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Rosie Reads: Stargirl

‘She laughed when there was no joke. She danced when there was no music. She had no friends, yet she was the friendliest person in school. In her answers in class, she often spoke of sea horses and stars, but she did not know what a football was. She said there was no television in her house. She was elusive. She was today. She was tomorrow. She was the faintest scent of a cactus flower, the flitting shadow of an elf owl. We did not know what to make of her. In our minds we tried to pin her to…

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The Importance of Emotions in Education

‘Emotion, then, is a basic form of decision making, a repertoire of knowhow and actions that allows people to respond appropriately in different situations. The more advanced cognition becomes, the more high-level reasoning supports the customisation of these responses, both in thought and in action. With evolution and development, the specifications of conditions to which people respond, and the modes of response at their disposal, become increasingly nuanced. The more people develop and educate themselves, the more they refine their behavioural and cognitive options. In fact, one could argue that the chief purpose of education is to cultivate children’s building…

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How experience changes the structure of the brain

‘A massive proliferation of synapses occurs during the first years of life. These connections are shaped by genes and chance as well as experience, with some aspects of ourselves being less amenable to the influence of experience than others. Our temperament, for example, has a nonexperiential basis; it is determined in large part by genes and by chance. For instance, we may have a robust approach to novelty and love to explore new things, or we may tend to hang back in response to new situations, needing to “warm up” before we can overcome our initial shyness. Such neural propensities…

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