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Extension > Youth Development Insight > March 2016

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Help set the research agenda: What do we need to know about nature-based learning?

By Cathy Jordan

Fueled by Richard Louv’s popular book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder, and supported by the organization Children & Nature Network, (which Louv and several others co-founded in 2006) a worldwide movement has been gaining traction to reconnect children to the natural environment. More and more research is being published suggesting that nature play and nature-based learning provide children with benefits across the age range and across diverse developmental areas including: physical health, mental health, learning, motor development, cognitive development, and social-emotional learning.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

2 myths about young people and college aspirations

A major political strategy to address educational disparities has been to raise the aspirations of young people with a low socioeconomic status (SES). Case in point: This entertaining video features a rapping FLOTUS encouraging youth to "go to college".


I don't dispute the core message -- that going to college is a way to discover one's intrinsic value and professional opportunities, and yes, young people should go to college. But two key assumptions implicit in this video (and in many U.S. initiatives to address educational inequities) are just plain wrong.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

How to support SEL skills -- from programs that work

By Kate Walker

While we often talk about "bridging research and practice," too often that bridge is a one-way street aimed at getting practitioners to recognize and use the research being conducted. But if we want more research-based practice, we need to engage in more practice-based research. We need more research aimed at understanding effective practice from the practitioners' perspective, as they experience and enact it. We need research that is wholly committed to generating useful information that can inform and improve daily practice.
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