Surprise! Dr. Snow’s Provocative Views and Advice Regarding the “30-Million-Word Gap”

Hart and Risley introduced the staggering “30-million-word gap” between children of different households, back in 1995. Some may call it a famous study while others may call it an infamous study. This is because it has caused quite a stir directly and indirectly; the proposed solutions tended to sprout problems of their own. In their study, Hart and Risley followed parent-child language usage (listening/speaking opportunities) in a range of different contexts. The children in the most socially disadvantaged group produced only half the number of words that the children of the “professional” families did. Hart and Risley also noted that vocabulary size is a major predictor in future scholastic success and that the vocabulary size gap among young children quickly widens from a 2:1 ratio to a 4:1 ratio in a matter of months.

When Research Goes Wrong

In recent years, the problem of “fake news” has become widely known, not just in the USA but around the world. Sensationalist headlines from dubious sources having little basis in reality are virulently shared in social media, spreading misinformation far and wide resulting in sometimes very real consequences. With this month’s issue we’re tackling a related issue, “junk science,” which often exhibits the same fundamental flaws as “fake news,” but also, fortunately, the same solutions: adopting a stance of healthy skepticism, examining the evidence, verifying the credibility of the sources, etc. In short: we need to wear our critical thinking caps when reading about science.

Why We Are Here

Assuming that, on some future date, there will still be enough people around to remember 2020, we will not have to state that it was a year of upheaval and change. And so, since we always devote our January issues to stories from subscribers, what better topic could there be than how 2020 has changed us as teachers, as humans. And that is what we offer you: thirteen stories from people all over the world about their pandemic-related growth.

How Can We Make Grammar Brain Friendly?

One of our major endeavors in regard to grammar is to help our learners understand it as quickly as possible, and we can only do that when we change the way we deliver it, creating a more relaxed, curiosity arousing, association provoking, interactive process. In other words, we should strive to make talking about grammar enjoyable for both the educator and learner.
The advances made over the last 30 years in neuroscience and our fundamental comprehension of how the brain functions, learns, and reacts can now assist the way that grammar is delivered, creating the necessary bridge from theory to the practical application of neuroscientific principles, transforming traditional grammar instruction through what could be called brain-friendly coaching conversations. This involves not only applying principles from neuroscience, but also changing our delivery style through the use of professional coaching skills.

Call for Contributions: Ideas & Articles

Become a Think Tank star! Here are some of the future issue topics we are thinking about. Would you, or anyone you know, like to write about any of these? Or is there another topic you’d like to recommend? Do you have any suggestions for lead-in, or just plain interesting, videos? How about writing a book review? Or sending us a story about your experiences? Contact us.

Why are Teenagers Self-absorbed Risk-takers and How Can We Turn This to Their Advantage?

“Adolescence isn’t an aberration; it’s a crucial stage of our becoming individual and social human beings.” (Sarah-Jayne Blakemore)
Teenagers: active, powerful, challengers, without fear of failure, ambitious, flexible, curious, creative, cooperative, skilled operators of technology, memorize well, a lot of chatting and laughing, low motivation, selfish, bad manners, not responsible, no planning, get bored easily, depend on SNS, like to be in a group and like to be alone, negative.

Call for Contributions: Ideas & Articles

Become a Think Tank star! Here are some of the future issue topics we are thinking about. Would you, or anyone you know, like to write about any of these? Or is there another topic you’d like to recommend? Do you have any suggestions for lead-in, or just plain interesting, videos? How about writing a book review? Or sending us a story about your experiences? Contact us.