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Peer Influences on Adolescent Risk Behavior

Evidence overwhelmingly points to adolescence as a period of heightened risk-taking in multiple domains, including experimentation with alcohol, tobacco, and drugs, unprotected sexual activity, and reckless driving (Reyna & Farley, 2006).  Although risk-taking behavior declines as youth transition into mature adult roles, the public health consequences of the adolescent spike in risky decision-making are severe. …

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The Costs of Paying Attention, The Value of Reflection

Recent studies done by neuroscientist Mary Helen Immordino-Yang (University of Southern California) and her colleague Joanna Christodoulou (Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT) suggest that educators need to consider much more carefully the role of reflection in learning.1 They cite new theories of two brain systems that control our attention. One is activated when we engage with…

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Smartphone Addiction Tips for Breaking Free of Compulsive Smartphone Use

While a Smartphone, tablet, or computer can be a hugely productive tool, compulsive use of these devices can interfere with your daily life, work, and relationships. When you spend more time on social media or playing games than you do interacting with real people, or you can’t stop yourself from repeatedly checking texts, emails, news…

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Learning Disabled or School Disabled?

According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control, my grandson is one of about 6.4 million children who have been diagnosed with ADHD. The symptoms of ADHD include inattentiveness in school, distractibility, inability to sustain attention, difficulty finishing school work, difficulty shifting from task to task, procrastination, and fidgeting when seated. In other words, if you…

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Parent’s Guide to Teen Depression

Recognizing the Signs of Depression in Teens and How You Can Help Teenagers face a host of pressures, from the changes of puberty to questions about who they are and where they fit in. With all this turmoil and uncertainty, it isn’t always easy to differentiate between depression and normal teenage growing pains. But teen…

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How Iceland Got Teens to Say No to Drugs

Curfews, sports, and understanding kids’ brain chemistry have all helped dramatically curb substance abuse in the country. It’s a little before 3 p.m. on a sunny Friday afternoon and Laugardalur Park, near central Reykjavik, looks practically deserted. There’s an occasional adult with a stroller, but the park’s surrounded by apartment blocks and houses, and school’s…

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Assessments That Provide Real Insight into Learning

A math teacher described a problem he was having with his 2nd graders: “One of the goals of our math curriculum is to enable the students to articulate their mathematical reasoning. We would like them to explain, ‘The problem said two more came, so I knew I needed to add,’ but instead we get, ‘I…

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Adolescents Struggle to Identify Fake News

Given the multitude of phony news stories spawned during the 2016 election, culminating in the shooting at a D.C. pizza restaurant, the Stanford History Education Group’s study of adolescents’ ability to judge the credibility of all the information vying for their attention in cyberspace is amazingly timely. The study focused on over 7,800 middle school,…

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