Friday, March 2, 2018

Dr. Baldwin's Thoughts on Thursday - March 1, 2018

Dear RPS Community,

As I read through articles, news feeds, books, and other media everyday, I can't help but notice similar storylines repeating over and over again. It's usually not too difficult to spot a short-lived pop culture statement once it hits the market. With media saturation and the frequent bombardment of images today, crowds can jump onto bandwagons with ease. But soon enough, the latest craze is replaced with something else. 

On certain occasions however, we are faced with trying to tease out fads and trends that actually have staying power and are deeply impactful - these are moments in time where our culture is shifting. 

We see this across our history as we continue to shape our nation's cultural footprint.

Most notably this week, David Rose, founder and author of Universal Design for Learning states that when humans with reading difficulties have negative past experiences in relation to reading, (they may have been put on the spot, reprimanded, or even embarrassed in front of others, etc) the brain imprints these experiences. If they are faced with similar moments in life where they are faced with reading and there is a neutral party asking them to read, the brain remembers the past and automatically moves into a mode of 'threat' - and students ultimately begin to equate neutrality with threat.

Rose's work once again came to light as I read a New York Times article on childhood trauma and scanned a CNN excerpt on increased levels of stress and anxiety in teenage girls. All three pieces re-confirmed my belief that supporting students' social emotional well-being must continue to be one of our top priorities. 

As we support our students mental health and encourage students/faculty to take ownership for their emotional intelligence, we are proactively paving the way for them to get even more out of their educational experience here at RPS.

The three articles are linked below.

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