helpful only if you know a test is coming or, more generally, if you explicitly tell yourself you’ll need the information in the future. In other words, don’t expect eight hours of shut-eye to help you on a pop quiz.

The new research is the first to show how sleep works its memory magic. EEGs found that the “test is coming” group spent more time in deep, slow-wave sleep than did the group not anticipating a test. Slow electrical waves act as a replay button, causing the hippocampus to reactivate new memories and synchronizing the neocortex so that it accepts them into long-term storage. This expectant group also had more “sleep spindles,” bursts of electrical activity that prime networks in the cortex to store memories arriving from the hippocampus and to integrate them into existing knowledge, which makes retrieval easier.

Psychology Today also published a blog post on this topic by Faith Brynie, a scientific and medical writer.

Sleep Helps Us Remember What We Need To

中文翻译:怎样睡出个好记忆?


Our brain on culture

February 10th, 2011 No comments

I’ve attended recently an IB workshop on the new Language B curriculum. Intercultural understanding has become much more important in the new guide, and the link between L2 language learning and TOK is also emphasized. The blog post below offers a very interesting perspective for L2 language teachers to understand how culture can actually influence the neural activities of our brain.

Cultural Neuroscience

Our brains and minds are shaped by our experiences, which mainly occur in the context of the culture in which we develop and live. Although psychologists have provided abundant evidence for diversity of human cognition and behaviour across cultures, the question of whether the neural correlates of human cognition are also culture-dependent is often not considered by neuroscientists. However, recent transcultural neuroimaging studies have demonstrated that one’s cultural background can influence the neural activity that underlies both high- and low-level cognitive functions.

Above is part of the abstract of a research paper by Shihui Han and Georg Northoff “Culture-Sensitive Neural Substrates of Human Cognition: A Transcultural Neuroimaging Approach”. The full version (pdf) is available.

I also found that Daniel Lende’s outline about the article is equally interesting. I quote here some interesting parts regarding Chinese language. Read more…

Cognitive Benefits of Learning foreign Languages

December 12th, 2010 No comments

Many studies have demonstrated the benefits of second language learning not only on student’s linguistic abilities but on their cognitive and creative abilities as well. The DUKE GIFTED LETTER interviewed several experts in the field about the advantages of foreign language learning for children. Here is a summary of some interesting points:

Schools should begin foreign language instructions EARLY

Beginning foreign language instruction early sets the stage for students to develop advanced levels of proficiencies in one or more languages. In addition, younger learners still possess the capacity to develop near native-like pronunciation and intonation in a new language. Finally, young learners have a natural curiosity about learning which is evident when they engage in learning a new language. They also are open and accepting of people who speak other languages and come from other cultures.

Learning a foreign language can enhance children’s cognitive development

Children who learn a foreign language beginning in early childhood demonstrate certain cognitive advantages over children who do not. Research conducted in Canada with young children shows that those who are bilingual develop the concept of “object permanence” at an earlier age. Bilingual students learn sooner that an object remains the same, even though the object has a different name in another language. For example, a foot remains a foot and performs the function of a foot, whether it is labeled a foot in English or un pied in French.

Read more…

Context! Context! Context!

October 17th, 2010 No comments

Context! Context! Context!

The word “Context” keeps coming to me recently, from many different texts I read and school-related PD activities. Now let me put them all together here.

“A Whole New Mind – Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future” by Daniel H. PINK

The 4 key differences of our brain’s TWO hemispheres:

Left Brain Right Brain
1. The left hemisphere controls the right side of the body. The right hemisphere controls the left side of the body.
2. The left hemisphere is sequential. The right hemisphere is simultaneous.
3. The left hemisphere specializes in text. The right hemisphere specializes in CONTEXT.
4. The left hemisphere analyzes the details. The right hemisphere synthesizes the big picture.
Sequential, literal, functional, textual, and analytical Simultaneous, metaphorical, aesthetic, contextual, and synthetic

(Download this article in PDF) Read more…

ICT: Free Technology for Teachers

October 4th, 2010 No comments

ICT – Information and Communication Technology

The blog below gives a collection of very useful ICT tools for teaching.

47 Alternatives to Using YouTube in the Classroom

Some excellent educational content can be found on YouTube. However, many teachers cannot access YouTube in their classrooms. That is why I originally wrote what became one of the most popular posts to ever appear on Free Technology for Teachers, 30+ Alternatives to YouTube. That post is now fourteen months old and I’ve come across more alternatives in that time. Also in that time span some of the resources on the list have shut down. So it’s time to update the list. Read more…

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Learning Chinese Online Resources

October 2nd, 2010 No comments
Categories: All Chinese Levels, IT Tags:

Chinese 1: Analytic or Holistic Cognition?

September 16th, 2010 No comments

The picture below is the one used in the famous Michigan Fish Test. 41 American participants at the University of Michigan and 44 Japanese participants at Kyoto University, Japan participated in this Recall Task (Masuda & Nisbett, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2001).

North Americans basically referred to the attributes of the target fish, whereas the Japanese referred to the background and contextual information as well as the target fish attributes.

As for the recognition of the target fishes, the results show: American – little differences between with background and without background
Japanese – better when with background
– field dependent attention Read more…

Mr. Toze understands Chinese: Schema Activation in L2

September 5th, 2010 No comments

Last Wednesday during Block E, Mr. Toze came to my IBS1 Chinese class (to look for learning?) when we were reading a text from DW-World.DE 德国人的功夫情结 (or check my edited version for students: 德國人的功夫情結  德国人的功夫情结  Vocab). This text talked about Shao Lin Kung Fu schools in Germany. It mentioned several German cities and regions. After reviewing names of continents and major European cities, I asked the students to guess the cities mentioned in the text. For the city of “柏林 Bo Lin”, the kids immediately offered “Berlin” since most place names are phonetically translated into Chinese. When it came to “波恩 Bo En”, no one had a clue. I turned to Mr. Toze for help, and the students were very curious about his answer. Mr. Toze asked me to repeat the word again, he then confidently pronounced “Bonn”. “Mr. Toze understands Chinese!” I told the kids.

Read more…

Second Language Learning and Cognitive Development

December 11th, 2009 No comments
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Jeannette Littlemore: Applying Cognitive Linguistics To Second Language Learning And Teaching

December 11th, 2009 No comments

Applying Cognitive Linguistics To Second Language Learning And Teaching

by Jeannette Littlemore FORMAT: Paperback $173.95

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Vivian Cook: Second Language Learning & Language Teaching

December 11th, 2009 No comments

Second Language Learning & Language Teaching: the Website
Vivian Cook
4th edition, Hodder Education 2008

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/vivian.c/SLLandLT/index.htm

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Technology Integration Ideas

November 25th, 2009 No comments

Check this out! 

A lot of IT ideas for you!

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Doug Adams’s PPT

November 22nd, 2009 No comments

Doug Adams’s PPT:
Integrating Technology, Higher-Order Thinking, and Student-Centered Learning

http://www.slideshare.net/dadams.altec

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Alan Levine’s “Fifty+ Tools”

November 21st, 2009 No comments

http://cogdogroo.wikispaces.com/StoryTools#toc54

The Fifty Tools

Below you will find 50+ web tools you can use to create your own web-based story. Again, the mission is not to review or try every single one (that would be madness, I know), but pick one that sounds interesting and see if you can produce something. I have used each tool to produce an example of the original Dominoe story, plus links are provided, where available, to examples by other people. Please share your own examples or thoughts in the discussion area of this wiki. Read more…

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How to build a student of the 21st century?

November 21st, 2009 No comments

How to Bring Our Schools Out of the 20th Century
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1568480,00.html

There’s a dark little joke exchanged by educators with a dissident streak: Rip Van Winkle awakens in the 21st century after a hundred-year snooze and is, of course, utterly bewildered by what he sees. Men and women dash about, talking to small metal devices pinned to their ears. Young people sit at home on sofas, moving miniature athletes around on electronic screens. Older folk defy death and disability with metronomes in their chests and with hips made of metal and plastic. Airports, hospitals, shopping malls–every place Rip goes just baffles him. But when he finally walks into a schoolroom, the old man knows exactly where he is. “This is a school,” he declares. “We used to have these back in 1906. Only now the blackboards are green.” Read more…

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